View Full Version : Removing "ghost" registration numbers?

07-09-2006, 08:45 AM
I need advice-AGAIN! I am ready to apply new registration numbers to my 85 boat and after removing/cleaning the old vinyl numbers there is still their "ghost" left on the gel-coat. What is the best way to get rid of this before applying the new numbers? Thanks for all the help you guys have given me so far!

07-09-2006, 09:27 AM
I replaced my registration numbers yesterday on my 2004. Although mine were only on the boat for 2 years, I still had to use Meguire's Oxidation Remover and a buffer to get the ghosts out.

This spring, before I sold my 92, I re-did all the decals (MC and reg #s) and ran into the same issue where the ghosts were gel-coat color mismatch between the color under the letters and the color of the rest of the boat due to fade. On the MC decals, it also seemed that the gel-coat had slightly "formed around" the decals.....required lots of buffing to make this disappear.

Good luck!

07-09-2006, 09:43 AM
If the hull is stained, it might clean up to match the area under the old numbers with an acid wash. I'd try that first. If that didn't do it, and the discoloration is related to oxidation, it's going to require some abrasion, anywhere from hand-rubbing with a cleaner/wax, to power buffing with some polishing compound.

Just treating the area where the ghosts are may get rid of the ghosting in exchange for a noticeable area of a different shade where the number set is applied.

07-09-2006, 09:55 AM
Good thought Mac....start simple is the way to go. Snobowl toilet bowl cleaner is still one of the best cleaners....get the liquid, not the gel and spray on with spray bottle or garden sprayer...

Upper Michigan Prostar190
07-09-2006, 12:27 PM
really? snowbowl? wow! I never knew that.

I just hit it with a light buffing compound when I did mine last year....it worked fine...maybe I got lucky.

07-09-2006, 06:28 PM
The easiest way is to use an orbital polisher, foam pad, and 3M Perfect-It rubbing compound. This will take off all the old chalking, fade, etc and you'll never see where the old numbers used to be. I just did my friends whole boat last weekend since he's getting all new 'domed' numbers and graphics to replace the vinyls. If you can borrow an orbital or maybe rent one from the hardware store it'll make easy work of it. Run the polisher on the lower RPM range at first to get the hang of it and work in a figure 8 motion, lifting the pad slightly so you're using the upper half to do the work. Plain old elbow grease with the buffing compound might do it too, but the polisher will definitely blend everything real nice. If you want more details, give me a PM and I'll help you out. Good luck -