Tourershield service 4 years on..

Our latest blog is to show the reason why we feel a Paint sealant in our industry is imperative.  The Motorhome below is a 2013 Bailey Approach that we applied our Tourershield paint sealer from new.  We were called by our customer who asked if we’d come along and assess if the product might need re-applying as it had been applied over 4 years ago.  Although we do always recommend these services on Caravans and Motorhomes, we rarely get to see a job we did several years later to inspect the longevity of the work we carry out.  This was the perfect chance to see just how the product has done over the years.  Upon arrival we found the Motorhome to be in a general after-winter state, with a lovely green roof, and lots of black streaks on one side (it was parked slightly sloped over, allowing the water to drain from the roof down just the one side)  plus an array of tarnished trims and locker surrounds.  All this is to be totally expected, and just a standard looking job for us.

approach 1

The above picture shows the general state of the Motorhome half way through our initial washing off stage.  Now, bare in mind that we always give aftercare advice with our Tourershield service, and this includes the products that we feel are the best for the job.  The products we recommend are exactly the same products we use within the business every day, and easily available to a customer from many outlets.  We don’t ask people to buy ‘special’ aftercare top ups, or gimmicky products that are only available from us to be ‘up sold’  The products are not Caravan and Motorhome specific, like some other ‘Paint Seal’ providers insist on.  Just good quality products that are perfectly safe to be used with the sealer we apply, and with the surfaces we work on.  As you can clearly see above, the grime and greenery is washing off with very little effort, even after it’s been up there for so long.

To put things into perspective, we would normally find a 2013 GRP Motorhome like this one, to be dull and cloudy, needing a costly and time consuming Restoration service.   We’ve Restored dozens of the same Bailey Motorhomes from this era, and sadly even newer ones.  The same goes for the Bailey Caravans that are built using GRP sides, including many Bailey Orion’s that are as new as 2015.  This isn’t just a Bailey specific issue.  It effects most manufactures, but i’m referring to Bailey as a manufacture, because this is the example i’m featuring today.  This applies to most Caravans or Motorhomes, unless as we can see below, they are either sealed with a good quality and well applied Paint seal, like this one has with our Tourershield service, or the owner has regularly waxed their Caravan or Motorhome themselves, or they used a cover all year round.

approach 2

As the picture clearly shows after a good wash, the sides show no sign of fading, weathering, cloudiness, or tarnishing.  The Tourershield has done it’s job exactly as it should.  Best of all, in my opinion and again as you can see above, there really is no need to re-apply the sealer this moment in time, and the customer won’t need to pay out for that service again just yet.

These products and services will always have their share of sceptics, and in my opinion these sceptics are often basing their personal opinions on previous experience of these services on their cars, which is a totally different surface and situation, or they’ve had these services on a Caravan or Motorhome and it’s failed in some form due to a mistake with aftercare, or simply not being applied correctly in the first place. (exactly why you need to be confident that your paint seal is being applied correctly)   The fact that this example still looks this good at 4 years old, after a simple wash is testament to the longevity and quality of the products, and more importantly our initial work 4 years ago.  Caravans and even more so, Motorhomes cost a huge amount of money when purchased new, for a fraction of that initial cost, you can be confident your investment isn’t going to look older than it should in such a short period of time with our Tourershield service.

 

 

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Cover damage…?

Today we are going to talk about the myth that covers cause damage to Caravans and Motorhomes.  I say myth, simply because the damage we fix is because a cover was fitted, but it’s never the fault of the cover.

Ever been in a situation at the start of the season where you remove a cover from your Caravan or Motorhome, expecting it to look exactly as you left it, only to find it doesn’t.  You stand back and it doesn’t quite look right.  It’s covered in what look like dark patches. You try to clean them off and they don’t budge.  Sound familiar?

This is what we refer to as ‘Tiger Striping’  Have a look at the photo below and notice that although the panel has a reasonable shine, it has what can only be described as dark patches or blotches ingrained into the finish.

tiger-stripe-1

This is something we deal with dozens of times at the start of every season.  It’s easy to diagnose over the phone, or e.mail, but you need to be very careful what questions you ask the customer, because not many owners will admit fault if they realise how it’s happened.

This is caused by one of two reasons.  The main reason this happens is simply because an owner didn’t wash the Caravan or Motorhome properly, if at all, before covering.  The general dirt and dust will sit on the surface of the vehicle, and once covered, this is sealed in.  The natural movement of the cover in the wind, and the dirt on the surface will act as an abrasive.  Where ever the cover moves in the wind, will create the pattern you see above.  This is also the same pattern if you park your vehicle against a bush or a branch.  The movement of the plant will also create this type of damage.  The second reason this is caused is again a simple one.  The vehicle in question was already oxidised before covering.  In this situation, no matter how clean the Caravan or Motorhome is, you will still end up with Tiger stripes.  Why?  Because the cover again will move in the wind, and the cover material will polish tiny areas where it touches.  This removes the oxidation slightly, and gives exactly the same result as above.

The owner of this Swift Caravan freely admitted he’d not cleaned the Caravan before covering.  He excepted because of this, he had this problem, and was happy to have it rectified by us.  The front panel on this 2007 Swift had gone dull anyway, so we ended up Restoring the full Caravan, fixing both the Tiger Stripes, and the dull front panel in one hit.

tiger-stripe-2

As you can clearly see when you compare both photos, the problem is totally fixed.  The Tiger Striping won’t wash off, and you won’t be able to polish it off.  (have a go and see for yourself)  This work needs a specific compound that only we use, and a machine polisher, with the correct grade of head, correct speed, and correct pressure applied.  Once we’ve Restored the panel back to the factory standard, we will then seal in our work with a wax to protect in the future.

tiger-stripe-3

The fully Restored Caravan looked as good as new.  The owners were understandably overjoyed with the result, and mentioned it had never looked this good in all the time they’d owned it.

Lastly, this finished job can now be covered with confidence.  I assured the owners that if the Caravan was kept like I left it, and they followed our simple aftercare, the Caravan would stay looking this way for years, and the use of their cover was perfectly safe.

Covers work.  They don’t cause problems if you follow the manufactures instructions.  I’ve personally used a cover on my Caravan for 5 years and never had an issue.  I now use a cover on my Motorhome when it’s in storage.  My Motorhome is pretty new, and cost my wife and I a lot of money.  If i’m confident that a cover won’t cause an issue to my own Caravan or Motorhome, then you should be.  Don’t think you have to buy a tailored cover.  A universal one will do the job just as well, providing it’s breathable, and you adhere to the instructions. (it’s your personal choice)  Covers get a bad wrap on the internet, and it’s simply untrue that they cause damage if used correctly.  We don’t sell covers, but we always recommend them after our work.  It will cut down your maintenance no end, and prolong the surfaces of your pride and joy for as long as you keep using a cover.  The same goes for towing covers for Caravans.  Used correctly they work.  Used incorrectly and let’s just say, our details are on this site when you want it fixing… You have been warned..

Finally, a cover is not just for winter.  Use a cover all year round, but in my opinion the summer use is far more critical.  This will block out the suns UV damage 100%.  The winter will just leave your Caravan or Motorhome filthy and green, and that’s a cheap job to fix.  The summer will destroy your surfaces if not covered or maintained, and that’s a far more costly job to rectify.

Tourershield Paint Protection.

This time of year we are doing a lot of Tourer’Shield’ paint protection work.  It normally starts in February when people are collecting their new Caravans or Motorhomes, and tends to have a spike in this service after major shows like the NEC Caravan and Motorhome show in Birmingham.  I’ve already gone into the details of why it’s so important to have a Caravan or Motorhome protected from new on a previous blog, so I won’t go into any depth this time.

This blog is more to show a slightly different Caravan that the owner booked for us to apply our paint protection on.  The owner wasn’t sure about these services as he was new to the hobby, but after doing his research, he called us, because he mentioned that our name kept coming up from different forums and previous customers.  This is something see a lot of, and a huge amount of our work is from recommendations on line.

Here we have the amazing compact Eriba he wanted sealing.  These stunning little caravans pack one hell of a punch when it comes to quality and what you get for your money..

eriba

Not only do they look amazing, they are easy to store, and simple to tow.  Another huge plus is they hold their value better than many other Caravans in the UK.

Now, theses beauties are built quite differently to most other UK Caravans, using a full Aluminium body, and only a Fibreglass pop up roof.  They are also painted using similar processes to a car, and the quality of the finish is as good as it gets in this industry.  As explained before with the fact that Aluminums tend to go cloudy after several years (Just look at some of the older silver Hymers) our Tourershield product will prevent this from happening, providing all our simple aftercare instructions are followed.  This not only maintains it’s high residual value, but also makes washing the Caravan a far easier task.  The owner lived in the Leeds area, and he paid around £300 for us to travel from Leicester for this service.  This is compared to the dealers price of £400.  As per most of my customers, he was a little sceptical that letting the dealer apply this product, might not yeild the same quality as an independent smaller business with a reputation like ours.  We are not in business to compare what we offer with other companies.  We let the customers make that choice, but we find that almost every time we are chosen, it’s not because of the price, it’s the reputation, and that means a lot to myself and my colleagues.

2017 Buccaneer…

This is an interesting one.. Well, interesting to us as a blog, and a job, but the customer wouldn’t look at it with the same enthusiasm.  Below we have a stunning 2017 top of the range Buccaneer Caravan that was booked in for our Tourershield paint sealing service.

 

buckaneer-1

Now, this should be a straight forward job.  Use a stage one product that removes any surface contamination and general dirt, then apply our stage two PTFE long life sealer to protect this beauty from any future surface issues.  As part of this service, we will always go around the Caravan or Motorhome and give it a visual inspection for any damage, defects, or issues that might need to be returned to the suppling dealer for fixing.  Iv’e mentioned before that around 70-80% of the new Caravans and Motorhomes we paint seal, will have a defect in some form or other that the owners didn’t spot when collecting new.  This job was sadly one of these.

What we quickly found was the rear panel was covered in deep scratches and swirls.  This can be for several reasons.  This one I suspect was from a member of staff somewhere within the supply chain that took very little care when cleaning off the rear panel.  They either used a cloth, or a sponge, or even a brush that was contaminated with grit, or damage in some form or other.  This resulted in us having to fully restore the rear panel before we could apply the sealer.  The reason we had to point this out to the customer was not only because it would end up costing them more than originally quoted (it’s roughly a 2 hr job to fix this issue)  but they needed to know what can happen if the wrong equipment is used.

Thankfully the customer was happy to let us get on with fixing the issue, as he fully trusted our opinion and reputation.  What would of happened if he wasn’t prepared to pay the extra cost to fix thbuccaneer-rearis problem?  Which is totally understandable as they had only purchased it a week before we arrived to carry out our work.  Basically he is given the choice.  We can seal over these issues reluctantly, but we would always advise against this.  (This only applies to swirls and general scratches.  Any fading issues won’t be sealed over)  We pointed out the problems using a high powered light that will replicate what you will see in direct sunlight.  This made what we could see very obvious.

Fixing this problem is actually far harder than restoring a faded panel, because you’re machine polishing out scratches that are far deeper than just removing a faded oxidised finish.  It takes huge amounts of skill and experience to machine polish out scratches from a surface that has no paint to use as a tolerance, only a hard gelcoat.

As usual, we prevailed and the rear of this Caravan was returned back to the original high gloss finish, with no further swirls or scratches.  This was then Tourershield sealed and looked perfect.  Would this damage of been spotted by a selling dealer? Who knows.  Even if you spot this when collecting your new purchase, do you really want the hassle of letting someone with little skill fix this issue and possibly end up making it look worse?  I wouldn’t…

RV Restoration..

Throughout a standard Tourershine year, we carry out a lot of Restoration work on a lot of Motorhomes, but every so often comes along a slightly different project for us.  This monster below is one of those.

yank-1

What we have here is a 2008 American RV that was booked by a customer of ours that wanted it bringing up to a standard that he could easily maintain, and that would hold it’s value once he’s used it for his intended purpose.  The Americans build Motorhomes very similar to every other nation, using the same materials and finishes, just far, far bigger..

This RV was booked on the pretence that as it was constructed mainly from GRP, that we’d be Restoring all four sides as we’ve come to expect from most GRP or Fibreglass constructed Caravans or Motorhomes over a few years old.  However, we were pleasantly yank-2surprised to find both sides in perfect condition, with zero oxidation or fading.  This meant our job was slightly easier and the customers price was reduced accordingly.

What we did find was the front bubble (seen here) and the rear panel was faded pretty badly.  This would normally suggest that the vehicle has been stored in a position that only exposed the front and rear to the elements, and something we’ve often seen from vehicles that are stored on storage compounds with a vehicle either side.  The same principal will apply if a vehicle is stored against a building or a fence.  The side against these will always be shadowed and out of the sunlight, so will normally require very little Restoration work, if any at all.  As per all of our finished Restoration work, you can see clearly that we’ve managed to return the factory gloss in the picture.  This was a very difficult job due to the size of the bonnet (Hood if you’re American..) This restricted our usual method using our scaffold tower, and a little improvising had to be devised to achieve the full job.

 

The rear panel was a little easier to access, and even the troublesome rear ladders that we sometimes struggle to get our machine polishers around, was made a little easier by the pure size of the thing!

yank-3

The finished job I think you will agree looks amazing, and pretty much as good as new.  Our customer was extremely pleased with the improvement, and shocked to see how much better it looked considering he’d only purchased it several weeks before from an actual dealers showroom.  Proving once again that although you can buy a Caravan, or a Motorhome, or even an RV in this case from a flashy looking dealership with posh waiting areas and free cups of coffee, don’t presume it will always look it’s full potential when you collect your purchase.

Yellowing..

One of the problems that effect both Caravans and Motorhomes is what we refer to as ‘yellowing’.  It’s where the overall surfaces of a job have a tarnished finish that is often described as looking yellow.  This is normally down to 2 things.  The incorrect use of certain chemicals, or a general lack of any regular cleaning.

2010-resto

This 2010 Autotrail belongs to the owners of the popular World of Motorhomes website.  A very interesting website full of useful information for anything Motorhome related.  They called us and explained that they used their Motorhome for shows, and holidays, and it was in constant use, which made general maintanance to the exterior something that they just didn’t often have the time to do.  One of the main complaints was they thought it was looking very tired and the panels had a ‘yellow’ finish.  I explained over the phone that this was something we’d seen dozens of times and we should be able to fix this problem.

As expected upon arrival and after a close inspection, the Motorhome was just in the normal state of inconsistent whites, and dull fibreglasses.  The yellowing was more than likely down to the constant use and lack of cleaning.  This effected mainly the GRP side panels and the notorious Autotrail rear fibreglass panel.  I say notorious because they were constructed from a sheet of very thin and flexible GRP that’s prone to premature fading.  Along with the overhead habitation panel above the windscreen (front bubble) and the steel cab oxidising as per usual.

2010-resto-2

As both the above pictures can clearly show, we managed to Restore this huge monster back to it’s factory condition.  We asked the owner to pop out and look at the progress half way through the job, to point out how bad it actually was.  He was understandably staggered.  6hrs of solid machine polishing, coated with a wax protection and finishing with a meticulous detailing, this 2010 Autotrail looked as good as new and the owner was over the moon with the finish.  (even some of his neighbours that had seen the progression through their windows came out to comment on the finished job.

Once again, showing off our Restoration service at it’s finest, and proving for around £450-£600 it’s a far cheaper option than the cost of changing the vehicle.

Aluminium Restoration

Todays blog will concentrate on the restoration of the more commonly constructed Aluminium build’s.  As a business, we will see around half of our Motorhome jobs being Aluminium build’s, and the other half being GRP.  When it come’s to Caravans, it’s slightly different.  The Caravan industry have always used Aluminium far more commonly, up until around 2014, where many Caravan manufacturers are choosing to move over to GRP now.

Aluminium has different characteristics when they fade and start to show their age.  GRP as we’ve talked about in previous blogs, will have a consistent dull/matt appearance, when it ages.  Aluminium is slightly different.  Yes, it still goes dull, but often owners won’t notice quite how bad a panel is until we point this out.  As most Caravans and Motorhomes will have at least one panel that’s fibreglass mixed into a body, be that the front or rear panel, the owner will normally only see how bad these fibreglass panels are.  They then have a tendency to compare this dull fibreglass against their Aluminium side panels.  This will often give the impression that the Aluminium panels are not anywhere near as bad.  This is because most Aluminium will still have a shine, but with a cloudy finish that’s always obvious to us, but not always to an owner.

This picture of a Hymer Motorhome will show you exactly what i’m referring to.  Look carefully at the picture and note the top section of the side panel.  What you can see is the differenhymer-mororhome-restoce between Restored and un-Restored.  That ‘cloudy’ appearance you can see along the top is what I’m referring to, and what we need to remove.  This is called ‘Oxidation’ and it’s where the sun has damaged the surface over a long period of time.  Often a quick easy way to check this, is to run your hand across the panel, and you might find that your hand turns white. (try it)  Also, you might notice when you wash your Caravan or Motorhome, that the water on the floor looks ‘Milky’ and this is the Oxidation coming off.  A lot of owners will recall years ago, when Red cars went Pink and cloudy, and we were always grabbing the T-Cut out the garden shed and trying to improve the paint finish.  Well, this is pretty much the same principal, but grabbing the T-Cut is probably the worst idea on a Caravan or Motorhome, because it will ruin a surface like this.  The same goes for other products like Mer, or Autoglym, or any other product lurking at the back of the garage.  These products in themselves are ok to use in the correct situations, but to fix this certain issue, you will quickly find that it only makes the panels look far worse.  As before in previous blogs, there is only one way to fix this problem, and that’s with a machine polisher, and more importantly, the correct compound.

 

hymer-with-lee

Above we have Lee Restoring the sides of this Hymer using a machine polisher and our specialised compounds.  The machine polisher is the only way to achieve a consistent high end glossy finish.  However, this process take’s years to perfect on these surfaces and even now, we are still tweaking our methods to make things work for us.  Every surface has a different technique, and every surface uses slightly different methods to achieve the glass like finish we are known for.  The machine polisher is a brutal tool and in the wrong hands can destroy a job.  We have to take care around the trims, hatches and handles, masking as much as we can with a ‘detailing masking tape’  This tape is different to normal masking tape.  It’s far stronger, and more importantly, it does’t damage the surfaces we mask, like some cheaper masking tapes will do.

Even the decals need a wealth of previous knowledge to know how far we can go before they go through the surface.  We need to know which decals we can restore and which won’t.  We will normally know from the decal if it can be enhanced, because like the  Aluminium, the decals can also fade and go chalky.  Thankfully the Hymer ones came up like new and saved the customer potentially hundreds of pounds, should he of wanted all the decals replaced.  (not a cheap job and almost impossible to find genuine decals on anything over 3 years old)

One of the main reasons Caravans and Motorhomes age like this is simply because many owners might keep their pride and joy lovely and clean, but rarely does anyone actually protect their work with a wax or sealant.  A coat of wax twice a year, or a paint sealant from new, or even the regular use of a cover will almost certainly put a stop to any fading.  This is why all our work is finished with a protection and far more importantly, why we spend a considerable amount of time explaining to our customers how to continue this simple protection to keep our work in perfect condition.