Polish problem on the old 5er - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-10-2016, 04:44 PM   #1
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Name: Jan
Trailer: '96 Scamp 5th Wheel
Texas
Posts: 95
Polish problem on the old 5er

I know this subject has been talked to death but I am having a problem and need advice. Three years ago I cleaned the trailer really well and used 6 coats of Zep on it. It looked great! After the 2nd year the top edges (where the roof curves up) were peeling or wearing off. I was in New Mexico most of that year and figured sand and sun... I didn't want to completely strip and start over so I cheated and just added a couple of coats. Didn't work and the same thing happened. I didn't have time to do a complete redo before I left this past summer but the front looked so bad I decided to strip it and at least redo that so it would be easier to keep clean. I also decided to try PoliGlow this time and see if it was any different. I stripped it with Zep stripper, washed it really well and applied 3 (maybe 4 - I don't remember) coats of the Poli Glow. It looked really good. Traveled to Canada and back and am ready to redo it. I had decided to only do the top half of the trailer above the belly band because the finish on the bottom half still looks really good. In looking at the front that I redid I have realized that it is worn and peeling on the top edge and I found a couple of spots on the front where the finish is chipped and it flakes off if i scrape it with my fingernail. Am I doing something wrong in this process? I would like to figure this out before I start to work on it. Any thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.
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Old 10-11-2016, 01:33 PM   #2
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Name: Randy J.
Trailer: Trillium
Ontario
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From other posts I've read and my own experience, your "peeling" problem seems unique. I did our Trillium three years ago. Most of the time was spent on preparation, rubbing away any oxide from the fiberglass with Barkeeper's Friend and my electric polisher. The body was then washed with TSP and water and rinsed twice. I apply the Zep Wet Look with a microfiber cloth, applying wax to the cloth straight from the bottle instead of soaking the cloth. This seems to avoid puddling. It's important to keep each coat very thin. I liked the results after three coats. This spring noticed that the roof had weathered a little - rough and faded but no peeling. The most noticeable spots were where I had perhaps applied a little too much Zep in one coat. Not having much time, like you I went over the wax with Barkeeper's friend and my electric polisher to remove any oxide and roughness and applied a new coat of Zep. Six months later it looks like I've just done it.

One tip that everyone seems to agree on is to spend be absolutely sure you've scoured away all the oxide from the fiberglass before the first coat. If you think you may have missed some the first time, I'd suggest stripping, polishing the glass down with Barkeeper's, and re-coating. And make sure you use very thin coats.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:12 PM   #3
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Name: Jan
Trailer: '96 Scamp 5th Wheel
Texas
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I'm thinking I will do as you suggest. Maybe I just didn't get enough of the oxide off the first time. Strange that the bottom half still looks so good! Maybe a combination of factors. I'll just have to try again. Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:57 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Randy J. View Post
From other posts I've read and my own experience, your "peeling" problem seems unique.


Good Luck!
Nope not at all unique. Every person I know who has done the Zep treatment has had an issue with peeling after only a couple of years. Especially those who are on the road a lot. After all it is an indoor floor finish that is not designed to be subjected to dirt and mud and weather a trailer faces on the road. Any little chip in the finish will result in a peel.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:06 PM   #5
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Name: Peter
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Jan like everyone else have you tried the

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Originally Posted by Janb313 View Post
I'm thinking I will do as you suggest. Maybe I just didn't get enough of the oxide off the first time. Strange that the bottom half still looks so good! Maybe a combination of factors. I'll just have to try again. Thanks!
:Bartenders Friend, it seems to clean the trailers real well?
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:13 PM   #6
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Name: Jan
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I understand that the PoliGlow is designed for outdoor use - on boats - and has something in it for UV protection that Zep doesn't. But again - the Zep on the bottom half of the trailer still looks very good - no chipping , no flaking. I'm guessing that the sun and wind erode the top edges and it wears down from there.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:22 PM   #7
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Name: Jan
Trailer: '96 Scamp 5th Wheel
Texas
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Click image for larger version

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ID:	100533Here are a couple of photos of the trailer areas I'm talking about.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:14 AM   #8
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Name: Dave
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I think your experience with the Zep is pretty normal also. I get two years before it starts pealing on the top and sun facing side. Of course the 120+* summer sun doesn't help much. I would recommend that you not try to just strip the top. The stripper running down the sides will affect the bottom also. I use the stripper full strength and a double sided kitchen sponge on the rough side. Takes less than 2 hrs to strip and prep my SD 17 and about an hour and a half for 5 coats of Zep, beer breaks included .
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Janb313 View Post
I understand that the PoliGlow is designed for outdoor use - on boats - and has something in it for UV protection that Zep doesn't. But again - the Zep on the bottom half of the trailer still looks very good - no chipping , no flaking. I'm guessing that the sun and wind erode the top edges and it wears down from there.
It is pretty common on older trailers for the bottom half of the trailer to look much better than the upper half. I know when I purchased my old scamp it that had sat out in the Idaho sun for 15 years required a good deal of buffing with a 3M compound to get the upper half of it close to the shine that was still on the bottom half.

Most probable due to being impacted by the sun.

As to why the PoliGlow may have failed faster than you expected I wonder if perhaps you actually did not get all the Zep off of the trailer prior to applying. I know that there are a lot of folks who will not use the Zep as they are concerned with the contamination of the trailers finish - i.e. not getting it all off without having to use a heavy duty compound and in doing so taking off more gelcoat than they would like. I actually know a couple of people who decided not to purchase trailers they were interested in buying due to the previous owner having used Zep on the trailer they were selling for that reason. The previous use of Zep on a trailer is also a real concern to anyone who might be considering repainting a trailer they are wanting to purchase.

Before you put another application of Poliglow on it you are probable going to need to really scrub it with a compound of some sort - you could as suggested use Bar Keepers friend but it may not be enough to remove the old Zep, why not use a compound that is designed for use on fibreglass and simple give it a good waxing after? At the end of the day once you have it all clean and shining again putting a coat of wax on it once a year is going to be easier than having to strip off the whole trailer of Poliglow or Zep every few years and reapplying a number of coats.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:19 AM   #10
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Name: Randy J.
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So it seems the peeling is more common than I thought. Maybe I was lucky. The top, particularly the roof does weather quickest. I've been thinking of making a "mini-cover", something -even mesh so it would breath - to help protect the very top from the strong sunlight, especially while the trailer is just sitting in summer. The winter cover wouldn't allow enough ventilation.
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Old 10-13-2016, 02:51 PM   #11
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For what its worth I might consider that option the next time. I just went the Zep routine and have 5 coats on and it looks awesome. IF it lasts a year or two then I too might go the route with the Zep stripper and try the wax route. It was not a big effort to put on 5 coats of Zep so it would be no big deal to go a few rounds with a wax job and see how that works.
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