Gel Coat Restoration, Sealing & Stripes

Post project writeups, ideas, DIY mods and off the shelf modifications and improvements. Also "Known Issues" and their resolutions.
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blueduetto
Posts: 3
Joined: May 30th, 2022, 9:28 am

Gel Coat Restoration, Sealing & Stripes

Post by blueduetto »

I just spent a fair amount of time bringing back the shine to our 99 Premier. It was very dull when we purchased it but free of stress cracks or damage otherwise. The stripes were dull and some heavily crazed so we decided they needed to go. After documenting them so I could recreate them later they were removed. I experimented with a couple of different polishes on the gelcoat and found that a very gentle wet sand with 1500 grit followed by 2 stages of Meguiars polish brought the finish back to what seems as good if not better than new.

My concern now is that I have read elsewhere that once polished sometimes gel coats will dull back out as fast as a few months. I have always used pure carnauba wax on my vehicles but I am wondering if there might be something better for gel coat. Does anyone have any experience with this and can anyone recommend sealers or steps to prevent this from happening?

In the meantime, I recreated the stripes in a graphics program and went so far as to gently modify them to make them a little more modern and subtle. Now that I have done this and got a very nice shine on it we are finding we like the monochromatic look of no stripes at all. I am just curious to see what others have done in this area.
fbland
Posts: 2
Joined: September 28th, 2018, 7:40 am

Re: Gel Coat Restoration, Sealing & Stripes

Post by fbland »

How did you get the stripes off without damaging the gel coat.
blueduetto
Posts: 3
Joined: May 30th, 2022, 9:28 am

Re: Gel Coat Restoration, Sealing & Stripes

Post by blueduetto »

Some of the stripes were in good enough condition that I was able to get a corner lifted and just slowly peel them off. I used a very sharp wood chisel (not recommended!) to get the vinyl started peeling and then would apply just some slight heat from a heat gun to warm the gel-coat and stripe. Some of the stripes would pull off very easily. The adhesive didn't always lift with the stripe though requiring the use of an adhesive solvent and a sharp-edged plastic squeegee. Slow process. I had heard a plastic razor blade is very helpful but didn't find one locally. Above the belt line the stripes were heavily checked and crazed. For those, I got a stripe removal wheel and used it in a corded variable-speed power drill. 3M makes a "Stripe Off Wheel" but I found a no-name knock-off at my local industrial paint store for around 20 bucks that worked amazingly well once I got a feel for it and got the edge of the wheel worn in. I used a medium speed with the wheel at about a 60 degree angle. Like you, I was concerned about marring the gel-coat but it never left a mark. Final clean-up was with Goo-Gone type adhesive solvent and a soft towel. Before I polished the gel-coat you could see where the stripes were at but once polished that virtually disappeared. Our camper spent the majority of its life in the Pacific North-West. Maybe a different story if from a sunnier climate.
fbland
Posts: 2
Joined: September 28th, 2018, 7:40 am

Re: Gel Coat Restoration, Sealing & Stripes

Post by fbland »

Thank you for the thorough description. Most of my striping is in good shape but I sure like the clean "Bare Naked Lady" look.
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