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Thread: What Type of Paint to use on a RV (fiberglass)

  1. #1

    Exclamation What Type of Paint to use on a RV (fiberglass)

    Hey Guys,

    My Dad and I maybe attempting a project on our 21'' Winniebago. It is a 1996 in great condition however, the Florida sun has just eaten away at the decals, they have become cracked and faded. My dad and I were never a fan of the pink decals anyways.

    So now we are in the phase of taking the decals off with the eraser wheel, it takes them off great but the paint underneath is still new and doesn't match perfectly. For example you can see where the decals use to be.

    We wanted to repaint the rv that nice bright white that you see on all newer RV's, then get it fully restripped. I have good experience with paints for cars,however I am not sure how it works for RVs, the cab is from the Ford Econoline van which is metal, but the actual RV is fiberglass. You can actually see the fiberglass mat running through the side of the RV. That is how it is made, but that doesn't bother us.

    I really do not know if I can use automotive paint or do we have to use a totally different system? Single stage or bc/cc

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nexson
    Hey Guys,

    My Dad and I maybe attempting a project on our 21'' Winniebago. It is a 1996 in great condition however, the Florida sun has just eaten away at the decals, they have become cracked and faded. My dad and I were never a fan of the pink decals anyways.

    So now we are in the phase of taking the decals off with the eraser wheel, it takes them off great but the paint underneath is still new and doesn't match perfectly. For example you can see where the decals use to be.

    We wanted to repaint the rv that nice bright white that you see on all newer RV's, then get it fully restripped. I have good experience with paints for cars,however I am not sure how it works for RVs, the cab is from the Ford Econoline van which is metal, but the actual RV is fiberglass. You can actually see the fiberglass mat running through the side of the RV. That is how it is made, but that doesn't bother us.

    I really do not know if I can use automotive paint or do we have to use a totally different system? Single stage or bc/cc

    Thanks for your help!
    A good automotive single stage or bc/cc will work just fine on that project.Mike

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by All Dry
    A good automotive single stage or bc/cc will work just fine on that project.Mike

    I am leaning more toward the single stage since it is such a huge project, but I wanted to make sure it would work,

    What would you recommend?

  4. #4
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    Any good urethane will do the job. I'd recommend getting a name brand product that is available in your area. Something like PPG, BASF, DuPont, etc. would be fine.

    When I do a large vehicle or even a van I shoot the roof first then mask it off the shoot the remainder of the vehicle. This way you're not hanging over any wet paint trying to shoot the entire thing at one time.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len
    Any good urethane will do the job. I'd recommend getting a name brand product that is available in your area. Something like PPG, BASF, DuPont, etc. would be fine.

    When I do a large vehicle or even a van I shoot the roof first then mask it off the shoot the remainder of the vehicle. This way you're not hanging over any wet paint trying to shoot the entire thing at one time.
    Len the roof is actually aluminum which helps reflect the sun to keep the RV cooler, so we don't have to worry about painting the top, but great advice.

    What do you think of Kirker Single Stage Paint?

  6. #6
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    I haven't used Kirker myself but several of the folks that have posted here seemed to have like it. You can't usually go wrong with white especially when applying it over a properly prepped surface that is already painted.

    When spraying hardened products be sure to protect yourself from the overspray, it's dangerous stuff. Also be sure to spray it in a well ventilated area out of the sun and downwind from anything of value because the overspray can coat anything it touches.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Len
    I haven't used Kirker myself but several of the folks that have posted here seemed to have like it. You can't usually go wrong with white especially when applying it over a properly prepped surface that is already painted.

    When spraying hardened products be sure to protect yourself from the overspray, it's dangerous stuff. Also be sure to spray it in a well ventilated area out of the sun and downwind from anything of value because the overspray can coat anything it touches.

    Great Info Len,

    Thanks for posting in my thread!

    I am going to most likely shoot the 2k primer in the areas where the decals where taken off, then wetsand it down to probably around 800.

    I just ordered the chip set from kirker, we will match it up to the cab as best we can since the cab is still bright white since it is metal.

  8. #8
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    Nexson, There is really no point in shooting 2K high fill primer over the area of the old decals then wetsanding it. Unnecessary added extra work. If the panels on the motorhome are flat then DA the whole panels with 320 grit. But most campers have corrugated panels which would be almost impossible to use a DA on. In that case buy you a box of red scotchbrite scuff pads and just scuff the panels so that there is no shine left on those panels. If I were doing the job I would scuff pad everything that wasn't flat panels, DA what you can then shoot a coat of non sanding epoxy primer on the areas scuffed and sanded. At that point you just shoot your single stage white directly over the not necessary to sand epoxy primer. Its a lot less labor intensive and is in my opinion the short term and long terms best way to go.

    Another thing to consider. Instead of matching color chips why not just get the manufacturers paint code off the cab/chassis. Relay that paint code number to the Kirker people and they will mix you up an exact match to the cab of your motorhome. (in that case you won't have to spray the cab also since there is nothing wrong with the paint now on the cab, eliminating even more unnecessary work and cost of materials).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Just a thought! I have had good luck by getting my paint store (Dupont /Nason)to read the paint with paint color analizer. That, with the original paint code, I have been really lucky at getting almost perfect matches.

  10. #10

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    Just to add my two cents. I acutually work for a class B RV manufacturer and we use the same paints and primers for the fiberglass that we use for the factory steel components. We use all PPG and primers are DP40LF and K36 for paint we use DBC base coat and a number of different Concept clears. We aslo use some single stage at times. Rest assured that there is no magic required for the fiberglass. We paint alot of fiberglass.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil V
    Nexson, There is really no point in shooting 2K high fill primer over the area of the old decals then wetsanding it. Unnecessary added extra work. If the panels on the motorhome are flat then DA the whole panels with 320 grit. But most campers have corrugated panels which would be almost impossible to use a DA on. In that case buy you a box of red scotchbrite scuff pads and just scuff the panels so that there is no shine left on those panels. If I were doing the job I would scuff pad everything that wasn't flat panels, DA what you can then shoot a coat of non sanding epoxy primer on the areas scuffed and sanded. At that point you just shoot your single stage white directly over the not necessary to sand epoxy primer. Its a lot less labor intensive and is in my opinion the short term and long terms best way to go.

    Another thing to consider. Instead of matching color chips why not just get the manufacturers paint code off the cab/chassis. Relay that paint code number to the Kirker people and they will mix you up an exact match to the cab of your motorhome. (in that case you won't have to spray the cab also since there is nothing wrong with the paint now on the cab, eliminating even more unnecessary work and cost of materials).

    Thanks, good information. I just dont want to sand to much off. I just wanted a smooth transition between where the decals use to be and the exisiting paint, but you know more then me so then I will just block it down since I do not have a DA and don't want to be too rough.

    Also, I know I should pretty much prep the whole rv so the single stage has something to grab into. What would you suggest, 800 grit?

    Quote Originally Posted by StingRay
    Just to add my two cents. I acutually work for a class B RV manufacturer and we use the same paints and primers for the fiberglass that we use for the factory steel components. We use all PPG and primers are DP40LF and K36 for paint we use DBC base coat and a number of different Concept clears. We aslo use some single stage at times. Rest assured that there is no magic required for the fiberglass. We paint alot of fiberglass.
    Thanks, thats reassuring!

  12. #12
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    Under white you can have a 400 scratch as long as you apply a couple coats of paint.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Nexson]

    Also, I know I should pretty much prep the whole rv so the single stage has something to grab into. What would you suggest, 800 grit?






    Red scotchbrite pad, one or two coats of epoxy primer then shoot your single stage white urethane paint. No point in making the whole job more difficult than it needs to be.

  14. #14

    Talking Some Pictures!

    Here is a few before pictures, you can cleary see the decals are faded and cracked, more on the passenger side. We are using the eraser wheel on a drill motor, it is working great! Slowly but surely it is taking the decals off without ruining the fiberglass.




  15. #15

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    Here is a couple after pictures of the passenger side completely done. The rear/driverside and top still need to be done. We are not in a rush, just want to take our time and get it done right.

    You might have noticed we added the most recent grill out from the Econoline Van, the chassis is the same for the most part, so we were able to fit the new grill right in. I just ordered the solid amber turn signals for my dad for his birthday. This will help to give the RV a much newer look. It is a 1996 and taken very good care of, and can't wait to make it look even nicer.



    Last edited by Nexson; 08-31-2008 at 06:25 PM.

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