Bad shape fiberglass restauration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-10-2013, 02:57 PM   #1
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Name: Dan
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Bad shape fiberglass restauration

I now finished the inside of my U-Haul CT-13 restauration and I was ready to attack the exterior. The fiberglass is in really bad shape; dirty and chalky all over with a lot of spyderwebs (some are from someone who pushed the camper by the body and made the fiberglass pop-in about 2 feet diameter.

But for now, I started to restore the fiberglass. I did not want to use zep or other wax, I wanted an original like new finish. The result are amazing. It was done in 5 steps:

1- Carefully wash the camper with dish soap.
2- Wet sand the entire unit with a 1000 grit paper.
3- Wet sand the entire unit with a 2000 grit paper.
4- Apply "Ultra Cutting Crème" from Presta with an electric buffer following manufacturer instructions.
5- Apply good quality WAX.

I got the "Ultra Cutting Crème" recommendation from a boat dealer. They restore their used fiberglass boats with this product.

The fiberglass looks new (except where there are spyderwebs). It is a hard job but the results are amazing. However, I know that this method is hard on the gelcoat and it removed the top chalky layer. It is now thinner so this is not something I will do too often. In fact, I hope to never do it again.

Some pics showing the results (after rain)

Any comments about what I did?

Thanks

Dan
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youhauler

Any comments about what I did?

Thanks

Dan
Nice. Just like me one hour Red Max Pro job......LOL
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
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Nice. Just like me one hour Red Max Pro job......LOL
Lol, Instead of one hour, I spent 2 days. (
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:48 PM   #4
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Nice!
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:36 PM   #5
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Where is the like button, I preferred to go he traditional way of restoring as well. You will not need to do it again either providing you keep it protected with wax.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:44 PM   #6
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Where is the like button, I preferred to go he traditional way of restoring as well. You will not need to do it again either providing you keep it protected with wax.
Carol, this is also the way I prefer. Now that the elbow grease job is completed, I plan to wax it 2 time per year, before and after the season. Cleaning/Waxing is not a major job. I read on other forums that the finish of zep might not be as uniform as a fiberglass designed wax. I also read that some have experienced yellowish after a certain time. Even if it just a few of us, I don't want to take chance.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:52 PM   #7
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Well, Zep is floor wax. I would not be surprised if it yellowed a bit. It is easy to strip off and do again though. Just like you would on a floor. Some have found that the engine de-greaser setting at a wand wash takes it right off.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:55 PM   #8
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It is easy to strip off and do again though. Just like you would on a floor. .

Is that anything like Wax On Wax Off?
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:00 PM   #9
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Dan, your U-Haul looks really, really nice. Don't be put off if others don't share your enthusiasm... different strokes for different folks.

I'm one of them... I have neither the time nor the energy to spend as you have. BUT, I can guarantee you.. you won't have any more FUN using your trailer than those that choose to go a different direction to get a shine.

Isn't it grand we can enjoy what we have and what's important to US?
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:06 AM   #10
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Dan, your U-Haul looks really, really nice. Don't be put off if others don't share your enthusiasm... different strokes for different folks.

I'm one of them... I have neither the time nor the energy to spend as you have. BUT, I can guarantee you.. you won't have any more FUN using your trailer than those that choose to go a different direction to get a shine.

Isn't it grand we can enjoy what we have and what's important to US?
Don't worry Donna, I won't be put off by other's comments. In fact, this is why I put these pictures...to have comments and I appreciate it. I agree with other that there is another easier way to make out campers shine. I just took the more traditionnal way.

But now things are becoming more complicated. I need to patch two type of defects in my fiberglass:
1- Repairs done by previous owners on what looks like a contact with a hard object. (Pic 1 and pic_2(enhanced)).
2- Many major spyderweb probably caused by somewone who tried to push the trailer by hand (Pic 3).

My first choice was to hide these defects with a "gravel guard" type rubber paint. Because the defects are mainly located at the front and front-side of the trailer, it could also protect the trailer from future rock chipping.

My second choice is to redo the gelcoat. But I never did that before. I know that the color matching is the most critical part of this job. Anyone did that before? If yes, which corlor recipe did you take?

What would you recommend???

Thanks
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Old 07-11-2013, 09:33 AM   #11
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You can re-do gel coat, but if it for only a small area, it's difficult to get a color match unless it's pure white.

You mentioned spiderweb cracks above. If they bother you, they need to be ground down to where the crack can no longer be seen, refilled, and coated. Again, the problem is color matching the gel coat. For fill, I use kitty hair (body fill with chopped fiberglass pieces) or for larger repairs I'll use fiberglass mat, and resin, then tiger hair (body fill with fiberglass strands) first, then kitty hair, then regular body fill for final app. Actually you can do this stuff just using fiberglass mat and resin, but it's a bear to sand.

By the way, if the pics do justice, that trailer looks real good to me just as it stands! You did a great job bringing it back to life.

Frank
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:00 AM   #12
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I agree different approaches to get same results. OP used fine grit wet sanding and cutting cream, I used barkeepers friend. Have to do something to get the chalk off. Have to wash dirt off first to avoid scratching while you rub off chalky top surface.

I think there is a deserved sense of satisfaction and pride to restoring the faded glory to our eggs. From dingy yard ornament to gleaming camper. Labor of love no matter how you do it.

Personally I have more faith in a paint match for a patching job of gel coat spider cracks than a gel coat match. Myself I would hit the local boat repair facility during a slow time of day to get some professional advice on what is involved with going with gel coat.

With a high shine wax job minor imperfections seem to blend in pretty well. So I think you have some margin of error in getting a good looking results. Might find this thread informative.

You Can Repair Fiberglass

I used RedMax and while I saw no "yellowing" I did see a slight difference in the "brightness" of the white between the RM areas and those that had just been cleaned and then had caulk applied over them last year.

I removed some caulk from the belly band this spring and from about 2 ft away I could see the transition line between surface protected by caulk and protected by RM pro, from 4 ft away the difference was too slight to see.

On the other hand the RM protected surface had been exposed to dirt and sun for a year, the caulk covered surface had not. After washing camper looked really nice. shiny and white.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:12 AM   #13
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I used the thread above and did my own Fiber Glassing. If I can do it you can do it. Actually was quite rewarding after I dug into it. Up until then I could only spell the word resin. Its very satisfying and there is some cost involved but not that bad.
keep us posted if you decide to go that route there are a bunch of first time glassers on here who feel the same way.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:56 AM   #14
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You did a great job polishing your trailer. But the waxing causes issues with your repair. Nothing sticks to wax, all of your hairline cracks are full of wax and all of the sanding needed to repair the cracks spreads this wax into the new ground surface. If this was a Scamp I would tell you to get behind the surface from inside the trailer and sand the surface and apply 2 layers of light fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin going beyond the damage area by about 4 inches or so. Then go on the outside and take acetone and clean off the wax from the area about 2 feet beyond the repair area. Sand off some of the gel coat but not down to raw glass and wash again with acetone. This is not a damp wipe but a flood of acetone to flush out any remaining wax and float it away instead of just spreading it around. Now sand down the gel coat until you get to the fiberglass. If you find fractured fiberglass remove it. Do-not sand through your new glass patch you put on to the backside. Now epoxy some glass cloth to your sanded area and let it cure. After cure reshape the area to get it smooth and looking like a new surface. You will have sand scratches and potholes and pin holes in your repair area. You now fill those with Bondo type products and sand smooth. Now you can start applying layers of gel coat. If you want to do a paint match then I would suggest several coats of epoxy primer and sand smooth with 360 grit wet sand paper until all the imperfections are gone and you still have epoxy primer left. This will seal from the fiberglass printing through. Now have some automotive paint mixed to match your trailer and paint it.
With a U-Haul I dont know if you can get to the back side as I think the trailer has a double wall construction.
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