vehicle vinyl application

I'm working on a large project with a deadline, and falling temperatures in the Northeast are influencing my work performance. What I need is a portable, efficient, and safe device and/or method that can quickly heat the outside of a car.

I am working with temporary adhesive vinyl panels that are being applied to the entire hood and trunk of New York City taxi cabs. We can only apply these panels for about 2 more weeks, and we are trying to cover as many taxis as possible. The weather, however, has been slowing our progress. When the temperature gets to about 60 degrees F and lower, the panels become very brittle, almost like paper, and lose some of their adhesive properties. Application becomes very difficult. We're able to keep the panels in a heated vehicle, which helps a bit. But the outside of the cars, particularly the trunks, are too cold for a proper application. The hood can be easier if the engine has been running for a bit, because this warms the panel and restores its malleability.

Does anyone have any suggestions concerning a fast, efficient, portable, and safe method for heating the coachwork of a vehicle? If you can't meet all of the criteria, the device and/or method must at least be portable. But I'm curious to hear any other suggestions, as well. I've come up with a whole slew of ideas that are plenty fast but are in no way safe. Let's face it, though, they're still fun to think about.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have faith in the creativity of Instructablers! And think of it this way; your help can contribute to a really excellent project. If anyone would like more info, gardenintransit.org. Rock on.

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CameronSS9 years ago
Would a heat gun work?
. I'm guessing that a heat gun would be too slow (or too hot for the vinyl, if hot enough to heat the metal quickly) for the large areas he's talking about, but it would be worth investigating.
jnleclaire9 years ago
Try checking out VinylInsider.com. It's a community for vinyl installers. You should find some good info there.
NachoMahma9 years ago
. A small bank of IR lamps ought to work, depending on your definition of portable.
Yes light bulbs. Thanks Nacho. Incandescent bulbs are good source of heat.
gyromild9 years ago
Since you'll be running the engine to heat the hood, why not channel the heated gasses from the exhaust to heat the trunk. A flat surfaced container/chamber made of good heat conductant (aluminum perhaps), with inlet and outlet. Lay the chamber on the trunk. Channel the exhaust fume using flexible hose into the chamber's inlet.