She has freckles and no glow! Now what? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-03-2010, 05:01 PM   #1
Shelley's Avatar
Trailer: 1977 Triple E Surfside
Posts: 66
She has freckles and no glow! Now what?

I washed my Surfside today because she looked really oxidized and I thought maybe a wash and wax would perk her up. I waxed her about 3 yrs ago and it helped but didn't have the glow that some people on here are getting.

This year it looks like she's picked up a bunch of black speckles mostly on the roof and top edge of the sides.

Can I get rid of these?

And I'm thinking a wax job won't cut it since the surface actually feels a bit rough and has no shine to start with - suggestions?


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Old 09-03-2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,008

Presuming your trailer is still wearing its original gelcoat, then you can try a few things to see if you can bring it back. At some point, most gelcoat gets to the point where it's better to paint (and a good, two-part paint job is a thing of long-lasting beauty); but on the other hand, much can be brought back, and the original gelcoat is nice to save while it is still feasible (until the point of no return, but you may not be there yet).

Black spots are probably some kind of mold or mildew, and if your gelcoat has become porous and rough, of course it tends to harbor these things.

Washing and waxing will only clean and protect what you have; it won't bring shine that doesn't currently exist.

Think of it a bit like skin. What you want to do is try to slough off some of the dead outer layers, without going through the gelcoat (only ultimately you can paint fiberglass, which doesn't really work with skin!).

Examples of products you can use are rubbing compounds, and wetsanding paper. Rubbing/polishing compounds are like "grainy" creams that you put on with a buffer (unless you have Super Arm); wetsanding paper is just like any sanding, but you dip the (special) paper in water to lubricate it. With either of these, you should see the gelcoat getting darker and shinier (it gets darker as you remove the light-colored oxidation). Sometimes you can find an area under a sticker or something that was attached to the trailer to see what your "virgin" gelcoat looked like.

One note is that I have not had good luck with "consumer" type buffers. I found that I needed a bit more "oomph" than they could give to really get the shine back.

Once you have fresh, shiny gelcoat exposed, then a coating of a good wax will help protect it.

Some companies that make various grades of compound: Meguiars and 3M

Wetsanding paper: You might make use of grits from 400 to 1500, with higher numbers being smoother. I would start with something a bit higher (maybe 800-ish?) and then work down to a rougher grit just to see what to start with (this way you don't start *too* rough without realizing it). Then once you have done that, you can work back through the grits to the smoothest one you are happy with.

One nice thing with the wetsanding paper is that for a very small investment (just a few sheets of paper and your arm) you can experiment on a few areas to see what your chances of a good "rebirth" are.


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Old 09-03-2010, 11:33 PM   #3
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Name: John
Trailer: 16' Casita
Posts: 975
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Wet the area down and sprinkle it with Boraxo and scrub it with a scrub brush.
It should take off all your black spots.
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Old 09-04-2010, 04:59 PM   #4
Trailer: 1985 Scamp 16 ft
Posts: 97
I think black streaks, whatever they are, are inevitable. And aggrivating. Normal soaps didn't much for it.

One of the few products that will even fit inside my Scamp is a "black streak cleaner." It does everything the name implies. I used two bottles on my '85, after letting it sit outdoors for two years without attention. "Super Arms"? Yes, I like that...IIRC, it contains some muratic acid. I used it with a knobby woven nylon scrubbing pad and a lot of rinse water. After waxing, it showed a shine, but on close-up inspection I can see tiny darker speckles in the white finish.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:12 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1989 Bigfoot 17 ft and 1989 Li'l Bigfoot 13 ft
Posts: 538
Go to Canadian Tire and buy some 30-Second Outdoor Cleaner, 1L | Canadian Tire

I had the exact some problem, I would wash the trailer and think it was clean, and the next day the black spots would be back.

This stuff is easy and it REALLY WORKS!
One of the few products out there that actually lives up to it's name! For most of the spots I didn't have to scrub at all, literally Spray on, Wait 30 seconds, Rinse off. Some of the tougher spots I used a soft surgical scrub brush after spraying the cleaner. But make sure you follow up with you preferred wax or polish method so your gelcoat is sealed again afterward.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:15 PM   #6
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Name: Jesse
Trailer: 1984 Scamp 13'
Posts: 815
There's a good thread on here that I just posted a pic on...

Basically, you get a can of Barkeepers Friend (kitchn cleaning powder) and some Scotchbrite pads. Scour with water and the BKF. This will remove all the spots, streaks, and oxidation. The stuff is really great. Then go to Lowes and buy a gallon of Red Max Pro floor finish. Red Max makes a lot of products, so make sure it is the right one. Before I did the Red Max, I washed my Scamp with Dawn dish soap, which is good at removing any residual wax. Now, apply the Red Max floor finish with a cloth. I poured the Red Max into a cup and occasionally dipped the cloth in the cup. It is the consistency of water and goes on super easy. Once you wipe it on to the trailer, wait 30 minutes and do it again. By the fourth coat, it will look really nice. I put a fifth coat on for good measure. Everyone who has used this stuff loves it. The trailer will clean up really easy once you have applied it. Give it another coat once a year or so.

I did all of the above yesterday on my '84 Scamp and it went from chalky-white with mold and streaks to a beautiful deep luster.

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