Cleaning yellowed plastic (Casita) - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-03-2003, 10:32 AM   #1
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There is this new spray paint for plastics on the market that is supposed to chemically bond with plastic.:) I saw it advertised but don't remember the brand (maybe it's KRYLON).:o

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Old 08-07-2003, 11:04 AM   #2
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Plastic Paint

Hi There.
Sue is right it is called Krylon. You can get it at any Home Depot.
They advertize that it bonds to plastic. The only problem, is it only bonds to some plastic. It scrapes right off of white plastic lawn chairs, but works well on polystyrene and polypropylene. If you know what the plastic is, you can probably get the results your looking for.

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Old 08-07-2003, 09:21 PM   #3
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Painted it this afternoon.

I painted the yellowed plastic on my Casita this afternoon. I first sanded the plastic with a fine sandpaper and then spray painted. It turned out well enough. My wife said the Casita looks like new. I did discover that sanding the plastic actually removed much of the yellow color. Had I persisted, I might have actually removed nearly all of the yellow color by sanding alone. Then I suppose I could have waxed it.
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Old 08-08-2003, 09:13 AM   #4
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Tony ... could you post some picture of your painted rig? Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2003, 08:08 PM   #5
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Hi Charles..

I'm going on vacation in a few minutes with our "new" Casita. I'll post some pictures when I return. :wave
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Old 08-15-2003, 10:17 AM   #6
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Coping with UV-damaged plastic.

Over time, UV radiation (sunlight) will damage or destroy most plastics. There are some newer plastics that are specially formulated to withstand UV Rad, but I'd guess that very little of that is going to be found in our trailers!

Take a look at 1990 and later cars; how many have plastic headlight lenses that are fogged and yellowed beyond use? I know, because I watch for them - the answer is A LOT!.

There are some remedies if your plastic (both transparent and opaque) isn't burned completely up:

1) You can use Rubbing or Polishing compound as a light abrasive to cut the surface damage off opaque plastic. Although Polishing compound is a finer grit, either item should clean your yellowed plastic and leave a nice finish.

2) I use a 4" linen buffing wheel chucked into a drill to polish both opaque and transparent plastic back to original condition. This method is a little more expensive (under $10 without the drill) but the effort is much less and the results are better.

To use a buffing wheel, you should use more than one type of abrasive. You can find both buffing wheels and tubes (or sticks) of abrasive compound at nearly any hardware store and most auto parts stores. For plastic, I use 'Tripoli' (fine grit) and 'Rouge' (extremely fine grit) to polish out foggy, yellowed, or scratched areas.

You should use only one type of grit per wheel if you can; otherwise, hold a flat metal blade - like the back edge of a dinner knife - perpendicular to the wheel (like you are buffing the slim back edge of the knife). This will force most of the grit out of the wheel and you can then apply a finer grit.

With a 4" linen buffing wheel priced at about $4US, it's much better to buy a wheel for each grit so as not to contaminate them.

If you're lucky, the store display will list each type of grit and its' uses. If not, here's a basic list:

WHITE compound is Aluminum Oxide - fairly fine, but hard, and is used primarily for metal. I polish rough stainless steel to a chrome-like finish with this. Perfect for aluminum; follow up with a good coat of wax and your metal window frames will look like new!

BLUE compound is known as Tripoli - is fine, and is used as an intermediate metal polish, or for 1st cuts on plastic. It will leave opaque plastic with a beautiful finsih, but it will leave transparent plastic with a slightly foggy look.

RED compound is called Rouge (but all buffing compounds are also collectively called 'rouge' so don't get confused!) and is extremely fine. Use it for final finishes on metal where you want a mirror finish, and on transparent plastics to leave them perfectly clear.

TO PROTECT your newly-restored plastic, I recommend 303 Aerospace Protectant. Inexpensive, in the auto polish aisle at Wally-World. Some people prefer Armor All, but I like 303 much better.

An added benefit is that you can also polish out those foggy yellow headlights and save the $145+ replacement cost!

DISCLAIMER: I will not be held responsible for the time you waste polishing everything in your house, car, and trailer. Once you get started with this stuff, it's hard to stop!

Here's a link to my Crown Vic Car site. Page through the pics and look at the crystal-clear headlights. When I bought the car, you couldn't see the lightbulbs though the fog & haze!

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