Sunday, June 02, 2013

Removing decals from our pop-up camper trailer RV

Work on the inside of the camper is going great. Hubby and I are now tackling the outside. Removing decals from our pop-up camper trailer is proving difficult. Our RV is 20 years old so the pin stripes have had plenty of time to bake into the textured surface.

Hubby first thought that the sides of the pop-up camper are made of plastic. After accidentally removing some of the paint, we found out otherwise. The walls are actually thin aluminum so the concern of melting fiberglass is eliminated. Our plans are to repaint after removing decals from our pop-up camper trailer. Getting it right will make the difference between a great repaint and a nightmare.

We have taken the following ideas from various websites that deal with pop-up campers, travel trailers and RVs. Here are the results of each:
Paint thinner 
This is how we found out that the paint covers aluminum. 
Rubbing alcohol
No change.
Barkeeper's Friend
We tried the spray and tried making a paste with the powder. Small spots of the top layer of the pin stripe decals came off but none of the adhesive.

Goo Gone
Minimal progress when combined with scrubbing and a scraping tool.
Goof Off
Removed the paint around and between the decals. We noticed some change when we combined the Goof Off with a scraper tool and scrubbing.
Sandpaper
This gummed up pretty quickly with minimal (if any) results.
Soap
At least the decals and surrounding area is clean.
Heat
Some progress was made with a hairdryer. Overheating leads to more problems (don't ask).
Heat combined with WD-40
The best so far for removing decals from our pop-up camper. WD-40 was applied just above the decals and let to sit for a few minutes. We warmed the area with a hair dryer and gently peeled the pin striping back with a sharp knife. The large stripes responded well but the small ones are proving almost impossible.

A silicone remover that Hubby ordered from Amazon should be here Monday. I'll post back after Tuesday to let you know how that goes. Right now, the heat and WD-40 combination is the best bet (although time consuming).

Removing decals from a pop-up or RV that has a smooth surface is easier than getting them off a textured surface. I already mentioned that the camper trailer is 20 years old. The combination is a labor-intensive, time-consuming double whammy.

The project is coming right along. Newer followers might want to see our interior remodel and watch our "before" video. There's a pretty big difference. We picked up paint and just purchased the camper to install. Rain is delaying progress on the indoor portion of the camper makeover. It's kind of a bummer since I'm limited on what I can do to help.

Several of you are following our progress closely. I wanted to post a quick update tonight and hope to have photos of the decal removal for you tomorrow.  The above is what it looked like when the previous owners' delivered the pop-up camper. Sunlight is making the top look like new. It isn't, but it may be later. The whole camper will be repainted after we finish removing pinstripes and decals.

Don't forget to subscribe by email or follow me on Twitter @ gaylecrabtree to get stay updated. This is a fun project! You won't want to miss a thing.