Gel coat construction?

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Gel coat construction?

Post by Add6598 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:00 pm

Hi All, looking for some info, forgive me if what I'm asking seems painfully obvious but I'm a bit lost.

I'm yet to buy an Autosleeper but I'm looking for one currently and I've been keenly reading through old threads in anticipation. Of particular interest are the cleaning threads, I'm a real nerd for that sort of thing.

Having read these threads and other bits and bobs I thought I had a reasonable understanding of the monocoque construction. But I've been to view a couple of motorhomes recently and now I'm not so sure.

The ones I've viewed have all had imperfections in the surface of the body, nothing major, just wear and tear and to be expected in my price range. Upon inspection the imperfections look as though paint has been rubbed off, but my understanding is that there is no paint. Is this the gelcoat? If it is, it's a lot thinner than I had pictured in my mind. 

How are the separate colours on the shell achieved?  is the colour difference applied purely in the gelcoat or right from the primary stages of construction?

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, how would this be repaired? 

Thanks in advance!
Adam
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by Charliefarlie on Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:15 pm

The way to check if you are polishing gel coat or colour coat is to try a wee section preferably out of sight. If you have no colour transfer on your cloth you are polishing gel. If there is colour transfer onto your cloth you are polishing Paint or colour. Now if the gel has colour within it is possible you will get colour transfer,

The thing to do is work on a small area at a time and monitor carefully so you do not end up taking to much material which is actually very unlikely.

I measure the materiel im polishing with a PTG (Paint Thickness Gauge) but given the fact one capable of measuring on plastic or GRP are massively expensive I guess you dont have one of those ?

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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by groundhog on Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:11 pm

If you go to prolaminates.co.uk and click on "what is gelcoat" much will be revealed.

My experience is with yachts, repairing gelcoat properly is pretty tricky, the above website explains a lot.It is quite normal if a van has been scratched  a body shop would simply fill and spray over any damage, this could account for areas that look like they have been painted? If done well not a problem.... well you wont sink anyway. scratch head

Minor imperfections are not unusual in gelcoat, beware of cracks and lumps chipped out though. I have never seen it on a motorhome but osmosis is sometimes a killer problem on boats, worth doing a search so you know what it looks like.

Hard to be specific without seeing something but hope that helps a little.
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by Add6598 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:15 pm

That helps massively groundhog, I'll do some searching around the websites you suggest and hopefully it will all become clear, your theory on paint repairs definately makes sense.. If it was my van I'd put pictures up but as they're vans other people are selling it would be a bit unfair. 

Thanks charliefarlie, your insight is much appreciated, I won't be using a ptg no, I'll re-read your advice on this and other threads when I've finally got one to suss how best to make it gleam.

I just like to understand things - to the best of my ability, so when I'm looking at vans with the intent to buy I can make an informed decision. allthumbz

Cheers up!
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by KMRTOPAZ on Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:01 am

Hi Adam, I have past experience of fibreglass and gel coats from owning a yacht and a series of three reliant Scimitars. The yacht had a pre-colored gelcoat. It was possible to sand out minor scrapes and resurface with a clear epoxy finish to give a satisfactory result. The cars were, I believe, finished with a plain neutral gel coat and this was worked to provide a surface good enough to receive the normal paint spray finishes. If damaged, they were easily resurfaced and repainted.
I doubt that AS would attempt to create coloured motives or panels in the gel coat. It would be more complicated and therefore more expensive than a paint job.  But who knows? AS don't always do what you might reasonably expect!    Keith

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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by Charliefarlie on Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:15 am

I think the problem we have here is that there are so many ways of constructing the dozens of types of laminates used it really is impossible to say what is in front of us. 

PLEASE NOTE. Trying ANYTHING without knowing what you have or how to deal or handle it carries MASSIVE risk.

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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by oakchipper on Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:13 pm

For answer to gel coat construction contact Cheltenham Laminates,they make the bodies for AS

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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by CarryOnCamping on Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:05 am

I've recently bought a 92 Talisman GL which has streaks of fading on the upper blue/grey body section. I'm pretty sure its a gel coat finish because no colour is coming off when I hand T-Cut and Mer polished it. However there's very little improvement.
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by Add6598 on Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:44 am

Congrats on the purchase, are you loving it so far?

There's a few really good threads around on cleaning, if you haven't seen them already they might give you some pointers. 
I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure t-cut is bad news.
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by daisy mae on Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:19 pm

T Cut is definitely bad news, hope you can get your van back to a showroom shine.
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by CarryOnCamping on Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:49 am

Well its no better or worse for using T-Cut. I've read many conflicting stories about Gel Coat and T-Cut. Some boat yards are not adverse to the stuff as its less agressive than Farecla - which I may try next.
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by groundhog on Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:13 am

As I posted earlier it is not easy to say what is wrong or how to improve something without seeing it first, what is clear though is that what you do NOT need if the glaze has been damaged is something to cut it even further. T cut, Farecla a Brillo pad, Sandpaper a Brick will make no improvement at all.

You might consider if you have one locally to pop in to a car repair centre, it is possible they may for not very much be able to spray a clear lacquer over the area which will restore the shine, at least it will tell you what to do and you could then even spray it yourself (youtube plus spray cans!) but you must know what needs doing first to avoid further damage.

Our son had a similar problem on his Laika where a scratch had been badly repaired, because he makes surfboards and I have spent a lot of time detailing GRP boats we were able to clean off the old repair and spray a lacquer over the top, not perfect but a lot better.

Once again though without seeing it .... scratch head PS: I have used T cut to remove haze from boat hulls, nothing wrong with that!


Last edited by groundhog on Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : addition)
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Re: Gel coat construction?

Post by meanchris on Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:50 am

T Cut isn't exactly sandpaper, though it's easy to be nervous of the stuff.
Unless the gel coat is very thin to start with it shouldn't be able to remove or damage it IMHO.

Try it on your scratched side windows to see how fine the abrasive actually is.

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