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Old 12-20-2009, 02:06 PM   #1
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Saving The Decals - One Approach

Hi Fellow Sunliners

Since the weather out is yuk... Thought I would type this up and see if anyone can enhance what I have done so far.

The Problem: Sunline decals dying a quick death.

My original owner did not practice putting 303 UV protectent or other UV blocker on the decals or much of any plastic on the outside of my camper. Last year the large Sunline decal on the back of the camper was starting to lift around the edges. I asked here on the forum if anyone knew how to save it before the whole thing went. At the time no one knew of a method to save it, nor did I. The Sun is pealing

This summer I removed it as it was getting pretty ragged. I must say the back now looks stark white like it is missing something. It’s a mental thing as Sunline never put a rear decal on my T2499 so I never knew it was suppose to have one. But since the T310 did, it was normal to me to have one there.

Now at the beginning of this fall the Slide Room decal is starting to lift and so is the Sun on the rock guard up front. So are the door decals. I figure I had to try something as if I do not, I’m going to loose them anyway.

I picked up a tip from SunlineFans dad about a clear protective tape product he used on his car to protect the paint. And we talked if we thought would this work on the decals we have to help them last? So I did some searching for the material and found it is used a lot in automotive to protect certain areas from paint chipping. My F350 has some on the rear lower fender where rocks can fly up.

After searching, my son works for Jeg’s High Performance car parts. They have this in a 6” roll and a 2” roll and other sizes. They where the cheapest I could find for the quantity in a longer roll I was after. They call it, or nick name it, Helicopter tape. Have no clue on where the name came from. Surface protection tape at Jegs.com

This is thick clear protective tape with UV protection, claimed to not yellow, etc. So I gave it a try. I’m going to loose just about all my decals anyway so I didn’t have much to loose if it did not help. The results so far are mixed. Some good, some not. It all depends on the surface I’m putting it on.

Here I’ll show you in pic’s. The Slide Room decal peeling. You can see the blackened adhesive around the edges and the edges curling up.

A tip I did get from SOC member, can’t remember his name, said he used a hair dryer to soften the curling edges and it stuck back down. He said he had no idea on how long it would last but it gave me the idea to get it flattened out. First I wiped off the exposed adhesive that had dirt mixed in it. Tried several things but had to take extra care to not touch the decal as the pealed edge would crack off. Ended up using acetone on the fiberglass panel. This works here but do not use on painted or coated surfaces as it can and will lift the paint/coating. And the Krystal coat we have on these newer TT’s is a paint/coating.

After cleanup I warmed the edges and it flattened down and stuck, at least long enough for me to put the clear tape on. I used a 6” piece and a 2” piece to cover it. It worked well however the only draw back is there is a faint red’ish tint that can be seen in the right light with the bright white back ground. Do not know if this is unique to this brand or a trait of the tape. It seems to be in the adhesive as I can see it on the roll before I apply it. While a slight red tint this one is holding well after a month of wet weather, cold and sun.



Next is the door decals that match the side stripes. This one came out very good and is holding very good. And I can not see any red tint. Not a lot of white background I think is why.

This is the day I applied it.


This is about 1 month later. Still very good, no change


Now to the Sun on the rock guard. I did the same clean up and stick down on the curling edges. See the edge peel.


And here is the day I applied it. On this decal there is one different thing. It seems like there is something different, in the way the clear film sticks. At a slight angle in just the right lighting it looks dull, haze like, like mini un-dissolved air under it. I could not see this in the Slide room decal or the doors. It may be there, just I can’t see it.


Here is about a month later. It is working well. The haze may be a tad bit better. You cannot see it if the light and angle is not right




Here are other smooth surface applications doing very well. These are now 1 month in use. The shore cord door


The VIN sticker which in on flat painted aluminum.


The next set of these has mixed results. This is over the Krystal coat aluminum surfaces. If the decal is small and does not go over many corrugations, the results are OK so far. If I go over several corrugations the results are, it does not last/work. All pic’s are at the 1 month point.

The wheel torque sticker. This is OK


The black tank sticker. This is OK so far.


The propane sticker. This one is so, so. It is holding but I do not have faith yet it will be long term.


The RVIA sticker and Sunline made. This one is not great but still on at the moment.


And the ones that just plain do not work. The Solaris decal. This one is on the door side. It is still barely on. The one on the slide side I already had to remove the clear tape. By warming the tape and gently lifting, it will come off with what has not water separated.




See the water moisture under it.


So the early read is, on smooth surfaces this works so far. On a coach that is Filon sided I do not see that many issues as my flat filon panels are working. In the Krystal coat and going up over several corrugations I “think” I’m getting heat expansion/contractions and the moisture is wicking in the Krystal coat mini bumps on the alum surface. Plus going over the multiple bends of siding puts stress in the tape and the expansion and contraction lift it. On the slide side the clear tape just about all but fell off on it’s own with wet moisture under it. A little heat and it was gone.

If anyone knows how to enhance this process, please post away. I’ll update this post as times goes by on how the smooth surfaces are doing and how long this lasts.

Thanks

John
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:09 AM   #2
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John, I googled "plastic film chip guard" and got all kinds of hits for auto applications and some large sheets too. This site even has a helicopter on it and says the stuff reduces abrasion on blades, presumably because they kick up so much debris on take off and landing--there's your helicopter tape explanation, but it's the first time I've heard that term too.

http://www.argotec.com/PaintProtecti...FQk75QodqncHIQ

Henry
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:09 AM   #3
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Henry

Thanks. I'll look into that too. The more I think on this if there was a thinner film it might have a better chance of working on the corrugated siding. Better flexing over the bumps in the siding. The thicker film is generally better for chips etc flying up on and auto and considered higher end. What we are really looking for in our RV decal preservation program is stopping the sun and elements for attacking the decal surface and the adhesive. And in our case of white background, no redíish tint in the adhesive.

You know when you do these searches it is all about what you call it. I had a heck of a time finding other brands of the stuff not knowing that it is called. Pick the right buzz words it things fly up with hundredsÖ.

John
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:46 PM   #4
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Very nice job, John.

I think with the thinner stuff, even though it would wrap around the aluminum better, doesn't have the same UV protection.

I think I've seen this situation with the Sunline VIN stickers. The factory took the sticker and put a clear film over it. I'm not sure if the original sticker even had adhesive on it. In a few cases, I don't know if they were using the end of the roll or what, but the film would just get eaten up with the sun. Gary's is a good case of this on the FW, even though most cases they turn a mustard yellow color and his turned black.

A great case of this is with Pam & Steve's friends Hope & Richard, with an '03 1950. I was filling out the form at the M&G for them and found their sticker was all yellow, where I couldn't even read most of it. I did see a small area where I could see some faint black lettering, and at first I thought it was faded and that was all that was left. Hope gave me permission to play with it a little. I took my finger nail and scraped off a little piece of this stuff. I thought I'd actually be peeling off the sticker, but I found I was actually just peeling off the clear film. The black lettering became darker and eventually I uncovered a full production date in dark black lettering with a nice white background. I didn't take any more of it off, but with a good set of fingernails and some time, one could completely uncover a sticker.

Here's a pic of my logo. It hasn't had much time out in the sun since May (only a few days where it would have had direct sun on it), so still has a couple small bubbles in it that haven't worked themselves out or given me a warm opportunity to work them out.



Jon
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:53 PM   #5
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I didn't have much time to read yesterday, but today I found another link with a lot of info and lots of product. They're even out of PA, so pretty local for many members.

http://www.racerstape.com/heli.html

Henry
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:02 PM   #6
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Good find Henry. They seem to accept call in orders. May be an option. May call them about if theres has a red tint in the adhesive.

I have a brand new decal to go on the back of the camper but I did not want to put it on until I sorted this out as it will die again.

Jon

Your rear one looks good. Did the mini moisture specs ever evaporate out?

Yours was what inspired me.

John
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Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
Jon

Your rear one looks good. Did the mini moisture specs ever evaporate out?

Yours was what inspired me.

John
Most of them did, it looks much better now because there is significantly less cloudy stuff on the logo. When I looked closely at it last, there were only a couple small bubbles in the center of the upper half of the sun, where the two pieces meet.

We might go up in the next week or so, so I'll try to snap a pic of what it looks like now. It'll be interesting to see if it looks any different in 20 degrees compared to 70.

Jon
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1997 T-2653 Blue Denim, #5471
1979 12 1/2' MC, Beige & Avocado, #4639
Past Sunlines: '97 T-2653 #5089, '94 T-2251, '86 T-1550, '94 T-2363, '98 T-270SR
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