Roof light woes - help!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Mags52, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    For the first time since we got the van I went up on the roof today thinking I would clean the big Heki rooflight that looked so dirty from inside. To my horror I discovered that it is covered in a crazed surface that looks like old hardened wax. It is breaking up and very unsightly. I've spent an hour with my thumb nail and got about 10% of it off. No idea whether it is wax or something else but it is dull and comes off in flakes.

    Any ideas to get it off? My nails won't manage the whole lot.
    Funnily enough the other roof lights were fine. Strange ...
     
  2. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    Hate to be the bearer of bad tidings... but it sounds to me as if it is has been attacked by a cleaning / polishing product .. either by yourself or previous owner. Either that or it's UV degradation .. but since the others are ok, that is unlikely

    I doubt you will get it clean.. a new window may be the only solution ..

    I hope I'm wrong and someone knows better ..

    Do you have a photo ?
     
  3. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    We've never been up there before so haven't put anything on it. We took it in turns with a plastic scraper this afternoon and got about a quarter clear of whatever it is but then had to stop. Tiring work! It looks like a film of something that has dried on hard. Comes off in tiny white flecks.
    Might go for a replacement - will need to check the cost though. Having just replaced the clutch the MH is proving a bit expensive this year. :Eek!:
     
  4. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi it may be that the installer left the protective clear tape on - should be removed after installation - It may be hard to get off but try a GENTLE hair dryer to see if it helps remove it
    Try a plastic wedge /scraper -If the van is new take it back :Wink:If it is what I say it is a pain to remove
    terry
     
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  5. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Mags - cross post as I was writing :thumb: sounds like I am right -sorry to say but persevere :thumb:
    terry
     
  6. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Thanks Terry - that's what it looks like. Unfortunately it's 5 years old so it has had a long time to get well and truly stuck. We'll try the hair dryer - great idea.
     
  7. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    never thought of that Terry.. :thumb:

    I knew someone would know better :Laughing:
     
  8. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    As Terry already mentioned, this sounds like the installer left the protective film on when fitting (similar to cling film). Either warm it gently with a hair drier or use warm soapy water. Be careful even with plastic scrapers as acrylic scratches easily and will then hold the dirt more
     
  9. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    Try lighter fluid

    Try light fluid.. it evaporates fast, but is used to remove sticky labels from magazine and while it looks like it leaves a smudge mark that evaporates within minutes. I use it on model plastic boxes to get old labels off on train items.. I have used it for years.. I even used it to removed some of the dried stuff they left on the wheel arch on my RV.. a film .. took a fair bit of the finger nail, then a soft bit of wood, but it was the lighter fluid that broke it down.

    Bob
     
  10. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Mags, been trying to think of a better way to remove it but not come up with anything so it looks like a bit at a time :Sad:Look at it as a labour of love :Smile: a new roof will set you back more than £100 or perhaps £450 or more for a complete Heiki :Eeek: It is only 2 pins to squash and remove it but the handle is a pain as well, so stick at it :BigGrin:
    terry
     
  11. Mags52

    Mags52 Funster

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    Great idea Bob. We've got some sticky stuff remover too - just didn't make the connection.
    Brilliant!
     
  12. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    You should see peoples faces

    When I used to do toy fairs years back you should see peoples faces when we got the tin out and poured it on the label.. it comes off bit by it and then it removes the sticky .. hard work I know, but once you get it to move you will be able to squirt a bit more and then more as you work your way through the mess, it does evaporate fast so be prepared to to get a few cans.. but a lot lot cheaper than a new roof light ... wait to hear how you get on

    Bob
     
  13. darklord

    darklord Read Only Funster

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    Another idea, is to try a little of your wifes (or your own) nail varnish remover, give it a go on a small spot first.
     
  14. bigfoot

    bigfoot Funster

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    I would be VERY cautious using any type of solvent or petroleum based product which could attack the plastic surface even dissolve it.
    Usually the protective tape or sheet covers on plastics is coloured mainly tranlucent blue.
    I fear the only solution may have to be soapy water and elbow grease.
     
  15. jenny and mitch

    jenny and mitch Funster

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    What about tar remover. Mitch.
     
  16. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    I agree with this completely, as many caravanners have found over the years, some solvents like nail varnish remover actually react with the acrylic and melt it. There is a product on the market though that is a fine enough cutting compound to remove light scratches from acrylic windows. Just cant recall the name at the moment. You may need to use this to restore the surface once youve scratched all the film off.

    As previously mentioned, even minor scratches on the surface will hold dirt and verdigis and you will of gained nothing from your hard work. Ive seen people use Tcut and Cif to try and remove scratches, but this leaves the surface even more damaged. Use the product designed for the purpose and you should be ok
     
  17. darklord

    darklord Read Only Funster

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    I stand corrected.
     
  18. spannermanwigan

    spannermanwigan Read Only Funster

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  19. ciderman

    ciderman Funster

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    do not use any solvent at all it will craze the plastic and you will need a new window/rooflight any way :thumb:
     
  20. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    That is why Light Fuel works

    That is why light fuel works as it evaporates as soon as it touches the material and only softens the item attached to the plastic.. but it does not damage plastic.. I have been using this trick for 30 years now.. and believe me a model (collectible) with a damaged box is worthless, so it is important that it works and does no damage .. and no way would I put it on my RV if there was a risk. Common sense when doing it.

    But no to acetone (nail varnish removed) is a stripper and I would not use it. to drastic.


    Bob
     
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