Spotting body repairs

One of the most common issues we see pretty much on a daily basis is patch repairs.  These are only really obvious to an owner once they go wrong, but to our trained eyes, we can find most repairs from new.  We estimate that around 75% of the new Caravans and Motorhomes we see, we will find a repair in some form or another.  Repairs can be from damage during construction, or transportation, or even a careless member of staff in a dealership.  There are two kinds of repairs in our opinion, and they are the right kind and the wrong kind…


The above repair is what we’d class as the wrong kind.  This 2008 Senator Wyoming was booked for our Restoration service to fix the dull cloudy sides, which as many other blogs have pointed out, is a very common problem for Bailey.  However, ignore the dullness of the side, and look at the top, and follow your eye down in front of the nearest window in the photo.  What you should see is a huge glossy patch, and this is two separate repairs that were possibly done at the same time.  Not only was it obvious to us where the filler work was, because it had sunk and was blistering, but the actual finish of the paintwork over the repair was done to a very poor standard.  This we suspect might not of been a manufacture repair, but more like a smart repair carried out by either the previous owner, or more likely the original suppling dealer.  If we’d of seen this Caravan back in 2008 when it was new, we’d of spotted the poor work, and rejected it.  Sadly the current owner didn’t notice it when they purchased it from the original owner at only a year old.

Thankfully the skill of our Restoration processes will not only blend this huge patchy mess back to original, but we were also able to make the finish of the repair far more expectable, and the customer was very pleased with the finished result, if you study the picture below of the finished job.


One thing we couldn’t fix, was the poor blowing in on the repair, and the fact the filler had sunk, but if you look at the improvement above, against how it was, and the fact that fixing only these repairs correctly would of cost far more than the full Restoration on the whole Caravan.  Along with the fact that by following our aftercare advice, the poor repair will now stay as it is, and not deteriorate further.  This is a far more cost effective and sensible approach to making your Caravan look like new again.

Repairs to Caravans and Motorhomes are totally normal, and if done correctly and the surfaces maintained, they will never cause you any problems.

Neglect your exterior surfaces and the above is the result almost every time, and in as little as 2 years from new.

Naked and exposed..

Now and again, we get asked about decals and stickers on Caravans and Motorhomes.  Can we change them? Can we Restore them? Can we remove them?  Simple answers and No, Yes/No, Yes..

We won’t change decals for the simple reason, we feel that’s a job for a decal specialist in a workshop free from wind and dust contamination.  We can Restore certain decals that have faded, depending on the quality of the decal, and how badly it’s faded.  We will remove decals for customers if they want to pay for the extra time these take to do, and if it’s because they are being replaced.  We will always advise against ‘de-stickering’ a Caravan or Motorhome altogether.  There are two reasons we don’t think removing all the decals from your Motorhome or Caravan is a good idea.  Firstly, although in my opinion less is more, a fully de-stickered Motorhome tends to look like a horse box with windows, and a fully de-stickered Caravan looks like a white box on wheels.  The factory fitted decals tend to break up the vast space of white, and draw your eye away from the fact these things are never perfectly arrow straight.  The second reason we don’t advise to remove decals fully, is because the glues used will react differently with the surfaces.  GRP will be very slightly raised where the decals were, and no matter how much machine polishing you do, you will never polish that out.  This will leave a very faint outline of the decals, called ‘Ghosting’  Aluminums tend not to ‘Ghost’ so much, but we do find that as decals are not easy to get hold of, that any previous paint repairs, might have masked around the decals, and removing them leaves and obvious lip that can also look awful.


This 2006 Autocruise Starfire was owned by a customer that wants us to remove the factory decals, so that his sign writer could replace them like for like.  The reason for this is a common one with the Autocruise Motorhomes.  They have poor quality decals that have a separate clear top that almost acts as a lacquer on top of the decals.  This top layer always shrinks in the sun and wrinkles up, exposing the glue underneath.  It also effects other manufactures of Motorhomes and is very common on the Bailey Ranger Caravan.


As you can clearly see, this job was lucky and after a Full Restoration, the faded surfaces looked like new.  Once the sign writer has fitted new decals and graphics, the Motorhome will look as good as new, but as you can see from the side view, a fully de-stickered Motorhome does not look that nice.  Toooo much white..

To infinity and beyond..

No, not buzz light year i’m afraid.  This is more the future of some Caravan designs.  This amazing little beast is called a Swift Basecamp, and it’s less of a compact and more of a Tardis.  We were looking forward to having a peek around this little beauty, purely because neither myself or my colleague had worked on one.


This 2017 Basecamp was booked in for us to Tourershield. (our paint sealing service) The owner chose to use us, and not his dealer, because of the reports on our work he’d found on CaravanTalk.  So we were rather excited to get the pleasure of taking this one on. (sad I know, but we love our jobs)  Our customers were new to Caravans, after years with a trailer tent, so this was all new ground to them too.  This Swift is built using all the different plastics and fibreglasses commonly known to this industry, including GRP sides, ABS cappings, and plastic bumpers.  So protecting this from any premature UV damage is imperative if you want it to hold it’s lustre for a long time.

As most of you know, we are also there to make sure we don’t find any issues that may need attention by the supplying dealer under warranty, on the exterior.

Sadly the Basecamp’s hidden issues didn’t escape our beady eyes.


What you might just about make out on this picture was what we’d refer to as a ‘Sub standard’ repair.  Now, we can only speculate who carried out this repair, and as i’ve mentioned many times before, repairs to brand new Caravans and Motorhomes are very common.  We don’t have any problems with repairs, providing they are carried out to an expectable high standard, which most are.  This one however wasn’t.  Not only had the repair been rubbed down with a far too coarse sandpaper as you can see above, but the repairer hadn’t even bothered to machine polish their work to blend it in.  After we did what we could to make this look far better, we advised our customer to make their dealer aware of the issue,(incase any future problems arise) but as it was pretty hard to find the damage now, we said it might be less hassle if you just put up with it.  This will save the possible disappointment of another poor fix, loosing their caravan for several weeks, and us having to come back and Tourershield any works the dealer carried out.  They agreed with our findings and conclusions.

It just goes to show you how vigilant you need to be when inspecting your brand new purchase…

The beast of Bodmin Moor..

Ok, not quite an elusive wild cat in the depths of Cornwall, but it got your attention… The first part is true though, it is a beast!  In fact it’s possibly the biggest Motorhome (RV to those who prefer)  that we have ever Restored.  It looks far bigger than the pictures show, or it felt bigger when we were machine polishing it.

bus 1

What we have today folks, is a mid 90s American RV thats constructed using full fibreglass panels.  This job was as we’d expect, dull, tired, faded, weathered, green, and generally in a poor exterior state.  The picture above is after our initial wash off (that took 2hrs) You can see Lee starting the specailised Restoration process, cutting through the years of oxidation and bringing back that stunning factory shine.  Note how the full vehicle has zero reflection, and has the normal matt white finish we see all the time.

This picture shows clearly the top half that we have worked, against the bottom that has yet to be Restored.  It’s always pretty obvious to us as professionals, but the dullness is not alwaysbus 2 to our customers.  This is mainly because they see a consistent matt finish from top to bottom, and because this finish is white, many owners presume this is the finish they came with from new.

In basic terms, a panel would of had a glossy finish from the factory, and we are here to bring that finish back, regardless on how dull a panel has become.  Many of our other blog posts go into depth on how we can fix this issue, how it happens, and how to judge your own surfaces.





Below is the finished job, and I think you can agree, that it looks a lot better.  Compare this with the 1st picture, and you will see the reflections are now obvious.  This job took hours, and hours of machine work, finished with protection to prevent the dullness coming back. The job was extremely satisfying as you can imagine, and when our customers returned to see their RV, they were understandably stunned at the result, and their ‘Testimonial‘ followed shortly after.

bus 3

RV’s are not the most common job we carry out at Tourershine, but we’ve had our share of them.  They are no different to Restore, than any other job we carry out, and we look at the the same.  Yes, they can be a little more expensive to Restore, and this job took the same time as 2 standard Motorhome Restorations, so this is to be expected, but considering our customer looked at potentially Re-Painting this monster, the price was a fraction of this, and the bonus of keeping it original far outweighed the cost, and hassle of a re-spray to achieve pretty much the same end result.

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.



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.


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.


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.


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..


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.



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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.