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Old 12-31-2010, 10:25 PM   #1
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Removing 27 yr old Decals....

Anyone have any proven tips for removing very old, sun-baked, plastic decals or plastic tape stripes from an aluminum bodied RV? I tried Goof Off, WD40, etc and the color just smudged and looked worse that when I started. You know you're making progress when that happens! Would a hair dryer or heat gun just make it worse or melt the ancient glue creating a bigger mess?

Any suggestions or advice is appreciated.....Thanks,
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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Would a hair dryer or heat gun just make it worse or melt the ancient glue creating a bigger mess?

Any suggestions or advice is appreciated.....Thanks,
You know that's where I was going to go with this conversation. Pros use some type of heat gun to remove old decals.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:25 PM   #3
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A real heat gun versus a hair drier will do the trick, a hair drier might work with some decals that are not nearly that old.

Best bet is go to your local auto parts store and and buy a spray can made specifically for removing decals it's a fairly common item. It will make the decals shrivel to a certain extent.

They also make the spray for adhesive removal for after the decals are off, this stuff will not work if the decal is still in place.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:36 PM   #4
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Your biggest problem is that you are most probably removing them off a painted surface. Anything that will soften the decal will most probably remove paint also. I would probably try a real heat gun and a plastic scraper but, you will have to be careful not to scorch the paint.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:45 AM   #5
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I had to remove my rig's old decals with a professional heat gun. Unfortunately the heat expands the aluminum and scorches the paint. The aluminum contracts back to size, I sand the scorched paint and removed the remaining decal material. Then I repaint. Thankfully Rustoleum Gloss White is a match for the paint on the fiver.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:28 AM   #6
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You only want to get the decal warm not the metal hot, it's warm enough when you can peel the edges of the decal with your thumb nail, when it's too warm for your nail it's too warm for the metal. When doing a lot of area you can use a plastic spreader like what's used to spread Bondo or body putty on.

You can use the same spreader to peel decal material off if you use the spray on remover as well.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:02 AM   #7
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If it weren't for trying to save the paint I'd just say take a wire brush and scrub them off and then sand a little and repaint.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:09 AM   #8
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Just get a couple of these, no heat gun needed: Amazon.com: 3M Stripe Off Wheel 07498, 4 in x 5/8 in, w/Hardware - 7498AM: Home Improvement
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:40 AM   #9
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If it weren't for trying to save the paint I'd just say take a wire brush and scrub them off and then sand a little and repaint.
My first thought was "Aircraft Paint Remover".
The thick orange stuff that will (will!) take it all down to bare metal.

(This is NOT a suggestion to go this route)
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:27 AM   #10
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If you're going to use heat, I'd recommend an amatuer NOT use a 'real' heat gun. Far too easy to cause 'real' damage and/or injure yourself. Those get hot enought to light a campfire. Most are successful using a hairdryer set on its highest setting.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:46 AM   #11
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I've used this and it works quite well, removed the decals from the back of my Class C in about 30 mins.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:19 AM   #12
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If you use a hair dryer for a loge time you will need to buy DW a new one. Don't ask me how i know this.
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Old 01-01-2011, 04:49 PM   #13
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I've used this and it works quite well, removed the decals from the back of my Class C in about 30 mins.
Thanks for the link, I'll likely get myself one, I've been removing and relocating some of my old bumper stickers from one spot on the camper to another (Replacement) and want to be able to paint the spots where the old ones were (They were on the camper before I repainted it).
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:43 PM   #14
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Boy, the reviews of that product on that page sure are impressive!
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