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Gel-coat repair

Unread postby 69210 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:55 am

I have a 1969 210. Like almost every other Travco, the gelcoat is cracked and looks like hell.

Further, the PO pulled away with the step down and broke off the bottom section of fiberglass underneath the door.
Same PO also attempted fiberglass repair with body putty. Yes, it is a disaster. No, NEVER use bondo.

I was told to use West System Epoxy for fiberglass repair. It is expensive. It works.
I know very little about bodywork, so this West System is a godsend for people like me.

Clean Clean Clean the surfaces.
I use pure acetone to clean off whatever needs attention --including the top roof seam where I laid down Eternabond tape-- and a mask.
I use brown Scothcbrite pads in 4" sections, soaked in acetone, to scrub away the dirt. I use a lot of Scotchbrite pads because there is a lot of dirt associated with bad gelcoat.

I have heard people using oven cleaner, followed by a high-pressure wash to clean off old gelcoat.
I have heard of people using plumber's torches to burn off old gelcoat.
I actually did use Zip-Strip on my Travco's "hood" and do not recommend it; the Zip-Strip heats up and alters the fiberglass, leaving it lumpy.

The only way to get old gelcoat off is to sand it off.
Many, many auto-body pads (400 grit to 1,000 grit) later, the fiberglass is gelcoat-free and ready for either traditional fiberglass matt repair or West System, followed by epoxy primer.
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby Acesneights on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:06 am

I was in the middle of stripping mine. I had to use 36 grit on an 8 inch D/A Mudhog. it's nasty work. My elbows finally gave out.
I saw the west system video. it is very good and very informational.
I almost went with it but then found the SMC resin which is supposedly stronger. Not sure, but it came out pretty good. I never did it before. I know you have to work fast with the stuff. I cut a piece of it off and I could not break it with my hands.
I looked into have the RV Sodablasted but they wanted 1500+$ and I was uncertain of the results.
Basically once you strip it with the D/A you need to skin it with poly filler or I was recommended to a few coats of Y2K PPG Primer which I never got that far. My elbows gave out sanding. It sucks to get old...
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby Acesneights on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:07 am

My advice, unless you have alot of time and money, If it doesn't look that bad...Live with it.
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby 69210 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:16 am

Acesneights wrote:My advice, unless you have alot of time and money, If it doesn't look that bad...Live with it.


My original plan was to paint the entire Travco flat black using the roll-and-tip method and pay someone to paint flames.
Black is too hot.

The PO made a disaster of the exterior, using a mixture of bondo and putty, so I cannot live with it.
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby Acesneights on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:20 am

I was thinking about taking my 220 that I started, knocking down the rest of the gelcoat with a little 320 and painting it with Camo Paint...that would be first... :lol:
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby 77Travco on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:51 am

Because I can't live with my current paint scheme either... I will be doing this too. I am planning on priming and painting it myself in the driveway with a paintgun. Can't wait to get started! lol ;)
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby Acesneights on Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:05 pm

Yours is easy, All you gotta do is probably scuff and prime the paint you have. when the gelcoat cracks badly....that is when the fun begins and the decision of "How far do I wanna take this.."
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby 69210 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:59 pm

Acesneights wrote:Yours is easy, All you gotta do is probably scuff and prime the paint you have. when the gelcoat cracks badly....that is when the fun begins and the decision of "How far do I wanna take this.."


That's what I thought when I first saw it: sand, prime, roll-and-tip.

The gelcoat is cracked and once it begins to craze in one area, will continue underneath any new paint. Previous owner simply 'painted over' the areas he didn't want to sand properly & prime.
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby 77Travco on Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:49 am

I think my fiberglass is in pretty good shape except for a few small spots. When I do get to the exterior, I will check into the "West System Epoxy" product.
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Re: Gel-coat repair

Unread postby Acesneights on Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:17 pm

I never messed with Gelcoat. I was gonna treat mine like a Vette and just spray it after I stripped it. The gelcoat doesn't seem to hold up to well on these. My 1970 was bought new by my dad and it was cracking by the late 70's. I don't think the fiberglass is rigid enough on these like it is on boats. I think paint will hold up better.
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