Opaque rock (gravel) guard on Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-08-2013, 08:19 PM   #1
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Name: Mike
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Opaque rock (gravel) guard on Bigfoot

So I'll be spending most of 2014 in Alaska and probably living in my 1989 B17G Bigfoot most of the summer on an extended work assignment. My job will be working all hours, thus sleeping all hours, and there can be up to 22 hours of daylight during the summer. In order to get any decent sleep I need a cool, dark, and quiet environment. So while I've been spending the winter in California, I've been doing some work on the trailer and trying different things to get it ready for service in Alaska next year.

I've cut pieces of Reflectix to fit all the windows and attached them to the inside with pieces of Velcro. This is working very well and keeps the trailer pretty dark, cool during the day, and keeps the heat in at night. But I don't want a big piece of Reflectix over the front window. I like to open that up when I wake up to get some immediate light in the trailer and I don't want to fuss with peeling off and rolling up a big piece of Reflectix every time.

The problem is that the fiberglass rock (gravel) guard is not exactly light tight. I will install a U-shaped rubber seal around the perimeter lip to make a better seal against the body of the trailer. But even then, a lot of light passes through the gelcoat and fiberglass creating an annoying orange glow inside the trailer during daylight hours.

So I was thinking that a couple coats of paint on the inside would take care of it but I was wondering if anyone has ever done this and, if so, what I should look out for. I'm wondering the following;

1. Would black paint be the best choice? Or maybe that spray-on undercoating if it isn't too heavy?

2. Was any prep work needed on the inside of the guard? If so, how much?

3. If paint was sprayed, how many coats to make it fully opaque?

4. Any other tips/suggestions?

Conversely, if anyone thinks this is a bad idea, please share. I've tried to "what if" it to death and can't think of any good reason this won't work other than I'll probably have to install a prop rod to hold the guard up rather than relying strictly on the struts.

Thanks!

Mike
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:00 PM   #2
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Name: Darrell
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I worked "mid shifts" and used the silver reflex insulation on windows for same reason. How about testing use of reflex under the stone guard with tape/ Velcro first? Or a quilted drape on the inside. Then if it works no need to paint. The latter is just popped to mind.
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Darrell. I already put a piece of Reflectix inside the gravel guard awhile back to verify that it would get significantly darker inside the trailer with the light coming through the guard blocked out. The problem for me with using that as a permanent solution is that because I tow the Bigfoot such long distances, and through a lot of harsh weather, often on dirt (and mud) roads, the underside of the gravel guard actually gets quite dirty and I wash the underside of it often on my journeys. I don't really want something attached to it that can trap moisture underneath or become detached from a spritz of high pressure water. I think a painted or coated underside would be easier to manage and maintain in the long run which is why I started thinking in that direction. I probably should have mentioned that in the original post.
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Old 12-08-2013, 10:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainjunkie View Post
1. Would black paint be the best choice? Or maybe that spray-on undercoating if it isn't too heavy?

2. Was any prep work needed on the inside of the guard? If so, how much?

3. If paint was sprayed, how many coats to make it fully opaque?

4. Any other tips/suggestions?

Conversely, if anyone thinks this is a bad idea, please share.
I would consider the inside of your guard to be the same as the interior of my trailer. My Fiber Stream is just painted on the inside.
  • No Reflectix
  • No Rat Fur
  • No Carpet
  • No foam-backed Vinyl
Click image for larger version

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Detail of Interior Shell, Above Curb Side Window, Showing holes for Awning Rail

Mine looks to be a rather thick coat of Semi-Gloss Interior Enamel, and I think it was just applied with a roller and/or brush. As you can see it is quite opaque, but not black.
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Old 12-08-2013, 11:20 PM   #5
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I spray painted the windows of a pickup camper as a kid.
It darkened the inside and actually made the window look
like a black mirror. But it did get what looked like bubble
cracks. It looked cool to me as a kid because it gave it a
kind of stain glass look too. I used cheap Walmart spray
paint. Probably 80 cents or so back then. Maybe even cheaper.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:44 AM   #6
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I should have known that you had done that already. I was driving around and stopped a few minutes and read a thread or 2. Then fired off a quick thought.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #7
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Name: bob
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I painted the lower front of our Uhaul with the Grizzly Grip stuff that is like truck bed liner paint. Something like that in black color might work good as it is fairly thick.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:16 AM   #8
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Name: Russ
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Mike,
If removability is not important, just painting the inside seems like the simple choice.
For surface prep, just normal cleaning with solvent to remove any wax or oils should be adequate to allow adhesion.
Opacity on black paint should be really good. Just spray overlapping patterns until the desired result is achieved.
I don't know what paint is suitable for coating polyester resin, but someone here should have experience with that, or you could seek advice from a paint store.

Alternately you could get one of those sleeping masks....
Hi Ho Silver...

Russ
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:50 AM   #9
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Pete Dumbleton (RIP) glued backpacker foam (closed cell) to the inside of his Scamp gravel guard. It not only darkened the area immensely, but provided extra insulation to the window. Something else to consider.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:19 PM   #10
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Name: Mike
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Some good things to consider. Thanks to everyone for their input. Frederick, that is pretty much what the inside of my rock guard looks like now so I'm probably half-way there. I'll post the results after I select a method and execute.
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:41 PM   #11
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Name: Mike
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On Christmas we had 80+ degree, low humidity weather here in Southern California, perfect weather for painting, so I decided to complete this task. It turned out well.

I did some tests with various paints and coatings on some white plastic to see what would be easy to apply and what was truly opaque. Bob's suggestion of a truck bed spray-on liner type of material turned out to be my choice. It goes on very easily and thick, is totally opaque, dries quickly, and is very durable.

Here's some photos of the job. First is a shot of the can of spray-on bedliner I used. It took about 1-1/2 cans total.

Next shows the before and after prep work. I used some orange-based cleaner/degreaser and a stiff scrub brush then washed and dried it thoroughly. Here you can see what it looked like before on the left, and after on the right.

Next is the completed job before removal of the masking material.

Finally, the finished product. I still have to put the U-shaped rubber seal around the edge but already it's a lot darker in the daytime inside the trailer.

Finally, instead of adding an extra prop to the rock guard, I made some supports for the existing struts. I made these from a piece of Wiremold/Legrand Cordmate Channel, a plastic tube that is split along the side for installing/concealing wire and surface mounting it to a wall or such. It happens to fit right over the strut piston but is small enough in diameter to butt against the top of the strut body, preventing the strut from collapsing when the tube is clipped to it. I cut a pair to exact size and they simply clip on, and are easy to remove if you need to put the guard down. They even come in "Colonial white". I got a piece at Home Depot for less than three bucks. You just have to cut it to size and take the double-stick tape off.

Wiremold/Legrand Cordmate Channel-C10 at The Home Depot
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