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Exterior Progress - Stripe Removal

As most of you know, Big Daddy is a whiz at vintage trailer restorations. (He rebuilt all of our Gelato Trucks from the ground up!) He is really having a great time working on a more modern trailer and comparing its construction style to the vintage trailers he is more familiar with.

Our Fifth-Wheel is a 2008 Keystone Copper Canyon that we have owned for a couple years. It measures 34 feet and has a couple bedrooms with a den, kitchen and bathroom. It has two slides.

The exterior is solid white fiberglass, but had a lot of brown, black and gold stickers and graphics affixed to it. Over time, some of those stripes had become loose and cracked from sun exposure. Some stripes were still in good shape, but those that were damaged really made the exterior look kind of bad. Big Daddy couldn't stand it and decided to go to work.

After doing lots of research on Youtube and Pinterest, we found that many people have successfully removed their exterior graphics. It required a lot of elbow grease, but here's how we did it:

First, we used a hairdryer to soften up each vinyl stripe and scraped each one off with a plastic putty knife. Some of the stripes came off in one long piece, but others came off in a zillion tiny pieces. Maybe the difference was in the color of the stripe or maybe in the thickness or the vinyl, but each stripe behaved differently.

Once the stripes were gone, we had big globs of adhesive left behind. Every stripe left an exact replica of really sticky glue that was almost chewing gum consistency. We tried lots of products on the gooey mess but finally found a Goof Off product that worked really well. We sprayed it on each stripe of adhesive and after letting it sit a few minutes, we used a plastic scraper to remove the glue. This process had to be done several times on each stripe to get rid of most of the sticky. Once almost all of the adhesive was gone, we sprayed a little WD-40 on the remainder and scrubbed with a Magic Eraser pad. After we removed all the stripes and adhesive, we washed the whole camper down with a mixture of Dawn dish detergent and water. This removed any leftover oil from the WD-40. It was a nasty, messy job but once we figured out the right chemicals to use it went pretty quickly.

Now we had a completely white, clean rig but you could see some shadowing where the stripes had been. Over time the exposed fiberglass on the camper had oxidized, but the stripes had protected what was underneath. That left us with some really shiny, stripe shaped spots and the rest of camper looking really dull. At the right angle, you could still see where all the stripes had been. We used Meguiar's Oxidation Remover solution with a buffer to remove the oxidation on the exposed parts of the rig which made them blend in better with the shiny spots where the stripes had been.

Next comes the fun part.... what graphics will we put on the outside? Any guesses? Stay tuned for next week's update.

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