Seeking advice on chip repair (for dummies) - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-19-2018, 01:25 PM   #1
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Name: Kathy
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Seeking advice on chip repair (for dummies)

Hi, all.

I have been looking through the posts on fiberglass/resin/gelcoat repair, and am overwhelmed.

Could someone please provide some straightforward advice on how I might repair chips in the surface of my '04 Scamp? I would be grateful for product recommendations and the steps involved. From the mottling, it seems that there was a previous repair attempt???

Thank you in advance,
Kathy
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kgphd View Post
Hi, all.

I have been looking through the posts on fiberglass/resin/gelcoat repair, and am overwhelmed.

Could someone please provide some straightforward advice on how I might repair chips in the surface of my '04 Scamp? I would be grateful for product recommendations and the steps involved. From the mottling, it seems that there was a previous repair attempt???

Thank you in advance,
Kathy
If it was me, I'd take it to a boat repair shop. You should be able to find one that will advise you and/or do the repairs.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:25 AM   #3
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chip epair

I am doing the same thing.
Remove all loose gel coat.Sand or grind.
I am going to mix some micro balloons into the gel coat to firm it up a little.
Add catalyst and ready to go. apply with a putty knife. Slightly over fill, sand off with 600 grit wet paper when dry. This should work.
Go and enjoy
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:31 AM   #4
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Thanks, Murray.

micro balloons?
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:41 AM   #5
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I have done a lot of this sort of repair on older fiberglass boats, but not specifically trailers, so take my free advice for what it's worth! And there are a lot of ways to do this, but this way works well for me.

The peeling gelcoat needs to be removed, and the chips roughed up with 120 (or so) grit sandpaper. You are looking to get enough scratches that the filler will have a mechanical bond with the scratches from the sanding. It's also important to feather the edges of the chips, so you don't get a hard edge at the end of the filler.

For filler, I would keep it simple and use Bondo. In this small size, it will work well under the topcoat. Mix according to the directions on the can, spread it with one of those little plastic squeegees, sand it down flat, find some pock marks, repeat with a second coat to fill the pockmarks, and sand again. 120 grit is about right for the shaping, if you want to be careful about overshooting on the sanding.

A sanding board is a must, by the way, don't use your fingers to hold the paper! Finish off by moving up to 250 grit. If you have a electric random orbital sander that will help a lot.

For a top coat, the official way is to use gelcoat. Many auto parts stores have small fiberglass repair kits with gel coat, and all marine stores have it. But I have had trouble getting a color match with gel coat. My eye is not that good, and you would need to get a lot of different color gel coat tubes to do this. Also, it ends up shiny and your trailer is not glossy by now. Gloss shows up more than even a poor color match.

What I do, instead, is to use the best quality satin enamel I can find. Sherwin Williams has some that was $30 a gallon 20 years ago, and they color match for free. They also sell in pints. If you apply this paint in very thin coats with one of those little cat's paw foam rollers, about three coats will cover and you don't need a spray rig. If the coats are heavy, you get bubbles, so keep on rolling until the coat is very thin.

This system worked well on my Tanzer 22 sailboat for five years. We kept it in the water in Portland, OR, all that time, so that's about the harshest test I can imagine. After buffing and waxing it cannot be distinguished from the original gel coat.
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Old 04-20-2018, 09:47 AM   #6
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Thanks, Tom!
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:42 AM   #7
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Bondo, yes, but BONDO HAIR. It has little strands of fiberglass in it, and is specifically designed for fiberglass.

Paul did a lot of those little chips on Peanut with Bondo Hair...not to mention 82 bigger holes that needed actual fiberglass application. In many cases, he came back at the end and finished glassing with a smooth coat of Bondo Hair.

When you paint it, be sure to wash the patch with acetone and then dish soap and water...prime, and then use EXTERIOR enamel, maybe even a pint of marine enamel. You can mix & match it; don't know about having the store tint it for you. We haven't had a lot of luck with store tinting, but that's just our experience.

The cat's paw or hot-dog roller advice (covered end) is exactly what we did...roll and roll and roll. It goes pretty fast, dries pretty fast, and works quite well. Feathering it in to the rest of the paint job blends better than we expected, too. You can see we started with a brown trailer that had been in a front-end collision with a huge amount of small damage.

Best of luck with this! It can be done, and when you've finished, you'll think, "That really wasn't so hard!"
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Old 04-20-2018, 11:48 AM   #8
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This is what I have used for many years for small fiberglass repairs.

https://www.amazon.com/Marine-Tex-RM...rds=marine+tex
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Old 04-20-2018, 02:14 PM   #9
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Wow, Marine Tex! I have not been able to find that stuff for years! It works well, to be sure.

I don't know about that bondo with fiberglass whiskers in it, though. I tried that once, and found it strong and good for structural work, but for finish work, I found it difficult to get a really smooth surface. But your mileage may vary, as they say.

On the cats paw roller, you can even find web sites dedicated to painting cars with them! That would not be my choice, but they do a bang-up job on fiberglass. :-)
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Old 04-20-2018, 03:30 PM   #10
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For small non-structural chips, Home Depot and Lowe’s sell a repair kit for fiberglass shower enclosures. It might work for small “touch-up” applications. I suppose that your chips might be too big for that?

Good luck!

Ray
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Old 04-20-2018, 04:54 PM   #11
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Paul worked his way down to 1000 grit sandpaper for finish work...took care of the little fibers! But Paul can get obsessive--it's very useful in a lot of things...as it was redoing Peanut.

You oughta see him weed a yard!
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:13 AM   #12
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I guess the next question is, where can I find a Paul?
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:54 AM   #13
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25 miles southeast of Seattle.

Sometimes I'm asking myself the same question...!
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Old 04-22-2018, 10:57 AM   #14
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I also use Marine-Tex, works great on small areas and the color is almost a perfect match on my Scamp. Use masking tape to isolate the repair, apply with a plastic squeeze applicator; when hard blend by wet sanding with A-600 wet and dry sand paper and then polish or wax. If it is a deep chip a couple of applications will be needed. Marine-Tex can be purchased at most boat dealers, West Marine or Amazon.
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