Thursday, April 9, 2009
What Have I Gotten Myself Into?
This week I had planned to do some routine maintenance to my RV. I needed to de-winterize it and sanitize the fresh water system. I also wanted to put two more covers over the fresh air vents on the roof. In the picture above I circle the covers. There are actually a total of four of these on the roof although you can only see three in the picture.
I brought the RV from the lot to the house on Tuesday and for the last two days have been doing maintenance and other chores. Everything went so well that I decided to start another pretty big DYI project on the outside of the coach. If you will look at the picture at the top of the post you can see an arrow pointed to the blue lines on the side of the coach body. These lines are actually decals and not paint. The coach is 17 years old and these decals are starting to curl off of the body and they look a little ratty up close.
I have read of people removing these decals using a hair dryer and some adhesive remover so I decided to give it a try. Everything I read about the process says that you should try on an inconspicuous place first just to see how it does...with the reasoning that if it doesn't go well you haven't messed up the look too bad.
I chose a spot on the rear passenger side that was a little hidden by the awning arms. It wasn't easy but it wasn't too bad and I reasoned that with a lot of time I could do a pretty decent job. The vinyl "stripes" came off pretty easily but left the dried adhesive below it, stuck to the wall of the RV. I used a little Goof Off to soften the aged adhesive and then rubbed it off with a rag....that was in the test area. After I decided to go ahead and started on a part that was clearly visible things started to get ugly.
The graphics still came off pretty easily but the dried adhesive got harder and harder to remove. When the Goof Off became ineffective I tried gasoline. That didn't work so I tried some 3M adhesive remover. That worked a little better but still not good enough to allow me to get much of anything done. I then tried some laquer thinner that worked ok but it also started to take the paint off of the RV! In the picture to the right you can see the colored line which are the untouched areas. The gray lines are areas in which the decal has been removed. The gray matter is the adhesive that held the decal to the body. The area shown in the picture above took me all day to do. That's all day as in eight hours!
About this time I began to get that sinking feeling. My brain started offering up every curse word it had ever stored...including some that I had not thought about or used since I left Uncle Sam's services over 35 years ago. It was back to the drawing board and try to figure out a good exit strategy.
In desperation I called a body shop that I had talked to a few months ago about repainting the entire coach. I never went through with that plan because my first born is married and living away from home now so I couldn't sell her to finance the project. Anyway, the body shop said that they had an industrial strength adhesive remover that didn't hurt the paint under the decals and that "might" work. This morning I put the RV back in the lot and headed some 20 miles north to the body shop to buy a sample of this miracle substance. While I was there the owner also showed me a plastic razor blade which he said could be used to help scrape off the adhesive without damaging the body paint. Whodathunk....plastic razor blades?
So, as of right now I have a little hope that I can pull this rabbit out of the hat. I won't try the new adhesive remover until early next week when I bring the RV back to the house to start preparing for the chicken dance trip on the18th.
All of you readers....think good thoughts. Do a few ohmmms for me. I'll need all the help I can get.
Thanks for visiting.