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Old 04-16-2021, 03:03 PM   #1
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VHB Tape Removal From GelCoat

Well the passenger side exterior stock bubble leveler finally fell off my 2016 21C leaving some VHB tape behind. Will probably replace with a larger one.

What's this forum's brain trust advice for the easiest most foolproof way to remove the existing VHB tape without damaging the gelcoat?
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:10 PM   #2
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If it has a foam layer, slice cut through it with a length of dental floss. Then use a plastic putty knife combined with acetone to remove what is left. Same for VHB tape without foam. Use as little acetone as possible, and keep as much as possible off the gel coat - prolonged saturation may soften the polyester.
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:51 PM   #3
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I just moisten/soak it with lighter fluid, wait a few minutes, and rub it off with my thumb, adding small amounts of lighter fluid as needed.
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:18 PM   #4
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Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:54 PM   #5
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Ditto on the lighter fluid

Lighter fluid is naphtha, also available at the hardware store. A mild solvent, unlikely to do any harm.
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Old 04-16-2021, 05:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
I just moisten/soak it with lighter fluid...
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Lighter fluid is naphtha, also available at the hardware store. A mild solvent, unlikely to do any harm.
That's lighter fluid for wick-type lighters. Lighter fluid for gas-type lighters is butane, and not useful as a solvent.

Naphtha is also used as fuel for camping stoves and lanterns, where it is known as "white gas" or "Coleman Camp Fuel"... in case you want to use fuel as a solvent, and have some around.
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Old 04-16-2021, 07:45 PM   #7
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That's lighter fluid for wick-type lighters. Lighter fluid for gas-type lighters is butane, and not useful as a solvent.

Naphtha is also used as fuel for camping stoves and lanterns, where it is known as "white gas" or "Coleman Camp Fuel"... in case you want to use fuel as a solvent, and have some around.
Yes, correct. I should have been more specific. As Brian points out, lighter fluid for the Zippo type cigarette lighters. Also, not to be confused with charcoal lighter fluid.
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Old 04-17-2021, 12:24 PM   #8
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WD 40 works well for taking adhesives off a surface along with a plastic squeegy. You don't have to worry about harming the surface.
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Old 04-17-2021, 03:16 PM   #9
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WD 40 works well for taking adhesives off a surface along with a plastic squeegy. You don't have to worry about harming the surface.

However, it does stink to high heaven.
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Old 04-17-2021, 08:30 PM   #10
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The good thing is that you would be using it on the outside and you could always (and should) wash it off with hot soapy water and eliminate the smell. It's better to put up with a little smell and use the least caustic of the options, at least in my opinion and I've been doing body work for 50 years so I've got a little experience in this.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:18 AM   #11
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The good thing is that you would be using it on the outside and you could always (and should) wash it off with hot soapy water and eliminate the smell. It's better to put up with a little smell and use the least caustic of the options, at least in my opinion and I've been doing body work for 50 years so I've got a little experience in this.
While I defer to and congratulate you for your extensive professional body work experience, I have been using cigarette lighter fluid to remove sticky substances from a variety of surfaces for at least 50 years and have never found it to damage any surface on which I have used it, to include the paper veneer used on the inside walls of the Escape. And outside, it too can be washed off, and then apply marine wax to the spot where the removal was accomplished. OTOH, isopropyl alcohol and Goof-Off will damage some surfaces, especially plastic. And WD40 leaves a residue which does not fully evaporate and must be thoroughly removed because it will affect follow-up application of wax. In my opinion, and that is what it is, also based on personal observation over many years, I do not find cigarette lighter fluid to be caustic whatsoever, although I would avoid using it or any petroleum derivative on rubber. I will, however, try WD40 for adhesive removal as I know it works well on removing scuff marks from vinyl flooring.
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Old 04-18-2021, 07:50 AM   #12
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My reply didn't come across right. What I was trying to communicate was, but didn't succeed, was always start with the least aggressive and work your way up.
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Old 04-18-2021, 11:08 AM   #13
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First put the heat gun on the highest setting.....
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Old 04-18-2021, 04:31 PM   #14
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As with many adhesives it is good to see what the manufacture of the adhesive recommends. You can use the 3M Stripe Off Wheel shown in the 3M VHB Tape Removal Systems Manual. Here is the link.
https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/...lyer-hires.pdf
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