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Old 01-29-2005, 11:14 AM   #15
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EKBrace.

That is the correct clear coat paint that Airstream has packaged.

Andy
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Old 01-29-2005, 11:35 AM   #16
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What would a Airstream look like if you polished it and then used the "plasticoat that Airstream uses" over the coach??
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Old 01-29-2005, 02:17 PM   #17
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till.

Airstream no longer applies plasticoat during production.

The new style clear coat is applied to the metal at the time the metal is processed. There is no Airstream factory or after market method of applying the new material.

Therefore you must use the old style, plasticoat.

It's advantage is that it would keep the polished trailer looking very good for about one year, depending on location.

After that, the plasticoat slowly but surely starts to become opaque.

In 3 to 4 years, again depending on location, it will start to peel, since it will be aged out.

The peeling usually starts at the roof, since it gets the hottest.

As the peeling begins, you must strip the coach and start all over again.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:23 PM   #18
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how to buff out oxidization & more

i'm about to re clearcoat my airstream motorhome and am appreciative of this discussion. i have a couple questions:

the 1st question is how do i remove oxidization on the aluminum (i.e. bring it back to the machine finish, without over polishing it)? i have air polishers and electric buffers, but i want to get it right before i commit to all 35 feet.

my 2nd question involves paint and may take me down a more involved path. i have some sections on the roof that have hail pocks and a rear corner panel with a dent from a street sign. i'm wondering how it might look if i decided to paint these panels silver and go after the rest with clearcoat. fortunately, i found some other posts that gave a detailed account of the painting process --i'm hoping to not paint the whole thing at this juncture.

thanks for your help,

nick glase
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:52 AM   #19
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If your plasticoat or clearcoat is in good shape you can polish it and it will shine nicely. My 82 is that way. To compare the lower areas were painted, then stripped of the paint and polished, but not to a high shine as the upper areas are still coated and I did not want too much difference in them.
Using Mothers mag and aluminum polish i cleaned up the lower sections in a short time, then sealed them with Liquid Glass sealalnt, after first using mineral spirits to wash it down, and then soapy water.
My roof is the only clearcoated area that is starting to show fading or opaque spots. I intend to strip the roof front and rear domes, and polish them like the lower sections. Then i would like to recoat with clearcoat, but not sure if i will do so yet.
Check the next post for the comparison photo.
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:53 AM   #20
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compare the lower uncoated and lightly polished with the coated uppers. I polished the upper clearcoated area twice a year with Liquid Glass sealant. The white pole from the canopy is reflected in the side. Not mirror finsih but looks good and shiny.
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:55 AM   #21
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here is leemo touching up his 79 Motorhome that is stripped and HIGHLY polished.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:03 PM   #22
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Repainting

The first problem with painting aluminum is getting adhesion. You must use an acid etch vinyl primer or acid etch and alodine. Alodine has other environmental issues. When the factory coating is applied they have a 5 to 9 stage wash system with the final stage being a conversion coating to promote adhesion. This is done either by dipping or in the case of the coil coated aluminum that A.S. buys from Alcoa by an inline spray dip process. A large wound up coil is unwound, goes through the 5-9 stage preteat, coated baked and wound back up. This is all done in coil that is hundreds of feet long. Not unlike a newspaper. The problem with vinyl and alodine are they are not perfectly clear. Usually greenish or yellowish. So you would never end up with a perfectly clear-clear coat. If you would like to paint the AS a color thenn acid etch vinyl is not an issue. This is done all the time. AS far as prep goes for painting with a pigmented coating goes. Strip, sand, acid etch, sprayfil prime, sand, topcoat, clear coat.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:07 PM   #23
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sounds like reclearing is a major job.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:21 PM   #24
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nglase

1. You cannot remove an oxidized appearance, and make it match the rem,ainder of the coach.

2. You can paint any part of the coach with silver or any other color paint that you wish to use.

You must use the following method, if you want the job to last.

1. Remove the plasticoat.
2. Sand into the sheetmetal with 120 to 150 grit sandpaper. Scuffing the surface will not do. IT MUST BE SANDED.Make sure "all" the gloss is gone.
3. Wash the sanded areas down with a high quality lacquer thinner.
4. Seal any and all seams with the proper sealers.
5. Use a high quality flexible primer, and apply at least two double wet coats.
6. Let the primer out gas for a day or two
7. Wipe the primer paint to remove any dust or dirt. No need to scuff it.
8. Spray at least 3 double wet coats of a "very high" quality automotive paint.
9. Before the colored paint sets up, spray paint at least 3 double wet coats of a "very high" quality clear on top of the colored paint. Do not use plasticoat.

The above process, "IF" strickly followed will give you a finished paint job that will last at least 20 years, if you wax it once a year.

Expensive.....Yes.

Time consuming.......Yes.

Worth it.......Only if you like quality.

Anything short of the above will provide a less than satisfactory paint job.

Keep in mind, aluminum must be painted very differently and with different primers, than steel.

And finally, DO NOT APPLY ANY ACID TO THE BARE METAL.

Why?

Because you cannot remove all traces of it, therefore it will eventually eat away at each and every rivet, creating hundreds of water leaks, guaranteed!!

And if you don't sand it, the primer will not proper adhere.

We have paint jobs out there that are over 20 years old, without any peeling, fading, or chipping. A few have been in hail storms, denting the metal, but not touching the paint.

As with anything that you want to do one time and be through with it, you must do it right. If not, leave it alone and save the time, effort and money.

And if you want the problem to go away, real cheap, just wear very dark sun glasses. You know, out of sight, out of mind.

Andy
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:37 PM   #25
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alansd,

thanks for the photographs of the coated and uncoated parts of your airstream. i still haven't tackled the exterior of my rig --and am undecided as to whether i should paint or clearcoat. is your rig completely uncoated on the bottom areas? if it could polish my lightly oxidized roof back to a satin finish and periodically refinish it, i'd consider that an option.

let me know how often you repolish, what you use, and how much work it takes (if that is indeed what you are doing).

thanks,

nick
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:21 PM   #26
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Painted vs Bare Aluminum Exterior

We are looking into buying an Airstream (1960-1980) trailer. We are looking at one right now that is a 1976 Sovereign 31' Center Bathroom unit. The concern we have is that it is painted (really well done) silver on the exterior instead of polished. Everything else about the trailer is original and in really good shape. Is a painted exterior a really bad no-no or is it just in the eyes of the beholder and not of concern? What do you think? Should we buy it since the price is right?
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:45 PM   #27
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Our Argosy was repainted silver. Of course Argosys were painted to begin with and need to be since the end caps are steel in stead of aluminum. I don't see a problem as long as it was well done. Getting paint to adhere to aluminum would require someone familiar with doing the job. They certainly do it with airplanes with great results.

One thing I'd find out is why it was painted. The first thing that comes to mind is that it's more difficult to repair/hide damage to the skin with bare aluminum. Of course now that it's painted you have the advantage of easier maintenance. But I'd want to make sure the paint wasn't hiding some previous major damage that was structural.

The painted Airstream is not stock and I think most people in the market for one at least partially are looking for that shiney aluminum. Therefore I suspect resale value will be diminished by the paint.

-Bernie
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:11 PM   #28
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Paint great

Hello.. We have both the shiney aluminum and the painted Argosys and the painted ones will always win with us. We know of a couple of mid 90's Airstreams that were painted by the factory because of problems with the clearcoat.. you would not know the difference.. it looked great and still does.. Polishing aluminum is not my idea of fun.. been there and done that.. would rather be camping..
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