Paint Job…

Painting as a prep before selling…Jan. ’16, San Felipe, Mexico

I wanted to visit Baja. I’d never been but have been visiting the mainland for years. There’s a ferry that travels between La Paz and Mazatlan, and I planned on taking that trip someday, but it’s very expensive and a hassle so I’d not gotten to it yet. Anticipation of that trip sort of kept putting a Baja tour on the back burner. But time was a wastin’. So, this year I said screw it, and just planned a trip to Baja. I’d stopped and visited my brother just north of LA, and heading straight down to Baja from there was my plan. First, I bought Church’s travel book to Baja, studied that a while, and decided to visit San Felipe first. And I plotted out my entire 2-3 months in Baja…but I never left SF. Had a great time there. Plenty to do, interesting things to see, great bars, lots of English speakers, and several oceanside yet inexpensive (on a monthly basis) RV parks just 1 mile from downtown so I could walk if I wanted to see the Seahawks play. Also, they have inexpensive taxis so I used them when I went shopping or came home after a game.

After arriving and setting up at Kiki’s RV park, I soon noticed one of the other guests having paint work done on his RV. I wandered over to check it out, and the work was very well done. So I hired the painter to touch up my RV, after getting a quote for the work. And a couple days later, they arrived to do the prep work. I didn’t pay much attention but boy, did they get started quickly. Almost missed getting any pictures.

I hired them to fix the chipping paint on the plastic bumper and plastic wheel surrounds. The last time I had them painted was in ’13 in Mazatlan and here it was ’16 so I got 3 years out of the last job…and it only cost a couple hundred so I was satisfied. This time, I was prep’ing the RV for sale because I was determined to get a newer RV so I wanted it to look good.

Here’s Tony (Antonio 686-118-1571) fixing the old rusted out screw holes for me. He came to me and told me that they’d need to be repaired and gave a new quote which only added $50US. Which wasn’t bad considering all the extra work involved. Total was $232US.

They took off the entire front wheel surround and took it into their shop to do a proper soak, scrape, primer, and repaint job. They filled the screw holes (there’s a layer of fiberglass, than a hardwood, than an inner layer of fiberglass) with wood scraps and glue to give the new stainless wood screws more bite too.I’d asked them to take off the front bumper and give it the same treatment at their shop but when they started to remove it, the first bolt just snapped off in the plastic from rust weakening it. And Tony spent an hour but could not get the broken screw out of the screw tower that was molded into the bumper. And there were like 15 more of those bolts that didn’t look very good. We decided it was too big of a job…not worth the money, so they just did what they could with prep on that bumper without removing it.

A couple days later, they return with all the wheel surrounds (except the one good one that was done in Maz back in ’13) repainted. Boy, they looked good. And here they are reinstalling the passenger side.  And the rear wheel surround. All these plastic pieces were showing a bit of chipping and I thought a couple hundred spent on a third painting would help it sell. You can see all the stainless screws used to hold these pieces on. I paid them extra to just drill holes and switch to long stainless screws that went all the way through the wood and fiberglass, using flat washers and lock nuts to hold everything instead of replacing the rusted out wood screws with the original screw type.And here’s how the front bumper looked a month and some 400 miles later. The painting did help the RV sell. Only took a month to get rid of it up in Mesa. I took a bath on price but I didn’t care, I was looking at having to pay for storeage on it and was itching to get on the road with my new-2-me Journey RV. Plus there was some obvious water damage under one of the windows in the dinette and the guy that bought it was willing to overlook that for the discount I gave.

Paint and bodywork…March ’13, Mazatlan, Mexico

After spending a few days getting reacquainted with Mazatlan, I called the shop that did my painting last year on the RV. Don’t remember if I’d told you guys, but while they were prep’ing the RV in March of 2012, I asked Juan 4 separate times if they were going to use plastic primer on the plastic surrounds so the paint would stick properly. Four times he answered, ‘Si, senor’, and he speaks excellent English too. But I’d also told Juan that I was planning on selling the RV and upgrading that year when I returned to the US. Apparently, he felt he could go ahead and skip a step in the process and NOT use any plastic primer. Damn it. Three weeks after I left Mexico last year, I spotted some paint chipping off one of the plastic wheel surrounds. Months later, big sections had lost their paint cover. Didn’t look toooo bad, but not the paint job I’d asked for.

So, when I called their shop this year, I didn’t mention that it was a free work (they have a one year warranty), just said I had some painting and body work that needed to be done. Made an appointment, and was sure I stayed there the full day. They didn’t show up. Made another appointment the following week. They didn’t show for that one either. The name of their company, so you can avoid them, is Body Shop Painting, Taller Selene. Juan Jr. & Salazar G.

Getting a little frustrated here. Wasn’t sure that they’d have the time to do all the work that was needed even if they showed up soon. Plus the paint repair. I had some body damage from the truck bumper I’d scratched the body and rumpled the back edge cap a few months earlier so when a different crew was in the park painting someone else’s rig, I invited them to quote mine. Tired of waiting for Juan and party. Yeah, I know, I could have pressed the issue and saved some money…but, really, I also was thinking, what the hell, it’s not that expensive anyway, and I’d be happy to help the local economy.


Peeling paint on the plastic wheel surround.

Peeling paint on the plastic wheel surround.

Finally, I figured he’d never make it and as I was running out of time, I went ahead and hired that other crew. They were doing someone else’s RV in the same park and I just walked over and talked to them, inspected their work. I had some body work that needed to be done too, and they were doing some of that there in the park. I’d backed into a tree and crunched some metal edging in the back, and I’d scraped someone’s bumper along around 6 feet of basement doors once when I’d done a bad parking job.

Their quote wasn’t all that bad either. When I got that crew working, I’d have to watch them like a hawk as they were just on the edge of being incompetent. Ended up with a fairly good job though. They have no tools! How they figured on doing the bodywork is a mystery. When they gave me the quote, I had no idea they were going to try to use a carpenter’s claw hammer and a flat blade screwdriver to do body work. Once I got them straightened out on how they should do things, loaned them some tools, and after I did some of the damaged storage door work myself, they did a fairly good job.

Back in Nov., trying to park along a curb, I’d cut in front of a parked Toyota truck and didn’t leave enough room for tail swing. And I scraped his front bumper. Here’s a shot of the damage.

Scratches and bent surrounds.

Scratches and bent basement door surrounds.

I had them take off the metal edging on the back of the RV and they took it to a shop to straighten it (or so they said, by the look of the work when they returned it the next day, they did it at home). The work was totally unacceptable so I made them take it back off and have a metal shop make a new one. That one was perfect. And no extra charge.

I took the most damaged basement door off and removed the wrecked plastic cover myself. The doors are kind of a complicated concoction with a plastic front and metal back covers, then several pieces of aluminum channel surround and a few screws holding it all together. They had some plastic shop create a new 1/8th inch thick fascia board using the old one as the pattern. It was a little rough on the edges and I did the measuring, drilling, and cutting work so it looked pretty. Then, see that metal bottom edging that runs along the bottom edge? In several places, the wood underneath had rotted out so they were hanging. Or there were pieces of the metal missing. So I had them fix that all up. Then they fixed the several places where the screws holding the plastic wheel surrounds had rusted out and the wood behind wouldn’t hold new screws. Lots of minor stuff. They eventually figured out how to get all the old paint off…but even there I had to keep on top of them so they’d do a good job. Really though, they didn’t. Acceptable job, but not a good job. Wasn’t perfect, but not too bad in the end. The painter showed me the plastic primer when I asked so I’m sure I got it this time. Except for one time I was nearby while he was spraying it on and I could hear it didn’t sound right. Went over and grabbed the can, shook it and it’s empty. Nothing but propellent in it. I cussed him out, and made him go buy another can. He insisted he’d just ran out. Tossed the empty one. Gah, what’s with these people. The whole job wouldn’t even take two cans of the stuff. What the hell was wrong with Juan, too? Dumb asses.

Back end edging channel. Got it replaced.

Back end edging channel. Got it replaced.

You can see the damage fairly well in the above picture. Thankful that was all that was beat up. Not that difficult a job to repair. I would have had my insurance take care of it up in the US but my deductible is $1,000 and down here in Mexico the quote was only $450. So I was saving over $500. And I had a bunch of other little niggling things done included in that price that the insurance wouldn’t have covered. Pretty cool.

New door face ready for paint.

New door face ready for paint.


Front bumper looks good too.

Front bumper looks good too.


Can't even tell there was some damage unless you really look closely.

Can’t even tell there was some damage unless you really look closely.

Back edge looks brand new.

Back edge looks brand new.

Just after the new paint.

Just after the new paint to the scratched mirror case.

I’d also gotten close and personal with a sturdy bush and the back of the mirror was scraped up so I had them paint the mirror cases too.

So that’s it for the new paint job. Months later, instead of weeks in the case of the first paint job last year (’12) and it still looks good.

On Edit: July 2015, Paint problems

Well, I was warned about the poor work these guys did on the painting of the plastic bumper and wheel surrounds shortly after they finished, but it took nearly two years for it to finally start chipping off. Compared to only 3 weeks the time before. Nearly every plastic painted piece is chipping EXCEPT the one wheel surround the painter guy had taken home and done there. That one is perfect. Even the front bumper now has large swathes of paint that have sloughed off. Damnit. Well, I’m going back to Mexico this year so maybe I can get someone to do it right this time.

But…even with paying for more painting, I’m still thousands ahead of what it would have cost me in the US, where it would have been a minimum of $5,000. I’m still under $2,000 at just $1368. And that includes money for the bodywork & age related moulding repairs.


Paint Job…March ’12, Mazatlan, Mexico

After driving around with a grungy looking RV for 8 years, and being very close to having a steady income (March – SS), and having stretched my savings out to that point, I decided it was time to get it painted. The vinyl stripping was all faded, cracked, dated, and the fiberglass was in serious need of a clean up. I have only washed the rig a few times and never waxed it and it was looking pretty sad.  So when I got to Mazatlan in January, I was happy that the best painter I know in Maz was there working on another RV. I’ve seen his work several times and he & crew do a great job. Got a quote of $790USD and arranged for him to start in a couple weeks. They finished up my neighbors and a few weeks later started on mine. Here’s a couple ‘before’ pictures:

Front view Oct. ’11

Side view showing the bad vinyl stripping.

Now, down in Mexico. First, a couple shots after they’d worked on it a couple days scraping off the old vinyl striping:

Vinyl stripping removed.

After clean up, removing the vinyl, and taping up, a new color for the lower portion:

Lower portion painted.

They also coated the plastic bumper and side wheel surrounds with some special sauce that makes the new paint sink into the plastic and actually become part of it, so it’s not likely to peel off: (Edit: The grandson of the owner, who was doing the painting, told me four fukin’ times he was using plastic primer. HE WAS NOT! Asshole. Just 3 weeks after I left Mexico the paint started chipping off the plastic bumpers and wheel surrounds. Slowly at first, but more rapidly with time and weathering.)

Close up.

Then they cleaned, treated, waxed, & buffed the upper section:


Passenger side.


And the front. Camp kitty sitting inside next to the window surveying the area.

Then the back side. He also matched & painted an old wound I had, right rear side trim, where I’d backed into a tree:

Rear treatment. Even painted the backup mirror assembly.

All in all a very good job. He used an airbrush & compressor to keep the overspray down to very little. I probably should have had the window surrounds (vinyl) done and the window frames painted but they were actually in pretty good shape after 18 years. Waxing seemed to brighten them up considerably. They did paint the mirror assemblies and the windshield wiper arms. Not bad for $780 + tip, so $900.