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Old 05-10-2011, 07:38 AM   #1
tim
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Removing Vinyl Decals

I am trying to remove the stripes along the side of my trailer, the vinyl is lifted and cracked and generally a mess. I have tried heat and acetone so far to try to remove it with no luck. Looking for suggestions on how else to do it? I would rather not have to sand it off unless I have to.

thanks in advance
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:01 AM   #2
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Gentle warming with a hair dryer on low should soften the vinyl and adhesive enough to pull it off. You may have to use a plastic putty knife to get it started. And you may have to pull it off in small pieces. Sorry, but there really is no other way. It is going to be time consuming. It may help to wait until really warm weather to generally soften up the materials.

The adhesive is removable with WD-40 but it is difficult to get it under the vinyl. More for cleanup after you pull off the vinyl.

Sanding would create more problems than it would solve.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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A word of warning, the paint on our rigs is basically "very thin", so use caution when using chemicals or scrubbing, so that you don't remove the paint

.Kitty
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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Hi Tim

H'mm, I looked at your camper pic’s again to get a good mental impression on what you are up against.

As a point of reference, I have removed the large Sunline logo off the rear of my camper using a heat gun. Warms the decal, and then pull and it came off. These decals where put on by hand after the camper was built.

However you are talking the pin striping. I saw a Sunline video where they put the pin striping down when that section of siding is flat off the camper. They then ran the entire piece of siding with the decal on it through a set of forming rolls to create the siding that had the pin striping on it. That rolling process created a perfect adhesion process as under high pressure the decal was bonded to the siding. This pin striped piece of siding was plain smooth aluminum so the bonding was good. The rest of the camper has Krystal Kote on it which is fine bumps at the detail level. I know on mine that pin stripping is really stuck on there by at least 5 or more time stronger then any other decal on the camper. Part of it may be the rolls high pressure bond on the smooth aluminum verses the bumpy Krystal Kote and hand applied. What I described is on a 2004 unit.

With your vintage camper I do not know if they did it the same or not. Plus yours is baked on for more years…. I do not think the Krystal Kote was in practice back then nor do I know about the rolled aluminum sheet.

This much I can tell you, be careful with the Acetone as it will take the paint off unless your not worried about the paint. As far as the pin strip decal….that is a tuffy… If you are not worried about the paint and are going to repaint the camper, then possibly gelled paint remover will dissolve it to make it lift off. Sanding is a caution as you can sand right thru the siding it is so thin and anything real fine like 500 grit will most likely plug almost instantly. These are all pre-conceived notions so use them accordingly or not…

Please do report back what you find out works, or doesn’t. I may be faced with this myself some day.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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Model builders use a bottle of decal softener to make them form to uneven surfaces. I wonder if that would soften the feathered edges of TT decals to make then lay flat again. If so, with the edges laying flat masking tape, paint and a small brush could straighten the edges, even if the paint color was just a little off.

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Old 05-11-2011, 07:15 AM   #6
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Automotive body shops use a 3M "eraser wheel" to get stripes off cars. it is a rubber wheel that chucks into a variable speed drill motor. It rubs the decal off. I used one to remove decals from my sailboat. It works great with no chemicals or heat needed.

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Old 05-11-2011, 11:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awellis3 View Post
Automotive body shops use a 3M "eraser wheel" to get stripes off cars. it is a rubber wheel that chucks into a variable speed drill motor. It rubs the decal off.
Teach
Teach,

Great! Thanks for the tip. So ya rub em off, h'mm never thought of that. I may do a pin strip change myself in the near future and will for sure look this up.

Here they call it a Strip off wheel
3M

Amazon.com: 3M Stripe Off Wheel 07498, 4 in x 5/8 in, w/Hardware - 7498AM: Home Improvement

Optimum speed is stated to be 2,000 rpm, that is like a die grinder or high speed polisher. I'm assuming slower in a normal drill at ~ 1,400 would work too just take a little longer?

Thanks

John
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
I'm assuming slower in a normal drill at ~ 1,400 would work too just take a little longer?

Thanks

John
When I took the decals from my boat, I found that at a slower speed, the decals peeled off easier. Now that was on gelcoat. I haven't tried the wheel on metal.

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Old 05-12-2011, 08:54 AM   #9
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Eraser wheels are wonderful, but too fast will burn and even remove paint. Watched a guy gouge a nice mark into the finish once. As always with paint you just have to be careful. Take your time and keep the heat down. The wheels pull pinstripes off like nobody's business, but the wider stripe decals on the camper will keep you busy for a while I'm sure. Warming the area before hand with a heat gun or even the sun will probably be helpful.

As Steve mentioned, WD40 is pretty good about removing leftover adhesive and I've never seen it harm any paint. 3M makes a good adhesive remover, and generic "Wax, Grease & Silicone Remover" will remove some adhesives as well. As always, test in an inconspicuous area first..

Drill generally works fine and is what I've run mine with. There is also a specialized low speed die grinder designed just for these things.

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Old 09-07-2016, 05:25 PM   #10
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Found this old thread and thought I'd share my experience....

I bought a 3M eraser / stripe off wheel to try on the front stripes of my 1996 T-1700 Solaris as the stripes, especially the top burgundy color, were rough looking. I was planning on painting a new stripe so wasn't too concerned if it messed up the finish.

Here's a before and after picture ( I removed the lower green stripe after this picture was taken).







It's a pretty impressive tool though I did end up with some bare aluminum. Pictures were taken before I cleaned the surface of residual adhesive. For some reason the top burgundy stripe was the hardest to get off. I had previously removed the same stripes from my entrance door manually and that was a slow and tedious job. Probably spent 2 hours getting them off while the eraser wheel took off the longer front stripes in roughly 20 minutes each.

I'd like to remove my side stripes before painting but will probably paint over them. I'm not convinced the eraser wheel will be able to get into the serious curves of the siding stripes, The front is much different. Not sure how long the paint will hold up over the stripes but I'm going to find out.

In summary it's pretty impressive. Though I wouldn't count on not having to paint or replace stripe.

btw, disc started out at 4" diameter and ended up at a little over 3.5" after doing the 3 stripes.
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:33 PM   #11
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Well, finally finished painting my stripes.......







Like I said in my previous post, I painted over what was left of the decals on the sides and back. Will be interesting to see how long it holds up.

It was the wife's idea to go with black. I was leaning towards a dark green but glad I didn't as the black looks good with the wheels IMO.

Speaking of wheels. One of my original wheels wouldn't hold air so I got a price from my local dealer for a replacement which was $75 each. He then tried to up sell me the alloy wheels and was successful as you can see. An extra $20 per wheel.
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