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Old 05-28-2019, 03:34 PM   #1
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Full Body Paint on 5th wheels

I have a gel coat 5th wheel and this was the best offered gel coat in 2015, however, the end cap is showing serious fading. Does full body paint offer a longer lasting finish and is it worth the extra cost when buying?
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:09 PM   #2
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Some do, some dont. It all depends on who and how well it is prepped.
Back in 2010 to 2015 or so many fivers sold with dark colors. It was a horrible mistake. To do it right it could cost you 3 to 5 grand to do a quality job on the front cap. If you choose full body paint figure 12 to 15K in the states. If you were to travel to Mexico it can be way cheaper.
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Old 05-28-2019, 04:52 PM   #3
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Yes, it's worth it. Most companies use automotive paint with a clear coat over it. Better companies will use more coats of clear with sanding between coats.
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jherigon View Post
I have a gel coat 5th wheel and this was the best offered gel coat in 2015, however, the end cap is showing serious fading. Does full body paint offer a longer lasting finish and is it worth the extra cost when buying?

How long are you planning to keep this rig? If you're only going to keep this rig a few more years or less then it might be foolish to spend $12K to $15K to have it custom painted. Will it last longer, you bet as long as you keep it maintained like you would a car.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:30 PM   #5
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Full body paint would be crazy expensive, well over $10k depending on size, or how many colors, stripes etc. Since Forest River ignored me when our gray gelcoat front cap was fading at a bit over a year old, I ended up getting it painted two tone like the 2018s. They shot it with Dupont automotive base/clear at a body shop that deals with RV's.

It wasn't cheap at $2600 including two tone like the 2018's and installing a Wildcat decal I got off ebay, but now I know the thing will last years not several months. The rest of the rig still looks good and I keep 303 Protectant on the decals. Plus I keep it under cover now. Here is the front cap the day I picked it up from the paint shop...


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Old 05-29-2019, 06:36 AM   #6
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I had a 2011 5th wheel that had 1/2 body paint. No decals, just front cap and swirls on about 1/2 the sides. The front cap was black. The 5th wheel spent a lot of time in Florida.

My best guess the 1/2 paint option was done by Winnebago as my 5th wheel was a SunnyBrook. I give the painted front cap a big thumbs up. No fading at all while I owned it.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:23 AM   #7
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Some do, some dont. It all depends on who and how well it is prepped.
Back in 2010 to 2015 or so many fivers sold with dark colors. It was a horrible mistake. To do it right it could cost you 3 to 5 grand to do a quality job on the front cap. If you choose full body paint figure 12 to 15K in the states. If you were to travel to Mexico it can be way cheaper.
As soon as I saw the dark colors I knew it was a mistake on an RV. Perfect color for a vehicle that sits in the sun all day=brilliant white.

Anyone who has one of these should keep UV protection on at all times. More or less sun screen. Unfortunately in the summer your AC is going to have to work harder than it should.

That being said, same goes for 2 stage paint. You wont have "stickers" but you will have fading just like any car over time. If I were to custom order one with paint Id go with colors that do not absorb energy. The quality if paint would be important though most auto paints are pretty comparable these days. Im not sure of an RV would require water based paint by the EPA like cars do but after the dreaded early 2000's with peeling clear coat they figured it out.

Unless you think you require a certain self image Id go for a good gel coat and take care of it with UV protection.

Note: stickers can be replaced cheaply.. paint, not so much.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:36 AM   #8
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You will see cars in Florida and especially Arizona with either the hood or roof that it looks like the paint burned off. To be honest I do not know if today's paints will do the same thing or not.

When I see a car with paint burned off the hood I think the car was wrecked and the hood repainted buy a body shop with inferior paint.

I am thinking the 5th wheel Redwood started full body paint back in 2011 or 20012. Maybe you can find one of those units and look at how that paint is holding up.

Or better yet, look at 2008 ish full body painted motorhome. That should tell you how the paint holds up if you use a quality paint.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:57 AM   #9
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Generally speaking FBP is worth it to protect the RV. Remember paint is applied to vehicles to protect the parts. In today's world the paint can be the central focus of a vehicle. Paint needs to be protected also either by parking under cover, best option, a fabric cover and waxing regularly. As stated who paints it makes a huge difference in whether the paint will last. FBP is a very expensive option and it turns out to be a very expensive lipstick on an otherwise pig of a vehicle. Not every manufacturer has the experience or expertise to properly paint a vehicle and I'd stay away from a lesser brand offering this lipstick on their pig. Course I'd stay away from those brands anyway.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:54 AM   #10
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You will save a ton of money just having the rear and front cap compounded and polished.

I have it done on customers boats all the time. Once done correctly a simple wax job by hand or with a $30 orbital buffer from wally world will keep it up. If you wax/protectant twice a year it should look good all year.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:23 PM   #11
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I would think that if someone is going to pay the big $ to do a full body paint job, the coach itself should be of premium quality.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:49 PM   #12
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I would think that if someone is going to pay the big $ to do a full body paint job, the coach itself should be of premium quality.


The premium quality fivers have full body paint. DRV, Landmark, Riverstone etc.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:30 PM   #13
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FBP was optional on my 2014 fiver. I ordered the rig and opted NOT to get it due to it being over $9000.
A painted front cap was standard, however, At over 5 years old and with the front cap facing south when not in use IN Florida, it still looks very shiny.
The rest of the rig is a white gel coated fiberglass of decent quality and still shines and looks great. Where you really notice the difference is on the storage bay doors as they are not of the same quality as the walls.
Besides the initial expense for the fbp, I did not want the darker color on my rig since most of our trips are in the SE USA. The white has to be cooler in the heat. I have used my IR gun for temp readings on the dark paint vs the white and the difference is considerable.
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:45 PM   #14
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Even basecoat/clearcoat Paint can fail.
I have a 2008 Carriage and the clearcoat started to blister last year and it's getting worse.
I am in the process of sanding off the clearcoat down to the base and in some spots down to the fiberglass.
I plan to repaint black base and clearcoat this summer
Paint is still better than decals.
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