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Old 09-13-2017, 09:26 PM   #1
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Gelcoat restoration

I want to restore the gel coat on the motor home. Every time I wash the coach a white milk washes off of it. I have some small black mold like specs that fade but do not come off.

I have been reading about the different approaches, waxing polishing and the one that looks interesting to me is to apply an Acrylic top coat. In my case cleaning well first will be important.

The process I have seen is they have a two part system where clean and remove the oxidation then you apply several coats of an Acrylic sealer.

There is some diverging opinions about using the Acrylic sealer, to maintain it they say you have to reapply one or two times per year and after several years strip it.

If I just use wax that also has to be done frequently and as much work.

What is your advice ? I want to restore the shine to my gelcoat>

If you have an opinion, what products would you use there are some expensive marine kit products Like Poli Glow and inexpensive products like Zep Wet look floor finish.

Also, I assume I should also seal the roof. I could test it up there since you cannot see it.
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Old 09-13-2017, 09:32 PM   #2
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I used Zep on an older motor home that had some of what you are describing. Make sure no wax is on it and put on VERY THIN coats. Usually 4 or 5 coats will make it pop. No rubbing off!

Do a search on Zep here. Also search for Red Max Pro III.


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Old 09-13-2017, 09:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burfurd View Post
I used Zep on an older motor home that had some of what you are describing. Make sure no wax is on it and put on VERY THIN coats. Usually 4 or 5 coats will make it pop. No rubbing off!

Do a search on Zep here. Also search for Red Max Pro III.


burfurd
I did put some auto wax on the front of the coach before a recent road trip, it did not make it look any better. would the oxidation remover remove the wax or would i have to go with a different product?

Edit, I should have done a search first, there are several discussions about Zep I will read those.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:02 PM   #4
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I had some good results with a compounding of the gel coat and then a good wax. I bought a Harbor Freight random orbit polisher and several foam pads. I tried two products. First a Polishing compound from Turtle wax and next Meguires Polishing . Not much difference in results but the Meguires seemed to work out with less effort. I followed up with Turtle Wax and lots of elbow grease.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:46 PM   #5
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Clay cloth and then Nu Finish......lasts a year....
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftodaro View Post
I did put some auto wax on the front of the coach before a recent road trip, it did not make it look any better. would the oxidation remover remove the wax or would i have to go with a different product?

Edit, I should have done a search first, there are several discussions about Zep I will read those.
I've always used Dawn dish soap to remove a few years of wax build up. If you do this, don't leave it sitting too long before you put protection back on.
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:31 AM   #7
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Hold on time to test . My 1992 Itasca . Takes 1500 git wet sand then a serious wizards compound buffing with pro Makita 6 inch buffer at 1200 rpm to get the 1500 grit scratch's out. Then fresh coat of nu finish. It's so shiny you have to wear shades. Short cuts don't work zep turns yellow over time . This my experience. And each gel coat have different degree of oxidation . Mines was extreme.

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Old 09-14-2017, 06:54 AM   #8
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The answer for what it takes to remove gel coat oxidation is the least agressive removed that will do the job...
For some that might be swirl remover or polish on a foam pad & DA polisher

For others that might be 1500 grit wet dry sanding followed but decreasing agressive compounds / polishes

Only you can determine where to start and it may likely take some trial & error test spots...start w the least agressive and go up from there if not affective or the time reqd is excessive.
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftodaro View Post
I want to restore the gel coat on the motor home. Every time I wash the coach a white milk washes off of it. I have some small black mold like specs that fade but do not come off.

I have been reading about the different approaches, waxing polishing and the one that looks interesting to me is to apply an Acrylic top coat. In my case cleaning well first will be important.

The process I have seen is they have a two part system where clean and remove the oxidation then you apply several coats of an Acrylic sealer.

There is some diverging opinions about using the Acrylic sealer, to maintain it they say you have to reapply one or two times per year and after several years strip it.

If I just use wax that also has to be done frequently and as much work.

What is your advice ? I want to restore the shine to my gelcoat>

If you have an opinion, what products would you use there are some expensive marine kit products Like Poli Glow and inexpensive products like Zep Wet look floor finish.

Also, I assume I should also seal the roof. I could test it up there since you cannot see it.
I know exactly what you're saying here. Forget about all these cleaners, sealers, Zep wax etc. if you want to do this right. These "fixes" will only complicate the care of your MH down the road and will not produce the results you're looking for. You simply need to "restore" what your have and then maintain it from there. There are NO shortcuts to restoration of an oxidized gel coat, but you can restore it to look like new. I took 2 weeks working everyday doing this on our MH last winter and it looks brand new. I chose winter cause it's cooler here in Texas and makes the job a lot easier. In your case, where you have—small black mold like specs—don't worry about that.

BTW...if you don't get rid of the oxidation, restore the gel coat, and protect it in the future with a good regular waxing, the fiberglass will continue to deteriorate to the next stage which is—crazing—then it will start to delaminate down the road. Once crazing starts, you can't get that out and the MH is pretty much done...it's just a matter of time. Once crazing starts, you really only have one choice and that's totally sand the entire old gel coat off and reapply a new gel coat. This is very costly and unnecessary if you catch it now.

Your solution is actually a three part system:
Compound, polish & wax.

SO...you need to fully compound the entire MH's gel coat to not only remove that oxidation but it will remove those mold specs as well. I rented a 13.5' x 50' enclosed storage area. Then, I bought a—2 piece Little Giant ladder with their solid aluminum plank‚ which gave me a 10' - 12" walking scaffold of sorts. This way I could stand solidly, facing the MH and compounded, polished & waxed the top 6' feet of the MH all the way around moving the scaffolding downstream as I finished each area. Then did the bottom half standing on the ground.

I had one graphic that was beyond restoration. On the DS of the MH, it sat south in sun for a couple 3 years and the graphic was cracking pretty bad, so I totally removed it with a 3M eraser, using an 3/8 electric drill, then compounded that area with the wool wheel and diamond cut compound, then polished and waxed. You can't even tell it was there. Since your MH has been neglected for so long—AGAIN—this will take some work and there are NO shortcuts. It took me 2 solid weeks to do mine BUT once you do this, it's just a matter of washing and waxing it regularly after that.

The only thing I would recommend to change from my list of supplies below is, use Meguairs Ultimate wax". This stuff is amazing. Expensive but amazing. It's all I use now. It's not like any wax you've ever used. It doesn't leave a white chalky mess on black trim, it's smooth & silky to apply and buffs out like new and lasts a long time. After you have restored your MH to it's new state, always use a soap that will NOT remove existing wax when you wash it. I could go into more detail here on what I do but that's off topic. I apply this wax twice a year, using my polisher listed below and a Red application wheel, then wipe with microfiber towels. Takes me about 4 hrs. to do entire MH.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Now there will be some folks that say, "don't compound your MH yourself, that needs to be left to professionals or you risk ruining your gel coat". If you use the products I listed below you'll be fine. Before I tackled this myself, I actually priced out what it would cost to have this entire process done by an outside outfit and it ran between 3K - $4,200. It cost me about $800 (including the scaffolding) and 2 weeks work and I payed attention to every little detail. I get compliments all the time on how beautiful our MH looks.

Products and another post (#2) that I used to strip off one old cracked graphic, compound, polish & waxed entire MH.
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f84/faded...ml#post3566666

As far as the roof is concerned, here is what I did to ours.
http://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/fina...ne-316925.html
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:45 AM   #10
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I own a 03 Dolphin that hasn't been waxed in years. I bought it the 1st of March this year and have been working on it off and on since then. I started out with colinite 870 and a porter cable orbital polisher. Then used the green Turtle wax, big mistake ! That left a green tint but really didn't notice it too much, until I wasn't really happy with the outcome. Not going to use Zep. The Porter Cable polisher isn't up to the task at hand. The end caps and basement doors were oxidized very badly, so I read about Meguires 44, and thought I'd give it a try. It IS a LOT of work but it does a great job. I already had a Craftsman 7" polisher/buffer from when I painted a couple of my cars. I used it along with the Meguires and it is looking very good. I used Rejex on the front cap and it shines pretty good. I was at the DMV getting my license yesterday, and a fellow commented that my Dolphin was the first one without full body paint that he has seen that actually shined. He wanted to know what I used. I will use the Porter Cable when it's time to wax it, going to Turtle wax ICE this time. I use it on my Corvette and really happy with it on my car.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:56 AM   #11
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Marjoa is right. I did detailing for car lots for years, have buffed more cars, vans, trucks, boats and Rv's than I could count. I use a Makita variable speed buffer and 3m compound, then 3m polish, then wax. Your decals will likely "bleed" when you get close to them so these areas usually have to be done by hand. Tons of work, and lots of time but when you are done it will look better than any other method. Depending on where you live you will have to wax it one or 2 times a year or the oxidation will slowly return.


I have used the Zep method on a couple of units. They do look very nice at first but over time flaking and yellowing become a problem. At least where I live.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:12 AM   #12
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Yes wet sanding is a extreme but like said depends on oxidation. Some guys started with 800 grit then 1000 git and then 1500 grit then compound and then wax. So before you think This idea will work you need to do test spots to see just how complicated it's going to get to get that mirror finish back. I can say at 25 years old I had to wet sand to get it off. Thank God I could get by starting with 1500grit .

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Old 09-15-2017, 12:55 AM   #13
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Here's 1500 grit and power buffed wizards compound no wax yet . In this picture.

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Old 09-15-2017, 08:39 PM   #14
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Thanks for the posts. It seams like the more I read the less I know. I have decided not to go the zip acrylic route. The biggest reason is that it appears that it has to be re apply every year and in some cases it has to be stripped and then re applied.

So that is more work then doing a restoration of the gel coat with buffing and then doing an annual or semi annual wax.

So bottom line for me is I am going to to strip the oxidation and then use a wax. I think if i stay on top of it i can keep up. I want to use the least abrasive compound I can to get rid of the oxidation.

I am working on getting a heated winter storage location ( I am in Ohio) and this will be my winter project.
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