Look what I discovered under my decals... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-03-2013, 05:22 PM   #1
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Look what I discovered under my decals...

Hello all! We just purchased a 1989 17 foot Bigfoot trailer about 2 weeks ago. It's Our first trailer but I have spent a fair amount of time over the last couple of years lurking on the site trying to get a handle on what issues these trailers may have but don't recall seeing anything quite like this in my travels here so I figured I better ask and see what i should do about it.

Basically the last couple weeks I have been slowly tackling all the little issues and thought I would tackle one more today but have hit a road block. I had planned to use a decal removal wheel to take off the faded and cracked decals then use barkeepers friend to clean and Zep high gloss floor finish to bring out the shine... Well as usual I have all these great plans and then I barely get started and find I have hit what appears to me to be an insurmountable snag.

I started using the decal removal wheel and then noticed that under the decals were all of these cracks. Also I had expected that under the decals would be bright clean gell coat that would not match the rest of my faded trailer and ghosting. It certainly doesn't match but it certainly isn't shiny under here. It's bright white and dull except where the decals were splitting. Where the decals were splitting more closely resembles the color of the trailer. What do i do about all these cracks? What caused them? The shrinkage of the decals over the years? Is it related to gell coat erosion? It's not smooth either its very slightly raised where the cracks are. Yikes, I have a feeling this isn't going to go my way lol...
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:45 PM   #2
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Sorry... here are the pics.

Just did some more and it appears the cracking is limited to the black portion of the decal. Any of the areas that were covered by the gray colored decal do not have cracks. Differential heating and cooling caused the cracks? Due to the black decal absorbing more heat over the years thus creating more expansion of the fiberglass under it then the surrounding non-decaled fiberglass???? Is this a likely scenario?

Also of note the fiberglass under the gray decal is still chalky, dull and whiter then the chalky faded exterior of my trailer. There is also texture wherever there was a split in the decal due to shrinkage. You can see the texture in the pics this must be due to gel coat erosion right?
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P1060048 (Medium).JPG   P1060049 (Medium).JPG  

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Old 06-03-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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You might want to consider getting a picture and having a local decal place give you a price on replacement decals. Or go custom with your own decals. Either approach could act to cover the offending cracks.

I'm no expert but those cracks look like gel-coat (surface) cracks rather than cracks in the structural fiberglass underneath. From reading I understand gel-coat gets less flexible over time, fiberglass can still flex, decals create support for gel-coat and where decal is cracked provides fault lines for gel-coat to crack along.

But that is just a guess, give it a bit and I'm sure one of the many FG experts around here will be able to provide better info.


Meanwhile here is a link to a site search for Bigfoot Decals.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/m...Bigfoot+decals
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #4
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Irritating cracks, but nothing to worry about except visually...as suggested, do your cleanup, put some new stripes and then the floor finish......Trailer Dave
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:01 PM   #5
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Thanks, I'm glad its just cosmetic. Don't really have the cash to get new decals at the moment. Local decal guy here has the decals from a previous bigfoot he has done and can change color and size to suit. Is 400 installed a good price or no? Has anyone used off the shelf striping/lettering to create a similar look. Or maybe paint even??? if so let me know what worked for you and pics are encouraged
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davin W View Post
Thanks, I'm glad its just cosmetic. Don't really have the cash to get new decals at the moment. Local decal guy here has the decals from a previous bigfoot he has done and can change color and size to suit. Is 400 installed a good price or no? Has anyone used off the shelf striping/lettering to create a similar look. Or maybe paint even??? if so let me know what worked for you and pics are encouraged

Decals are not difficult to install. $400 seems a bit steep to me considering that decals can be purchased for whole lot less, at least that what a quick internet search shows me. I'd do some searching around.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:24 PM   #7
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$400 bucks I'm cheap, there are videos that show how to install decals (correctly) and plenty of places on the web to have new decals made. Here's one place that makes the Bigfoot character for less than $7.00 !! Other Automotive/Truck Decals :: Bigfoot RV Decal / Sticker 01 - Premium Custom Decals by FastDecals.com
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:00 PM   #8
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What's a decal removal wheel? When I needed to remove faded old (1981) decals a hot hair dryer did the job.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:38 PM   #9
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What's a decal removal wheel? When I needed to remove faded old (1981) decals a hot hair dryer did the job.
3M-7498 STRIPE WHEEL W/ARBOR - Amazon.com
Myron, I can point you to a thread that speaks to using the Eraser Wheel and the short time it takes to remove old/faded/cracked decals if you'd like

There are many ways to accomplish the same thing. It's about time, effort and money YMMV
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:45 AM   #10
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I had four scamp a decals made for $40.
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Old 06-05-2013, 04:56 AM   #11
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Any local outdoor sign shop can computer cut your letters for a 10th of that cost. It used to cost me $250 for a computer designed and cut 3'x7' marquee sign installed on laminate, including the cost of the laminate.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:44 PM   #12
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Yeah, up here in Canada I've noticed we get half of the products and services folks in the States get and we generally get fleeced pretty good on the ones we do have (not to mention shipping costs from the States to Canada)... If anyone in Canada knows where I can get the decals (stripes, letters and character logos) done for less then $400, please let me know. I will phone some more local places and get quotes without install. Thanks all for your advice and tips. Keep them coming I am open to any suggestions and helpful hints
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