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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > A decal restoration method that really works!

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jametheus

Tucson, AZ

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Posted: 10/17/12 03:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After years of trying restore the old oxidized decals on my various RV's, I have finally found a method that works. It is not for decals that are shredded or peeling. This is for decals that are highly oxidized and have lost their color. I must say that I was tipped off to this by a discussion about several approaches to decal restoration on an old RV.Net posting.

Today, I conducted a series of tests on my 2004 Safari Cheetah diesel motorhome that has been exposed to the Arizona sun for the past three years. Every year, I try various waxes and glazes in an attempt to bring life back to the decals but none of these have worked very well.

Here is the method that stands head and shoulders above anything I have ever tried.

1. Wash the decal area thoroughly and allow to dry.
2. Using 1500 grit, wet sandpaper available at your automotive supply or paint store, apply the sandpaper to a rubber sanding block, dip it in warm water for a minute or two, apply water to a small area of the decal and lightly sand using uniform pressure.
3. In very short order, you will see oxidized pigment flowing from the sanded area. Do not over-sand at this point!
4. Wash the area with clean water and allow to dry. When properly sanded, the decal should be uniform in color without any sign of "blotchiness" or non-uniform coloration.
5. If the area does not appear uniform in color, wet the surface again and continue sanding until a uniformly colored surface is obtained.
6. I should point out that at this point, the decal surface will be glass smooth over the entire sanded area when you are done.
7 After the decal is sanded and washed, apply a high quality wax. I found in my experiments that real Carnuba wax provided the best surface appearance and I suspect that it will also provide the best long term protection. However an extremely close quality finish can be achieved with "Maguires Cleaner/Polish" in place of the Carnuba.

In these experiments, I tried (in a addition to the wet sanding) extremely fine grade (0000) steel wool, "Protectant 303", "Maguires Cleaner Polish", carnuba wax alone, "Mothers Back to Black" and "New Finish" wax. None came even close to providing the quality of restortion obtained with the wet-sanded and waxed finish.

I have photos that I took of the various test results. If anyone would like to see them, email me at jch_031241@yahoo.com.

Hope this is of use to those of us who can't afford to have their RV repainted and/or re-decaled.

Old-Biscuit

Verde Valley

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Posted: 10/17/12 04:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Idea!!!

When can you come by OR I can probably stop by sometime next year. [emoticon]

Always interested in ways to keep rig looking good. Now if I could just figure out that 'labor' thing that is low cost.


Is it time for your medication or mine?


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raygreg

Seattle,WA

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Posted: 10/17/12 04:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll be trying this soon, Thanks.

1492

Arlington, VA

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Posted: 10/17/12 05:02pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from Forum Technical Support

hershey

Albuquerque,(fulltime) NM, USA

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Posted: 10/17/12 09:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a great idea.
My silver and gold stripes were faded in various colors. When I used Pro Max to protect and shine my white gel coat, I carefully stayed away from the decals. One decal on the rear was really faded so I said what the heck. I used the Pro Max on it and it regained its original shine and uniform color.


hershey - albuquerque, nm
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Jersey Shore

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Posted: 10/21/12 09:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Only the black decals on one side of our 8 year old TH are oxidized/faded. I wetsanded a small 12" test area and it bought up a smooth even black finish, but it was dull. Went over it with MacGuires cleaner/polish and it still didn't shine much.

Then tried 3M Marine cleaner/wax I use on the fiberglass front cap and it bought up a shine on the decal. The 3M cleaner/wax fells like it has a light compound to it.

After that I skipped the wetsanding and tried the 3M cleaner/wax on all the faded decals and it worked great. Rub on and buff off a minute or two later. It removed the "old" oxydized layer down to fresh color. Decals look new again and we'll see how long it lasts.


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WoodGlue

Los Angeles / Montana

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Posted: 10/21/12 11:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Could you please post at least one before and after photo?

Thanks!

WoodGlue

chili's trip

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Posted: 10/22/12 06:14am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Caution! As a general rule, using anything containing petroleum distillates can dissolve the adhesive holding the vinyl decals to the fiberglass. This includes most waxes and cleaners. The only products I have been able to find that don't contain petroleum distillates are 303 Protectant and Protect-all. Good luck!
Jack H


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SRT

Head of the Lakes, MN

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Posted: 10/22/12 07:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Over the years I've used Protect-All on our motor home's decals. It has worked pretty good. Of course, the MH sits in an enclosed building when we're not camping. The MH did sit out for about 6 years before we moved into our current sticks/bricks with room for it's own garage.

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