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Old 07-18-2013, 11:04 AM   #1
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Dull Gel Coat

I own a 2007 fifth wheel Forest River 31LE Cardinal. The front of the camper is dull. I believe it is jel coat. Has anyone had success with bring the luster back on the fiberglass? If so what have you used? Thanks.

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Old 07-28-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
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Should be gel coat. No doubt you'd have to compound buff it. I can't recommend any particular product as there are too many. We used 3M products in the body shop, but thats just what they bought. Unless you have experience with the gritty compound, you might look into a local body shop. Money well spent since most do this. Use of a compound and high speed buffer can burn through the gel if you're not real careful. If its not too far gone, and its done right, it could look like it did in 2007. Check out There you'll see a bunch of kits you can buy that start with the heavy compound and end up with the fine polish. Awesome website for anything you need for paint care.

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Old 10-21-2013, 11:04 AM   #3
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I used Zep floor finish. There are a lot of posts on some of the forums for Red Max or Zep and tell how to use it. Not very difficult and shines better than new!
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by workisoverrated View Post
I own a 2007 fifth wheel Forest River 31LE Cardinal. The front of the camper is dull. I believe it is jel coat. Has anyone had success with bring the luster back on the fiberglass? If so what have you used? Thanks.
You should check WEST MARINE, they have products that will bring you gel coat back to new. The marine environment is a lot harsher then for trailers. I have owned boats that sat in marinas for 20 years, and once a year I had go through the cleaning process to bring it back. Long before the trailer industry went to gel coat from alum. the marine industry was using gel coats. Another good tip is that if you damage your gel coat look to the marine industry first......Good luck but that is where I would start...
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:57 AM   #5
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Be careful what you use on gel coat. I am sure you have seen cars with the whitish dull areas on the paint. This is the same thing that is happening to your Bird. You get bugs on the front cap and use all kinds of products to get the bugs off. They may not be gel coat safe. Dulling of gel coat usually occurs when a commercial car wash uses brushes and/or from harsh chemicals used by the car wash industry. It can also come from chemicals used in auto paint care products. I would only buy products from companies I know, trust and respect. I make sure the products are gel coat safe.
At this point, I would talk to a trusted RV repair (paint) facility and get an opinion. It may be you can have the front cap finish water sanded and re-sprayed with gel coat. They may also have less costly ideas to bring it back. This forum may not be your best resource for products to restore your gel coat.
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Old 10-21-2013, 02:21 PM   #6
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My SOB is grey. They left out the UV inhibitor in the gel-coat causing it to fade prematurely and turn white. I had the front cap sanded and painted with a base coat clear coat finish and new decals were applied. A year later I was getting the same white spots on the rear cap. I followed the instructions I found online to apply the Zep floor finish. It actually turned out better than the front and is holding up well. The front cap cost $1500.00 to paint the rear cap cost me about $20.00. You wash it good with dawn dish soap to remove all wax, then scrub it with Barkeepers Friend which is a mild cleanser, using an ultra fine Scotchbrite pad, then after rinsing wash it again with Dawn to remove any residue. When it dries wipe on several coats of the floor finish using a microfiber towel. As soon as you get to the bottom you can start again at the top. It dries that fast. After 5 or so coats you won't believe your eyes. I went right over all my decals as well. If you need to remove it for any reason just wash it with an ammoniated cleaner or wax stripper. You can give it a quick coat or two to touch it up as needed. The gel coat fades because it oxidizes from the UV in the Sun's rays. Unless you keep yor rig under cover they will all do this. Re-spraying with gel coat is not the answer. A basecoat clear coat automotive finish will cure the problem (this is what the full body paint jobs are) but at a very high cost. Hundreds of people have used the Zep or Red Max treatment with great success...

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