Serious Gel Coat Thickness Questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-14-2012, 10:38 PM   #1
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Serious Gel Coat Thickness Questions

Ok. Not sure if I should post this here or start a different forum

I bought a 3M eraser to remove my stickers and the raised "residue" under the stickers. It Did a GREAT job of removing the actual stickers. No miss no fuss...

However .....! The raised areas under the sticker still remains. Is is NOT just a discoloration it IS a raised area.

Here is my theory and question;

I am not super familiar with fiberglass and gel coat ( most of what I know came from this site and reading other items)

However given the chalky residue these trailers have (especially after 30'years) would that actually "degrade" the thickness of my trailer EXCEPT where the stickers were?????

So what I'm seeing isn't a residue but actually a "preserved" "original" gelcoat which is thicker than the rest of the trailer......

That would explain why nothing impacts it

Soooo if that's the case do wet sand it? What grit? And if I wet sand can I just coat with red max pro or do I need to apply new gel coat where all the stickers are?



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You can see how nicely the eraser removed the sticker but how the raised area is STILL underneath

Acetone. Mineral spirits. Auto polishing compound. Bar keepers friend. The eraser.... Nothing impacts it. It's pretty impenetrable Thats why I'm convinced it may just be the original thickness of fiberglass!

Any fiberglass pros out there?

Someone please help!!!!!!

:-/
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:22 PM   #2
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Opinion

If it were mine, I would carefully block sand it level with wet or dry 100 grit (wet with the hose) being careful to not go too deep. Then follow with wet 400 and then 600 grit. If the original design is still evident then it has stained the gelcoat and only re-gelcoating or painting will cover it up. I would try that on a little area that is not too noticeable at first...Hope it works for you!
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:51 AM   #3
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This is the price of removing stripes from fiberglass RV's. Unless you are into major, major work, the best fix is to simply put new stripes over the area to distract the eye from the older marks.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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This is a no win situation...the stripes will ghost through even with a thouough sanding and repaint in many cases. I have had show cars that were stripped and some of the graphics ghost in certain situations. I would try any of the ideas you have and want to mess with to see if it makes it better, and you might improve it greatly, but as fiberglass never fully cures (like concrete), the resin does funny things when vinyl is applied over it in its barely cured state. Good luck, and remember old is old......and usually better in lots of ways....but hard to make look totally new
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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Thanks. I am aware of the costs. It since almost all of the graphics were missing or held deteriorated it is a must do situation.

Unfortunately the replacement graphics are. It identical to the originals do I need to get the surface as good as possible prior to application

Color shift on older trailers is acceptable raised plateaus are the super annoying part
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:57 AM   #6
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Here is the front of my Hunter C-II
Hunter Compact II :: P1010429.jpg picture by advocateone - Photobucket

I removed the deteriorated Hunter Graphic, scrubbed the area with acetone, sanded it in prep for painting, painted with a coat of primer/prep and two coats of Marine paint, and the original image still ghosts through, so I covered that with a graphic, and you can still see the original image through that as well.
Feel free to look elsewhere in the file for ideas.
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:38 AM   #7
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My former Burro was once used as a potato chip vendor's trailer at fairs and such. Although the advertising graphics had been removed, if I stood at the right angle I could still read what they had said. I never stopped to think that it might be because the gelcoat had been protected better there. That explains it....
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:53 AM   #8
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According to a well respected body man;

The decal swelled your gel coat and polyester resin. Only way to make it flat is hard straight flat sanding block and guide coat. Will require additional priming and blocking.

This explains it

Had anybody sanded their egg and NOT painted or re gel coated and JUST waxed or put on Red Max

Luckily I am putting in stickers in approx the same place
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:01 PM   #9
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Rather then disturb the orig gelcaot covering with new stickers sounds like best idea !
Ron
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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Hi Jimbo. I would highly recommend that you NOT try to sand this ghosting away. The image will, in all probability, continue to show. This is mainly because the raised areas are unweathered gelcoat vs. the weathered gelcoat. You will likely never get the same color or reflectance.

Two choices are to block sand agressively and repaint the entire trailer (one part Marine epoxy paint works very well using the "roll and tip" method) OR get decals from Scamp Trailer and reapply them over the affectected areas. They have them in the Parts Store, including the older logo.

If you still want to try to gently sand the raised areas and then buff it, I would recommend that you NOT start with 100 grit (too coarse). Start with 300, done wet with a good hard block. It will take awhile to get it flat. Then go to 400 and 600. After that you should be able to buff it and/or do the RedMax thing.

If it were mine, I would go for the decals, cause I'm cheap and lazy.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:00 PM   #11
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I was thinking of starting with 800. Then 1000 on up wet sanding. If 800 first do it then 600 and possibly 400 as Alastair resort. Nothing coarser.

Luckily I can practice on my severely weathered campster. Probably the roof where it won't show anyway
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:20 AM   #12
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Between new decals and Red Max you have to look close to see the areas that look different due to 30 years of decals. The new decals are not going to be a dead on match to cover the old ones.

Thing is with brand new bright red letters and stripes or bright green three tree logo's on a Red Max shiny trailer no one notices the small amount of old decal shadow. Right now it stands out way more.

I would be a little concerned about the wet sanding to blend in creating a "patch" of surface that would be different than the rest of the gel coat and in the end stand out more.

Might also try a wet rag over your finger and some very fine rubbing compound, with a sponge to keep work area wet. This would allow you to use your finger like an eraser right along the edge of the shadow to sort of blend the surface texture in, rather than erase the lines. So the polish will hide things better.

I was satisfied with the results without doing anything beyond replace decals and red max polish. I should add I did a lot of scrubbing with BKF to get the whole trailer as white as possible before the decals and red max.
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Old 09-16-2012, 01:51 AM   #13
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Thanks Rogerdat. Do you have any close up photos of the "worst" areas with the new stickers on it?

I really like the "blending" the edges part!
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:11 AM   #14
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Rather than going with the polish have you given any thought to a good wash with VIM and then 5 coats of "ZEP WET FLOOR FINISH" It really comes up with a deep shine and goes on with a damp cloth. Each coat dries in 20 min so you can finish in a day.

Ron
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