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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > Chalky gelcoat? Red Max Pro -- once more through the mill

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SpinRite

Research Triangle, NC

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Posted: 02/08/11 04:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we bought our (then) 12-year-old rig, the gelcoat on the caps was badly oxidized -- running a hand over it produced a powdery white palm. As a prouud new owner, I researched RV.Net and soon invested a small fortune in all kinds of cleaners, polishes, rubbing compounds, waxes, and, of course, a random-orbital buffer. After a week of hard labor, scrubbing, rubbing, cleaning, waxing, buffing, plus miles of ladder-climbing, the fibreglass was shiny once more.

But, considering the amount of "sweat equity" that was invested in the job, the shine didn't last nearly long enough, Our MH is kept in an open storage lot and is parked facing north, so the rear cap gets the full attention of the sun's UV rays.

There had to be a better way....

Finally, I ran across a thread about Red Max Pro, and it seemed to be exactly what was needed: easy to apply, no buffing. I read everything Google could find for me. While the nay-sayers warned of various "what-ifs," everyone who dared to try it seemed satisfied. I was ready to give it a try after our return from a cross-country jaunt through the Great American Southwest last July.





MATERIALS:
1. Kitchen sponge with Scotch-Brite scrubbie pad on the back - perfect for washing, then scouring. I used a clean, sponge for applying the Red Max Pro

2. Bar Keepers Friend - non-abrasive scouring powder, which doesn't have chlorine in it. Works great for removing oxidation on gelcoat. (Bonus: Also cleans aluminum wheel rims fast and easy!) Got it at the local grocery (Krogers) for about a buck.


3. Red Max Pro #3 - Red Max Pro comes in four differnt types: #1 is a stripper, #2 is sealer, #3 is a finisher, #4 is... I can't remember. (I guess if you used the sealer, which is for wood floors, then you could skip the first couple coats of the finish, but the cost and results would be the same -- just an extra half-full jug lying around.) The Red Max #3 was hard to find, hidden away in the flooring materials section. I think I found it at at Lowe's, it was $15 for a gallon. I used a bit over half to do the entire rig.

4. A juice or ketchup bottle with a small opening in cap - much easier (and a lot less messy) than trying to pour small amounts out of the gallon jug onto your sponge to re-wet it.

5. Rubber or vinyl gloves - I didn't use gloves and ended up with very shiny hands and fingernails for several days afterward.


PREPARATION:
Wash with Dawn to remove all remaining wax, diesel/oil mist, etc. If the gelcoat is oxidized, then scrub with Bar Keepers Friend and a Scotch-Brite pad to remove all the chalky dust.

It is very important to remove all embedded stains. While barely noticable on a dull matte-white surface, any discoloration becomes much more visible on a shiny surface.


The rear cap after prep-ing.
Note the lack of reflections, the surface is totally dull.




APPLICATION:
Note: If using a brand new sponge or rag which is any color other than white, be sure to rinse it out thoroughly in water before using to apply the Red Max, so the dye doesn't contaminate your finish color.

Application is the easiest part of the job. Red Max Pro is a milky, water-thin liquid which is applied in a thin coat so that it doesn't run. I used a kitchen sponge, but you could use a lint-free cloth or a chamois.

You don't have to worry about technique; just wipe it on, let it dry, apply another coat. That's it -- no rubbing, no buffing. Although four coats are needed for the full visual effect, Red Max Pro dries fairly quickly and I was able to do the entire rear cap in one afternoon. By the time I finished each complete coat, the first section was dry and ready for the next.

Warning: DO NOT BE ALARMED, or discouraged, after the the first coat. As others had reported, I found that the first coat had dry spots, "splotchy-ness," and was "swirly-looking." The second coat didn't really seem to help much. The third coat, however, helped to even everything out and it looked fairly good in some places.

Then -- Shazam! Coat number four was the "Magic Money Maker!" All traces of unevenness in the shine disappeared, and the tired old bus shined like new again!


Here is the same rear cap, a few hours later.
You can see that it is now quite shiny ( even though the day has grown cloudy.)




DECALS:
More good news -- unlike other waxes and polishes, the Red Max does not turn white on the decals. Instead, it does just what you want it to do: it deepens the color and restores the lustre.


I'm not sure if these decals were ever really shiny, but you can see the sponge's reflection in the "After" picture.
BEFORE


AFTER




LONGEVITY:
Six months later, the shine still looks great, although the summer sun hasn't had a shot at it yet. I intend to report back after another six months of summer sun, rain and travel.

All the credit for this discovery goes to the first brave soul who tried out this unconventional solution and then shared the information

* This post was last edited 02/21/11 03:48pm by SpinRite *   View edit history


'94 Holiday Rambler Navigator
38', Cummins 8.3 300hp, Allison 3060
pushed by a 2005 Honda Element

Jhureau881

SW Ohio

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Posted: 02/08/11 05:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Seems alot like Poliglow?????


Scott Hureau
97 HR Endeavor 37CDS CAT

SoCal Kevin

Murrieta, CA

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Posted: 02/08/11 06:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had very similar results. I was even more impressed with the way the decals responded than the gelcoat. The decals looked painted on when I was finished - much, much better than before.

Best $20 that I've spent so far!


SoCal Kevin
1995 HR Navigator
M11 400 Cummins
Allison HD 4060
Ready Brute Towbar; 2000 Suburban Toad


fcooper

Richmond Hill, Georgia

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Joined: 09/23/2003

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Posted: 02/08/11 06:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've also had similar results. Did the front cap last summer and it still looks good. I used the same prep as he described. One caution...an old t-shirt is not lint free so don't use one for application.

I've still got to do the rear cap, and it is dull...looks like the picture SpinRite posted. I'm going to use the Red Max sealer then the #3 Red Max product on the rear cap to see if the results are different.

Fred


Fred & Vicki
Richmond Hill, Ga
2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor/Freightliner/330 Cat
2000 Honda Odyssey toad w SMI Silent Partner braking system
TST507 TPMS

wildmanbaker

Kennewick, Washington

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Posted: 02/09/11 12:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great post SpinRight! Its a wonder the nay-sayers haven't jumped on here and said you MH is going to fall apart on the road at any time. This process has been tried and tested by many, with great results. It has lasted for years, from the reports. Good work.


Wildman


fpresto

Maryland

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Joined: 08/01/2007

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Posted: 02/09/11 01:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did mine last August, made several trips then parked for the winter through snow and ice storms and it still shines like it did when I put it on. I can't emphasize enough to wear rubber gloves. It won't hurt you but is extremely difficult to get off of your hands and even worse off of your fingernails unless you don't mind looking like you use nail polish. Secondly use multiple thin coats to avoid runs.


USN Retired
2007 Cedar Creek 30 RLSTS
2008 F350, DRW, V-10, B&W hitch,
Pressure Pro, JT Strongarms

fortytwo

Livingston, TX

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Posted: 02/09/11 08:31pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Best thing about RedMax Pro: after 3 months in storage not a single black streak on the MH. First time ever!


Wes
"A beach house isn't just real estate. It's a state of mind." Pole Sitter in Douglas Adams MOSTLY HARMLESS

stevieptcb

Washington MO

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Posted: 02/10/11 06:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Just so I understand. I first wash my RV with dawn detergent to get off all the grime and black streaks etc. The I put three coats of Red Max on with a sponge. What about the roof? Do you first do your roof with a different cleaner and sealant. Then do the sides after the roof?


Steve Heidmann
2009 Damon Daybreak 3575
Work Horse Chassis

roam1

Gulf Breeze FL

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Posted: 02/10/11 07:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

great report!
thanks

stugpanzer

Illinois

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Joined: 06/19/2006

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Posted: 02/10/11 09:03am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

stevieptcb wrote:

Just so I understand. I first wash my RV with dawn detergent to get off all the grime and black streaks etc. The I put three coats of Red Max on with a sponge. What about the roof? Do you first do your roof with a different cleaner and sealant. Then do the sides after the roof?


Excellent info! I too am interested in the roof process here.


2006 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37C
Mods: EEZRV Products TPMS, Cobra 29LX 50th Anniversary CB radio with Firestik NGP Antenna, Self contained sewer hose



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