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Old 05-25-2015, 06:23 PM   #1
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1967 24' Tradewind
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Acid wash or no acid wash?

I was reading on a different site ( don't remember which one) and some people had said they acid washed their trailer to remove all the oxidation. Is this "okay" once or twice or is this something I should stay away from? Recently got a 67 Tradewind and it is heavily oxidized. Looking for a little advice.
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Old 05-28-2015, 07:15 PM   #2
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I think I found the answer. No. The major concern is that it can cause leaking...
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:40 PM   #3
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You are correct. Acid washing is not recommended for Airstreams.
Trailers of that vintage had some of the first clearcoats applied to the shell. Its possible that the clear is badly oxidized and not the Alclad skins.
Find a bad spot up on the roof that's not too visible and apply some paint stripper like Citri-Strip to a small area, cover it and come back in 4-5 hours.
When you clean off the stripper you might be pleasently surprised to find shiny metal underneath indicating failed clear. A very common concern.

Good Luck,
Tom
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Old 07-01-2015, 11:41 PM   #4
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No, No, No...

Acid of any kind is bad for your Airstream... It can etch under the rivets and cause long term problems. Better to do nothing than to do that.

Chuck
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:33 AM   #5
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Heavy oxidation of the aluminum is a naturally occurring phenomena. We have all seen dull gray Airstreams parked behind the barn.

I purchased some "Aluminum Brightener" at my local NAPA store. The label says it contains phosphoric acid. It is designed to attack oxidation on cast aluminum surfaces, like cast aluminum wheels. The label says not to use this product on sheet aluminum.

Oxidation is not difficult to remove from old ALCLAD sheet aluminum like the exterior skins of our old Trade Winds. Some folks wet sand with 1200 automotive sandpaper. Sanding might save some time. Most folks grab the jar of Nuvite G6 course polish and a wool bonnet and start "grinding" away on their trailers. It is slow. Plan on scores of hours polishing. There is no easy "one step" process for removing oxidation from an old Airstream. But you can get the oxidation off. Then you will have the satisfaction of knowing the oxidation process will begin anew, although less.

Here is a photo of the stripper at work on old clear coat on my Trade Wind. You can see how the clear coat is "spotty". The stripper has no effect on the bare aluminum. I applied the stripper to the entire trailer, one section at a time. And getting the old clear coat off the trailer did brighten it up some.

Acid treatment to remove oxidation on sheet aluminum is not recommended.

David
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:16 AM   #6
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Which strippers did you guys use?, I have seen the product offered on vintage trailer supply but I likely cant get it across the border. We do have citrus strip up here in NS, any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:00 AM   #7
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I used the stuff from VTS and citri strip brush on and spray. All worked well, try applying in evening, shade, or when not too hot so it doesn't dry out. Spray mister with water to keep moist if needed.
Some areas will inevitably need 2 coats.
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:37 PM   #8
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Thanks hi Joe
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:37 PM   #9
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I had good success with Aircraft Stripper, sold at auto parts retailers. It is the old fashioned methylene cloride, a nasty chemical. Follow the instructions on the can.

This stuff works in about 15 minutes. I used a plastic scraper to take it off and collect it in a metal container. Then I wiped the trailer down with water.

The photo shows how the chemical attacks the clear coat. But where the clear coat had weathered off, the chemical did nothing.

David
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:07 PM   #10
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The aircraft stripper works really well, but it's pretty nasty stuff.
The eldorado and citri strip work pretty well, much easier to use, and easy to clean up. If applied on a cool evening and left to sit over night you can gently pressure wash off in the morning with good success and not a ton of toxic mess to worry about . The wash off eldorado and citri strip didn't seem to have any negative effect on the grass it got rinsed into.
I used 1 gallon of the eldorado(VTS) on my 23' trailer, applied probably thinner than should have in places which necessitated the second coat in spots. Biggest spots I missed were under the awning rolls. I brushed it on but think a thick nap roller might have made for a quicker more even coating. The eldorado was fairly thin, about the consistency of runny jello pudding, maybe a little 'thicker' than paint. If I ever need to do it again I'll try rolling it.
For any remaining very small spots i found later I rubbed them with 'after stripper wash' on a rag for a minute or two and it would dissolve.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan.aliciac View Post
I think I found the answer. No. The major concern is that it can cause leaking...
Not "can" but absolutely, guaranteed.

Andy
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