Waxing and Abrasives - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-13-2013, 07:17 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
I have had a lot of success with using 3M marine products on a number of badly oxidized boats and well as my 21 year old trailer when I got it.
Thanks, Carol!

I'm sorta looking into actually "shining" my trailer up for the first time since I got it...I've never used anything but soap and water on it 'cause I'm leery about rubbing off anymore of the gelcoat than Mother Nature, Father Time, and previous owners have already removed!

I will say that given the original color of the older Trilliums, "yellowing" won't be an issue whichever way I decide to proceed...

Francesca
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:05 PM   #30
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[QUOTE=Francesca Knowles;362529]
I'm sorta looking into actually "shining" my trailer up for the first time since I got it...I've never used anything but soap and water on it 'cause I'm leery about rubbing off anymore of the gelcoat than Mother Nature, Father Time, and previous owners have already removed!/QUOTE]

Well keep in mind based on the amount of prep work that most folks seem to be having to do on the trailers prior to using the floor wax using Bar Keepers Friend and 3M pads etc that the amount of gel coat coming off probable is about the same as if one was to use a mid grade compound, so not sure there is a lot to be gained on the loss of gelcoat front by using the floor wax.
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Old 02-13-2013, 09:48 PM   #31
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I assure you that Barkeeper's Fiend has/will never touch(ed) the surface of my Trillium...nor will any other abrasive! As I think I said, the gelcoat that remains after all these years is not going to be rubbed off by me.

This despite any opinions that my trailer doesn't "shine" as some perhaps think it should.

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Old 02-14-2013, 12:22 PM   #32
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My 86' Burro's finish was shot, hopelessly dull and if waxed it looked good for about 30 minutes. Also somebody in the past used some kind of HARSH scrubber on it creating scratches in the finish. After trying all the stuff you see here with no avail Red Max Pro kicked all butt in fixing it. I just cleaned it off with Clorox Cleanup with bleach,( I was parked under a tree for 8 months and completely black with crude) no rubbing! After the initial 5 coats of Pro Max it gleamed pretty well, and filled in the scratches which would collect dirt and look worse than ever. After a 1 year I applied a sixth coat ( took about 30 minutes) making it look even better. I'm sold on the product and I still have a gallon left! It uses hardly any at all. People still can't believe it's 27 years old.
The scratches are still there but you really have to look hard to see them. Dirt does not fill them in anymore. Dirt,mud,bird poop, tree sap, road crud literally rinses off with water. Why would anyone with a really bad finish waste their time trying anything else? I tried a small spot on my 1992 red Chevy pickup that needs paint and I am impressed enough to give it a shot this summer. Maybe this is the magic stuff as seen on TV is showing?
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:00 PM   #33
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Why would anyone with a really bad finish waste their time trying anything else?
Hurrah! You add the essential "Simon says" to Norm's question. A "really bad finish" by which I take it you mean scratched, scuffed, oxidized, stained, and chalky gelcoat on an '86 Burro because that's the way you meant us to take it. I understand perfectly that you didn't do it to a 2005 trailer and that you don't intend to paint it, and that you're most likely not worried who will or won't buy it.

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Old 02-15-2013, 09:22 AM   #34
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As I haven't worked on any of the North American FG trailers, what I'm wondering is did/do the manufacturers skimp on gel coat thickness on all of them, that experienced owners are concerned about 'going through' the gel coat?

Everywhere else that regular (polyester/glass) fiberglass is used, the gel coat has enough thickness to be at least compounded back to a perfect gloss finish as Carol H showed, and usually more than once or twice. Indeed where I worked on racing yachts even a fairly light gel coat had enough thickness to be wet sanded to remove 'print-through' caused by curing the boats in an oven, starting as coarse as 400 grit - and that is a lot more thickness removed than just compounding a few times.

Old fiberglass that has an entirely matt finish can usually be 'rescued' back to an as-new condition by compounding with a machine polisher as shown above. It's not light work holding up the polisher but compared to the cost of painting it's mighty cheap. Plus painting fiberglass always seems to me like painting a varnished wood finish - it might look good today but the original finish is permanently lost.

Anyone who wants to try compounding on a FG trailer should give a try to an inconspicuous area, by using a cutting compound intended for car paint - probably from an auto paint supply place rather than a car place. I reckon a one square foot area would take maybe ten minutes to do and that size won't cause your arm to fall off. Doing a whole trailer by hand would be impossible, unless you have incredible tenacity, or you're Charles Atlas' offspring....
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:31 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
As I haven't worked on any of the North American FG trailers, what I'm wondering is did/do the manufacturers skimp on gel coat thickness on all of them, that experienced owners are concerned about 'going through' the gel coat? ..
Andrew all I can tell you is having cut a hole through the roof of my 21 year old scamp the thickness of the gel coat didnt appear to be much different than what I have previously seen on boats. As you indicate most should be able to be buffing down with a compound at least a couple of times if done correctly. As you know one can go through the gel coat on a boat as well if the speed of the buffer is to high or to much time is spent buffing one spot. I have seen a few old Bolers where the gel coat appears to have been worn off - most often at the top corners. Which my best guess has been caused by an abrasive/plastic tarp of some type being left on the trailer and the wind causing it to rub on it for extended periods of time.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:13 AM   #36
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Although I've looked at the edge of a few openings (windows, vents, fans) on the Burro while engaged in rebedding, I never cut or enlarged any openings in the hull and don't have samples. Have a couple of tickets from enlarging fridge opening in glass galley cabinet. Estimating by cf. with the separation of jaws of dial caliper, I'd say .010" light. This is at the minimum of recommended range of thickness. From memory of the external openings and some local patches of "alligatoring" (cracked and lifting gel coat which looks pretty much like cracked and lifting paint; I don't know what you call it in Blighty) which I removed, patched, cut down, rattle canned and THEN RMPd, I'll say it was a bit healthier on the exterior of hull. It would take some time to cut down to green with an abrasive cleaner as fine as Barkeeper's Friend, Bon Am or any cleaning paste incorporating feldspar, limestone, or borax.

I have given up putting axe to grindstone on the floor wax fad precisely because there are ALWAYS legitimate questions about the advisibility, benefits, and consequences of almost ANY PROCESS which arise when folks from an engineering or fabrication background mix with hobbyists or restorers with a preservationist philosophy and those of a more utilitarian bent who desire an easy solution with overnite results. The forum provides experience, advice, and options. Choose one. Be happy it was the right one for your situation, time, budget. Allow others breathing room to be happy with theirs. Here endeth the sermon.

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:26 PM   #37
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..... It would take some time to cut down to green with an abrasive cleaner as fine as Barkeeper's Friend, Bon Am or any cleaning paste incorporating feldspar, limestone, or borax.

I have given up putting axe to grindstone on the floor wax fad precisely because there are ALWAYS legitimate questions about the advisibility, benefits, and consequences of almost ANY PROCESS which arise when folks from an engineering or fabrication background mix with hobbyists or restorers with a preservationist philosophy and those of a more utilitarian bent who desire an easy solution with overnite results. The forum provides experience, advice, and options. Choose one. Be happy it was the right one for your situation, time, budget. Allow others breathing room to be happy with theirs. Here endeth the sermon.

jack
The whole issue is the "pits".
Old gel coat gets pitted so it is no longer able to be a smooth reflective surface when waxed. Buffing and cutting removes gel coat to get a smooth surface, RMP/Zepp fill in the pitting to provide a smooth reflective surface.

The different approaches suit different skill sets and situations. Using a power buffer well is a skill that is a bit more demanding than cleaning and application of RMP.

If your situation is you plan to paint or decal? Avoid any wax it will make your job much harder to do well. Have a really old surface that would require a lot of gel coat to be buffed off to get smooth? Go RMP and enjoy.

Boats may well have a clear gel coat which becomes smooth with buffing, then shines when wax is applied. This clear coat does not exist on my scamp.


BKF is such a mild abrasive and bleach one would have to really bear down to remove much material. Too much pressure on those green pads in one spot can leave scratches.

I think the person that mentioned more wear on the front corners may be seeing the effect of years of driving into airborne dust and dirt. I don't think my egg was ever stored under a tarp (at least for the last decade) but that is where the pitting is most pronounced. Right where the wind flowing around the TV would hit it, much less in center where the TV blocks the air flow. Even tiny grit has impact force at 55 mph.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:19 PM   #38
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[QUOTE=RogerDat;362873
I think the person that mentioned more wear on the front corners may be seeing the effect of years of driving into airborne dust and dirt. .[/QUOTE]

It was me who mentioned having seen it but on the two older Bolers I have seen it the gel coat was gone from the rear corners of the trailer and going down the back side, making it look a lot like it was a poorly secured storage tarp issue. Plastic tarps secured in such a way that they can move at all against the object they cover can be very abrasive.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:48 PM   #39
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It was me who mentioned having seen it but on the two older Bolers I have seen it the gel coat was gone from the rear corners of the trailer and going down the back side, making it look a lot like it was a poorly secured storage tarp issue. Plastic tarps secured in such a way that they can move at all against the object they cover can be very abrasive.
Yes that does sound like tarp rubbing. I really really want to tarp mine for the winter but not willing to unless I have a frame to keep it off the trailer. Maybe next summer when I'm caught up on projects..... yeah right.

Nice to know your still around keeping the RMP folks honest by providing info on alternatives :-)
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:56 PM   #40
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An inexpensive tarp can be made out of a good quality wax and a lot of elbow grease. Don't have to tie it down or worry about it in wind and snow.
I was just up on the roof, removing some leaf stains and sap with a bit of Turtle Wax Bug 'N' Tar. Spray on, let sit and then rub and buff with a soft cloth. Thumbnail is a good non-scratching tool for larger blobs of sap.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:34 PM   #41
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Waxing or Maintaining the roof

I protect the trailer from the ladder with these foam pads. They are similar to pipe insulation, with a slit down the length so they are easy to attach to the ladder, and remove.
These were actually packing material for a Weber BBQ and are larger than pipe insulation I have seen at my local Rona.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:43 PM   #42
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Side note per "protectors" pictured above:

I keep a couple of lengths of that foam pipe insulation in my kit and use it a LOT for protecting both trailer and tug from damage. It's real handy for straps, tiedowns, etc...when my awning's deployed, I stick a piece on the arm to protect my door from getting banged up.


A recommended addition to toolboxes, and a buck or two a four-foot stick!

Francesca
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