Automotive Paint over Gel Coat Problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-29-2014, 02:05 PM   #1
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Automotive Paint over Gel Coat Problem

I just purchased an 82 Scamp. The PO said that the owner before him updated the trailer and added a "fresh" automotive paint job. From four feet out and beyond, the paint job looks fine. Up close, it is noticeable (perhaps only to me) that the paint didn't stick well and slid as it went on. I guess I am wondering how this might change the care of the trailer including waxing and fixing dings, dents and popping out rivets. In addition, if in a couple of years I were to take this back to original gelcoat with an epoxy paint (like boat paint), I would imagine that I would just need to sand off the paint and stop before I get to the bottom of the gelcoat. Thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Str8781 View Post
I just purchased an 82 Scamp. The PO said that the owner before him updated the trailer and added a "fresh" automotive paint job. From four feet out and beyond, the paint job looks fine. Up close, it is noticeable (perhaps only to me) that the paint didn't stick well and slid as it went on. I guess I am wondering how this might change the care of the trailer including waxing and fixing dings, dents and popping out rivets. In addition, if in a couple of years I were to take this back to original gelcoat with an epoxy paint (like boat paint), I would imagine that I would just need to sand off the paint and stop before I get to the bottom of the gelcoat. Thoughts?
Hi Ben...I don't understand the question so I have a couple of my own...is the paint not sticking and flaking off, or is what you describe as "slid as it went on" a big run or too much paint applied in one area. Very easy to get runs when painting something shaped like a scamp because of it being rounded everywhere and no corners or detail to break the spraying process. Runs won't hurt anything, just don't look too good. If the paint is a current 2stage type system (urethane) the runs can be colorsanded out and buffed by someone who knows how do to it. If it's enamel, you just need the beer goggles on when you look at your trailer in that spot, forget it and enjoy camping!!!!
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:35 PM   #3
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The final coat seems to have "run" all over. Imagine if the PO hadn't removed the wax and then tried to paint a vertical surface. I guess most of all, since the paint doesn't appear to be failing yet (no peeling or sagging), I suppose that I don't have short term implications. But what might be the long term implications?
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:01 PM   #4
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If you can live with it cosmetically it should be fine....otherwise you're looking at a strip and repaint...what the heck, go camping and enjoy...you didn't spend 100K for a new one anyway
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:23 PM   #5
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That's called a "Stand Off" paint job. The further you stand off, the better it looks.
If it were mine, I would live with it.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:18 PM   #6
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Other than just plain "Runs" in the paint, two common problems in painting fiberglass/gelcoat are called "Orange Peel" and "Curtains".

Both look like the names. It sounds like your issue might be curtains and this is most often caused on fiberglass/gelcoat surfaces by not having used a correct primer/undercoat and/or not sanding between coats. If it's only surface curtains, you can usually wet sand them out and apply new paint over the top.

I have used (as everyone hereabout is tired of hearing about) Interlux Briteside Marine Paint, using the roll and tip method of application, with exceptionally good results.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:00 PM   #7
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A bad paint job shouldn't change how you take care of the surface. If it were me I'd opt for either sanding it down to remove the sags and roughing up the surface before getting it repainted. Sanding off all the old paint will be a tough job, if you can find stripper that won't damage the underlying gelcoat, it might be the better option to completely remove it. I've not seen it hurt fiberglass, but don't know about gelcoat.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:47 PM   #8
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These posts confirm a lot of my thoughts. I would say that I have an orange peel finish with some curtains. Plus, I always knew that the gravel guard on the front window had been painted, but I assumed that the PO had stripped it down to repaint and then put up a decorative stripe (left over from the Scamp Decal along the side). But I can now clear as day see the old Scamp decal under the paint and new stripe. So that probably confirms how little prep the PO put into the paint job.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:30 PM   #9
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Ask yourself this... is an icky paint job going to stop you from making a bunch of memories? You'll never be able to remove paint and get back to the original gelcoat... unless you spend $$$ and re-gelcoat the trailer. These aren't Ford model Ts! Frankly, that's a huge waste of money. Sand, prime and repaint would be my best opinion. As long as the trailer doesn't look like a huge trash bag going down the road... GET OUT AND HAVE FUN! Make fun of what you own, if you must. But you're far ahead of the folks with a musty, seam leaking sticky... and they're having fun!
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:50 AM   #10
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Donna, I have been settling into your philosophy regarding the Scamp. The paint job really is not a big deal, other than I am just trying to size up and prioritize projects. But, as is opposite my typical MO, I have a camp first mindset before projects (probably due to the money that I plunked down). Plus, it will give me more of an idea of exactly what I want, thus saving me time, money, and frustration.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:57 AM   #11
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Well, you could always just cover with another paint job like mine has! (check my registry!)

Wouldn't hurt to know what type (name) of paint was used on yours though, if you can find out. Would help for anything you want to do in the future.

Mon
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:16 AM   #12
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If you suspect a poor paint job dont pressure wash the trailer. Pressure washing could blow off parts of the paint job. As for a repaint later I would pressure wash to see if it would blow off the paint and then sand off whats ever left. Painting over bad surfaces just gets worse the more layers you put on. Fortuneatly there are alot of strippers that wont damage fiberglass and will work well removing a poor paint job. Removing a good paint job is a whole magnitude harder.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:55 AM   #13
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OK, I need suggestions for strippers on fibreglass. The Cantaloupe is painted inside and out. I got most of the paint off the top half of the outside by sanding. This was therapeutic, but slow. Not so fun when I have to sit on the ground to do the bottom half.

So, if you have had success with strippers, (no, not that kind) please post what you used.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:50 PM   #14
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OK, I need suggestions for strippers on fibreglass. The Cantaloupe is painted inside and out. I got most of the paint off the top half of the outside by sanding. This was therapeutic, but slow. Not so fun when I have to sit on the ground to do the bottom half.

So, if you have had success with strippers, (no, not that kind) please post what you used.
Captain Lees for fiberglass...or aircraft stripper for fiberglass
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