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BaitMonkey1984

Gel Coat Repair

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I have a 2001 Ranger that is in good condition for its age. There are a few scratches on the boat, however the boat has started to lose its shine. I have waxed, polished, used rubbing compound etc. It works for the short term but I am looking at a long term fix. Does anyone have any experience with this- a ballpark as to how much it would cost for a 19' ft bass boat. Thanks,

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I sprayed and new clear gel coat on a Stratos 285 Pro and I will never gel coat another. It's a hellava lot of work, and after about three years, it started getting dull, turning loose and flaking off when bumped.

First you have to understand Gel coat is intended to be applied first to a well prepped, polished surface, like inside a mold. The clear coat is applied, then the color coats and fiberglass is applied over it. It's not really made to go on as a top coat after the product is made, but with additives is can be used on top.

You will wear your arms out, first it has to be sanded and scuffed, and if it's already down to the metallic color coat, that's hard to do because every time you hit a metal flake, it turns silver and looks like crap when finished. Then you have to apply the gel coat and hope it cures, because for it to cure, I has to have the air away from it, you use a wax additive so hopefully it floats to the surface and makes a sealing layer. Next is the fun part, no mater how it's applied, sprayed (which is what I did) paint roller or bruch, it will not be smooth. It has to wet sanded and buffed to get a smooth glossy finish. The stuff is hard and takes a whole lot of sanding and buffing. You will spend a couple days just sanding and buffing. Then it only lasted about three years before it started getting dull again.

My next one will be with Awlgrip Marine paint or something similar, it will never be another gel coat.

Do your homework on coatings you plan on putting on top of gel coat. Not many work that well and are very expensive by the time you have finished.

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I was quoted $4k for the top cap of my boat.

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"First you have to understand Gel coat is intended to be applied first to a well prepped, polished surface, like inside a mold. The clear coat is applied, then the color coats and fiberglass is applied over it. It's not really made to go on as a top coat after the product is made, but with additives is can be used on top."

- There is so much wrong with that. Fiberglass is the core of the boat, the mold is made OF fiberglass. Then a fiberglass filler is applied to smooth it out and prep for gel. Then the main color is sprayed, followed by flake, then finally clear coated.

Honestly, a 2001 you should be able to put a pretty good shine on it with a buffer. Start with a course compound with a cutting pad and go around the boat once or twice , then switch to a polishing pad and a less aggressive compound. You really have to put a lot of pressure / heat on it at first to get the shine back, but be careful to always keep the pad moving to avoid burning through the gel.

If you're dead set on re spraying your boat, you have a lot of work cut out for you. - First use a wax remover on the whole boat, twice. Leaving wax on before you sand will just spread th wax around and get it into every little pore and when you finally spray the new gel it will fish-eye and look like ****.

Then tape off everything you don't want to get scuffed by accident, and begin sanding with 320 grit until all of the shine is gone.

The hardest part will be spraying it, and is the part I'm least familiar with. You'll need a pretty big air compressor and a gun, probably around a gallon of gel, flake, and clear. Make sure to mask off the rest of the boat off before spraying to prevent overspray from getting everywhere as well.

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Sam, you need to do some research before calling someone out. You are wrong. The mold is prepped, clear, then colors, in reverse of appearance, then glass and resin, either by hand or sprayed with a chop gun. It gets cured, and removed from the mold, cleaned and polished.

What your are describing is one possible repair method. It sounds similar to how they fixed my top cap on my Bullet.

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J Francho/B Keith. I took you saying how the hull is prepped in factory as how he would be repairing it, as in he would prep the existing gel, then clear, then new gel, then fiberglass over the top of it last. My mistake, I read it as a repair instead of as production.

I still stand by my thoughts that you should 100% be able to buff that thing out to a nice shine.

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I would give the Pro-tec products a try. I haven't used them yet, so I can't say for sure how good they are, but I found their site earlier this year and from the before and after pictures and videos they have, it looks pretty legit. I'm planning on trying it on my 97 Ranger later this year when I get some time. Their website is protecproducts.com 

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WIGuide, I checked out their site.  Sounds a little too good, so I tried to order the one that restores oxidized finish and the sealer, but ran into a road block.  They don't take PayPal or AmEx.  I have a prepaid Visa debit card I use in this case but, it's gotta have a little more of the "prepaid" added to place the order.   I only keep a very small balance on it so if it gets compromised, they can't get more than a few dollars.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow so I will add some money to it while in town (I live 25 miles in nowhere).  Should be able to let you know how it works in a week or so. 

My son pretty much let the finish on my Javelin ruin in that south Texas sun.   I've tried most of the products out there over the years and have never found one that really works on clear gel once it has gotten thin or down to the color coat.  I will give this one a try and let you know if its was worth the $35 (cost plus shipping) or not.  I've about decided to go ahead and respray the cap on it, but with epoxy, not gel coat, been there done than, not again.

 

Regardless of how our new expert feels,  Over the fifty year or so of messing with these things, I've never figured out how to buff out what ain't there and if you start messing with that color coat, if it's metal flake, you will turn it silver fairly quickly. 

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These are the guys that did my boat. Maybe they can point you to a place close to you. I will add that I was able to get poly flake from Bullet themselves, so the repair matched exactly.

http://www.greatlakesmarineworks.com

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J Francho, Thanks for the offer but I'm not going to gel another cap. Forgot, never say never, I don't think I'm ever going to gel another cap. I have the equipment and know how to do it myself, and if I used a high dollar resin, instead of what I used, the clear on the other one probably would have lasted longer. Plus, I would never pay what it would cost to have it professionally done.

With that said and the reason I changed the never statement. I have considered going with gel on this one. Mainly because it's 95% pure white, with just a burgundy strip up each side with a accent silver pin stripe. so I was thinking of just fully sanding it and completely redoing the whole thing, color stripe and all. The main thing causing my hesitation, I'm 68 years old and my 35 year old brain, keeps wanting to get me into more work than my old body likes, and trust me, sanding and buffing that clear coat is a ton of hard work. Spraying with a high dollar gun helps but no matter how good the gun, gel orange peels badly and has to be sanded and buffed, and the stuff is hard when it's cured and when you have to wet sand it three times, 800, 1200 and 1600 grit. Trust me, it ain't fun.

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My 43 year old body and 25 year old brain did the same thing when it came time to fix the brakes on my truck. Six hours of torching and pounding and the stupid rotor finally gave up!

I hear on that, and I'm still young, lol.

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