Removing old film from front of Coach

I had another lengthy conversation with Bob, from Florida, this week regarding the crapped out “protective” film on the front of his ’04 Diplomat. So, here are a few worthy tips I have picked up from people who tasked themselves to remove this stuff from the front of their rolling homes. Some succeeded while others simply went mad.

First and foremost, expect your endeavor to last at least two full days.  Mind numbing patience is a virtue, here.  Use what ever tool you find that works best for you to help peel the film away.  My shop has used plastic squeegees and hard wood wedges with out damaging the paint. Never try to pull the film straight up, 90 degrees, from the surface as that can pop bits of the gel coat and paint away leaving a crater in the front cap.  Instead, pull it backward as flat on the surface as you can.  A heat gun can be helpful to soften the adhesive but you will have to go above 180 F and that could scorch your fingers so consider gloves if you do that. Another helpful tool is a vise-grip, or similar tool, with a broad, flat gripper.  We use these for stretching fabric evenly without leaving stretch marks on the finished product and it really saves the hands and fingers from brutality.  If you use regular pliers it will help if you file down the serrations to help prevent tearing the film as you pull it.

After the film has been removed bit by bit, piece by piece, the aged adhesive will still be there to torment you further.  There are many commercial glue removers on the market but in my experience they aren’t worth the time to take the cap off the bottle, for this purpose anyway.  What I have learned from pioneers who were successful with this task is that kerosene works best and will soften the goo without drying quickly and that will allow you time to scrape it off.  Your local Housewife Hardware store sells kerosene for about $45.00 for 5 gallons and it is available in smaller sizes.  I have no idea how much it takes. But if you really find yourself in trouble with this project you can pour it on the ground in a SOS configuration and set it afire.

Good luck and remember, no cerveza until the job is complete and by all means, don’t smoke around the kerosene.

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