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Author Topic: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?  (Read 446 times)

blw2

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airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« on: November 06, 2019, 03:54:10 PM »
My RV is fairly badly faded, and I can't really justify/afford a pro paint job....the cost of that would likely total my rig!

A few years ago I did quite a bit of trials with some random orbital buffing compounds and waxes...to no luck
Had pretty good result using the acrylic floor polish trick...but that's temporary.
Then some time ago I did a trial using rattle cans of clear automotive lacquer on the nose cone...where the worst fading was.   Did a rush/bad job but it looks fairly good...and after a long time now it's holding up great...maybe a year or more, I'm not sure...

So I'm thinking about doing a throughout clean up job of the rest of the MH and spraying it too.... but that would be a whole lot of rattle cans!!
I'm toying with the idea of using my airless residential paint sprayer...but I can't find any reference to anyone using a tool like that for anything similar.... so maybe I'll get an HVLP gun and learn how to use it.

Do any of you have experience spraying clear laquer or similar through an airless sprayer?
I don't know the exact model of what I have...something like this bought maybe 15 years ago...
https://www.titantool.com/products/electric-airless-sprayers/impact-series/impact-410.html

I figured I could strip away the caulk, mask off the seals and rubber around the windows and such.... give the whole thing a really good abrasive scrub or even a really fine grit wet sanding... and I'd probably just spray right over the swoosh stickers like I did with my rattle can experiment.

thoughts?
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
’13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

Mark_K5LXP

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Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2019, 05:44:15 PM »
Prep, and the coating used vs durability are the elephant in the room, not the application method.

"Lacquer" is not UV stable.  Learned that lesson the hard way years ago when I rattle-canned my motorcycle and after a couple years, everything facing "up" started to yellow, craze and crack.  Maybe "acrylic lacquer" is more stable but after that lesson I don't trust anything that lives outside with "lacquer" .

The problem with using a "real" automotive clear coat is cost and compatibility with the existing finish, and in this case, the vinyl decals.  I've painted a few of my cars over the years and two part clear coat is hundreds of dollars a gallon, with a gallon being enough to do a 4-door sedan.  An RV is easily 4-5 times that, so just materials are going to be in the thousands.  Again, from personal experience, if the new finish isn't compatible you could end up with something that doesn't last (goes dull or flakes off) or worse, lifts the underlying paint, or turns everything to a sticky goo.  There are procedures for repairs that involve a sealer to minimize issues with incompatible finishes but that's a complete finish job - prime, seal, color and clear which is not what you're setting out to do.

The problem with a quick and dirty re-clear coat is that if the existing clear coat is already giving up, then piling more on won't reset the clock.  It's also easier said than done to prep the surface on a large vehicle like an RV.  Even if you consider your labor free, you'll have a lot of time tied up in prep.  If you don't prep well, expect lots of surface defects like fisheyes, runs and eventually peeling where contamination compromises adhesion. 

All that being said, I was in a car club years ago where one gent painted his old pickup with rustoleum enamel shot with a wagner buzz sprayer.  Not an impressive paint job but considering he probably had less than $50 tied up in materials I thought it was pretty remarkable.  So while it wouldn't be my first choice in applicators for premium coatings, it certainly did the job at making the truck a different color and looked a lot better than the way it started.  The advantage of enamel is the solvent for that is usually compatible with a lot of different paints.  RV decals would be a separate compatibility to test.

So from my standpoint of having painted vehicles before, I can appreciate the notion of a quick and dirty re-coat.  But I also see the pitfalls of investing a lot of time in prep and not following through with automotive finish, or conversely not prepping at all and ending up with a hokey looking and ultimately not durable result, then having to sand that off and starting over.  There's a reason it costs so much to paint a vehicle, there's a ton of labor and expensive materials to make it happen.  The only thing I've seen that's truly quick and dirty (but not terribly cheap) is a vehicle wrap.  They cover everything and you can even put a pretty picture on the side of your RV. 

The way I've decided if I was going to repaint or not was how long I planned on keeping it.  If it's a beater or a car I'm going to junk, sell or trade in a year or two then what's the point.  If this was an RV I liked and was planning on keeping then the sweat equity can usually be justified, contrasted to selling and buying something newer/nicer. 

Maybe another option would be to see how folks with boats solve this problem.  I see those as being more similar to an RV finish than automotive.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 




TheBar

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Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2019, 07:47:31 PM »
As Mark mentioned prep is the key which is a huge job on an RV. Lite sanding over the entire surface then cleaning the surface with a quality paint "prep" product. Remember even a fingerprint can cause peeling after cleaning the surface. You need to make sure all the floor polish is removed. If you've never painted automotive finishes before do some research and get lots of practice first.

Here is a way cheaper clear coat. $59 per gallon + $10 shipping. Has 90 reviews with a 5 star average. The few bad reviews were obviously from people who didn't know what they were doing. It is 2 part and UV resistant. I took a chance and clear coated my daughters beater car with this 7 months ago. It laid down good turned out really glossy. I can't tell any difference between it and the really expensive stuff except it takes maybe 10% more because it has fewer solids.

Airless sprayers are ok for a fence or house but even the $16 HVLP sprayer from Harbor Freight is a much better choice for automotive finishes. I used one for my daughters car and it worked great after fiddling around with the viscosity and air control.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Acrylic-Urethane-Universal-Clear-Coat-SMR-1150-1102-4-1-Gallon-Medium-Kit/263834690596?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131003132420%26meid%3Dcbe303281da44da2b22b0405e189d838%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D12%26mehot%3Dsb%26sd%3D261653872753%26itm%3D263834690596%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851
Retired factory automation computer programmer
Cabin fever solution: 30' Class C and Starcraft popup
DW loves camping more than I do

Isaac-1

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Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2019, 08:36:25 PM »
My suggestion is to research 2K clear coat (2 part) in aerosol cans.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

jubileee

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Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2019, 11:44:28 PM »
I think you’re going to wear yourself out from throwing the airless sprayer as far as you can every time it spits a glob of paint out, and then going and retrieving it. Might as well apply clear coat with a roller. You’re going to have to cut and buff the devil out of it either way. Roller might surprise you.

blw2

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Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2019, 09:22:32 AM »
Yeah, that's interesting Mark what you say about the laquer.... the stuff i used was Rustoleum automotive lacquer
https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/auto/general-purpose-paints/acrylic-lacquer
maybe different stuff?

Anyway, I don't have to worry much about getting the floor polish itself off....it's long gone.  There's no existing clearcoat either...except the rear wall which was painted... and maybe the storage bin doors which seem to be a different material....the rest of the coach is I'm assuming a gel coated finish... I think they called it "HD"

But that does point to a fear I have about this idea.... having the stuff lift and peel later on looking worse than it does now....and being even more difficult to deal with

And about the roller...I have see a few cars and boats done with a roller that look quite remarkable.  I remember one in particular that was clearly wet sanded and buffed, and had an amazing shine.  That was an outlier though, I', not even thinking about trying for that!
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
’13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers


TheBar

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Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2019, 10:11:37 PM »
do you mean this stuff?

You might notice in the questions and answers section it says you need 2 cans for a car hood, 2 cans for the roof, and one can for each door and panel. So 10 cans to cover a car? How many cans to cover your Class C?
Retired factory automation computer programmer
Cabin fever solution: 30' Class C and Starcraft popup
DW loves camping more than I do

Mark_K5LXP

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  • Posts: 136
Re: airless sprayer for clearcoating RV?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2019, 10:15:04 PM »
Rattle cans are a non-starter just based on practicality.  One can will only cover a few square feet.  An RV is hundreds of square feet.  They don't have the "launch" an HVLP or high pressure gun with a quart size cup will give.  It would take forever to cover any area when you're spraying from a foot away and a 6" fan pattern.  After about 2 dozen cans with dozens to go you'd be wishing you were using a paint gun and compressor. 

I've never done a roller other than latex in the house but just thinking for boats it's probably done a lot.  I've seen it mentioned for applying deck paint as roof coatings on RV's. I would experiment to see what kind of gloss you get from that.  If you have to roll, wet sand and buff then that's no less work than wet sanding and spraying.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM