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Clean up for an RV Treated with ZEP


JimK
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My RV has been sitting unused for over a year.  I am getting ready for a long trip.  We had some warm weather so I washed the RV.  The roof took a lot of work.  It was covered with rotten leaves, moss, dirt, twigs, etc.  All of the rain water and snow hit all that gunk and then ran over the sides of the RV.  In past years I would have had nasty black streaks and dirt everywhere.  Aside from the roof clean up, today a quick rinse on the rest of the RV brought it back to looking like new.  The water even beaded up on the surface of the RV.  

It has been close to 5 years since I stripped off all the old wax and wiped on some coats of ZEP.  About once a year I do wash the RV and wipe on another coat of ZEP.  Most of the time and work is just moving the ladder so I can do the treatment.  It probably takes a total of an hour or so.  Sooner or later I guess I will need to strip off the old Zep coats and start over....but not this year.

If you like to polish and detail you RV,  you will not like ZEP.  If washing and waxing the RV is more of a chore, consider switching to ZEP.  

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I am curious also.  ZEP is just a commercial grade acrylic floor wax.  It is harmless for RV surfaces such as fiberglass, decals, paint, chrome and plastics.

Some regular carnauba based waxes contain UV protectants although the amounts and durability are very minimal.  ZEP does not contain any UV protectants.  I have read that is a concern for some people.  Now that I am not a full timer, my RV is in the back of the driveway for 3/4rd of the time.  The sun hits the south side but the surface looks the same as the side stored facing north.  A solution for anyone concerned would be to use 303 after coating with ZEP.  That would require reapplication every few months.  I am not sure if ZEP would stick to a surface previously treated with 303.  Since I do not use 303 I never gave it a try.

I have also heard that ZEP will causing yellowing with time.  I still cannot see that after 5 years.  Sooner or later I will need to spend a full day stripping and reapplying ZEP.

The main issue with ZEP is proper prep.  It is essential to remove all old waxes.  I started with a thorough wash, then washed again with a solution of ammonia.  Finally I used bar keepers friend and a scotch pad to scrub the entire RV.  Application can be done with a long handled sponge but the best way is by hand with a rag slightly dampened in ZEP.  It takes at least two thin coats to achieve an acceptable finish and a couple of additional coats to build up a durable finish.  Thin coats avoid any drips and sags to give the best possible finish.  

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16 hours ago, Kirk W said:

What sort of problems are they having?

Yellowing, cracking. I'm merely the messenger. The old thread is on irv2.com

My MH finish is is great shape, and is a 2000 yr.  I keep it that way with car wash soap N water.(if you can magnify my avatar) I use Rust-Oleum touchup paints to cover rock chips, the colors are not an exact match to the Winnebago specs, but close enough I've never had anyone make a comment about touch-up spots.

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I have seen neither yellowing or cracking.  Perhaps the white color of my RV makes it difficult to see any yellowing.  I do have some dark decals and do not see yellowing in those areas either.   I suspect the "cracking" is similar to poor adhesion.  Pealing has been reported as an issue.  As I mentioned, surface prep is important.  Zep is not going to adhere well if old wax, dried bugs, road oils or other contaminants are left on the surface.  Dilute ammonia will remove almost all of the contaminants but I also recommend a light scrubbing with a scotch pad and bar keepers friend or a similar mild abrasive cleaner. 

Eventually I expect I will need to remove the old ZEP and start over.  My RV is relatively small but it will still be close to a day's work.  I would strip the old finish with an  ammonia cleaner and a long handled mop.  I would probably do that twice.  I doubt I would need to do any scrubbing or use BKF since the finish still looks great.  Stripping the old finish would take at least an hour, maybe two at my slow pace.  Applying a coat of ZEP with a dampened cloth is easy but the major work is moving the ladder a dozen times to reach all of the surfaces.  ZEP needs to dry for close to an hour between coats and that is about how long it would take me to work my way around the RV.  So four coats would take a half day.  I can handle that once every 5 years or so.

Waxing used to wear me out.  The surface still needed to be spotless and removing all the old black streaks seemed to take forever.  In theory you wipe on the wax, let it dry to a haze and then buff off.  At least that was the theory.  In practice it seems lots harder.  If you do not wait long enough for the haze, the finish will wipe off and gunk up the rag.  If you wait too long or the RV is in the sun, the haze will turn rock hard and be difficult to remove.  On my last attempt, I used Meguiar's marine wax.  The first coat just did not look good and the surface had a mottled appearance.  A second coat took hours longer and the results were still poor.  That is when I switched to ZEP.  Before Meguiars I also tried NuFinish.  It is supposed to last up to a year.  Regardless it seemed to do little good.  Dead bugs stuck to the nose of the RV and would not easily wash off.  The black streaks seemed to start immediately.  In fact I used to think the NuFinish attracted dirt.

The simplest process is to just use a wash and wax solution.  The RV will look good for a week or two.  Anyway, I have made my recommendation.  If you do not want to try ZEP by all means continue with your current process.    

 

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23 hours ago, JimK said:

I have not direct experience, but the reviews have been mixed at best. 

According to this review the hybrid ceramic wax only lasts 3-4 weeks:   https://drivedetailed.com/meguiars-hybrid-ceramic-wax-review/

 

The reviewer, Darren, thinks enough of it to sell it. Overall his review is positive; "slicker than other finishes". I'm going to try it first on my pickup.

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Like Jim, I've not seen any discoloration or yellowing on my old Bounder. I'm on my second application as I failed to prep the surface correctly the first time. What I failed to do the first time was wipe the TSP off the surface with a clean rag and water. Just rinsing with the hose left a film.

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