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Thread: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

          
  1. #1
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    Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    I am new to this forum and need help.

    I recently purchased a motorhome and the finish needs help. The white paint is chalking and leaving streaks doen the side of the RV.

    I guess that I am looking for a good cleaner and wax/polish to remove the chalking and then protect the finish.

    The RV has vinyl graphics on the sides and rear and hope there is a product that I can use on them also that will not harm the graphics.

    I appreciate any and all information and suggestions.

    Thanks
    Ed

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    Administrator Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    Welcome to MOL!

    Can you confirm for us that this motor home has a gel coat finish on it and not just a painted finish? It can make a big difference in which chemicals you choose to correct the problem. Gel coats tend to be much harder and thicker than automotive paint and often require some slightly specialized products and processes.

    To see what can be done for a very badly neglected and old gel coat, take a look at this thread.
    Michael Stoops
    Internet Technical Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.
    (800) 854-8073 xt 3875
    mstoops@meguiars.com

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

    Please post technical questions directly to the forum rather than emailing or PM-ing me. You
    will get a faster response on the forum, and your question could help someone else, too!


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    Registered Member Bill Davidson's Avatar
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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    How do you tell if you have a Gel coat finish?

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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    To the best of my knowledge it is not gel coat as it had some body work done to the front end and the guy just sprayed it.

    I am not familiar with the gel coat process as to how it is applied.

    I can contact the manufacturer to see if it is gel coated or not.

    Ed

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    Administrator Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    Ed, would you be working by hand or with a buffer of some sort? Contacting the manufacturer is probably a good idea as well - what kind of motor home are we talking about here?

    Do you have any pictures of the current state of the rig?
    Michael Stoops
    Internet Technical Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.
    (800) 854-8073 xt 3875
    mstoops@meguiars.com

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

    Please post technical questions directly to the forum rather than emailing or PM-ing me. You
    will get a faster response on the forum, and your question could help someone else, too!


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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    The motorhome is a 2003 Fleetwood Pace Arrow, 38 feet long.

    I have contacted the manufacturer and he said that it definitely is a gel coat. He recommends a product like Gel Gloss.

    He also said that a good polish would make a world of difference and it should be safe over the vinyl graphics.

    I will be doing the work by hand, as I do not have a slow speed buffer.

    Thanks Ed

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    Registered Member Poki's Avatar
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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    Ed, since you are dealing with an RV that is gelcoated, neglected and YOURS now...I strongly recommend purchasing a G110 DA. You will KILL yourself trying to get it back in shape and then keep it there..by hand. I know from firsthand experience. The number of times up and down a ladder is bad enough but the amout of rubbing, working the products into the finish will wear your arms out. It will also take a fair amount of work to maintaine the unit after you bring it back to life. As to the vinyl graphics, I would stay away from them, especially the edges with what ever you use. Apply a vinyl specific product like Ultimate Protectant to them. If your RV will not be stored inside and depending on where you live, count on cleaning/polishing/waxing at least twice a year just to maintane it after the cleanup is done. Also, you will find that once over with an oxidation remover product will probably leave the fiberglass lookin splotchy and uneven in gloss. (Unless the gelcoat has a clearcoat over it). That would be a question to go back and ask the dealer. You could try starting with #49 Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover and then #44 Color Restorer or #50 Cleaner Wax...all in the Marine/RV lineup. A photo of the RV would help us. I'm thinking the lower parts where the basement doors are...may be painted just like a car and can be treated as such.
    Barry

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    Administrator Michael Stoops's Avatar
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    Re: Restoring Finish to Neglected Motorhome

    Did a little searching for this rig....... nice!!!! Congrats on the acquisition!!

    But Poki is right, that is a lot of real estate to cover by hand. The challenge lies in the fact that gel coat is much harder and much thicker than automotive paint, so it's more of a challenge to work on.

    The black streaks you're seeing should be running down from some fittings on the roof and ought to clean up fairly easily with something like our M7016 Black Streak Remover or M6832 Non Skid Deck & Hull Cleaner (be advised, however, that M7016 was just discontinued so, while some inventory still exists, once it's gone it's gone).

    As for bringing back the gloss to the gel coat itself, our M67 One Step Compound is going to be your best bet. That's what we used on the boat in the link mentioned in our previous post. But again, as Poki mentioned, this step requires a lot of elbow grease when done by hand. We highly recommend following that with M45 High Gloss Polish before applying your wax. M45 will help to feed the gel coat, really getting down into the pores and prevent it from drying out too quickly. The wax will lock it down and help protect the finish overall. Both polish and wax are fairly easy hand applications since neither requires a lot of elbow grease to apply.

    Speaking of application, there are some differences to be aware of when using these various products.

    M67 One Step Compound: apply to small areas at a time, working it quite vigorously against the finish to remove oxidation and light scratches. Wipe off the residue before it dries. If you find it drying out and difficult to remove, simply apply a small amount of fresh product over the dried and wipe off immediately.

    M45 High Gloss Polish: apply to small areas at a time, working it lightly into the finish and then wiping off before it dries. This should be gently worked until it's practically gone - a dried out gel coat will drink this down like a man lost in a desert.

    Wax (we highly recommend M63 Flagship Premium Marine Wax): apply in a very thin coat to all gel coat surfaces and allow to dry fully before removal. You should be able to apply to an entire side of the rig and then come back and wipe it off. A thin coat is all that's needed - a thick coat just wastes product, takes longer to dry, and can be difficult to remove. A properly applied thin coat will wipe off almost as easily as drying after a wash.

    A couple of other things to consider: always do a test spot first! There's nothing worse than doing all 3 steps to the whole rig only to find it's not getting you the results you want. Test spots are life savers!

    Terry cloth applicators can really help you out when working on gel coat by hand. They provide some extra bite, which you'll need if you aren't using a buffer, trust us on this! Foam or microfiber applicators are better suited for polish and wax applications as they are a more gentle material for these final finishes.

    We are recommending products from our Marine/RV line because, as previously stated, gel coat is much harder than automotive paint and quite different in composition. While you certainly can use products designed for automotive paint, and safely so, they tend to fall a bit short of the task simply due to the composition of gel coat.
    Michael Stoops
    Internet Technical Specialist | Meguiar's Inc.
    (800) 854-8073 xt 3875
    mstoops@meguiars.com

    Remember, this hobby is supposed to be your therapy, not the reason you need therapy.

    Please post technical questions directly to the forum rather than emailing or PM-ing me. You
    will get a faster response on the forum, and your question could help someone else, too!


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