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Thread: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

          
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    Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    I just finished refinishing the first section of my molded fiberglass trailer. The process used is described below. The trailer is about 5 years old and was stored outside in Florida. I don't think it was ever waxed. I just bought the trailer used so I can't be certain about how it was maintained. Regardless the top sections are oxidized to a degree that I can't quantify based on my limited experience. The best description I can give is that it does not shine but the oxidation does not appear to be too deep. In other words, there is not any surface residue that comes off by merely wiping it.

    Step 1
    Wash and clean the surface. Caked on bugs were a real chore and strangely, only softened enough for removal after the following step.

    Step 2
    Applied Meguiar's #49 Oxidation Remover with a just purchased Porter Cable #7424, Polisher and a yellow foam pad made by Buff and Shine. I went over all of the areas twice with 4 passes, 2 up and 2 down, and wiping the residue between applications. The PC speed was set at 1.

    Step 3
    Applied Meguiar's #45 Polish with a green pad. I only applied this once but made the same number of passes described above. The PC speed was set at 1.

    Step 4
    Applied Meguiar's #63 Flagship Premium Marine Wax by hand.

    I'm happy with the results except the finish is somewhat cloudy or hazy compared to areas that were not exposed to the sun and didn't oxidize. The color is definitely whiter and probably the same as it was before. Is there anything that would improve the work? Here's a couple of before and after pictures. The difference doesn't appear to be dramatic, probably because of the white gelcoat.




  2. #2
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Quote Originally Posted by beeser View Post

    Step 2
    The PC speed was set at 1.

    Step 3
    The PC speed was set at 1.

    For removing oxidation you need to have the speed setting on the 5.0 speed setting.

    For applying and working in a pure polish you want the speed setting around 4.0 to 5.0

    When removing oxidation you need more power from the tool. You want to mark the back of your pads and your backing plate with a permanent marker so you can see when the pad is rotating and when it's just vibrating.

    Dead, oxidized gel-coat is removed best when the pad is rotating, not just vibrating against the surface.


    Not sure why your photos were red x's? I back tracked to this photo and snagged the URL Address for one you your pictures.

    Mike Phillips
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  3. #3
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    If you haven't read this article yet, take a moment to read through the most common problems and then the solutions that follow.

    How To use: G110 - G220 - G100 - PC/Porter Cable - UDM
    If you're moving up to machine polishing, be sure to read the below thread before starting...
    Tips & Techniques for using the G110, G100, G220 and the PC Dual Action Polisher
    (These are all similar tools)




    Try again using a yellow polishing pad on the 5.0 speed setting. Mark the back of your pad and even backing plate if you want like this so you can easily see if the pad is rotating or just vibrating.






    Apply product to the face of your foam pad using one of these styles,


    How to apply product to the face of your foam buffing pads

    Below is how to apply fresh product to the face of you foam buffing pad when first starting out and your pads are dry. After you break you buffing pad in by working this initial amount of product over a section of paint, you can cut down on the amount of product you're using as the pad will be less likely to absorb as much product as it will become damp with product.





    Remember don't turn the polisher on until the face of the foam pad is in contact with surface of your car's paint.


    Technique
    Quickly spread the product out of the surface you're going to work then slow your arm speed down and begin to use overlapping motions to work the product.


    For this test, only work a section about 16" squarish, don't tackle too large of an area at one time. The tool is gentle in it's abrading action and can only effectively remove paint from small sections at a time when move the polisher slowly over the surface with the firm pressure.

    In most cases, you want to apply as much pressure as you can while still maintaining a fairly fast rate of rotating speed. What you don't want to do is apply so much pressure that the pad rotates s-l-o-w-l-y.

    Overlap your passes by 50% and do your best to keep the pad flat to the surface. If the pad is held at an angle so there's uneven pressure applied to the face of the pad this will keep the pad from rotating. (test this yourself and you'll see how important it is to hold the pad flat).


    After working an application of product, wipe the leftover residue from the worked area and inspect, if the results look good move onto a new section overlapping a little into the previous section. Continue this procedure until you have finished a panel or the entire vehicle.

    If you're not seeing what you want to see, the post back here and we'll do our best to help out...


    Mike Phillips
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    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
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    Registered Member Bostonsfavson's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Wow, a PC at 1? Did it even move? The lowest speed you should *ever* use on a PC (in my humble opinion, of course) is 4, and that's for applying certain glazes and waxes.
    -Will-

    CDO ATW

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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Thanks for rescuing one of the pictures. It's probably the best of the two for showing the before and after finish. The front part is what I worked on. The dulled portion on the side is what the front originally looked like but worse.

    Looks like I was a bit too timid with the speed settings. I'll bump it up to your recommendations when doing the back section. I obviously removed some of the oxidation to get the bright white to come back. I'm very happy with that aspect of the work. Will the increased speed remove the haze or cloudiness?

    Kudos to Meguiar's for putting together this forum and a series of very capable products. The only improvement I would suggest would be for the Marine/RV line to be more readily available locally.

  6. #6
    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Quote Originally Posted by Bostonsfavson View Post

    The lowest speed you should *ever* use on a PC (in my humble opinion, of course) is 4, and that's for applying certain glazes and waxes.


    The bigger picture being that you don't need or want to aggressively work some products at the higher speeds when the goal is to simply coat over the surface.

    I lean toward the 4.0 Speed Setting for most finishing waxes and pure polishes because it makes it easier to move the pad over the surface, but because so many people are new to machine polishing it's perfectly fine to use the 3.0 setting for spreading out a coat of wax or working in a polish or glaze. As a person's comfort level and experience increase they can adjust the speed setting to their personal preference.

    Mike Phillips
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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Also check out this thread, if you're removing oxidation your pad is going to load up with dead, oxidized gel-coat and also used-up or spent product.

    In order to get the best performance out of the tool, the pad and your oxidation remove you're going to want to clean your pad often and always remove used product from the surface before applying fresh product.

    Cleaning Your Pad On The Fly

    The question often comes up,
    How do I clean my buffing pads?

    Or more specifically,

    How do I clean my buffing pads after they become wet or saturated with the product I'm working with?


    One way is to do what we call, Cleaning your pad on the fly. This means to take and hold a clean, soft, dry terry cloth towel, hopefully a towel with a thick nap, (the little cotton loops), against the face of the pad while it's still on your polisher and then with your hand that's holding the polisher, use your finger to turn the polisher on and then move the towel around and against the face of the foam pad. This will act to cause the excess product built-up in the foam pad to move out of the pad and saturate into the terry cloth towel. Then you can place the towel down and get back to working on your car.

    This is called cleaning your pad on the fly because it's quick and simple and fairly effective for what you're trying to do.


    Here's Cisco from one of our recent Saturday Detailing Classes learning how to clean a pad on the fly



    Mike Stoops Cleaning a pad on the fly



    As you clean your pad you'll see residue build-up on the towel.



    Clean your pad often
    Besides knowing how to clean your pad on the fly you also need to remember to clean your pad often, usually after every other application of product to the pad. That is, apply some product to your pad and work it to a section. Wipe off the spent residue and either re-clean the area or move onto a new area. After a second application of product to the pad and after you've worked it to a section, now clean your pad. This is cleaning your pad every other application of product to the pad. You can clean your pad after every application if you like too. Most people don't clean their pads often enough, so err on the side of caution. Cleaning your pad often maximizes your effectiveness and thus your speed and quality of end result.

    Mike Phillips
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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Also just to note, all of the links I've included so far in this thread came out of one of two forum groups, Hot Topics and/or How To Articles.


    There's plenty more good reading in these two groups and you can find them listed on the forum homepage for quick access.



    Looks like this on the forum homepage,


    Have Questions? Looking for Answers?
    So much good, practical and helpful information in the "Information Station" like these two forum groups and the List 'O Links thread.
    Hot Topics
    How To Articles
    List 'O Links 2.0

    Mike Phillips
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    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Thanks again Mike! I marked a pad and the backing plate as you described and tested various speeds while placing the pad on the bottom of a fiberglass utility tub. The rotations did not seem to vary that much with a fair amount of pressure on the pad. The motor definitely was moving faster and vibration certainly increased but the rotations appeared to be the same. Am I missing something?

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    Registered Member Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Vast Improvement On RV Gelcoat

    Quote Originally Posted by beeser View Post

    I marked a pad and the backing plate as you described and tested various speeds while placing the pad on the bottom of a fiberglass utility tub.

    The rotations did not seem to vary that much with a fair amount of pressure on the pad.

    The motor definitely was moving faster and vibration certainly increased but the rotations appeared to be the same. Am I missing something?
    It doesn't take much to stop the pad from rotating. Again, that's the SAFETY feature everyone loves about this design, it prevents people from burning through their paint or inflicting swirls into the paint.

    As for working to remove oxidation off an RV you're going to have to work harder at using good technique in order to chew off the dead, oxidized gel-coat using a tool with a clutch.

    It is vitally important to keep the pad flat to the surface. Putting pressure to one side of the face of the pad is enough to stop the pad from rotating.

    Your hand can exert more downward pressure and do work, (work = remove dead gel-coat), than a dual action polisher because of the clutch component in the dual action polisher.

    If there's any irregular shape to the surface you're buffing that creates a high point, for example a raised body line in the middle of a car hood, then this raised portion will put more pressure onto a smaller area of the foam pad when the buffer is moved over the body line and this will stop the pad from rotating.

    What you want to do can be done but you need to,

    Focus on the task at hand, always keep the pad flat to the surface.
    Only work small section at a time for the oxidation removal step, about 16" to 20" squarish or whatever fits your panel design. Don't try to tackle too large of an area.
    Overlap your passes by 50%
    Apply as much downward pressure as you can while still maintaining a fast clip of rotating speed.
    Cleaner your pad often.
    Always clean off any spend residue from the surface.


    Mike Phillips
    Office: 800-869-3011 x206
    Mike.Phillips@Autogeek.net
    "Find something you like and use it often"

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