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Old 05-19-2017, 09:10 AM   #1
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Clear coating my 2002 Adventurer

It has been harder and harder to get the shine in my 15 YO coach. Built before full body paint was the norm. Lots of white gel coat, decals and body paint on the lower body panels. Decals are starting to peel, and some of the painted body panels are still shiny, some dull. Looks like only some were clear coated. Not going to spend 10-15 thousand on a coach to go with new full body paint when the residual value is only maybe $35,000?

So I screwed up my courage and started on a full DIY project to clear coat the entire coach (except the roof which got a fresh coat of ZEP floor wax after going over it with my rotary attachment on my pressure washer.

3 of 4 of the Adventurer logo decals were badly peeling. I checked and found the small ones on the front and back were no longer available. So I bought 3 of the remaining 5 large ones in existence from winnebagoparts.com in Iowa at $47.80 each. My multistripe was in bad shape too, I needed 45 feet of that, unfortunately they only had enough to do the hood. Good news was that it was only $3.20 per foot. So I used a straightedge and a razor knife to trim off the worst of the peeled edges of the multistripe.

Stopped in at my local auto paint store and they set me up with enough material for 3 gallons of 2 part Lesonal Pro Clear, a gallon of Prep-All cleaner, a rubber wheel to strip adhesive, a quart of Presta gel coat compound and the black/white wool pad for my Harbor Freight 7" polisher. I had a DuraBlock HVLP gravity fed spray gun from my previous Jeep paint project along with a 3M painter's respirator. I invested in a Baker's rolling scaffold ($209) from Home Depot as well as tape, taped-film masking and a gallon of lacquer cleaner. All-in at under a grand.

So far I have the front and rear done in a week. What have I gotten myself into? I learned that you don't compound the stripes nor the paint with the same combo as the gelcoat, just too aggressive. So I wipe the decals with Prep-All and then acetone to try to bring back some of the color. And I hit the paint with a grey pad and on the flat surfaces using my vibrating sander to help. Many lower panels and the grille really needed complete paint work to address small dents and scratches and paint chips. I decided that would be a huge complication that would push the project over the edge, so it is just going to get a scruff and clearcoat over the warts.

And now I remember my biggest nemesis in running the spray gun: too slow and you get rough orange peel, too fast and you get runs. Having some runs to block out on the rear, I am now opting for erring on the side of no runs and something less than a glass smooth finish. Getting all the old wax off and compounding the gel coat really shows how white it was. And having the old paint and old and new decals buried under two layers of clear coat is a good feeling. Oh, and doing it in my driveway, I have to deal with the occasional stray bug and tree debris in the half hour it takes to get non-tacky. The surface is not as smooth as the raw gel coat, but it sure is shiny! It will be a big improvement.

Hoping to complete the project before memorial Day weekend. Wish me luck on getting enough calm, dry mornings to spray.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:19 AM   #2
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Hope it turns out great. I have some peeling of the clearcoat on our 08, so hope to get at it this Summer.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:27 AM   #3
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'02 Adventurer 32V, Ford F-53, ours since 4/08,Goodyears, Konis, SeeLevel, CHF
'84 CJ-7 , 5.3 Chevy, 3" lift, 33's, Detroit Locker, Fiberglas tub, winch, hi-lift
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:52 PM   #4
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Looking GOOD! What did you use for the clear coat? Was it 2 part epoxy or a water base? Did it flow out easy? How long to flash and what was the temp like when you did it?
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:16 PM   #5
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Looking GOOD! What did you use for the clear coat? Was it 2 part epoxy or a water base? Did it flow out easy? How long to flash and what was the temp like when you did it?
I used what my local long time auto paint supplier recommended. It is a 2 part acrylic urethane, solvent based 2:1 mix. Leftovers were dumped in an old margarine tub and hardened after 8 hours to a rubbery texture. Made by AkzoNobel is is called Lesonal Pro Air Clear 2 Pack-Slow. Enough to make 3 gallons was about $640. Flashes at 5-10 minutes at 70 degrees, I recoated in 15 minutes no problem. 4 hour pot life, 8 hours dry to handle, dust free, 20 minutes, all per data sheet. Temp was about 75 when I shot it. My spray painting skills are limited, it flows out nicely, just before it runs. Gotta be real careful, but that is my experience with any clear coat I have ever used (twice previously on my Jeep, last time using House of Kolor.) I am definitely not a pro painter and my gun is less than top professional gear, using a Durablock HVLP conversion gun.
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:00 PM   #6
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Wow. Impressive. I'm definitely not a painter wouldn't even attempt to do a job like that.

With my 15 yo Bounder, I just drove to Mexico and had the experts down there scrape all the old vinyl off, and replace it with paint. They also did all the basement compartments and attachments like the mirrors. $1600 or so. I checked and the paint used was pro grade automotive paint.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
Wow. Impressive. I'm definitely not a painter wouldn't even attempt to do a job like that.

With my 15 yo Bounder, I just drove to Mexico and had the experts down there scrape all the old vinyl off, and replace it with paint. They also did all the basement compartments and attachments like the mirrors. $1600 or so. I checked and the paint used was pro grade automotive paint.
There are a lot of labor intensive steps. First you wash it. Then you wipe it down with Prep-All to remove the old wax and other contaminants. Then you scrape off the old decals. Then you clean off the old decal adhesive, you know how much fun that is. Then you scruff all the remaining decals and paint. Then you compound the gelcoat to remove the oxidation. Then you wipe it down again. Then you mask. Then you paint. Then you replace any battered decals. Then you mask. Then you clear coat. Did I mention removing and replacing things like ladders, hand grips and other things you don't want to mask or can't paint around? Very cheap experienced labor (Mexico) is the only solution if you want to keep the cost down and aren't dumb enough to do it yourself (like me).

Masking is a huge deal. You have to mask completed portions to protect them from over spray. An RV is so big you can't clear coat it in one operation, you must do it in manageable segments due to flash time and the ability to reach up 11 feet. And over spray goes a long way, I thought I could just mask with 12" taped paper. No way. I thought I could mask with 48" taped film. Better but still not enough, so now I am looking around for 96" taped film. So you mask off the bottom panels and spray the top of 1/3 of a side of the coach at a time, then mask that off and spray the bottom. And remember you can't put tape on the just finished portion until the next day.

Wishing I could use my airless gun so I could use extensions and not have to worry about a cup that only holds just north of a pint. Paint shop said no way.
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'84 CJ-7 , 5.3 Chevy, 3" lift, 33's, Detroit Locker, Fiberglas tub, winch, hi-lift
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:29 AM   #8
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I'm impressed you go to that much trouble, training, expense, and shear hard work to accomplish the job. Truly a labor of love.

More pics when you are finished please.

Looking forward to reading about your next project.

PS In Mexico, the crew taped up huge swaths of the RV one step at a time, then the 'artist' used a small air brush setup to do the actual painting. Took them around 5 days with a couple delays to work on other RVs. The scraping off of the old crumbly vinyl took most of the time.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7ole View Post
It has been harder and harder to get the shine in my 15 YO coach. Built before full body paint was the norm. Lots of white gel coat, decals and body paint on the lower body panels. Decals are starting to peel, and some of the painted body panels are still shiny, some dull. Looks like only some were clear coated. Not going to spend 10-15 thousand on a coach to go with new full body paint when the residual value is only maybe $35,000?

So I screwed up my courage and started on a full DIY project to clear coat the entire coach (except the roof which got a fresh coat of ZEP floor wax after going over it with my rotary attachment on my pressure washer.

3 of 4 of the Adventurer logo decals were badly peeling. I checked and found the small ones on the front and back were no longer available. So I bought 3 of the remaining 5 large ones in existence from winnebagoparts.com in Iowa at $47.80 each. My multistripe was in bad shape too, I needed 45 feet of that, unfortunately they only had enough to do the hood. Good news was that it was only $3.20 per foot. So I used a straightedge and a razor knife to trim off the worst of the peeled edges of the multistripe.

Stopped in at my local auto paint store and they set me up with enough material for 3 gallons of 2 part Lesonal Pro Clear, a gallon of Prep-All cleaner, a rubber wheel to strip adhesive, a quart of Presta gel coat compound and the black/white wool pad for my Harbor Freight 7" polisher. I had a DuraBlock HVLP gravity fed spray gun from my previous Jeep paint project along with a 3M painter's respirator. I invested in a Baker's rolling scaffold ($209) from Home Depot as well as tape, taped-film masking and a gallon of lacquer cleaner. All-in at under a grand.

So far I have the front and rear done in a week. What have I gotten myself into? I learned that you don't compound the stripes nor the paint with the same combo as the gelcoat, just too aggressive. So I wipe the decals with Prep-All and then acetone to try to bring back some of the color. And I hit the paint with a grey pad and on the flat surfaces using my vibrating sander to help. Many lower panels and the grille really needed complete paint work to address small dents and scratches and paint chips. I decided that would be a huge complication that would push the project over the edge, so it is just going to get a scruff and clearcoat over the warts.

And now I remember my biggest nemesis in running the spray gun: too slow and you get rough orange peel, too fast and you get runs. Having some runs to block out on the rear, I am now opting for erring on the side of no runs and something less than a glass smooth finish. Getting all the old wax off and compounding the gel coat really shows how white it was. And having the old paint and old and new decals buried under two layers of clear coat is a good feeling. Oh, and doing it in my driveway, I have to deal with the occasional stray bug and tree debris in the half hour it takes to get non-tacky. The surface is not as smooth as the raw gel coat, but it sure is shiny! It will be a big improvement.

Hoping to complete the project before memorial Day weekend. Wish me luck on getting enough calm, dry mornings to spray.


I admire your ambition and hope you get something close to your wishes. Having painted cars before I always recommend a washing or two with DAWM ULTRA 2X dish soap before painting. That stuff gets wax, oils, and mystery coatings off with great ease. Just don't use it after you finish your work.

Good luck and look forward to seeing pics of the finished product.

MrB1LL
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Old 05-20-2017, 07:45 PM   #10
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Looking at the weather report this week, I may just prep the driver's side (I finished prepping the passenger side today) and put it in storage until after Memorial Day and when the weather looks favorable for spraying. I may also see if anyone at the local airport paints planes and if they might be interested in just spaying the clear coat in a paint hanger, out of the weather. The grey pad wasn't scruffing very well so I switched over to using 400 grit paper instead with a firm foam sanding block. Seems to do a much better job.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
Wow. Impressive. I'm definitely not a painter wouldn't even attempt to do a job like that.

With my 15 yo Bounder, I just drove to Mexico and had the experts down there scrape all the old vinyl off, and replace it with paint. They also did all the basement compartments and attachments like the mirrors. $1600 or so. I checked and the paint used was pro grade automotive paint.
Where in Mexico did you have this done?
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:46 PM   #12
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Where in Mexico did you have this done?
I had the bulk of the work done in Mazatlan, and then touch ups done a few years later in San Felipe, Baja.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:37 PM   #13
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Weather forecast for this morning was showing 60 degrees by 9:00 am and very light winds, so I got Wanda out of storage yesterday, did a final wash with Dawn and masked the the heck out of it. This morning I was at it by 7:00 draping the already completed areas and those that will be in phase 3 and 4. Phase 1 was the front and back, phase 2 (today) are the sides above the belt line, excluding the mid portions of both sides, phase 3 will be the middle portions of the sides and phase 4 will be everything on the sides below the belt line.

Started spraying by 9:00 and I finished two coats on phase 2 by 10:30. Wind was calm, and the cotton hadn't started flying yet from the trees. Still can't get a nice smooth coat to save me. Got some runs early on, so being careful after that, I ended up with a lot of orange peel that would be unacceptable on a car, but I am OK with it. Like they say, you get what you pay for. Sure is nice knowing that at least the gel coat won't be oxidizing any time soon under the clear coat. Looks like my next weather window won't be until the middle of the week.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CJ7ole View Post
Weather forecast for this morning was showing 60 degrees by 9:00 am and very light winds, so I got Wanda out of storage yesterday, did a final wash with Dawn and masked the the heck out of it. This morning I was at it by 7:00 draping the already completed areas and those that will be in phase 3 and 4. Phase 1 was the front and back, phase 2 (today) are the sides above the belt line, excluding the mid portions of both sides, phase 3 will be the middle portions of the sides and phase 4 will be everything on the sides below the belt line.

Started spraying by 9:00 and I finished two coats on phase 2 by 10:30. Wind was calm, and the cotton hadn't started flying yet from the trees. Still can't get a nice smooth coat to save me. Got some runs early on, so being careful after that, I ended up with a lot of orange peel that would be unacceptable on a car, but I am OK with it. Like they say, you get what you pay for. Sure is nice knowing that at least the gel coat won't be oxidizing any time soon under the clear coat. Looks like my next weather window won't be until the middle of the week.
I admire people who can do their own automotive painting. I fail every time. Can you post some pictures of your work?

Thanks!
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Old 06-04-2017, 05:38 AM   #15
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Looks very nice. I was toying with the idea of doing that to our 2003. We live in the snow belt of NY so time is not on our side but hope to get this done this summer.
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Old 06-16-2017, 11:11 AM   #16
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I got lucky with three good days in a row, so it is now finished. Got some more runs so I went at those starting with 400 grit dry on the DA, then wet 500 and 600, then dry 800, then wet 1000, 1200 1500 and finally buffed it out. I tried the trick of applying a light glaze first to highlight the drips, but that was much more work and cost than it was worth. I could only find 400 and 800 6" discs which needed to be done dry, the finer grits are like $6 each, if you can find them. Nice and smooth now, except I am not going to do that to the whole rig so some areas are flat, but most still have a medium orange peel. Well it is a 15 year old RV, not a '53 Corvette. Some lower panels appeared to be factory clear coated, others not. Those that were not didn't take well to a light sanding being metallic. Overall it was a job, but knowing that the paint, gelcoat, decals and logos are buried under a heavy clear coat is a real good feeling. Now to seal the fiberglass roof to the awning extrusion.
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Old 06-16-2017, 08:19 PM   #17
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Here is a shot of the side of the coach after finishing the clear coat and cleaning and resealing the roof edges http://www.irv2.com/forums/f101/rese...ml#post3652334 :
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:26 PM   #18
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I looked at doing this as well and it's a way big job, and then tends to yellow or peel. So it sounds like you got a good quality acrylic clear if it was some $600.
I've been doing custom auto paint work since the 70's, all hobby stuff. It's very tricky to get it to come out right so if you managed that good on ya.

Mine is getting there too, it's a 2005, so last year I stripped the vinyl striping on the sun side and painted them on. Wool-wheel polished it with 3M Imperial finishing compound - gelcoat still comes up pretty good. New name decals I custom made and had printed out on bus-wrap vinyl. I am worried that by the time it needs it again I'll be too old to do it though.

This year I made new slide-toppers.

So I posted up some neato pics of the process and now the forum says I can link photos. What a fail. Oh well...b-bye then I'm outta here.
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Old 09-24-2017, 09:07 AM   #19
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Canít wait to see photos. Sounds like it looks better than new!
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