Decal Removal Before Paint Prep - Fiberglass RV

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:46 PM   #1
Trailer: Bigfoot 13.5 ft
Posts: 88
Decal Removal Before Paint Prep

Do I need to remove the decals on my Lil Bigfoot before beginning the sanding prep work for painting? I found many good posts on how to remove decals but wondered if it would be possible to simply sand them off. Will this grind decal adhesive into the surface, thus leading to problems with the prime/paint job? I am fairly certain that my decals are well beyond the point where heat will do the trick of removing them; they are one with the gel coat.


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Old 10-12-2010, 01:09 AM   #2
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,014
I would guess they would gum up your sandpaper.

I would probably try scraping (razor blade or plastic scraper), heat (heat gun or hair dryer), or something like a 3M "stripe off" wheel. The Stripe Offs work amazingly well.

People also use Easy-Off oven cleaner to take vinyl names off boats, masking off runoff areas and rinsing afterward.


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Old 10-12-2010, 06:54 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2004 Jayco Talon toyhauler/ 1985 Burro 13 custom.
Posts: 314
You definately want to take them off prior to prep. My 1985 Burro decals were cracked and dry rotted, but came off easily with a heat gun, but be careful with the fiberglass. I also used the 3-M wheel as Raya recommended, to remove the excess glue residue and small portions of decal that tore while pulling it off. You will have to block sand the area where the decal is so that you will not see evidence of it after the paint. I had to primer seal and block sand several times to remove all traces of the decal. The original gell coat weathers and looses thickness, but where the decal is, the gell coat is at its original thickness and after painting, you will see the outline of the decal if you do not properly prep this area. If you are replacing the decal, then you don't have to worry about it as long as it is the same decal style and size.

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Old 10-12-2010, 03:58 PM   #4
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Name: Robert
Trailer: Nest Caravans
Posts: 821
I'll jump in...

The decals on my '82 Perris Pacer were so dry they sanded right off no problem. But, I was planning on a new paint job, so the entire shell got a good going over as part of the prep.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:34 PM   #5
Name: Frederic&Belen
Trailer: 1986 19 ft Bigfoot
Posts: 76
This might be a little late to help, but I will post my experience anyway. I am currently removing the striping and decals from our third Bigfoot and have done it the same way every time. I use a plastic putty knife - must be plastic and a blow dryer, not a heat gun. The heat gun could potentially be too hot for the fiberglass gelcoat, so I stick with the blow dryer and it works great. I usually work right end to left end, as I am right handed. Once I get the edge or end lifted off a little, it is easy for me to hold the blow dryer in my right hand while simultaneously lifting the striping/decals with my left hand. I have found that this saves my left hand from getting in the way of the heat from the blow dryer quite so much, but it definitely gets a little hot from time-to-time.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:11 PM   #6
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Name: Brayden
Trailer: Boler
Posts: 144
Or you could use a strip eraser wheel
In all bodyshops use them to take decals and stripes off
Without hurting the clear
Available at any AUTOBODY supply store

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