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Old 08-14-2007, 01:42 PM   #1
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1960 24' Tradewind
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1st one: a '60 Tradewind 24' (ready to polish)

Howdy, I just bought my first Airstream in June, it's gutted and frankly in horrible condition, dented, scratched, corroded, but the price was right. It's parked in my backyard in Oakland where it will eventually be my guest bedroom. I pulled it 100 miles home over the Santa Cruz mountains with no brakes (actually AMAZED at how well it handled; barely knew it was behind my '96 V6 Tacoma).

So I've already got the subfloor replaced, belly pan repaired, electrical fixed up, lights once again working inside and out, paint stripped, and my jars of nuvite have arrived in the mail (good thing I don't have a job right now - this is gonna take some time!). I just went at my first panel with the F9. It doesn't seem to do anything to the filiform corrosion, and I've got a lot of that. So I'm tempted to hit it with a sander, but wanted to check with y'all first. I've seen a bunch of mention here about pre-polishing but haven't figured out what exactly that entails. Any help would be very much appreciated!!

Catching Aluminum fever,

KK
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums! Wow, sounds like you're getting stuff done already, for just having brought it home!

You might want to read up on some of the other polishing threads. Although I have not done polishing (my trailer was polished when I bought it), I believe you may need to strip off the clearcoat before you can get to shining things up. That's the only pre-polishing step I know of. After that it's all using the right grades, step by step. I'm sure folks who know more will chime in
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:28 PM   #3
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Most likely, a 1960 model isn't going to have clearcoat...it was first introduced as an option in 1964. So, you can get right on to compounding! Here's some good info with step-by-step instructions, this is the technique we used:

Perfect Polish

There are as many different techiniques as there are shiny trailers...good luck in whatever technique you decide to use ~

Shari
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:54 PM   #4
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The only thing I will add, is generally sandpaper is not a good idea, nor is steel wool. Good luck with it, and take your time.
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Old 08-14-2007, 04:58 PM   #5
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Actually, as I've found out, it could have clear coat - my 58 had clearcoat on it - however I don't know if it was put on in 58 or not. Lucky for me it was mostly worn off when I went to polish it.


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Old 08-14-2007, 06:08 PM   #6
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1960 24' Tradewind
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I should have mentioned 2 things:

first, I'm actually polishing the interior right now, saving the exterior work for later (and true, there's no clearcoat on the exterior)

second, these forums have already been invaluable to me over the past couple months in figuring out what's what, so thanks to everyone here!

KK
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krishnasmurf
first, I'm actually polishing the interior right now...
So did you strip the Zolatone off? If so, how?

Shari
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Ya, I stripped off all the interior paint with 2 gallons of Citri-strip (smelled just like orange Tic-Tacs) and four days of scrubbing with soft nylon brushes and paint scrapers. The plastic scrapers work great for stripping off big ribbons of paint until they hit a rivet and lose their perfect edge. Once they lose their flat edge they can actually scratch the Aluminum, so caution there. It generally took 3 rounds, one to get the majority of the paint off, two to get the thicker fleck, and then an easy third to really get it all. I guess I can now say it was worth it, but boy, I don't ever want to do that again, not all by myself anyway. My neck was sore for weeks.

So after polishing 3 interior panels I discovered some of them had been replaced at some point, and the new Al is not Alclad. Bummer. It's interesting to see how two different alloys polish side-by-side, but it will definitely not look as good. The replacement panels won't ever mirror up. I think plan B is to polish just the fan panels at the ends, and do something else to the rest, maybe a light fine random orbit sanding. I would hate to paint it again after all that work.
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Old 09-04-2007, 03:42 PM   #9
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Interior panels were often mixed with different grades since they were painted.
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