1982 Burro fiberglass cleaning - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2006, 04:44 PM   #1
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Trailer: Burro 1982 13 ft
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We have just purchased a 1982 Burro. I believe it is a 12 or 13 foot trailer. We are trying to clean the exterior. It has small grey spots on it and also some tar. How do we get this clean? What takes off tar. How do we restore this so it looks good? It also has some cracks or lines on it. How do we repair those? What is a gel coat? Were these made with a gel coat?
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Old 05-27-2006, 01:16 AM   #2
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Hello Dorie and welcome to the forum!

My first suggestion is to use the search function here and look for past discussions. Full answers to your questions would be beyond my abilities, but the collective wisdom on the forum will soon kick in. Gelcoat is the standard finish on these trailers. Some have mentioned that it is actually just more of a release agent in the molding process and therefore not a paint.

About the tar and grey spots: I'd suggest finding an inconspicuous area and experiment. Tar and spots may come out with alcohol, but more agressive chemicals may be necessary such as acetone.

More agressive still may be abrasives, such as automotive polishes, then rubbing compounds. Beyond that perhaps wet-sanding with 600 sandpaper (then maybe 1200 grit then rubbing it out with rubbing compounds and polishes). If you follow automotive rub-out practices and are careful not to sand away too much of the gelcoat you may yet come up with a white and shining surface. Finish with a good wax.

That said, gelcoat is softer and more porous than automotive paint. It seems to stain more easily and hold dirt. The gelcoat on mine needs some repair, and I am considering painting it eventually. I have made some tests with Interlux Brightside enamel (from marine suppliers) and it shows great promise aside from being capable of being applied with a brush or roller and still come out shiny and smooth. Great stuff.

Cracks: it all depends on how deep they are and that may be hard to determine. I have some hairline cracks in mine and I intend to use a burr on my Dremel rotary tool to gouge them out and then fill them with epoxy, followed by the usual sanding and rubbing out. Another good reason to paint instead of trying to match and apply the gelcoat.

Congratulations on finding a Burro! If you are like most members on this forum you will soon come to appreciate what you have and what you can do to customize and improve how it functions for you.
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Old 05-27-2006, 02:15 AM   #3
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hi dorie,

welcome! per is right , these folks know it all and are willing to share. (maybe even some okra if you time it just right.)

one of the first things you might try on the burro is a Mr Clean white sponge. comes in a box at the supermarket in the laundry detergent section. i can't remember the name but you should be able to find it. wet it, squeeze out some of the water and wipe.

magic eraser!!!! i think that is it's name and it really is magic.
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Old 05-27-2006, 02:21 PM   #4
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Hi Dorie from another 13' Burro-ite. Welcome, and congratulations on your Burro!

I've successfully used acetone to clean the fiberglass. Also, it seems to get rid of some of the oxidation.
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Old 05-27-2006, 02:37 PM   #5
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Be super careful with any use of acetone. They don't come more carcinogenic. The stuff also evaporates rapidly so you'll find yourself using more of it. Xylene is almost as powerful as acetone but does not dry on contact as quickly. Consider that a plus. It also causes cancer. Straight from the can these two should be absolute last resorts. (Unless you're old and don't want to live another 20 years.)
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:14 PM   #6
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Hi, we're new to fiberglas trailers and this forum but WD40 tested in an inconspicios place mite yield surprising results! It has for us on many occasions. Spray a small amount on and wait 10-15 minutes, then wipe off. Hope this helps!
Chuck n Nancie n eggzactlyrite4us
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:23 PM   #7
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welcome chuck and nancie!

notice that you recently had a birth--uhh egghatching. hope you will enjoy your new rv for many, many years and many, many, many camping trips. may see you on the road somewhere, sometime when you least expect it.
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:36 PM   #8
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Good point, Myron. Wear gloves, don't be in an enclosed area, etc etc when using acetone. Dorie, be sure to let us know how your trailer turns out. And we would love to see pictures of your new Burro!
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:13 PM   #9
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Trailer: Burro 1982 13 ft
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Hello Dorie and welcome to the forum!

My first suggestion is to use the search function here and look for past discussions. Full answers to your questions would be beyond my abilities, but the collective wisdom on the forum will soon kick in. Gelcoat is the standard finish on these trailers. Some have mentioned that it is actually just more of a release agent in the molding process and therefore not a paint.

About the tar and grey spots: I'd suggest finding an inconspicuous area and experiment. Tar and spots may come out with alcohol, but more agressive chemicals may be necessary such as acetone.

More agressive still may be abrasives, such as automotive polishes, then rubbing compounds. Beyond that perhaps wet-sanding with 600 sandpaper (then maybe 1200 grit then rubbing it out with rubbing compounds and polishes). If you follow automotive rub-out practices and are careful not to sand away too much of the gelcoat you may yet come up with a white and shining surface. Finish with a good wax.

That said, gelcoat is softer and more porous than automotive paint. It seems to stain more easily and hold dirt. The gelcoat on mine needs some repair, and I am considering painting it eventually. I have made some tests with Interlux Brightside enamel (from marine suppliers) and it shows great promise aside from being capable of being applied with a brush or roller and still come out shiny and smooth. Great stuff.

Cracks: it all depends on how deep they are and that may be hard to determine. I have some hairline cracks in mine and I intend to use a burr on my Dremel rotary tool to gouge them out and then fill them with epoxy, followed by the usual sanding and rubbing out. Another good reason to paint instead of trying to match and apply the gelcoat.

Congratulations on finding a Burro! If you are like most members on this forum you will soon come to appreciate what you have and what you can do to customize and improve how it functions for you.
Hi Per. Well thank you so much for all the good information. I washed it with oxiclean and warm water and rinsed it with cold water. At least I got off the outer layer of dirt.

I see lots of fine cracks on the chalky surface. I wll do as yu suggest and search this website. Your idea using a burr on a Dremel rotary tool sounds like a good idea.
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:32 PM   #10
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hi dorie,

welcome! per is right , these folks know it all and are willing to share. (maybe even some okra if you time it just right.)

one of the first things you might try on the burro is a Mr Clean white sponge. comes in a box at the supermarket in the laundry detergent section. i can't remember the name but you should be able to find it. wet it, squeeze out some of the water and wipe.

magic eraser!!!! i think that is it's name and it really is magic.
Hi Potteralice!

Wow, I think my Burro is pretty clean right now. We have spent 4 days working on it. I tried the Mr Clean Miracle sponge you suggested and it really works well. I tried it on some of the grey spots on the outside and it took em right off. I also used the sponge on the inside. Truly a magic eraser.

We do not know a lot about this Burro. I printed the manual off the website under document center. We finally figured out how to get the power on in it. The Burro really did need some work. The propane tank was rubbing on the Burro so we fixed that problem.

The guy who had it before us glued some linoleum on the floor and there was plenty of dried glue on the wall of the fiberglass, so I got that all off. The shelf above the sink had glued on shelfpaper and I got all that old stuff out and really scrubbed the shelf or cubboard. I picked up fabric at the recycling center that must have been for a couch. I cut it and sewed new cushion covers and then used some drapery material to sew for the other cushion covers. Doensnt look too bad. It took me all day yesterday to do that project but it does look better then having old sheets on the cushions.

We got a large piece of free carpet from a friend who had it left over from a garage sale. We cut it to fit the Burro floor and I scrubbed it and hosed it down to get all the soap out. That needs to dry. Once dry I will put it on the floor.

I have taken some photos of this project and will take another photo when the carpet is down.

These repairs and modifications will do for now. When the weather is bad and we can not be outside I will no doubt purchase some indoor outdoor carpet and put that in...something I really like.

For now it is ready for camping.
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:34 PM   #11
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Trailer: Burro 1982 13 ft
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Hi Dorie from another 13' Burro-ite. Welcome, and congratulations on your Burro!

I've successfully used acetone to clean the fiberglass. Also, it seems to get rid of some of the oxidation.
Hi Lauren. I may just try the acetone at some point in time. For now it is ready for camping after 4 days of working on it. Thank you for the information!!!
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:36 PM   #12
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Be super careful with any use of acetone. They don't come more carcinogenic. The stuff also evaporates rapidly so you'll find yourself using more of it. Xylene is almost as powerful as acetone but does not dry on contact as quickly. Consider that a plus. It also causes cancer. Straight from the can these two should be absolute last resorts. (Unless you're old and don't want to live another 20 years.)
Hi Myron. Well right now I feel very old after working on that Burro for 4 days. I will not be trying anything out of a can for awhile. I am done working on it for now and ready for camping. Thank you for the information.
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:39 PM   #13
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Trailer: Burro 1982 13 ft
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Hi, we're new to fiberglas trailers and this forum but WD40 tested in an inconspicios place mite yield surprising results! It has for us on many occasions. Spray a small amount on and wait 10-15 minutes, then wipe off. Hope this helps!
Chuck n Nancie n eggzactlyrite4us
Hi Chuck. Well, I did use WD40. I also used toothpaste, Mr Clean miracle sponge, oxiclean, windex, etc etc. It is now clean at least on the inside. The outside was washed once and will due for now. Thank you for the information.
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Old 05-29-2006, 09:41 PM   #14
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Good point, Myron. Wear gloves, don't be in an enclosed area, etc etc when using acetone. Dorie, be sure to let us know how your trailer turns out. And we would love to see pictures of your new Burro!
Hi Lauren. Well I am worn out from 4 days of cleaning and sewing. I took photos and after the carpet is dried and in the Burro I will take another photo and then post them.
Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!
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