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Old 02-19-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Pa
Posts: 34
Compounding away oxidized fiberglass finish to new

I am new on here and enjoy the wealth of information. I have had great experience detailing fiberglass finish back to new and figured I would share that it is possible to bring a finish back from the dead.I do car detailing and my cars have to look perfect new all the time.
Got a used Rv inside was like new and I think this unit sat unused for a few years in the sun.
Now I need to get the oxidation off this used unit we just bought. I tried regular Mcquires for cars clearcoat cleaner compound on a 3000 rpm polishing wheel. Not good enough.I ordered through Amazon McGuires RV 3 step oxidation compound, polish and wax. Fiberglass is a tougher finish then clearcoat and this Oxidation compound is designed to cut through and really remove all the garbage and oxidation built on the finish.

It restored my dull slightly off white finish back to bright white and very shiny. As well as made me beat dead tired, But its well worth the effort.

WARNING!........Their is nothing that will work without the right tools, time, strenth and energy involved in taking on this big a surface on 29 ft Rv with slide outs. You need a polishing wheel ( Not an orbital buffer they are not powerfull at all. I tried the dual action kind they are easier to controll but I like the speed of reg car polisher and prefer the 10 lb 7 inch 3000 rpm wheel using McGuires medium cut rasberry colored foam pad. Made just for taking oxidation safely out of the fiberglass.
I started on the full molded fiberglass cap front. IT had a dull SATIN LIKE white finish on it very minimal shine. After applying the compound with 3000 rpm wheel, polish then wax Its as shiny as a new Rv or a new bathroom tub at Lowes.
Then you follow up with the polish on a rag and wipe it off right away. Polish takes off any film left by compound and adds oils back to finish. They have a pure wax but it has no UV blockers in it so I went back to what I used and loved for years on trailer---Protect all wax.Lack of UV blockers is what oxidizes the unit.
Its a very hard job, Takes per side about 4 hrs. I have to stop because it will wear you out holding polisher tightly and letting wheel and compound do its job. Its a good workout. But the end results are well worth the time. My RV had medium oxidation. I AM sure with a BAD OXIDIZED chalky finish you will need to constantly clean the oxididation AND BUILT UP COMPOUND it removes off the pad. But years of not cleaning and waxing require the pain staking process that goes along with removing all the dead finish to get down to fresh.

Please note.......... My unit is 7 years old and though it was oxidized some, but a dull shine was still appearant under oxidation, I knew the gelcoat seemed good still. If your unit has been neglected for say 10 years or more it may be possible that the oxidation has gone beyond the Gelcoat finish which gives the fiberglass its shine. If so, Your really have nothing to shine back up.
3 part restorer will remove the oxidation then the polish and wax will add oils back to finish but without the high gloss shine if the gelcoat is gone. Also the dullness may return as the oils dry out over the following weeks of months depending on fiberglass gel coat in bad condition. I would try a small section on an older unit and see if you get that desired shine before spending your efforts to restore the entire unit. If that is the case their are other polymer finishes that coat over the dead finish once you clear off dead oxidation and create a new shiny type coating that they claim will hold a nice shine back to old finish. I am sure you can see them on the net. People seem to like these products as well. I would only consider going that route if you indeed do not have a chance of restoring the gelcoat.Its been well over a year now and the finish has maintained how I finished it and looks great still. So those who say the dullness comes back if you do nothing for years again sure it will but rehular washing and fast waxing with protect-all or any good way cleaner will maintian units condition.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:02 AM   #2
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Marion, Kentucky
Posts: 68
Thank you for this information. I am in the process of removing oxidation and shining the finish on a 2002 HR Diplomat. It isn't completely dull but I think it is time to get all the old oxidation off and restore the shine. I am using a cutting compound, polish and wax like you discribed. I am using a 7" buffer (actually a variable speed grinder). I learned this from previously owning an old 32' boat. Boat owners deal with severe oxidation all the time if they want to keep their boats shinny. My boat was over 30 years old and looked good for it's age. Works like you discribed but is a lot of work. Looks good when you're done and worth the effort. The only problem I am having is the decals. I read on another thread about a product from Turtle Wax that is for restoring the finish on bumbers, mirrors and so forth that will work on the decals to restore a like new finish. I haven't tried it yet, but as soon as the weather warms a bit, I will try it. I believe it is a polymer coating you just wipe on. Can't hurt but I don't want to run the buffer on the decals for fear of buffing through. Thanks for posting this information. I bet others will chime in with additional tips and things to try.

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Old 02-21-2013, 06:15 AM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Pa
Posts: 34
How I get caulking and decales refreshed new like again

Yes it is a lot of work.

Ok a trick I discovered with cleaning the RV and all its caulking. If you get all the fiberglass clean and you cant clean caulking back to white to me its not completely done.

Caulking and refreshing decals?
You need to test a small area and understand how to work with material. Place lacquer thinner on a small rag, the thinner will remove ever so slightly the top layer of dirt in caulking and bring it back to bright white, it will get soft but once thinner drys the caulking hardends back to normal. Its also a good way to desolve excess caulking they over did in factory if you have one of those units.
The units I have done the thinner had no effect on the gel coat, but will on painted trim like cargo doors if you press too hard to long it will remove that paint so be careful. But you need to rub it for it to come off. I have found it will also work on restoring decals, but you need to work with it in out of site area cautiously till you see how fast it removes and effects decal.

The Compound RV fiberglass McGuire’s has which I describe works with the high speed wheel and the McGuire’s Raspberry colored foam pad which is matched to the cut rate for this compound should bring up decals too. IT also prevents you from burning the gel coat.
I buy most off Amazon which is the best price and easy to locate the items.

Check out the company website for dicor who manufactures the caulking, they may have a product for this. Which will probally contain Lacquer thinner in it as well.
All these new products for clearing headlights uses lac thinners to some degree for them to ever so slightly melt the dead top layer away which is what restores the plastics, just be careful and test. I use it all the time but slowly.
Good luck, I love the finished job to me there is no greater reward for all that work. Then if you use protect all cleaner wax every year which goes on fast and off. Plus has uv blockers in it you will never have to go through all that again.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:55 AM   #4
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Marion, Kentucky
Posts: 68
Thanks again for all your information and tips. I think you are right on target and I can't wait to get started again. We bought our MoHo last fall and I only had time to do one side before winter set in then we traveled for 3 weeks along the south coast. We live in Western Kentucky so I probably won't get back on this project until we have some 70 degree days, usually in March. The product mentioned in another thread was Turtle Wax "Trim Restorer" for the decals. I purchased it at Walmart but haven't used it yet. Sure is nice to stand back and look at a clean, shiny finish. The secret to keeping it that way is to keep it under roof or a cover when not in use. The sun is terrible on fiberglass or any finish for that matter. Same was true with boats. Those of us who where under a dock roof managed to keep a decent shine on our boats, especially the older boats, but it still takes work to keep it that way. I didn't know about the colored pad. I have been using a wool 7" pad on low speed for the cutting compound, then a clean wool pad for polishing at higher speeds. My buffer is actually a variable speed grinder with a rubber pad backing. Again it is what we used on the old boats. Can you tell me a little more about the colored foam pad? Does it go on a 7" buffer (grinder)? What pad do you use with the polishing compound, then the wax? I appreciate all this information. Thanks.
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Old 02-22-2013, 06:22 AM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Pa
Posts: 34
More cleaning compounding tips you asked me about


I attached the link to amazon about the McGuire’s pad I use. It has Velcro backing to attach easy to polish wheel as most good wheels will have.
The pad is the best I found, you should see the finish it puts on a cars clearcoat finish, like a mirror no swirl marks at all. RVs as well.

You will see the dead oxidation on the pad and you will need from time to time to clean that surface of pad. I just spin wheel and while its spinning lightly hold a 6" flat metal surfced item over spinning pad and it sheds to dust all the old compound and dirt off the pad. If you dont your not allowing the pad to do its job and will find yourself pushing harder and the compound will still work, but you loose that flat surface contact which makes the job easier.

You can put a rubber back Velcro pad attachment sold everywhere or Amazon to your grinder or any type polish wheel to take a varity of velcro backed pads, this is the only one I ever use though. If you stick with products made by McGuire’s or 3M for car finishes you will be using professional grade products the best for your finish.

http://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-Marine-Fiberglass-Restoration-System/dp/B0000AY4YT/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1361536047&sr= 1-1&keywords=mcguires+fiberglass

I attached also the link to the fiberglass restorer McGuire’s makes. This is the best stuff I found available to do the job of restoring fiberglass RVs.
To make the job easy as RVs are high up. I take to step ladders and wooden 10ft by 12" board Laminated ( strong stuff wont bend) and place it between 2 ladders so I am the right height to easily work on finish. It is difficult to do the process up and down a ladder all day with polish wheel covering small sections at a time.

You ask me about the wax, what I use to apply it. The polish and the wax go on so easy and comes off so easy so that I apply by hand with typical terry application pads.
Wal-mart sells terry cloth blue and white polish cloths, come 10 in a pack, you will see them in the car detail area, they work the best.

Protect-all wax you can buy at Wal-Mart and Is really easy, works well on fiberglass, plastic, rubber, glass, painted surfaces and does a nice job for me once a year. I even get inspired to go the whole unit sometimes on a nice day when we are traveling it’s so easy to apply 2 hours and Im done. Big thing is, it has UV inhibitors so like suntan lotion it cuts harmful uv rays from sun to finish.

I wash the Rv all the time as well on the road.

Heres another tip. Walmart sells in broom section for like 10.00 a nice soft foam type 16" squeegy with 4 foot pole. When I wash Rv ( which I do all the time when we travel) this squeegy work great to run over sides to squeegy off the water, Once I shed off 90% of the water off sides, Then I take dry towel trowel place it on the squeegy end and dry left over water. I can wash and dry a 28 FT rv in 20 min using a 5 gal bucket of water
By Rv section at walmart they sell think turtle wax makes it a nice aluminum pole and brush end to wash unit. Take both of these items everywhere we travel. I am a clean car and RV nut but my stuff always looks new on the road.
Sometimes I stop by a clean moving stream and proceed to wash my RV you may see me one day. Im fast though.

I have a garage for my Rvs always have, so I know what you are saying. That’s why once I buy a used well taken care of unit and go through this cleaning process I know it will stay that way as long as I own it.

Everytime I sell a car or RV I always sell them fast at top dollar for 2 reasons how clean and new they look no matter how old.
When buyers see my garaged units even advertised on line its an easy sale and always meet my selling price. So all this work always pays off in the end. It will for you as well.
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