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Old 05-06-2021, 03:37 PM   #1
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Front & Rear Cap FADED-My Solution

Hi Yawl,

Like many of you we have an older camper made when the Gel-Coat on the front and rear, was , well lets be kind, and say was not the very best possible.

I struggled with it, trying Poly-Glow (DON"T DO IT) and compounding/polishing (a constant labor intensive battle) before I finally broke down and did it right (at least in my humble opinion, it is done right). those of you who know me may not believe my opinion is quite as humble as I profess, and you may be right.

I initially intended to post this in the "What Did You do to Your Camper today" thread, but I had some issues. I have no idea how to post commentary between photos and I wanted to explain what you were looking at so I decided to create a new thread in the Maintenance section, with a separate post for each separate set of photos.

OK, Here goes...........

The first couple pics, front and rear show the POS I started with, faded, oxidized and just plain UGLY.
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Old 05-06-2021, 03:44 PM   #2
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In order to remove the decals I used a rubber wheel n a cordless drill. this process to a LONG time and used up one entire 3M rubber wheel.

It sounds like a PITA. BUT, it but it beat the hell out of using a heat gun and a scraper to remove those stubborn decals (YES I tried that first). The rubber wheel did not result in any gouges that needed to be Spot Puttied and sanded like the Heat Gun/Scraper method.

Here are the pics with the trim decals removed and then the Logo Decals gone:
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2012 Wildcat Sterling 32RL, Gladiator Qr35 ST235/85R16 Load rating G, TST 507 TPMS w/ Flow-thru Sensors & Repeater, Reese Sidewinder 16K Pin Box, PI EMS HW50C
2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-06-2021, 03:55 PM   #3
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Now that the decals were gone it was time to sand it. I sanded it with 220 grit paper using a Random Orbit Sander. It did a fine job and got it ready for the finish.

Sorry I don't have pic of the rear after sanding. Just use your imagination based on the front.
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2012 Wildcat Sterling 32RL, Gladiator Qr35 ST235/85R16 Load rating G, TST 507 TPMS w/ Flow-thru Sensors & Repeater, Reese Sidewinder 16K Pin Box, PI EMS HW50C
2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-06-2021, 04:03 PM   #4
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These next pic shows the paint applied to the rear, but i failed to capture the front at this stage
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2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-06-2021, 04:13 PM   #5
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Now for all those pesky Decals. FR wanted WAY too much money for a full set of decals and would not sell me just eh artwork for just the front cap and rear cap. A local sign shop duplicated the logos on the front and rear cap for me from a photo.

I decided to reproduce they rest of the decals i paint because it was easier and cheaper than dealing with FR.

Here is the front in the initial and final masking stages of recreating those decals in paint.

The first pic shows the thin 1/4"and 1/2" vinyl tapes before the wider masking tape was applied. (Right side)

The second pic show the wider tape applied every and the project ready for the decal replacement paint. (Entire front.)

I used standard GM colors as supplied by Dupli-Color touch up paints.
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2012 Wildcat Sterling 32RL, Gladiator Qr35 ST235/85R16 Load rating G, TST 507 TPMS w/ Flow-thru Sensors & Repeater, Reese Sidewinder 16K Pin Box, PI EMS HW50C
2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:13 AM   #6
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In the last pic you could see my neighbor Bill sitting on the scaffold I bought for this project. It came from Harbor Freight for less then $150.

By lowering the nose of the camper I could even paint the top part of the front cap from the scaffold when I had it at its maximum height of 6'.

The Paint I chose was Randolph's Ranthane Aircraft Polyuretane Enamel. It is a two part paint that has to be thinned to spray it. their color "Neutral Grey" came very close to matching the original color.

For the accent colors I used small cans of Duplicolor from the auto parts store.

Dark Ning Blue fro the bottom large panels. The original deal was a black metal flake decal. But the Dark Ming Blue is an exact match for the color or my truck.

Dark Garnet Red matched the point o the upper right and left of the original decal.

Then a silver meta lflake for the rest of the patterns on the front.

I needed 5 cans total. One for each color and two cans of clear Coat because I put 4 coats on to help prevent the UV rays from fading the paint.


Here is the un-masking of the front and rear. You can see DW admiring the front:
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2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:16 AM   #7
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Last but not least the decals Ihad made from photos of the originals before I removed them.

I remembered to orient my phone for a landscape shot so the would be oriented correctly in this thread.

The job is not perfect but it is not bad at all If I do way so myself.

The Ranthane paint was selected because it is one of the same paints used on aircraft. It is flexible does not chip or crack. It should look wet, with no effort, except washing off the bugs, for as long as we own this camper.
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2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:07 AM   #8
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Nice job!!!!!!
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:41 AM   #9
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Sure is beautiful you could start a business doing that!
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Old 05-07-2021, 11:15 AM   #10
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Great job! I dealt with the faded gel coat on my last 2 motorhomes. Bought full body paint this time. 6 years later, shines like new.
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Old 05-07-2021, 02:11 PM   #11
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Very nicely done, congrats on a great job!
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Old 05-07-2021, 02:17 PM   #12
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Awesome job!!! Approximately how many hours do you have in the job? And the approximate cost?
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Old 05-07-2021, 03:06 PM   #13
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Wow, that is a great job!
Hope it holds up for many years.👍
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Old 05-07-2021, 03:46 PM   #14
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Paint

As fine a job as I have seen. I have a small, 24' TT you can start on if you get bored doing nothing.
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:28 PM   #15
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Faded Gell coat

Your repair job looks great --

-I was going to add that the use of 3-M wraps would also be a thing to use. I have seen many cars now having these wraps applied , they come in many colours and patterns ,and also varied thickness's . I was told a good wrap job should last upwards of 10 years , with no maintenance other than washing .they are UV resistant and prob . about half the cost of a repaint ,with minimal prep work required . You would have to remove existing decals but most shops could do this as part of the job . My own trailer a Tracer built by Forest River(the extended warranty we purchased does not cover this and the manufacture and local RV dealer have washed their hands of the issue -to Bad -so Sad ) ,has the same issue and I have contacted a shop here locally in the Vancouver area to get a quote on having the front cap done .
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:53 PM   #16
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That is a fantastic job!!

Thanks for posting the work flow/details.

My only problem would be the expense and location of building the great sunshade you have to work under
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:30 PM   #17
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I am having the front cap on our Crusader Lite 5th wheel repainted and new decals installed next week. I purchase the decals from a company in California for less than $500.00 for the full set, including shipping to Louisiana.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:32 PM   #18
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That looks pretty good!
I have the same camper (Year and make) with the same issue except it is happening on all the sides because I can't store it under roof.
Tried Poly Glo and it only caused more work.
Tried buffing and it didn't last. Took way too much time, work, and cost. I tried several different compounds and had it looking good, briefly but it went right back to being dull quickly.

We really like the camper, but I am embarrassed with how it looks. I'm sure repainting the entire thing will be costly.
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Old 05-08-2021, 04:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadRik View Post
That looks pretty good!
I have the same camper (Year and make) with the same issue except it is happening on all the sides because I can't store it under roof.
Tried Poly Glo and it only caused more work.
Tried buffing and it didn't last. Took way too much time, work, and cost. I tried several different compounds and had it looking good, briefly but it went right back to being dull quickly.

We really like the camper, but I am embarrassed with how it looks. I'm sure repainting the entire thing will be costly.
Our sides are dull too but at least they are not mottled like the front and rear. Even the metal around the main door and the other smaller access doors is dull. But I can live with it, I think

There are a couple of products Im going to try, to see if it improves the look for any significant period of time. If it does not last it is not worth the effort to me. If I find one that is promising I will let you know.

I have also considered clear coating the sides, but Im not certain if the clear coat would make it shine again over the dull fiberglass. It would not be that hard I don't think, the only parts Id have to mas off are the windows, including their rubber outer rings and the awning itself.

If that works there is a Ceramic Coating I use on our cars (well my truck and her car) called Torque Detail. The last time I applied it was nearly 2 years ago and they both still bead the water off like a new wax job. It is easy to apply. Ive tried it on the fiberglass with very disappointing results, but on a clear coat it may just be the perfect product. NO, I have no financial or other interest in the company that makes it.

I may try spraying a clear coat on in an inconspicuous spot to see how it shines. If it looks worth it I will coat it with the Torque Detail and see how the entire thing weathers. Like you we LOVE the camper, it is very comfortable to live in while traveling, I just want it to look a little better.
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2008 Chevy Silverado 2500HD CCSB LTZ Diesel, Fumoto Oil Drain Valve, Turbo Brake activated, 39 gal Aux Tank W/ Fuel Pump transfer, Air Lift Loadlifter 5000 air bags.
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Old 05-08-2021, 12:26 PM   #20
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Thanks for the info. Please let me know how you make out with the clear coat and ceramic over that.
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