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Getting the Coach Painted

Posted 05-04-2010 at 12:32 PM by smlranger
Updated 06-09-2010 at 03:51 PM by smlranger

In recent months, we decided to get our 2002 Journey painted. We bought this coach used in 2005 and had planned to ‘trade-up’ by now. However, giving more careful thought to our financial future, combined with the fact that we really love the coach, we decided to keep the beast.

I must admit that when we traveled to Rockford, IL to purchase this one-owner, well-maintained coach, I lusted for all the new rigs on the dealer lot that had full body paint. The previous owner of our coach had just had it professionally polished and it looked really good so I figured I could keep it looking good. My years in the volunteer fire department had instilled a desire to keep my rolling stock looking good, and I knew I could do that with some elbow grease. However, in spite of my annual polish job and frequent applications of No Wet which has carnauba wax, keeping it looking good gets more difficult every year. Getting older doesn’t seem to help either.

You can see that from a distance, my coach looks really good.

However, up close the filon has thousands of small cracks and I have seen them increase every year for the past 2 years. These cracks only appear on the unpainted portion of the Filon; the portion of my coach with factory paint is nearly perfect. I spoke to Winnebago since I understood they had some problems with Filon in years past. I was hoping maybe they would agree to offer some sort of assistance with a fix. I was not expecting anything under warranty, of course. They said they could replace the sidewalls for many thousands of dollars. However, they suggested painting the coach soon would be the most practical solution.

After getting the DW to agree (gotta cover that base), we started investigating. I contacted Precision RV Painting in Bremen, IN since I knew of their stellar reputation. Their contact was very helpful and, based on my description of the coach and reference to one of the paint schemes on their web site, they suggested $13,500 - $15,000 to paint the coach. I had set a limit of $15K so I felt this was acceptable given their reputation. However, I was not excited about the time involved in transporting the coach to and from Indiana.

I spoke to a number of folks and discovered that Commercial Refinishers in Durham, NC was expanding their big truck collision repair and painting business to include motor homes. I spoke to the owners, Jason and Robbie Gullie, and they advised they had done several RV’s and wanted to grow this business. Since their shop is only 3 hours from my home, I took my rig there for a formal estimate. While there, I saw 3 motor homes in the shop in various stages of paint. One was nearly done and the quality of their work was apparent.

Our coach is there now and is being prepped for priming and painting. We have selected four colors; white and green with burgundy and gray graphics. We elected to keep enough white on the coach to eliminate the need to paint exterior hardware (awning arms, slide out topper arms, etc.). We also will not have the sidewalls to the slides painted. This decision saved us considerably. They will use Dupont paint; base coat with Dupont’s best clear called Chroma Premier. The cost will be right at $11,000.

We will have them paint the mirror arms to match one of the graphics colors and I have purchased new chrome heads from Velvac to replace the existing heads.

Here are some pics of the coach in the beginning phase of prep; decals gone, hardware removed and sanding in progress:

Update, May 19.

Well, I wish I had some photos but the shop called and said my bedroom slide will extend but now will not retract. They are not able to lay out the graphics for paint until they can get the slide back in. I gave them some tips since I have had problems with this slide in the past. I have also arranged for a mobile RV repair guy from Raleigh, NC to go there tomorrow if the shop cannot get the slide retracted.

I hope to get this resolved soon and have some pics of the final phase of the project. Stay tuned......

Update, Monday, May 24: The folks at the paint shop got delayed on my rig last week but are now pressing forward this week. The coach is completely sanded and primed where primer was needed. Masking is done and they will lay out the graphics with tape tomorrow. They will start shooting colors by mid week. They will likely have it painted and clear coated by end of week but will need to install all the exterior stuff. I hope to get it back by mid week next week.

I should have some pics of the painting process in a day or so. Stay tuned.....

Update, Wednesday, May 26:

The white base coat was put on the coach last evening and today they started taping out the graphics. The photo below shows Robbie Gullie starting the graphic layout. He is a skilled paint artist (you can see some of his custom motorcycle work on their web site I am impressed with his ability to do this by hand while looking at the picture of the graphic layout we elected to use.

The next pic is the final graphic layout on the side. They advise they will start with the smaller graphics then progress to the larger areas of color, masking over the previously painted areas as they go.

We are really getting excited to see the finished job. They plan to finish the painting by the end of this week, followed by re-install of our awings, etc. next week.

Update, Wednesday, June 2:

All colors are on the coach and they will be applying the clear coat next. If there are no problems, I plan to get the coach this Friday. I will post some final photos then.

Update, Friday, June 4:

Well, the painting is done and it is just a matter of a bit of wet sanding/buffing and putting all the hardware back on. The shop and I am both pleased with the results.

A few pics follow. I will travel to Durham early next week to bring the beast back home.

Update, Wednesday June 9...It is done!!

I traveled to Durham, NC today to get the coach. This is how it looked when I arrived:

Jason and Robbie Gullie are the owners of Commercial Refinishers. They are really nice folks:

The OEM CAT Power decal was damaged during removal and the replacement from Freightliner was $140!!!!. So, I had a local sign shop make the decal below:

Finally, a pic of the beast back home. It rained on me all the way home so will be washing it soon:

Now, we are ready to hit the road.
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  1. Old Comment
    Elkhartjim's Avatar got a deal, price wise I mean. I owned a body shop in another lifetime and I don't see any way I could have come close to the $11,000. I think you made a wise decision getting it painted closer to home if for no other reason if you should have any warranty issues. Looking forward to seeing the progress. Thanks for sharing.
    Posted 05-04-2010 at 12:46 PM by Elkhartjim Elkhartjim is offline
  2. Old Comment
    DriVer's Avatar

    I will be following your Blog. Keep it coming!

    Don't let them touch that iRV2 decal either

    Posted 05-04-2010 at 12:55 PM by DriVer DriVer is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Pusherman's Avatar
    Gary, Assuming they do a good job (and I know they will) you will be very happy with your new paint job vs. a new coach. $11-12K is a lot cheaper investment than $100K+ for the new coach (not to mention those new messy 2010 EPA regs....).

    I spoke with the owners of the 2001 Journey who just had theirs done in full body paint in the body shop behind me. They were very happy with their decision, and the paint job turned out excellent.

    Keep us posted.
    Posted 05-04-2010 at 01:48 PM by Pusherman Pusherman is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Since we have a 2002 Journey DL 39 ft we are very interested in the process you are going thru. Thanks for the blog and please keep the info updated. DId they give you a time frame from start to finish?
    Posted 05-04-2010 at 03:20 PM by rjhorton rjhorton is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by rjhorton View Comment
    Since we have a 2002 Journey DL 39 ft we are very interested in the process you are going thru. Thanks for the blog and please keep the info updated. DId they give you a time frame from start to finish?
    Yes, estimated time frame was 4 weeks. I think it will be 5 weeks at this point. That was consistent with 2 other shops who provided estimates.
    Posted 05-04-2010 at 06:56 PM by smlranger smlranger is offline
  6. Old Comment
    ichn2go's Avatar
    Great Gary,,now you will have a timeless coach..Good Luck jimmy
    Posted 05-05-2010 at 04:38 AM by ichn2go ichn2go is offline
  7. Old Comment
    NLOVNIT's Avatar
    How exciting, Gary. Your color scheme sounds great. I'll sure keep checking back for updated pics.

    Posted 05-05-2010 at 09:06 PM by NLOVNIT NLOVNIT is offline
  8. Old Comment
    I just dropped off my 02 Horizon 39QD in a paint shop in MI just north of Elkhart, IN...3 colors and your own design for 250.00 a foot using Dupont paint with 3 coats of clear...One of the colors I chose was Harley Davidson black metallic at 570.00 a gallon and the price to paint the coach is $10,000...The shop has a good reputation with plenty of references...About 3 to 4 weeks to complete..I too have the same small cracks in the Filon as Gary..Can't wait to get it back..
    Posted 05-13-2010 at 05:56 PM by movin-on movin-on is offline
  9. Old Comment
    depchief's Avatar
    Gary The coach looks good, I am excited to see the finished product.
    Posted 05-28-2010 at 07:43 PM by depchief depchief is offline
  10. Old Comment
    journey15's Avatar
    We am not seeing any pics. We are using Mozilla. Any suggestions?
    Clay & Frances
    Posted 05-31-2010 at 06:22 PM by journey15 journey15 is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by blucrabbie View Comment
    We am not seeing any pics. We are using Mozilla. Any suggestions?
    Clay & Frances
    Not sure why. I was using Mozilla at home when I posted the most recent pics.
    Posted 06-01-2010 at 06:53 AM by smlranger smlranger is offline
  12. Old Comment
    journey15's Avatar


    Had to go to IE to view pics. How exciting for you guys! Looks like they are coming right along.
    We can't wait to see the finished product!
    Posted 06-01-2010 at 06:13 PM by journey15 journey15 is offline
  13. Old Comment
    majfrizz's Avatar
    the colors look GREAT
    Posted 06-06-2010 at 06:03 AM by majfrizz majfrizz is offline
  14. Old Comment
    depchief's Avatar
    The coach looks great, I hope you are pleased with the final product. It truly is a coach for all times.
    Like the decal.
    Posted 06-09-2010 at 07:29 PM by depchief depchief is offline
  15. Old Comment
    Mr_Bill's Avatar
    Looks great, Gary. Love the graphics. Where's the picture with the decal applied?
    Posted 06-10-2010 at 09:23 AM by Mr_Bill Mr_Bill is offline
  16. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by Mr_Bill View Comment
    Looks great, Gary. Love the graphics. Where's the picture with the decal applied?
    Bill, the decal is on the left rear of the coach right where the original CAT Power decal was.
    Posted 06-10-2010 at 07:27 PM by smlranger smlranger is offline
  17. Old Comment
    Petro's Avatar

    Looks great. I know for sure you will sleep a lot better with your baby back home.

    Posted 06-10-2010 at 08:52 PM by Petro Petro is offline
  18. Old Comment
    NLOVNIT's Avatar
    That's one pretty looking coach, Gary. They sure did a great job. I'll bet you sure missed it while it was in the shop, so get out & start enjoying it.

    Posted 06-14-2010 at 04:10 PM by NLOVNIT NLOVNIT is offline

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