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Old 01-11-2011, 07:25 AM   #99
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Speaking of polishing: I was at a car show/cruise night and saw a Cobra, probably a replica but it did have an "antique" plate. Anyway the body was brushed aluminum with polished racing stripes...stunning!
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Old 01-11-2011, 08:46 AM   #100
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Since it was a 280 that got me into this crazy Airstream bug that I am into I really enjoy this thread. Thanks to those who are keeping these super Motorhomes alive.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:39 PM   #101
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1995 28' Excella
1989 34' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalefox
We laid in new Pergo floors, recovered all the walls, installed new memory foam sofabed (from Costco!), built a new bathroom vanity, resurfaced the shower, installed an instant on hot water heater, Xantrax sine wave inverter, group 8D batteries, battery meter, 660watts of solar, new aircon units...the list could go on practically forever. Not to include the major suspension and front end work we had to do.

This is Athena today:
Is that the Big Lots click sofa? Lol. I use those for my airstreams. They are great. Perfect size. Nice job on the redo. I just got my 87 345 and got it polished. Got seats out getting reupholstered. Getting the new rear airbags done now as we speak. Oh gosh the list of what I have already done and what I have left to do. Haha. good luck. Keep the pictures coming.
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:58 PM   #102
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Thanks Myrtle. I notice that your polishing job came out a bit brighter than mine. Either that, or you're more skilled with Photoshop

Did you do it yourself or use a commercial company? For reference, mine was done with a team of...er...'undocumented workers' using a mix of rotary wheels and finally the ubiquitous double header Cyclo polisher. Still, there are areas of some black smudging and the corners and areas near the trim pieces aren't perfect.

Would be curious to hear your stories.

/dalefox
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:14 PM   #103
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1995 28' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalefox
Thanks Myrtle. I notice that your polishing job came out a bit brighter than mine. Either that, or you're more skilled with Photoshop

Did you do it yourself or use a commercial company? For reference, mine was done with a team of...er...'undocumented workers' using a mix of rotary wheels and finally the ubiquitous double header Cyclo polisher. Still, there are areas of some black smudging and the corners and areas near the trim pieces aren't perfect.

Would be curious to hear your stories.

/dalefox
I have a full-time guy helping me. The smudging is usually due to polishing it in the sun. I have done quite a few of them. Getting better every time. Lol I am on my third different way in the process of polishing. I will let you know how I make out. I have a ways to go on my exterior it doesn't shine as well as my others. It has been a tough one. Not quite sure why. I will be more then happy to share you with you the way I do my polishing.
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Old 01-12-2011, 02:28 AM   #104
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Hats off to Dalefox and Myrtle lynn. Beautiful work!!

I was thinking that I might be the only one around crazy enough to start polishing a big motorhome; apparently NOT! I can't wait for Spring to arrive in New England to get going on my 1990 325.

As background, I just caught the trailer bug about a year ago and started out with a 1949 Spartan that had spent its entire life within a hundred yards of the ocean in Rhode Island. It was a good first project because it could only get better. I began quite cautiously with a rag and liquid cleaner for fear that I might desecrate a national treasure by scratching it. I quickly got over that hurdle, and before long, things went nuclear. For example, the oxidation was so deep in places that much of the "polishing" involved an orbital buffer and 120 grit SAND PAPER!! Then 180, 220, 320, and then the Nuvite F-10, F-7, F-5, and so on.
During the process, you have a LOT OF TIME to think about a LOT OF THINGS; your own sanity for one, how were the pyramids built?, is there life on Mars?, could you eventually cut your way out of prison using a tooth brush?, etc, but a couple of old sayings often came to mind. "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear", and "You don't bring a knife to a gun fight".

So how does that apply to polishing a Classic motorhome?

First. You CANNOT polish without removing the clear coat. Clear coat was originally offered as an option on Airstreams in the 60's to combat oxidation, and eventually became standard equipment. All classic mohos will have it. I tried removing it in a couple of spots using the afore mentioned "nuclear" playbook, namely a very abrasive grade of Nuvite, and could not cut through the stuff. A product called Removall 220 is the way to fly. This product is environmentally friendly, a breeze to apply, rinses off with water, gives great results, and won't burn your skin off. In a few stubborn spots, I used a product by Jasco which is much more aggressive in every way. When you finally get rid of the old clear coat, you will be amazed at how well it has done its job. Your trailer will be brighter and more silvery than you have ever seen it. You might even consider stopping right there, but in its now raw state, the aluminum will be much less resistant to gradual oxidation than if it is polished. High polishing will seal the aluminum's surface on a microscopic level. The more it is polished, the more durable it will become, and the more amazing it will look.

Secondly, The gun versus the knife. It is my impression that much of what you read about polishing is somewhat dated, with regard to equipment and technique. I have read about people spending several hundreds of hours polishing trailers.
I got the best results using the most powerful tool, generally running at a high RPM, and most aggressive grade of Nuvite that I could apply to any particular area depending on condition. I found that a high speed grinder with edge buffing pad such as you might see on a bench polisher was great in tight spots or to work out relatively deep scratches. Although most of us are doing this for the love of the sport and value our time at the rate of pennies per hour, we all enjoy progress.

Considering that I had the Spartan, the 325 moho, a 1952 Silver Streak Clipper, and a 1972 Airstream Sovereign ahead of me to be polished, and a limited amount of spare time, I made an investment in a fairly pricey piece of equipment called a rotary drum polisher. This is an industrial tool that uses a high volume of compressed air to turn a four inch diameter by six inch long cylindrical drum that is wrapped with either a wool pad for polishing, or cotton pad for buffing. Imagine a paint roller on steroids. This is the same tool that American Airlines uses to polish their unpainted jets. A compressor similar to what you would use to power a jackhammer is required to operate it. The cost of the tool itself was about $3K. I chose a machine made by a Canadian company called Spec engineering. The performance of this tool is astounding. Since the drum is always turning in one direction, there are absolutely no swirl marks left behind. Speed is variable by regulating air pressure with a twist throttle on the unit's handle. The handle can be extended to provide a reach of several feet. From a performance/results standpoint, there is no comparison to be made between this tool and a slow speed buffer/polisher with either wool or foam pad. (I have two of them).

Happy polishing!
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:12 AM   #105
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QUOTE Happy polishing!UNQUOTE
I appreciate your approach. I'm kinda in to cosmetically challenged, and it IS aluminum.m
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:35 AM   #106
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All of you are making me want to get a polisher and get to work right now.... guess I better go brush the snow off first so I can see what I'm polishing!

Although I would love to buy that $3k drum polisher it just isn't in the budget so I am guessing that the Cyclo is the next best thing????

Has anyone given thought to sealing up the bottom? With some of the really tough sprays available I have been thinking it would probably be a good thing. Am I wrong thinking that? My choice would be Line-X since it did wonders for my truck bed - had it sprayed on right after buying it and it NEVER wore through or had anything able to scratch it more than a minor surface scratch.

What about the roof? I've been thinking about applying one of those "white rubber" surface sealers. Anyone have/had experience applying it and did it truly seal the top up?

Okay, looking forward to some feedback!
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:09 AM   #107
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Great info on the polishing...
As you can maybe see from my pics, someone started on mine and stripped the front cap, but its not pretty or good. The PO was an older guy and he told me that he was polishing it by hand..... Untill he got tired!
I have the pass side damage to fix, but the drivers side is about 95% straight, so i might do that anyway when I have time.
I have a 5 gallon drum of Captain Lee's stripper and have tried it already in a couple of spots and it did a great job of the dulled/grey clearcoat... and it looks so much better already!
I will shoot some pics next time I am over.
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Old 01-12-2011, 11:31 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by ALANSD View Post
Ok I'll bite- here are some of my 82 Classic 280. I enjoyed the heck out of it and fixing up to what you see here.
Hi
Do you know where we could get cosy swivverley seats like your 2
around the Tea Table, have they a make on them ?
Thanks
TC
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:24 AM   #109
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clear coat removal

Quick question. How do you protect the paint you don,t want to remove, ie: the stripe and the lower grey? Also is it necessary to remove the awnings to save them from the clear coat remover/stripper? Both my awnings and paint are 1 year old. The clear coat on the alluminum is loosing the clear coat for the second time, about 8 years old.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:36 PM   #110
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You can mask it off with tape. and then get some plastic to extend it down. if your awning is under the aluminum cover it will be fine. Use Remove All stripper it is easy to use. Don't bother re clearing it with a clear coat. It is a waste of money. I know I am going to get in trouble by someone on this site for telling you that but I have 6 polished Airstreams and they require no maintenance. Wash with dish soap dry and done. very easy.
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:30 PM   #111
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I am glad people are enjoying the Picture thread...
Its as I hoped!

I have to say that I feel that we Classic Airstream Owners are holding something very special.
Lets look at the big picture...

We own something that:
1/ They no longer make them, and never will again.
2/ They were hand built.
3/ Limited production, to a high standard.
4/ Of unusual and exotic materials.
5/ Is highly regarded, as the one of the best of its type(Only Bluebirds are considered better I think).
6/ From a bygone era, at least 25 years old.

If this was a car, it would be a Classic... funny that its called a "Classic" by name!
Its only a matter of time before the value begins to go up.
Remember, these units are rare.
We need to be proud of what we have and preserve and enhance the condition of them!
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:31 PM   #112
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I own a printing company and can readilly make copies for those who are interested. Kenneth
Received my copy last week!
Amazing!
Thanks Kenneth
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