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Old 05-14-2008, 12:21 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1972 Argosy 22
victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 5
Removing Vinyl and Glue-Inside or Out

I have worked in a sign shop for 14 years applying and removing vinyl. I have noticed many people asking about removing their vinyl so I will give a detailed description on how I do it. I have not done a trailer but I am sure the process would be the same as my signs.

First off, there is no product that you can put on top of your vinyl to make it come off easier other that plain old heat. We've tried stuff, it didn't work!

Try this in a small hidden area first. With vinyl the batches varied from day to day it seems. It can come of in decent sized chunks or tiny little flecks. If yours is looking like its doing the tiny fleck thing, abort misson and try something else.

You will need a :

Blowdryer or heat gun, Exact-o knife, Glue remover ( Rapid Remover, Goo be gone, Goof off ect...) Spray bottle, Semi flexible plastic scraper, a lot of paper towels and a garbage can. Mister Clean Magic Sponge and 000 steel wool is optional but handy if you've got glue around rivets.

Make a slit with the knife in the vinyl near a natural seam in the trailer. If you do it in the middle of the panel the cut line will be visible in your final finish.

Heat a small area up with your blowdryer then carefully catch an edge of the vinyl with your exacto knife held at an angle and peel back slowly. I set the heat down while I'm working on peeling but I have heard of people setting it up on a tripod and moving it along as needed. I do not recommend a straight razor for removal as the straight edge is guaranteed to scrape the round trailer.

Next you will have the old glue to remove. I use Rapid Remover that we purchase from our local sign supply place, I also use the scrapers that are used to apply vinyl to scrape the goo off so pick up a couple if you do go to a sign place. There are many other products that work almost as well as Rapid Remover. Just read the labels and look for something citrus based. If it does not come in a spray bottle transfer it over to one. You can buy it by the gallon at a sign supply place and you may need it, it's about 35 bucks but way cheaper in the long run than buying a bunch of tiny bottles.

For the initial test in the hidden area do get a small bottle of your product of choice first to make sure it does work on your adhesive.

Protect your work area. The glue remover sprays will make some plastics go tacky so cover them carefully. Work from the top down in small one foot patches. Spray some onto the area and let sit for about 45 seconds until it looks slimy. If an area looks dry, spritz a little more on that area. Catch the spray running down the wall with paper towels. Scrape the goo from the top down into the paper towels and repeat if nessesary. Do not scrape to soon or it will not work.

Be warned the softened glue looks like boogers and slimes like boogers. Have your garbage can very near by and easily accessible. It may be a good idea to take your fabrics out of the trailer.

For the final bits of glue residue saturate a paper towel and rub the area down. This is where you could use a Mr Clean magic sponges or 000 steel wool to get the glue around the rivets. The magic sponges only work while wet so if its not working anymore add more glue remover to it.

The rapid remover can be used on glass as well if you have old decals you want to remove. It will also take off grease and tar spots from the outside.
Your trailer will smell like an orange juice factory after. Open the doors and fans while working and it will eventually dissipate.

Hopefully this will help answer some questions

Good Luck

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Old 05-14-2008, 06:03 AM   #2
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1973 27' Overlander
'Possum Holler , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Great info. How about painting vinyl? Do you have a preferred way of painting it?



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Old 05-14-2008, 01:16 PM   #3
1 Rivet Member
1972 Argosy 22
victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 5
Painting Vinyl

I've never tried painting vinyl with standard paint products. I have screenprinted onto vinyl with vinyl based inks (available from screenprinting supply places)that you may be able to roll on. From all the printing I have done around here I don't think I would want you to do it unless you could really air it out for a very extended period as the vinyl inks off-gas for quite a while and the smell can give you a pretty good headache.

Otherwise talk to a paint store about a primer and paint that may go over top. It would have to be a product that could expand and contact with the vinyl as it changes a bit with heat and cold. I would not recommend enamel paints for this. But definetly do a primer coat of some kind so the paint has a stable surface to bite on to.

And as always, do a test in an area no one can see first. Allow the painted area to dry for about three days then do a scratch and tape test. For the tape test use any good tacky clear tape you have around and scrape it onto the paint really good and rip it off real fast. Hold it up to the light if you can see any that came off you have a problem, try something different. Same for the scatch test give it a good hard scrape with your fingernail. If any scratches off, your test was not successful it is going to fail later so try something else again....

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Old 06-09-2008, 03:44 PM   #4
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1986 25' Sovereign
Atlanta , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 198
Images: 30
Leya Costa

I recently stripped the vinyl stripes from my 86. I found your system very helpful (karma coming) for the striping that was not degraded or cracked by the sun. So for 75% of the stripes your approach really worked great!

I would suggest following your approach for striping where the integrity is intact, but buying an Astro Pinstripe Erasure Pad for sun disintegrated striping.

As I said I had about 75% of the stripe off and then I started tackling the bad stuff. I would get a speck or two off and then break a plastic razor. Since I had to go to an auto body shop to get some wet/dry sandpaper (bad filoform, but that's another thread), I happended to ask if they had anything and they handed me this. I was skeptical right until I used.

The following link is to a vendor that carries just the pad. Astro Pneumatic Pinstripe Removal Tool & Smart Eraser Pads

The pictures are below from before, during and after. I am having the strip section painted on with a medium gray metalic paint for longetivity.
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Chris Keysor
WBCCI 11067
1986 Sovereign 25' CB
2007 Chevy Silverado 1500
2007 Toyota Land Cruiser
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Old 07-07-2008, 12:14 PM   #5
3 Rivet Member
1986 34.5' Airstream 345
Tyler , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 110
Removing decal

Hi! It is time to remove the woodgrain and decal from my 345 Classic. First off the decal came off in dime size pieces so I had to find an alternate method...Went to Home Depot and bought a product "citrus strip" and appied it to the decal as if it were paint and it worked as if it were paint.
I know this is in contrast to another post but I managed to strip the decals off one side of the motorhome in about 2 hrs.
Here are a few hints that will help. Apply the stripper to the woodgrain and a heavy coat over the pinstripping(stripper will not work thru pinstripping)Add 2nd coat to the pinstripping. Remove woodgrain and pinstripping.Add 2 coats to the entire decal and wait about 30 min. Flush with water hose and start pulling the decal off. Works great!
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