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Old 08-28-2016, 07:22 PM   #1
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Front cap fading?

Had our 2014 Tracer 230FBS travel trailer out the weekend and noticed that the very top center of the fiberglass front cap is fading to white. The camper has lighter tan sides & back with the front cap being a dark brown. It is stored inside 7 months out of the year. Any ideas on what to do here? Thanks for any help!
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:38 PM   #2
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There are lots of threads about this all over the internet. It's fading because it has colored gelcoat, it's not painted. Every manufacturer has had the same problem when they went to the gray and tan caps. The only real cure is to have it painted. Nothing else is a long term solution. Take that from someone that had both the front and rear caps painted after trying all the usual "cures". It's possible the manufacturer might help you out. Call them direct and see what they say..Good luck.
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Old 08-29-2016, 09:48 AM   #3
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Spot on ^^^ we have had the same issue with our Northwood Snow River. Although detailing is a hobby of mine and I have pro equipment and products to bring to bare, it is a lot of work and does not last. We are planning to purchase a 5th wheel, otherwise if we were planning to keep our current TT long term, I would have had it painted. If you are planning to keep yours, you have two choices either live with it or have it painted otherwise, you will drive yourself nuts.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:13 AM   #4
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Amen on the 'drive yourself nuts' part. Nothing you can do to stop the fade except paint it. We have tried everything, had it professionally de-oxidized and waxed, waxed it every 2 months, even FR payed for a dealer to do it once. All failures. Fade comes back in about 6 weeks or less. Now we are trying to decide whether to sell it or paint it.
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:52 AM   #5
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Ok paint people... Doesn't most clear coats these days have UV protection in there? Why could one not clear the cap when new and stop all the problems? As last I knew you can clear over most decals too. I know money you should not have to spend, but if you plan ok keeping it I would think this would be easier in the end. JMO
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Old 08-29-2016, 11:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by NMWildcat View Post
Amen on the 'drive yourself nuts' part. Nothing you can do to stop the fade except paint it. We have tried everything, had it professionally de-oxidized and waxed, waxed it every 2 months, even FR payed for a dealer to do it once. All failures. Fade comes back in about 6 weeks or less. Now we are trying to decide whether to sell it or paint it.
I painted my last one. First did the front cap then a couple years later the rear. I felt much better about it after it was done. It was embarrassing to be seen with it looking so bad. But now a year later I have just traded it for a new Cedar Creek. If this one fades I won't hesitate to have it painted. I got what I think was a great price on it so I can gamble a bit on the colored gelcoat. If you decide to trade, I would buff it up as best you can first. They just look terrible when they get all faded out.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:05 PM   #7
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Buffing it with 3M Marine Restorer and wax

I Have just cleaned my Wildcat front cap with 3M Marine Restorer and I am extremely impressed with the results. My son has a boat with Gelcoat and he uses this product with great success. Total cost $20.00, my labor 6 hours, vs a paint job for $4500.00? No comparison. I will give a progress report on the success rate later on, my original test spot has shown no deterioration in 4 August weeks in NC sun.
I attach a work in progress photo herewith.
Cheers
ZARugby
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Zarugby View Post
I Have just cleaned my Wildcat front cap with 3M Marine Restorer and I am extremely impressed with the results. My son has a boat with Gelcoat and he uses this product with great success. Total cost $20.00, my labor 6 hours, vs a paint job for $4500.00? No comparison. I will give a progress report on the success rate later on, my original test spot has shown no deterioration in 4 August weeks in NC sun.
I attach a work in progress photo herewith.
Cheers
ZARugby
That is good stuff. It actually lasted almost 3 months for us (NM) before the fade came back. Hopefully it lasts longer for you!!
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Iwannacamp View Post
Ok paint people... Doesn't most clear coats these days have UV protection in there? Why could one not clear the cap when new and stop all the problems? As last I knew you can clear over most decals too. I know money you should not have to spend, but if you plan ok keeping it I would think this would be easier in the end. JMO
Most clear coats of any kind can't have much UV inhibitor. Or they wouldn't be clear.

This is true of deck stains, marine varnishes, waxes, and even cloth. Gauzy and thin light colored clothes will let enough sun through to sunburn your skin. Here in Colorado (we have more severe UV due to altitude), deck stains rarely last more than one year if your deck is exposed to the sun. You have to paint the deck to get any real UV protection.

If you look at it terms of SPF, a clear coat might get you an SPF of 1 or 2. You need a minimum of 15 to protect your skin. Gel coat is susceptible to fading, some colors more than others.

Just one of the reasons when we agreed on buying an RV, we insisted on buying one that would fit in the garage. And why we garage our cars whenever possible. Our neighbors build RV garages.

just my experiences with fiberglass boats
Fred W
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgandw View Post
Most clear coats of any kind can't have much UV inhibitor. Or they wouldn't be clear.

This is true of deck stains, marine varnishes, waxes, and even cloth. Gauzy and thin light colored clothes will let enough sun through to sunburn your skin. Here in Colorado (we have more severe UV due to altitude), deck stains rarely last more than one year if your deck is exposed to the sun. You have to paint the deck to get any real UV protection.

If you look at it terms of SPF, a clear coat might get you an SPF of 1 or 2. You need a minimum of 15 to protect your skin. Gel coat is susceptible to fading, some colors more than others.

Just one of the reasons when we agreed on buying an RV, we insisted on buying one that would fit in the garage. And why we garage our cars whenever possible. Our neighbors build RV garages.

just my experiences with fiberglass boats
Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame (fits in the garage, ready to go)
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan
I'm not exactly sure what all the above has to do with RV finishes, but I do know my 10 year old truck still looks like new and it sits outside most of the time in the NM sun and heat. It's a blue color and has no fading or oxidation. I hand wax maybe once a year and the rest of the time just run it through the car wash. My RV is used often so that even if I had covered parking, it wouldn't be there enough to help much.

It makes no sense to me why RV manufacturers can't come up with a painted finish to match the durable auto finishes. Our friends bought a SOB rig with an actual painted cap. You guessed it, it faded and cracked within a year and is now being replaced and repainted.

By now I'm sure the dealer's and the manufacturers are sick of dealing with faded cap syndrome. I know I'm sick of my fade!! Will be interesting to see what the future holds for below the top of the line RV finishes
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