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Old 03-05-2009, 12:22 AM   #1
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Question Pressure, steam or soda panel cleaning?

I've got all the interior panels out (except for the end caps which I'll do next) and would really like to wash all the detritus, mould and gifts left by little creatures away before I frame the shell ready for lifting off.

I'd like to try an electric pressure washer set to a wide fan as I already have one but was thinking of renting a steam washer for a day and wanted to see if anyone thought either would damage the panels.

I think a soda blaster would be great but they charge $185 an hour so I thought I'd save their services for an hour or two max on the window frames.

Not massively relevant but as everyone loves a picture here's something that was in the walls...
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Old 03-05-2009, 10:33 AM   #2
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Yuck! Don't even want to know what that is! blech! I think soda blasting is too strong for the aluminum. I think a soapy mixture would do the trick with your pressure washer.... however, use a very weak strength... if it's a Black n Decker type, you should be fine... if it's a real pro use power washer, I'd be REAL careful not to stop for anytime on the aluminum skins, for fear of distorting them.
Marc
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:09 AM   #3
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Don't know if this would be cost effective for you, but it may be worth checking out.

Eastwood Company: Auto Tools, Body Repair, Classic Car Restoration, House of Kolor Paint, Powder Coating

In fact, we blasted the printing from a soda can leaving the bare aluminum surface like it was never even coated!
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:53 PM   #4
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I like the look of that blaster. Maybe I could sand blast the chassis and then soda blast the windows and some ribs and come out ahead. Thanks for the link.
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:12 PM   #5
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No problem, that's what this place is all about.

Keep us posted, there may be a lot of others here that would benefit from a product evaluation. I saw a demo video and was very impressed how gentle it was, didn't even deform the soda can! Looked like someone polished it.
Might be interesting to see the results in prepping a vintage polish job.
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:12 AM   #6
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Just an update, but I pressure washed about 75% of the interior yesterday with hot water and other than creating a 26' sauna it worked out quite well. The washer was set to mild so it didn't even take off the tape Airstream used to secure the insulation in place but it did remove all the remnants of insulation, mouse ick etc. Once I have the last 25% done I'll make a decision of stage II of the cleaning. I've realized that there's a good chance I'll replace every interior piece of aluminum anyway so I just want the ribs, stringers and end panels cleaned ready for primer.

I may reuse some of the old interior sheet but given that there were multiple access panels, patches, dents, scrapes and vents that I will no longer want coupled with some deeply ugly butchering of metal I think avoiding striping paint and going fresh may work well.

One thing's for sure' the smell of warm, damp 48 year old Airstream is not one I want to be sniffing on vacation, I'm happy to be getting started on the reno at last.
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