Does anyone know the original 71 Trillium colors? And how can I safely strip paint? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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Name: Larry
Trailer: Volvo 245 pulling '71 Trillium 1300
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Does anyone know the original 71 Trillium colors? And how can I safely strip paint?

Moving on from my frame work, I'd like to strip the layers of paint from the bottom half (and eventually the top half) of the 1971 Trillium 1300...

I have attached some pictures of what I've done so far. It looks like the most recent "refinishing" job was a spray bomb. I thought the original gelcoat was yellow (since there was yellow peeking through) but after some scraping, it turns out there's a deep red beneath that. The top spray paint and the yellow layer both come off together if you get an edge of a scraper underneath, so I believe they are both aftermarket jobs.

The red cannot be scraped, but it appears there's an off-white under that - But I'm wondering if that off white was original primer and the red was the factory topcoat. It's hard to tell. Some old rock chips appear to have been filled and smoothed off to the same plane as the red. But there are sections where it looks like the red was shoddily sprayed atop the off-white and it may never have been a complete coat.

I'm just wondering how far I need to go in order to get a good surface to repaint on top of? Does anyone know what factory colours were available back then?

A second question: what's a safe but quick way to remove these layers? I know that standard paint remover will melt fibreglass. I did a test patch using the nasty stuff, leaving it on for under 5 minutes just to soften the very top layer, then scraping and wiping down in order to avoid direct contact with the fibreglass layer. I think that if I'm careful I could continue with this method, but if anyone knows a readily available alternative chemical, I'd like to try it.

Alternatively, has anyone had success with a heat gun?

I did some of this with sanding, but the layers are so thick it will take a very long time, and I fear that I'll sand some actual fibreglass away in some parts while I'm trying to get all of the bits of paint off.

I only need to get this down to a fundamental layer so that I can re-paint - so I only really need to get the loose top layers off (I don't need to get down to bare fibreglass in order to be happy)

Thanks!

ps I just had a thought - since our belly band is totally shot, I'm going to remove it and hope that the original colour is still visible underneath. Based on the crappy workmanship I've seen so far, I would be shocked if any previous owners removed the belly band to repaint. So maybe I will answer my own question!
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trill-paint.JPG   trill-paint-close1.JPG  

trill-paint-close2.JPG   trill-paint-super-close.JPG  

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Old 06-04-2012, 12:42 PM   #2
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Just a wild guess . I use to do paint repair in an automotive plant . We used a circular power sander to sand down the area to the elpo surface with 400 grit and then 600.
Big areas used a board sander .

With fiberglass I wouldn't use paint stripper it might soften the fiberglass breaking down the resin in the cloth and cause problems when repainting as contamination or bleed thru may occur plus it may weaken the shell .
Personally I would scrape as much of the paint off as I can and put wide masking tape on the painted areas a couple feet long and rub it on and pull it off . Sometimes it pulls the paint off when pulling the masking tape off . Then I would sand it down to the original colour with a belt sander and a circular sander for the tough spots and if you sand down too deep into the fiberglass in different spots apply fiberglass resin on damaged areas with a paint brush or roller if you feel you went too deep . If there are holes or rotten spots in some areas sand it and wipe clean then apply resin then fiberglass cloth then resin again .Then sand the resin repaired areas and smooth out . Note wear a mask during sanding .
Just my opinion . You may get other ideas that are different from my idea .
Wish you luck
Dave
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:09 PM   #3
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So - I answered my own question in regards to the original paint. The bright yellow is definitely an aftermarket paint, and the red was a "red herring". So now I know where to stop with my removal.

I will try the tape procedure... thanks!

I think the risk of my paint stripper reaching the resin is minimal. I am going to try a heat gun just to see - if it doesn't work I'll return it.

I'll scrape what I can with physical means, and if there's anything tough i'll use the stripper in a controlled method - not letting the paint bubble (just enough to soften it) and then immediately wash down with acetone after scraping the paint. We'll see how it goes!

The problem with sanding is it is going to be really slow, really dusty and really tiring considering I have to get through at least two layers of paint (there's a deep blue in there too which could either be another layer or could just be some patch work that was done at some point in history).

Once I get down to a reasonable base layer, I'm cool with resin and cloth repairs. I'm impatient though and want to get down to that as soon as I can!
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #4
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What color is the "furniture"? Gelcoat inside and out should match. Most Trilliums I have seen are cream white although green and yellow were also available. I bet there are pictures here somewhere. Try the search feature.
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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I have no personal experience with this product, but I'd think it would be worth a try (or one like it) rather than SANDING. Marine Paint Stripper GL YMMV
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:05 PM   #6
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I think your on to it Donna.
This marine product states won't harm fiberglass.
That would be my choice and most likely will be fastern and safer than sanding.

Ron
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coalminecanary View Post
I think the risk of my paint stripper reaching the resin is minimal. I am going to try a heat gun just to see - if it doesn't work I'll return it. !
The gelcoat finish is very very thin so you should probable seriously reconsider using paint stripper (other than one for marine use) or a heat gun on the surface of the trailer.
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:20 PM   #8
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Why would want to strip it? You really don't know what your in for.
You will end up with the biggest mess you have ever seen.
Do yourself a favor and get a book on how to paint.
It's not rocket science, first you sand with 180, feather edge all rough areas prime and fine sand with 240, tape,tack and shoot. If your guessing on what and how to do it, take it to someone that knows what their doing. You will be so happy and proud you did.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:16 PM   #9
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The problem with painting over it is that some of the paint is peeling, some chipping, some seems OK but then can be scraped off and some is holding steady. It would be a shame to get a nice new paint job down and then the previous layers start coming up.

I found some fibreglass safe stripper, but it is $100/gallon and no guarantee it is actually able to strip paint due to its gentle nature! I wish they sold a smaller size so that I could try it out. If it works it's worth it but it seems like an expensive experiment. Part of the goal of the project trailer is to invest some sweat equity... if money was no object I would have bought a new one :-)

For now I am going to continue to get whatever is loose off and see where it takes me. This year's project is just the underbelly so it should be manageable. Most of the very bottom is still original gelcoat actually...

I have done complete recoats before (in the marine world), but I've done it all through sanding. The difference is I have never had to take this many layers off (and never had to deal with covering such shoddy paint jobs).
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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The inside is green, but it's cream underneath the belly band.. go figure!
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:28 AM   #11
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Check it out - Home Depot appears to carry this stuff:
Peel Away® Smart Strip from Dumond Chemicals, Inc. - Architectural Restoration and Protection

Quote:
Smart Strip™ paint stripper is exceptional for the safe removal of lead-based paint and is excellent for intricate, carved, or molded surfaces. It is also outstanding for removing marine paints without damaging the gel coat. Because it is a paste, the Smart Strip™ paint stripper can easily be applied by brush, roller or conventional airless sprayer.
They also sell this:
http://www.homedepot.ca/product/pure...-378-l/912221#

Quote:
Reveal the true beauty of your treasures with Heirloom Furniture Strippers. Heirloom Pure Furniture Stripper is a low odour, water rinse-able, non-flammable, safe alternative furniture refinishing option for use indoors or outdoors where there is little ventilation. Effective and safe for use on antiques or fine wood, plaster, glass, fibreglass, masonry, leather, natural fibre fabrics, carpets and metal.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:46 AM   #12
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I had the same number of coats of paint on the outside of my Boler. I used stripper to take it 75% off and then cleaned it thoroughly with water and Interlux 202 Fiberglass Solvent Wash. In one or two areas, the stripper did soften the gel coat if I left it too long and I scraped the gel coat. I just filled with epoxy (or bondo) later.
Then...I sanded. And sanded. And sanded. It was by no means fun or fast, but i know that the $$$ worth of paint I put on will at least not fall off for quite some time!

At many points I almost considered painting over the old stuff, but the old paint was failing. There really is no point in painting over failing paint in the long run. You might get a year or two out of the paint job before the newest coat starts to fail too.

I didn't try heat gun or the tape method, so I can't speak to that. I reasoned that stripper would be the fastest method and I didn't have loads of time.

Do remember that just because it's ugly on the outside, you can probably still use the inside to camp! We camped in our ugly, ugly egg for 2 years before I finally had a week to strip, sand and paint.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:19 AM   #13
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Maybe your trailer was stripped down before especially when there is no orginal paint on the fiberglass except the belt . Lots of input ideas to choose from as long as you don't sand blast LOL .
I imagine when your finished your trailer it will look really nice with new paint job .
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:38 PM   #14
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This year's plan is to deal with the stuff below the bottom ridge and to re-glass the belly band. I'm going to use 2 part bedliner on the entire trailer beneath the bottom ridge. Then we will use it in its ugly state. In fall (or next season) I'll tackle the upper part. Gonna be a long haul!

I'm going to try that eco stripper from Home Depot and report back..
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Old 06-05-2012, 07:45 PM   #15
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I found that when people do a cheesy paint job, they generally use cheesy paint as well. The good news for me has been that something inexpensive and doesn`t seem to damage FRP like lacquer thinner will "boil" or lift crappy enamel type paint. You could try spraying or pouring it on to see and it would act as a stripper. If the paint is high quality, such as a good base coat/clearcoat like they use in modern automotive, it will not lift so easily and may be a good substrate to start with in the first place.
Be careful with a hot air gun as overheating polyester resin can actually re soften it even though it is a catylized thermoset. You could also inadvertently scorch the ensolite and it may let go (seems like it is only contact cemented in place.)
I personally don`t like using strippers on any plastics as I found it hard to clean/neutralize after.

I would avoid doing any unnecessary finish work you can or you may find yourself spending more time sanding than camping..
Good luck with with it.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:01 PM   #16
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So I took a leap of faith and bought the Smart Strip. I applied two small patches at 2pm and went about my business for the day.

Bottom line: great news!

At 8pm I checked up on it and it had softened the entire top layer plus it partially softened the bright yellow to the point that I could scrape it off easily.

The gelcoat beneath was still hard as a rock, as was the deep red that is under the yellow but on top of the gelcoat (in what looks like a patchy spray-job fashion). So I am thinking the red was some sort of 2 part tinted epoxy (or 2 part curing paint), and this stripper appears to not touch anything that is a chemical cure.

This is great news as I should be able to strip the entire trailer in much less time now.

I will post pictures tomorrow, and I will also test this stuff directly on a small part of gelcoat/fibreglass where I have to do a repair anyways, and then we'll know exactly how "fibreglass safe" it really is.

It was $69.99 for a gallon (compared with $93 for the Interlux Interstrip 299e)

The same company makes a product that is a peel-away stripper - it's only $39 for a gallon but the process is more complicated. You have to apply some sort of paper topping and then peel the stripper and old paint off. Then you have to do an acid wash to get rid of the residue. It also says it can be used on fibreglass but it seemed more chemically intense than the smart strip, which is water washable. I figured for the extra $30 I'd get the less aggressive stuff.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:15 AM   #17
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Since I've settled on a plan now, I'm going to detail the results in the following thread:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post313471

Thanks for all the input so far!
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coalminecanary View Post
Since I've settled on a plan now, I'm going to detail the results in the following thread:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post313471

Thanks for all the input so far!

I really wish you luck on the stripper...But I tried the same method and it worked out terribly.The camper in this thread... http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...ion-47173.html was the one I tried to strip...I had hoped someone had just painted it and I could strip it and reused the old gelcoat but like yours it had some small repairs so once I found those I just sanded it down since it would have to be repainted..Stripping it was a loooong drawed out process that never worked very well... in the end I used a small electric palm sander and 180 grit sandpaper at first to get it down to where you can just see the gelcoat coming through then resanded it with 220 grit until all signs of paint was gone...It really diodn't take very long to sand down the entire trailer this way....I really don't like to paint these and this was my first and it turned out great the color I used was color matched from a piece of fiberglas I cut out of the closet to install a lift out drawer that comes in most but this one didn't have it.....the small drawer on the side of the closet is the one I'm talking about its a great place to keep lighters flashlights and small items handy..I had the paint mixed at a auto paint store..could give you the mix numbers but douth if they would help you unless there was store there like it....
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:27 AM   #19
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Update - with the stripper I was able to get the majority of the top paint coats off through scraping - not too bad! We are having a heat wave right now so it's not the most comfortable weather to be doing paint prep so things are moving slowly. I've almost finished sanding (80 grit) the gelcoat, to remove what the stripper didn't and to prep the surface for recovering. I'll do an acetone rinse and then I'm going to do a two part bedliner on the entire bottom third of the trailer.
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