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Old 10-04-2010, 07:53 PM   #1
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Removing decals and re-paint.

My 2003 Dolphin sits in my driveway facing south so the passenger side gets all the sun. I would love to remove the decals and re-paint them. I was told that a heat gun would remove them?? Has anyone ever done this? How difficult is it??
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:28 PM   #2
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I'd be very careful using a heat gun. The fiberglass is sensitive to heat and if you get one spot too hot you could cause damage. There is a company in Orange County that does RV body work and repainting of graphics. Pacific RV Body 13731 Harbor Blvd Garden Grove, CA 92843-4008
(714) 534-2024. I have been by there several times and it looks like they do good work.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:55 PM   #3
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My son had the same problem on his Bounder. He had a local paint shop remove the decals and paint them back on, Beautiful. The shop tried heat to no avail and ended up using some type of rubber tipped drill bit(?) He ended up paying $700.00 but well worth it.
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Old 10-05-2010, 04:26 AM   #4
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I pulled mine off on two doors that were damaged when a slide was opened by the last owner with the doors open........ the sun helped as well and made them come off easy with a bit of patience and slow pulling.
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Old 10-05-2010, 05:32 AM   #5
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Heat will remove the outer vinyl part of the decals BUT will leave the glue strip even if you use a good flat sharp scraper. The glue is the worst part to remove - that stuff is really tough. There are rubber tipped removal tools that fit into any ordinary drill along with many chemicals for decal/sticker removal. Before repainting ours I had to remove over 200' of various colored stripes and patterns and the rubber paint removal device for the drill works the fastest and removes the most material.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03Dolphinlx View Post
My 2003 Dolphin sits in my driveway facing south so the passenger side gets all the sun. I would love to remove the decals and re-paint them. I was told that a heat gun would remove them?? Has anyone ever done this? How difficult is it??
I've done it on my entire Tradewinds. Use a hairdryer-not a heat gun. I used a 1600 watt and all you want to do is warm up the grahic "decal" so keep the heat several inches from the surface and move it back and forth over the area you are peeling. I used 2 things to pick off the vinyl, my fingers and a small plastic scraper. The plastic was not hard to avoid scratching but it was about as hard as a fingernail to give you some idea. The only residue that is left after peeling off the vinyl is adheasive which is removable with rubbing alcohol and a microfiber rag (most of the adheasive comes off with the decal). You can expect to peel off both larger chunks and small pieces. Once you have the graphics off, use a buffer and polishing compound (buy a compound for fiberglass at a quality auto body supply shop). Once you have buffed the fiberglass out you can have new graphics painted on or have new vinyl graphics applied (do not wax until after you have had the new graphics done). You can see the process in my post "Started renovation on a Tradewinds" right here in the National forum.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:05 PM   #7
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We had a full body paint job done on our 99 Tradewinds. The shop used a hair dryer 1500 W. The decals peeled off slowly and very little glue was left on the coach. I removed the front and back decals a year before using the same method. You will have ghosts in the white base so either paint larger or get decals that cover up as much as possible of the area where the old decals were applied. Ghosting isn't a problem if you spend the grande dinero for a full body paint job.

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Old 04-13-2011, 09:13 PM   #8
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Angry Removing vinyl decals

WHY OH WHY DO MANUFACTURERS STILL PUT VINYL DECALS ON? First OFF they look SO TACKY!

But they inherently dry and crack after about 5 years or less. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I have found, under EVERY bit of the vinyl, where the vinyl has shrunk and cracked, there are fine cracks in the gelcoat exactly at the crack in the vinyl. It is as if the vinyl is pulling the gelcoat apart as it shrinks and cracks!

MANUFACTURERS, TAKE A HINT! QUIT PUTTING THAT CRAP ON THE FIBERGLASS!!!!!!!!! If you want to put tacky designs on RVs airbrush them on or something!

I am removing IT ALL from my 2003 Palisades. I'm using a product called Vinyl Off. It's no miracle, BUT MAN IT REALLY HELPS. I am finding that I do not need the heat gun. I spray it on. Let it sit 15-20 minutes. Then easily scrape 1/4-1/2 in wide sections with a dull, flexible scraping blade. There is adhesive residue but it comes off with a suitable solvent. I am using acetone. I then am reconditioning with a gel cote reconditioning polish. WOW!
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #9
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The rubber eraser is a 3M Stripe Off Wheel #07498 and cost around $40.00. I have been using one for the last few days removing a 3M Invisble bra that is cracked and crazed. Works great, just keep light pressure or you will need a little touch up paint.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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When I removed the vinyl graphics I used a heat gun......as said before, just enough to keep the vinyl warm while pulling it off. After all was removed I cleaned what little adhesive was left using Citrus Orange Cleaner I got from a friend in the vinyl sign business. he also gave me some plastic razor blades to help in removing.
Repainted with Dupont base-clear coat. 2 colors and quite a bit of work but I'm very satisfied with the results. If you happen to be in the SE area I have a friend that does that kind of work.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:37 PM   #11
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I can speak to this issue also since I removed all of decals on my 1999 National Dolphin. I think I tried every method imaginable and suggested. After many hours (or rather days) of trial and error I believe the best method I found was a combination. The 3M rubber eraser works well but be careful and do not 'burn' the fiberglass. In the end I found that spraying the decal with WD40 and letting it sit for about 3-5 minutes would loosen the glue. It's great for this purpose since it does not leave any remnant on the RV but works well to loosen the glue. From that point I used a plastic scrapper (a metal one on occasion) to remove the decal. Another spraying with the WD40 and repeating the process usually removed ever part of the decal including any glue. As a note, I also used the rubber eraser in some areas and got pretty good results as a trade off to the WD40. But, I still advocate the WD40 route.

That's my advise based on literally hundreds of hours of experimentation, research, and advise taking. If sure there are other methods but that one worked for me.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:47 PM   #12
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You're right.....WD40 will get it off pretty easy......but, if you're going to repaint you'll need to be pretty diligent about getting all the "invisible" WD40 out of crevices, etc. Paint won't stick too good to WD40
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:12 AM   #13
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You're right.....WD40 will get it off pretty easy......but, if you're going to repaint you'll need to be pretty diligent about getting all the "invisible" WD40 out of crevices, etc. Paint won't stick too good to WD40
You're right about that. I wasn't repainting. Fact is, I was replacing the vinyl decals. I looked high and low for someone who could do the work and ended up using a shop that does roadside billboards and large signs. We've now sold the RV but in hind sight I might have thought more about having the decals painted versus reapplying vinyl.
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