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Old 09-27-2016, 06:26 AM   #491
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1976 25' Tradewind
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That trailer looks amazing, great job! I am really looking forward to the shine job, it feels like it will be one of the biggest visual rewards for all of the work we have put into this project.

How did you strip the clearcoat? I bought a gallon of the stripper from Home Depot and lathered it on, but the clearcoat still needed almost scrubbing to remove. Any tips?


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Old 09-27-2016, 07:02 AM   #492
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Aircraft Stripper. The stuff is nasty, but it works.

IIRC it's a Rustoleum product. Label clearly says "Do not use on aircraft" so I'm not sure where they got the name. I got mine at an auto supply store.

Coveralls, long gloves, etc. so a splatter can't hit your skin and make absolutely sure it can't hit your eyes. Have a water hose nearby, water turned on and controlled by a nozzle so it's available immediately. Water neutralizes the stuff, so use plenty of it if a drop or two gets on your skin. It stings, so you'll know. Hate to think what it would do to eyes.

Work in the shade if possible, or early or late in the day.

Spread the stripper gel on a small area at a time. Once the clear coat bubbles up--15 to 20 minutes, wash it off with the water hose (nozzle set at good pressure). I used a soft, long-handled car wash brush as a follow up. You need to be absolutely sure no stripper remains in the seams between aluminum panels.

I was able to work two or three areas, widely separated so that the wash water from the first one didn't neutralize the others while the stripper was working. It took several days, because I had to wait for the water to dry before I could strip another section.

There were places on my trailer where the clear coat was completely gone from years in the sun. The aluminum oxidation there was exactly the same color as the dead clear coat. If you encounter an area where the stripper just doesn't work, there's probably no clear coat left there anyway.

I love what you're doing with that trailer. Best of luck with the strip and polish phase.
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Old 09-27-2016, 07:09 PM   #493
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I used Aircraft Stripper also. It is a classic methanol chloride product that is chemically nasty, so follow the instructions. Many Air Forum members use other more benign products.

I did my trailer in sections, and indoors during the winter. I brushed it on, let work, and then scrapped it off with a bondo scraper, putting it into a metal pan. Then I disposed of the chemical as a hazardous waste at our local recycling facility. I only had a couple of quarts of it, so it wasn't very expensive to process.

The photo shows the stripper working on remaining clear coat. Where there is no reaction on the aluminum, then there is no clear coat to strip. It is hard to tell the difference. The stripper will not hurt the aluminum.

The trailer did look much better once I got that old, faded clear coat off.

David
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Old 09-28-2016, 05:42 AM   #494
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I used a product called smartstrip that I found at Home Depot here in Ontario, $75 a pail and I used 2 pails but it was worth the cost. Easy to use and safe for the environment. I brushed it on and pressure washed it off. I had to do it on a cloudy day so it wouldn't dry.
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:13 AM   #495
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, Florida
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Mimi, David, AldeanFan thank you for the suggestions. Having a community of experienced restorers is an invaluable asset and the main reason I post here on Airforums.

I FINALLY reattached the bumper after only 2.5 years of having it leaning against the side of our homes in FL and then CA. Only the stairs remain and the once gigantic pile of parts, corroded skins, old tanks, and rotten wood will finally disappear. There is something strangely satisfying about that.

Regarding the bumper it was my first experience tapping my own threads as the new frame did not have any of the old tapped holes to screw the bumper into. HD sold the drill bit and corresponding tap and it was actually quite easy as long as I kept the tap lubricated, I used air tool oil as it is what I had on hand.




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Old 09-29-2016, 07:01 PM   #496
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I remember getting rid of my pile of junk that I no longer needed with my 66 Trade Wind. It was good to see it go.

My Trade Wind bumper is welded on. Same with the son's 69 Globetrotter. But the wife's 86 has a bolt on bumper. I think the rear bumper adds some rigidity to the rear of the frame as well as protect the body while you back into a tree.

David
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:02 PM   #497
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I just read through this whole thread today and all I can say is: WOW! Amazing work! I'm happy you didn't give up on this trailer. I'm looking forward to more updates.
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:24 PM   #498
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Thanks abramj!

So we just returned a few days ago from our biggest camping trip yet! The first 3 nights were in a RV resort in Anaheim where we used up our extra day left on our Disney passes. Then it was 4 nights in Yosemite national park. Yosemite is AMAZING!!! We will have to go back for longer someday. Then we headed into joshua tree. We left Yosemite late and instead of pushing too laye(our ETA was like 9 PM) we stayed over in a parking lot at Edwards Air Force Base then finished the drive in the morning. Joshua Tree was also fantastic this time of year and the kids loved climbing on all of the rock formations while hiking.

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Fishing in Yosemite

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Yosemite and Joshua tree had no hookups at all, so our first boon-docking experience. Besides the p-trap in the bathroom sink coming off on the way to Yosemite and then my wife washing a soiled car seat cover when we got in. "Honey it sounds like water is running out of the trailer and onto the ground, did you leave the drain valve open?"..... I figured she must be imagining something. The sight under the bathroom sink was one for the ages, her makeup bag right under the deluge..... all this at 9 PM after looking for fresh water to fill the tanks etc etc.

We did have battery issues on the last day. I brought along a 900 watt 2-cycle generator from HF and ran it about 30 minutes a day figuring that was enough to handle the LED lights, water pump, fridge electronics, propane detector, and charging our phones. Our trailer still just has one group 27 I believe, maybe 24. In either case it is only 3 years old. The battery may be toast but the generator didn't seem to do much compared to a long drive with the tow vehicle charging the battery. I plan at some point to alter the battery box to hold 2x 6V batteries.

After the trip we stopped and dropped the trailer off at the polishers, King Truck Wash, in LA. Another forum member had his trailer shined there and it turned out fantastic. I was a little nervous leaving my baby. I will be going out to sea for a few weeks so by the time I return she should be ready for pickup!!!

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New counter and cubby storage next to the fridge. Next project will be adding drawers and completing the cabinets.

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Front dinette, my wife sewed the upholstery herself and we had a local foam company cut the foam to fit.

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We never lost a single knife going down the road with the magnetic holder, the rod is from IKEA and the baskets were off Amazon. Isn't my wife talented?

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We switched out the gold faucet for silver.

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Storage next to the fridge, the 2 computer fans with the temperature switch worked fantastic this trip. Super quiet also.

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IKEA rotating hanger for the shower, great when you don't use the shower often and need to dry stuff.

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IKEA again lol, extendable double sided tilt mirror for the wife to do her makeup. Yes she has to sit on the toilet to do it, we all have to make sacrifices lol.

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Each kid has a numbered tote, there are 2 in each cubby. The grow ups get the top ones. Still only 3 kids so room for expansion, lets pray that's not anytime soon haha!

Thanks everyone for the encouragement and for checking out the progress. Once we get her back I will post some post shine photos. Next up will be painting the lettering back, painting the rear light trim, and installing the steps. Interior wise we will finish the kitchen cabinets and install flooring, it really feels like we are getting closer to having a finished product (which will only mean more little projects, it will next truly 'end' but we could use a break hehe).
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Old 10-26-2016, 09:54 PM   #499
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Oh and the unfinished sliding door for the bathroom. Not sure how we will finish yet but pleased with how little space it takes up. Click image for larger version

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Old 10-26-2016, 10:15 PM   #500
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The wife here. My favorite addition of late is the pantry. We need to figure out how to secure it with more than a bungee while traveling but it fits a ton.

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Old 10-26-2016, 10:33 PM   #501
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Really nice work, all of it. You have a great start on a gem there.

Our Safari 25 had a pantry and our Classic 30 doesn't. We really miss it. Ours was secured with a nylon strap at the top to a snap on the top front of the pantry door. It never came loose.

Al
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Old 10-27-2016, 06:40 PM   #502
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Oh how much you have done to this trailer since post #1. It must give you a bunch of satisfaction knowing you built this thing yourself. Now you can plan the next family trip together. Your kids will have life long memories of being with their Mom and Dad in this trailer. You are creating future Airstreamers, and your trailer may last that long.

You will like your trailer all polished up. It makes a dramatic difference in its appearance, although it doesn't improve the functionality much.

Thanks for letting us follow along on your renovation project. Many start such Airstream projects but there is a pretty good drop out rate.

David

PS: Hey in sunny Calif you could buy a couple of portable solar panels and charge your battery while your kids climb rocks. Or for a little more you could get a 2000 watt generator and have microwave power when you want it. We are considering a generator as it is easier than rigging solar panels.
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:07 AM   #503
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Thanks Al and Missy and David! Headed out to sea for a few weeks, will post some photos once I get back of the shine job. Looking forward to that!
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Old 10-30-2016, 05:11 PM   #504
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Been following your post Millertime. Very nice work. We recently purchased a 76' Safari and during a recent rain here in Northern California I was inspecting for water leaks. Low and behold, I found leakage in the rear bathroom closet area. Not sure where the leak is coming from at this point. Didn't see any water under the sink, so it may be coming from the bumper area and seeping in. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks! Click image for larger version

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