Question(s) about a frame-off Restoration - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-19-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
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Question Question(s) about a frame-off Restoration

I am in the process of doing a complete frame-off restoration of my 13' Compact Jr. trailer. I have totally disassembled it. I am trying to figure out a logical "production schedule" on how to proceed. Here are my issues:
  • EVERYTHING is stripped off of the fiberglass shell. I plan to have it painted in this naked state before reassembly. I'm presently making bondo screw-hole and fiberglass matte patch repairs in prep for sanding.
  • I have purchased a new 2200 LB Leaf-spring suspension axle with 7" electric brakes. It has the same 4" drop as the original, and has the mounting pads for both spring-under and spring-over installation.
  • The frame is sound; in good condition with average surface rust for it's 42 year age.
I will need to use the frame/original axle/original wheels to transport the prepared fiberglass body to a commercial vehicle painting establishment after prep. I figured the less they have to mask/protect-from-overspray, the quicker (and possibly cheaper) the final paint job will be. My questions are:
  1. Can I do a rattle can primer coat myself, paying for only a professional finish?
  2. Which component do I have painted first if the body and the frame will be different colors using different paint?
  3. Should I leave them attached together in the paint booth having to mask the non-painted part, or should I remove the body in the booth since it is stripped and tell them to just have at it?
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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If I were you, I'd check with the paint shop as to the priming question- that step is critical for adhesion of the top coat, and if they didn't do the primer coat you may not have any recourse if the top coat doesn't adhere properly.

I'd definitely have them paint the body off the frame- you'll have "blank spots" otherwise, and they always show, at least to a trained eye (and perhaps the owner's!).



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Old 11-19-2012, 06:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Knowles View Post
if they're doing the whole body, won't they be taking it off the axle and setting it on blocks or something so as to reach all under-surfaces?
I didn't know if I should expect that from them. The present charcoal gray body paint job was done just masking over the parts that were not painted. The original gel-coat color (a reddish-beige, or peach?) shows where I took off the windows and doors and other hardware. They never painted the frame. I guess I need to ask the painting professionals I eventually hire these questions.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:24 PM   #4
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Definitely a frame off paint job will give better results to both the frame and the body if done separately. I wouldn't hesitate to spot prime any repairs but expect the painter to at least seal before putting on final color. Having painted a couple of trailers, motorcycles and various other things w/ automotive paint I have learned that the heavy body sanding primer you shoot out of a paint gun is far superior to what you can accomplish w/ a rattle can and the final result shows a more professional finish when you prime, sand, seal and top coat. The bottom line is the bottom line -the more coats that the pros put on and the more sanding they do the better it will look but the more you will pay. You need to have a conversation w/ your painter about final cost vs. expectations. On our Trillium I could have primed and blocked multiple times to get all the ripples and imperfections out of the body but in the end decided it didn't justify the time. I wanted a trailer to use and have fun with -not a show piece that I had to worry about every scratch and mar. My 2 cents worth.
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