October 1, 2006

TT #50 Whistling Grilles and Paintball Bombs and Graffiti Removal

By: Rob Lowe

Technical Tips #50 


Whistling Grilles

With the restyling of the Bounder and the new front cap design, there have been reports of various whistling sounds emanating from the front grille area. Various solutions have been proposed, however if you have a coach that whistles the solution is really quite simple. Each one of the grille tubes is a hollow piece of metal. Air enters the ends and at certain road speeds the air will resonate in the pipe creating a whistle. In order to stop the whistling simply fill the end of each tube with clear silicone sealer. This stops the air from entering and eliminates the whistling.

On some older Bounders the grille also created various sounds and if you have one of those coaches the solution is a little less obvious. On these Bounders, the flat strips of metal vibrate as air passes over them and at certain speeds they create a loud sound that is hard to trace. On these coaches the remedy is to place a weight on the lower side of the flat strip to reduce the vibrating frequency.

Paintball Bombs and Graffiti Removal

While driving home on a highway returning from a friend's cottage this summer, we heard a sound that made us think we had a stone trapped in the tread of one of our coach's tire that suddenly let loose and hit the coach floor. We remarked to each other that this was strange since we were more than fifty miles away from the cottage and other stones had worked loose much earlier. We did not stop until we arrived home. When I looked at the coach at home I realized that we had been victims of someone firing numerous paint bombs at our coach and tow car. Various areas of the side of the coach were coated in wet paint and both the side and roof of our toad were also covered. Thankfully this paint was water soluble and with a little water we were able to wash it off. I was reminded of an email I received about a coach that was vandalized with graffiti. The following is his account of how he removed the graffiti.

"While visiting my brother last summer our motorhome was the recipient of an amateur mural while we were inside asleep with the overhead fan on so we could not hear a thing. Some would refer to this as graffiti or being tagged. Nevertheless it was not pretty. My guess is the hoodlums thought this big white motorhome was a great billboard for their artwork. Well, it wasn't really artwork... It must have been a message to some other gang or something. The words on the back were not something that you would be proud of driving down the road or for that matter parked in a public place. In addition, they painted their initials on one side as well as on the window of our toad. It was July 4th and the temperature was expected to touch 100 degrees that day, which surely would have baked on this fresh paint on our one year old, fiberglass coach which had a paint and clearcoat finish. We called the police, they came and took statements however we were more concerned about whether we would be able to get the spray paint off the coach. Insurance would have taken care of it in time, but we thought we should try to see if it would come off sooner.

A trip to the local warehouse hardware store led us to paint and graffiti removers, such as "Goof Off". All of these chemicals were meant for hard surfaces, such as brick, concrete, wood, etc., and contained warnings about using them on fiberglass. I was worried that they would eat though the clear-coat and soften the fiberglass. In the paint aisle, I started reading all of the labels on paint thinner and mineral spirits containers, all of which contained a fiberglass warning. Then I came upon a tin of Acetone which was used to clean fiberglass surfaces prior to painting. I thought since it won't hurt fiberglass I would give it a try and hoped it wouldn't hurt the factory finish.

Once we got back to the motorhome, the sun was already shining on it and we had to wear our sunglasses while up close to the white fiberglass. I put a small amount on a rag and began to rub it on the spray paint. It did nothing. I decided to go for broke and soaked the rag and tried again. This time the blue spray paint began to smear and come off onto the rag. It didn't appear to cause any problems with the clear-coat. All four of us grabbed rags and got to work. The polarized sunglasses glasses actually helped as they allowed you to see the remainder of the smudges still on the coach. After about 2 hours of cleaning and repeated cleaning of the affected areas the paint was gone, and the toad cleaned up as well. Even today, you cannot tell that anything had happened. I'm glad we took pictures."

If your coach does get paint bombed or painted with graffiti, check first with the coach maker for their recommendations, otherwise try these solutions on a small area, then if successful carry on. The operative words are "Act Quickly" before the paint has time to set up and dry. I hope you do not need this information but as these examples show, it can happen in this day and age.


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