I didn't notice the reply until tonight (Father's Day). I used info I gathered from this site and I was directed to the Perfect Polish website over and over Home
. I used their method for polishing for the most part. Just about all of the polishing stuff I bought came from Vintage Trailer Supply - Vintage travel trailer parts and supplies!
since they had it all and seemed good on prices.
Supplies I got:
Nuvite F7 (course) polish - 2 pounds for 31' trailer (haven't finished yet so not 100% sure on quantity)
Nuvite C (medium) - 1 pound
Nuvite S (fine) - 1 pound
Paint stripper (Home Depot)
7.5" compound polisher head with drill motor attachment
5 x 7.5" twisted cotton heads
Cyclo 5 polisher (with 4x rubber boots and 4x spandex type covers for it)
lots of mineral spirits, 100% cotton baby diapers (I got 60), 100% cotton T-shirt material
I think that was it.
Here is the process in short:
First I checked to see where the camper still had clear coat on it. You can use a rag and toothpaste and try to polish a spot. If the rag turns black, no clear coat in that spot. Most campers lose their clearcoat from the roof down. Mine had clearcoat on the bottom 1/3. In the areas you have a clear coat, you will need to use a paint stripper and remove it before polishing. I slao found that the clear coat was still on some spots of the upper portion of the camper like where water doesn't run (below some rivets, under light fixtures, etc.) and removed it there as well.
I got a 7.5" compound polish head and 5 cotton pads for a drill motor (they suggest 1000RPMs) and used Nuvite F7 (course) polish for the first step. This removed the most of the oxidation and gets it pretty shiny. To do the area you see on my roof just with the compounding polish took about 12 hours and can only be done in cloudy cover, mornings and evenings. No direct sunlight... it gets hot up there and the polish hardens too fast. Some spots I had to go over 3-4 times to get a good shine, others just once. You only do about 2' x 1' sections at a time and use minimal polish (dap fingertip of gloved hand every 3" or so in area to polish). Run the polisher slowly through the polish first to get it on the metal (too fast and it flings it off). Then run the polisher over the surface back and forth over the area a few times until the black polish leaves the aluminum (you will see the aluminum get "clean"). Then clean the area with mineral spirits until ALL of the black stuff is gone. I use 3 rags of varying blackness and after each cleaning, toss the blackest into the "laundry" pile and get a new cloth out. Cover your hands with thick rubber gloves and use the same cloths. They will turn black from the oxidation.
To get the mirror finish, I got a Cyclo 5 industrial polisher (expensive but I figure I would use it every 2 years so I wanted something that would last and it was lightweight compared to other ones which is important). Go get 100% cotton T-shirt cloth from a fabric store, cut the cloth into 36" x 36" sections (or close to it), cut a slot at the 4 corners... well, check out the perfect polish site for more details on the cloth and wrapping the polisher with them. Once you get the hang of it, its quite simple. I then used a C grade Nuvite polish first and did 1 polishing and that was about all it needed if you did good with the compounding to remove most of the dullness using the mineral spirts to clean after. Then went over the whole area again using the S polish which gave it a really good mirror finish. The Cyclo polishing took only about 3-4 hours.
I have since polished the roof all the way up to the front cap and did the front end down to the middle beltline. My end caps didn't come out as mirror as the roof did and, if I still have arms left after I am done, I may go back and try to get it a little shinier. I will post some more pictures next week on that.
I only ordered 1/2 pound of the F7 so have more on order right now. In the meantime, the wife and I removed 3 of the 4 awnings, she cleaned the awnings up and I repaired the stitching that was coming out on some of them. I went ahead and re-hemmed the tired covers since they were all frayed. We also cleaned all the window frames and used Scotchbright to further clean some of them to free them of rust on the arms and black on the aluminum which gives it a nice brushed aluminum look. I have gotten 3 of them scotchbright"ed" and they cleaned up so well. I also am about 75% done scotchbrighting the doorframe and screen door. I will be off work for 5 days in a row next week so I hope to start back up on the polishing.
Good luck with your polishing if you decide to do it swanky. I will admit, I am a hyperactive person with obsessive tendancies and my wife just called me a perfectionist while I was polishing and after getting about 10% done with the camper, I wondered why I started this HAHAHA!