A bit of bodywork advice please .. (1 Viewer)

Sep 17, 2020
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My 2004 Autocruise is covered in small grey marks. It doesn't look too bad from a few feet away, but close up it it's obvious something's not right. I've given it a thorough wash with Traffic Film Remover and used all sorts of solvents and Farecla 3 to try to remove the marks without success. The marks cannot be felt with fingertips, the surface is flat and shiny.

My conclusion is that the gel coat has worn off over the years and what I'm seeing is the glass mat underneath starting to show through.

Has anyone seen a similar defect on their vans? If yes it would be good to hear of any solutions - I'm currently debating vinyl wrap, a paint job, or just keeping it very well waxed.

20221130_151438.jpg20221130_151458.jpg
 

Lenny HB

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Yes, that is the glass strands showing through the Gel coat, it has had too aggressive cutting/polishing compounds on it. The Gel coat on Motorhomes is very thin compared to boats.
The ideal solution would be getting it re-Gel coated but that would cost a fortune, another option is spraying.
Martin funflair may be able to offer advice.
 
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funflair

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Yes, that is the glass strands showing through the Gel coat, it has had too aggressive cutting/polishing compounds on it. The Gel coat on Motorhomes is very thin compared to boats.
The ideal solution would be getting it re-Gel coated but that would cost a fortune, another option is spraying.
Martin funflair may be able to offer advice.
I am not convinced it is the glass matt actually as the pattern doesn't look right and in the close up photo there is what would be a long strand running vertically and that would not be in a random chop strand matt, most side panels that I have seen have actually been made with a "unifilo" continuous filament matt and the pattern then is completely different, you can usually see the matt pattern on a good shiny panel as it slightly prints on the gel as it cures and shrinks, also I would expect to see matt breakthrough in small areas as the gelcoat thickness will vary slightly.

So in conclusion I don't know what it is but I don't think it is matt, I wonder if it could be micro cracking from some aggressive chemical.
 
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Minxy

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So in conclusion I don't know what it is but I don't think it is matt, I wonder if it could be micro cracking from some aggressive chemical.
I agree it doesn't look like the underneath, more like scratching/cracking where dirt etc has got into the cracks so they show up.

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Minxy

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Trevor - have you had it parked near hedges, or gone down some lanes where the hedges etc have scratched it? That and surface cracking seem likely the issue.

Not sure of the best way to sort it though as you'd need to remove the 'dirt' from the cracks and then seal them somehow to prevent further damage/cracking and so it doesn't cause issues to the integrity of the panel. Perhaps a visit to a car or boat repair place would help.
 
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Jan 16, 2014
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Has this issue on our Eriba Puck. Didn't want to spend loads so just cleaned it all down, used a flexible scraper to fill with body filler, light rub down and a few rattle cans sorted it
 
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Trevor Wbm
Sep 17, 2020
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Trevor - have you had it parked near hedges, or gone down some lanes where the hedges etc have scratched it? That and surface cracking seem likely the issue.

Not sure of the best way to sort it though as you'd need to remove the 'dirt' from the cracks and then seal them somehow to prevent further damage/cracking and so it doesn't cause issues to the integrity of the panel. Perhaps a visit to a car or boat repair place would help.

I certainly have, yes, but we've only had it since Sept 19, so no idea how it was treated prior to that.
That said, thinking about it, it wasn't as bad when we bought it.

What's confusing is how smooth the surface seems to be, but if we're talking about microscopic level scratching I guess that would pass the fingertip test.
 
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Minxy

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You won't feel very shallow scratches at all which is what they pretty much look like - they are always worse when dirt gets into them and you think they are much bigger than they are - it's a bit like thin knife marks on a chopping board, no matter how much you scrub it you can't get rid of the colouration in them from the food you've chopped on it, short of sticking it in bleach! What you seem to need rather than something that will rub off the surface (which is what I think a clay bar will do) is a product to remove the actual grim within the scratches etc so maybe a visit to a 'proper' car wash/valeting place for advice would help. I certainly wouldn't use anything that has any type of 'scouring' action as I don't think that will help.
 
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Trevor Wbm
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You won't feel very shallow scratches at all which is what they pretty much look like - they are always worse when dirt gets into them and you think they are much bigger than they are - it's a bit like thin knife marks on a chopping board, no matter how much you scrub it you can't get rid of the colouration in them from the food you've chopped on it, short of sticking it in bleach! What you seem to need rather than something that will rub off the surface (which is what I think a clay bar will do) is a product to remove the actual grim within the scratches etc so maybe a visit to a 'proper' car wash/valeting place for advice would help. I certainly wouldn't use anything that has any type of 'scouring' action as I don't think that will help.

Thank you. That's the conclusion I've come to, having read all the replies. I'll be buying a clay bar soon to try it out.
 
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Feb 25, 2020
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Certainly does not look like having been cleaned with a dirty grit infested orbital sander as marks are straight lines and weird small areas also, doubt done with hedgerow scratching as they would have been horizontal marks I would have thought, Glass fibre strands through gell coat sure you would feel them with a sensitive finger nail, so I have no idea have they have formed but as stated if it’s dirt within a scratch it needs to come out.

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Trevor Wbm
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Update ... I've tried the following:

Clay Bar - nope.
Acetone - nope.
UPVC cleaner - nope.
Neat TFR - nope.
Farecla G3 - nope.

After much umming and ahhing because I know it's a harsh chemical ... and lots of reading in the glassfibre boat world ...

25% bleach in water with neat applied to the worst bits and gallons of rinsing afterwards - result, all sorted. Some faint marks left but don't want to push my luck with the bleach.

Here's the same two areas after the treatment.

Next job is colour restore wax to see if I can catch the few bits that are still marked, then I'll keep on layering up wax 'til I get bored to try to stop it happening again.

20221222_121434[1].jpg
20221222_121441[1].jpg
 
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funflair

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Update ... I've tried the following:

Clay Bar - nope.
Acetone - nope.
UPVC cleaner - nope.
Neat TFR - nope.
Farecla G3 - nope.

After much umming and ahhing because I know it's a harsh chemical ... and lots of reading in the glassfibre boat world ...

25% bleach in water with neat applied to the worst bits and gallons of rinsing afterwards - result, all sorted. Some faint marks left but don't want to push my luck with the bleach.

Here's the same two areas after the treatment.

Next job is colour restore wax to see if I can catch the few bits that are still marked, then I'll keep on layering up wax 'til I get bored to try to stop it happening again.

View attachment 699266View attachment 699268
Good result then really, the fact that the surface treatments clay bar and G3 wouldn't touch it tells you that is wasn't on the surface but in it and the bleach has cleaned it out, thanks for the update.
 
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