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Old 05-08-2020, 08:39 AM   #1
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Gelcoat restoration

This 1995 22' Fleetwood has only 28k miles on it and is mechanically fine, but the exterior needs attention. The overall gelcoat has lost its gloss, and the graphics are somewhat checkered and faded.

I understand there are ways and means, tools and products, skills and techniques, to restore the gelcoat and repaint the graphics, etc. But at my age, I don't feel like doing hard work.

It's not a matter of functionality - this Fleetwood Flair is fine. The existing exterior probably will outlast the machinery, but its appearance doesn't match its performance, so it's something of a pride issue.

Therefore, I'm searching for a resource to competently deal with the problem. Every mobile detail service or boat restoration resource will say "Sure - we can detail your coach." But it seems to be specialized work, and beyond "detail."

We're in Oceanside, just N of San Diego.

QUESTIONS:
What special (beyond detail, non-boat) skills are required?
If done properly, how often must it be repeated?
What are the best finish-restoration products?
What should it cost to have someone restore the exterior of a 22' Class A?
Does anyone nearby have recommendations?

Thanks, gurus!
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:28 AM   #2
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If the Surface is clean but just not shiny you might try Zep wet look floor polish. You can get it at home depot. On our 1996 Tioga I used the floor polish for years. Eventually the gelcoat was yellowing and I used wet sand paper to get down to the white again. I then used Zep again and it looked pretty close to new. The sanding was a last resort after it was clear that polishes, etc. were not going to work.

Good luck.
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Old 05-08-2020, 12:02 PM   #3
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Gelcoat is not paint. You can wax it with whatever kind of carnauba/ceramic/space age coating you want and it will look better for a while, but won't fix it and then you're dealing with the residue of whatever you schlupped all over it. The only way to polish it is with an abrasive compound and rotary polisher. There's no magic to it really, just comes down to if you want to spend hours out there doing it yourself or paying someone by the hour to do it.

Vinyl decals have a limited lifespan. Some will try and paint over them which like waxing gelcoat may look a little better for a while but I question the durability of that and I don't think it's any less work than peeling them off and putting new ones on. Peeling the old ones off and painting new ones in their place would be a more durable option but only if you're handy with painting.

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Old 05-08-2020, 01:04 PM   #4
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additionally; The Zep made the decals look like new IMO.
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:24 PM   #5
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Zep is an interior floor polish designed for vinyl flooring with no UV protection. While it might look glossy there is no protection for the finish.
If you dont feel up to doing it yourself, then hire a detailer. If you choose to do it yoirself, it may seem daunting when looking at the whole thing, but doing a small section at a time makes it managable. There are numerous products that will make it doable.
Get a bottle of polishing compound designed for fiberglas. Polish to remove all the oxidation, followed by a good quality wax.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notaguru View Post
This 1995 22' Fleetwood has only 28k miles on it and is mechanically fine, but the exterior needs attention. The overall gelcoat has lost its gloss, and the graphics are somewhat checkered and faded.

I understand there are ways and means, tools and products, skills and techniques, to restore the gelcoat and repaint the graphics, etc. But at my age, I don't feel like doing hard work.

It's not a matter of functionality - this Fleetwood Flair is fine. The existing exterior probably will outlast the machinery, but its appearance doesn't match its performance, so it's something of a pride issue.

Therefore, I'm searching for a resource to competently deal with the problem. Every mobile detail service or boat restoration resource will say "Sure - we can detail your coach." But it seems to be specialized work, and beyond "detail."

We're in Oceanside, just N of San Diego.

QUESTIONS:
What special (beyond detail, non-boat) skills are required?
If done properly, how often must it be repeated?
What are the best finish-restoration products?
What should it cost to have someone restore the exterior of a 22' Class A?
Does anyone nearby have recommendations?

Thanks, gurus!
Odd but sincere question...do you want to put in a days work on this and maybe a 100/150 dollars....or just spay and wash.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:41 PM   #7
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ShineOn is a sealer made for exterior gel coats on RV's and boats. If you call customer service, they can answer any questions or concerns.

https://shineononline.com/
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:55 PM   #8
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1999 Fleetwood Discovery. 136,000 miles
The coach got looking tacky. Used Zep in the past. However, it does fail after awhile.
The most recent process we have gone though is wet sanding the surfaces with 1000, 1200 grit wet sandpaper. Not really that hard to do. Plenty of water to flush the surface.
Take a section at time.
Next use a quality CLEAR COAT to spray the surface.
Really stunning what happens after the CC cures. Bright, shinny.
Very happy.
Good to do if you have the time and the inspiration to take on the task.
Well worth for a 21 year old coach.
Regards,
JimB
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBDISCOVERY View Post
1999 Fleetwood Discovery. 136,000 miles
The coach got looking tacky. Used Zep in the past. However, it does fail after awhile.
The most recent process we have gone though is wet sanding the surfaces with 1000, 1200 grit wet sandpaper. Not really that hard to do. Plenty of water to flush the surface.
Take a section at time.
Next use a quality CLEAR COAT to spray the surface.
Really stunning what happens after the CC cures. Bright, shinny.
Very happy.
Good to do if you have the time and the inspiration to take on the task.
Well worth for a 21 year old coach.
Regards,
JimB
This is going to be the only thing that lasts IMO. I did the wet sanding and didn't have the time/option to clear coat. The ZEP made it look great for a while. I vote for wet sand/clear coat if you want the best results.
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Old 05-14-2020, 08:43 AM   #10
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You're best long term, minimal effort for you, but not without some costs involved solution is to head south on I5 then east on I8 to a small town of Los Algodones BC. About 200 miles and not far from Yuma.

But first a little homework - https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/pai...es-255734.html

There's also this - https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/new...ad-442904.html


Myself I Zep my coach. Looks great for about a year. A good spring cleaning and a few light coats and it looks great again.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetbriar View Post
You're best long term, minimal effort for you, but not without some costs involved solution is to head south on I5 then east on I8 to a small town of Los Algodones BC. About 200 miles and not far from Yuma.

But first a little homework - https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/pai...es-255734.html

There's also this - https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/new...ad-442904.html


Myself I Zep my coach. Looks great for about a year. A good spring cleaning and a few light coats and it looks great again.
I think a trip to Los Algodones is in our future!
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:55 AM   #12
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RV Stripes in Riverside CA is a shop that replaces decals and does full exterior work on RV's. Did our 2003 Pace Arrow, and it came back looking better than new. Price was reasonable, and we were able to change some of the decal colors and add some stripes to the slide wall area.

If you don't want any changes, they will also just do a full exterior detailing.
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