adhesive removal


New Member
I have an old cargo trailer that has refective vinyl on it that has to be removed. I can heat and pull off but its leaving alot of the adhesive behind, I tried using "Rapid Romover" but that softens the paint up so much i can rub it off with a paper towl. Works good on the adhesive removing though, haha. Any Ideas.

J Hill Designs

New Member
I have had success using ALOT of paint thinner to soften it up, then scrape off w/squeegee (create's a boogery mess, but works) - this was on aluminum painted with matthew's, so you might want to try an inconspicuous place on the trailer, since the paint softens w/only rapid remover...

Pat Whatley

New Member
Step 1: Make damn sure the customer understands the problem, and accepts the risk of a repaint before you go any further. They usually don't have a problem with it as long as you warn them up front.

Your problem is you're trying to get the most aggressive adhesive off a substandard paint job. I'd try straight denatured alcohol. It's not as aggresive as a typical adhesive remover. If that doesn't work then give Goo Gone a shot. After that I'd try lacquer thinner but be prepared for that to kill the paint.


New Member
3M 08984 Wear some disposable gloves and use a chizler or two or three.

Like jhill and pat said, be ready to take the finish off with it.


New Member
I tried using "Rapid Romover" but that softens the paint up so much i can rub it off with a paper towl

boy, it shouldn't do that. you might try an orange based remover like you would get at a hardware store. they are les agressive so there's more work but because they are less aggessive, they might not remove the paint


New Member
Almost any chemical you use will get to the paint. You might try using a wallpaper steamer ($50 Walmart) to soften up the adhesive and gently scrape it off will a lil chillizer or plastic razor blade and a "damp" cloth with Rapid Remover on it. Touch and go no matter what you do. Charge by the hour and let the customer know what you're up against.


New Member
I ran out of rapid tac the other day so I used the denatured alcohol, worked great no gummy balls to contend with.


New Member
alcohol on a crappy paint job will only make matters worse. Try "goof-off" (purchased at your local hardware), its one of the best adhesive removers I've tried, yet easier on the paint.


General Know-it-all
OK here goes, everytime I mention this everybody goes "Oh Know!". I'm the old "know it all" here at the shop everybody comes to and starts whining when they can't get something done. For adhesive I go out to the shop and grab the mineral spirits, I know, I know everybody whines "it'll ruin the paint" "it's too harsh", "you may get some on your hands and you'll die!" to which I say BS, man up woosies... I've been using it for this purpose for twenty plus years and have NEVER ruined paint, soak a rag real good, wipe it on, wait 15 sec. wipe over it again. Keep paper towels handy to clean the boogies off your chiseler. Haven't seen the adhesive yet that it wouldn't take off, even the old dried up stuff, just keep it soaked longer. Heck in the old days we also used leaded gasoline, maybe automotive paint has changed since then but I never ruined any paint with it either and it worked pretty darn good. I know, I know, if I breathe the fumes too long my wee wee will fall off, right. I was my father's grease monkey from about 5-17 years old and my wee wee's still fine, heck my grandfather was an auto mechanic since before there were autos and his was still good well into his 80's (I know cause grandma used to complain about it) and lived until a week before his 90th birthday, he'd probably have made it that extra week if he hadn't breathed in all those nasty fumes.
I'm rambling, Nuff Said.:cool:


New Member
i've been able to pull reflective adhesive off, in warm weather, with duct tape and a light+rapid touch. Just keep dabbing at it.
otherwise, rapid remover was always my go-to... only has made things worse for me on semi-trailers.


New Member
Well I pretty much tried everything that was suggested from paint thinnner to gasoline and finally got the best and easiest results with "Adhesive Off" fom fellers and a pressure washer. Thanks for all the help and learned alot of tips and tricks.


New Member
I'm glad it worked out OK.
I was just going to add that I have had "Goof Off" remove automotive paint when removing old stickers.


New Member
Having previously been in the autobody business, i would like to share my experiences with Crest products. After using 3M general adhesive remover for years, I was introduced to Crest Hi-Solv by the local sales rep from Crest East Coast. You can view all of Crests products at . Hi-solv is listed under "brake and solvent" . It is an excellant, excellant adhesive remover, and will not harm most automotive finishes (urethane). Any paint on a trailer or painted aluminum panel should be tested first as this is an enamel and not a urethane. Crest Acry-solv may be a better choice if you're worried because it is not as strong. To purchase Crest products, you'll need to set up an account, but it's worth the time.

Back to the problem, the reflective film has a membrane between the adhesive and the reflective layer. Usually mechanical means are needed to break the membrane and get the solvent down the adhesive layer. Lil chizlers are a good tool in combo with the solvent.

3m Woodgrain remover (comes in a spray can) is good on some things. It has strong enough solvents in it that it actually melts through vinyls to get to the adhesive. On some older reflective films it works nicely. Always test first.

Years back, i had a company come to me with used trucks purchased from Keeblers. They had six foot keebler elves printed on 3M reflective vinyl. No way were we peeling 6 foot elves off the side of these stinkin box trucks. I told the customer the only thing to do was paint over the box sides and apply the vinyl lettering over top. That weekend we roller painted these trucks with MAB Minute Dry white semigloss. Customer was thrilled. We were thrilled. Great paint, BTW .


New Member
i always have a bottle of " prep all", i paint cars alot, so i always have some laying around. prep all is just a adhesive and wax removal used before painting a car to get all the dust and wax off. but i did a old cargo trailer today and i heated the old adhesive, used a plasic scraper, little chizzle. and goo off. and nothing worked and my wife desided to get a little bit of prep all and it came off pretty quick and got if off. so try that. you can get it at autozone or advance auto parts, i thinks it like 8 or 10 bucks.


New Member
I just started using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (extra power). Had a tough vinyl remove that Rapid Remove didn't work on till i used the eraser. Worked fantastic and didn't leave any marks, even with a lot of pressure. can't figure out why it worksto look at it you wouldn't think it would work, it's very soft (not a scouring type). won't go out on a job without them now.