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Old 10-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #1
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Gelcoat cracking under decals

I started replacing some decals on my new-2-me 2000 Itasca Suncruiser, because they were cracked. At first, I figured they just dried out and after 10 years that this was pretty normal. However, after I removed the decals, I found that the gelcoat is cracking, but only under the decals. The cracks in the decals align perfectly with the cracks in the gelcoat, and are numerous, like a bunch of spider webs. Does anyone know what would cause the gelcoat to crack like this?

I purchased the new decals before removing the old ones, but I don't want to re-apply them over the cracked gelcoat. I thought I would fill the cracks with a flexible auto body glaze, then sand and prime before applying the new ones. Had I known ahead of time that I would have to do this, I would have just airbrushed new graphics, rather than use the decals. However, I spent a lot of money for the decals, and don't want them to go to waste. Any ideas??


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Old 11-14-2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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Hi Bob,

I can't help with your gelcoat question, but I'm needing new decals for my 1999 Itasca. Can you tell me where you were able to purchase them? I've been looking everywhere and can't seem to locate them. Thanks!
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:53 AM   #3
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Try these links:
Winnebago Parts - Decals for Winnebago and Itasca Motorhomes
Winnebago & Itasca Motorhomes, Iowa RV Dealer - North Iowa GM Dealer - Lichtsinn Motors
Valley Screen Process Inc.
Sharpline Converting, Inc. Home
Service: Supplier Links

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Old 11-15-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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The spider cracks are not unusual in the filon. My coach had the opposite...cracks in places that were not protected by either paint or decals. The filon under the decals was perfect.

I had a full body paint job and the shop sanded the surface and used a 'high-fill' primer. That was followed by base coat and 4 coats of clear. None of the paint shops from which I got estimates would guarentee the cracks would not reappear.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:51 AM   #5
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Same cracking here.

I am removing the tacky decals form my 2003 Palisades 362 that I have just bought and discovered the same thing. It is because the adhesive on the decal has bonded so well with the gel-coat that, as the vinyl shrinks and cracks, it pulls the gel-coat apart at the crack.

Why would you spend the time and effort to fix the gel-coat cracks only to put that vinyl on and see it happen all over again?

If you want some tacky swirls and curls paint them on.
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:32 PM   #6
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Had the same problem. Our coach was supposed to be full body paint. They put dark vinyl decals on and sprayed clear coat over it. The gel coat spider cracked under the vinyl and cracked the vinyl.

We removed the decals, sanded everything, repaired the cracks with an expensive epoxy, special primer (2 coats), base coat (2 coats), clear coat (4 coats). We changed the graphic design, and all the new graphic work was painted on.

Two years later, the cracks are back. We can see the old graphic pattern.

There's no fix for this.
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Old 04-26-2011, 01:34 AM   #7
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Wow! Thats really disheartening. Your problem sounds like a poor quality gel-coat issue and /or fiberglass panel itself combined with the problems that the vinyl causes. I am surprised that a properly done epoxy primer and paint system did not fix the problem. There is a high degree of expertise required to fix problems like that. I have personally repaired gelcoat issues on yachts with the AWLGRIP system. It is high end to be sure but when done right lasts 20 years or more with proper cleaning.

Your problem illustrates my argument for never, ever even putting the graphics on to begin with.
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