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Old 05-12-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
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1986 29' Sovereign
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Shine vs. Aluminum skin type

Airstream says that the 1960's thru 1971 used 2024-T3 AL clad. I heard this was the best for a good shine. Questions 1) Does it stand up better as well = time between polishing? 2) Airstream lists 1972 - 1976 with 6061-T6 then in 1977 to Alcoa 3004. Is there a noticeable difference here as well? 3) In 1983 they went to 3003, then in 86 to 3005. Are any of these later changes much different?
Scott
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:43 PM   #2
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Great question

Thanks for bringing this up. I am polishing a 1976 and have got a fair shine but nothing compared to one I saw at a recent gathering that was in the later 60's. I tried as the owner told me but still not completely satisfied I have used six different types of polish and much labor with OK results. The only thing I can figure is the type aluminum . The sides are better then end caps?
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:25 PM   #3
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From what I have read the cyclo buffer is a important final step but I am concentrating on floor repair before polishing.
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:52 AM   #4
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The end caps on 58-63 are not 2024-T3... Not sure what they are in latter models...
The alclad in-beaded coating (simple way of putting it) is what make the polishing look way more shinny then just plain aluminum. Alclad aluminum shins up way nicer then none alclad aluminum!!! In some cases I have seen alclad over polished, what has happen is the Alclad layer is simply polished away!

Simply put alclad is a thin dusting of aluminum dust and other alloys that are cold rolled into the product. The theory is that the this thin coating is what oxidizes thus protecting the inner layers of aluminum from oxidizing. This thin layer is like sandpaper. When you polish you knock down the high layers and fill in the lower layers thus making the aluminum shin! The other alloys shin up better than aluminum by it self... That is only part of the story but a basic way to explain it!

Hope that info helps... Todd
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:29 AM   #5
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Differences between other years?

Thanks,

The attached link from the AS website describes the material differences.
http://service.airstream.com/files/l...92c0a731f5.pdf

What I was most unclear of was if there was a big shine difference between the other skin material changes. Specifically upon the change to Alcoa 3004, 3003, 3005.

I also noticed that many end caps have a different sheen to them. I assume they are made from aluminum which is easier to form into a curve.

Scott
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:46 AM   #6
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Polishing Technique

Greetings Scott,
As I understand it, there is more pure Alum. in the earlier trailers (40's, 50's, and 60's).....the later trailers will polish....even the new ones...but there is a deeper, richer shine to the early ones...

I posted a video about a month ago on how I polish...it's not the only way, but it is how I approach it and I have polished 13....both the older ones and newer.

It is located here on my website:

Polishing Instructions - Southern Antique

I hope this is helps.
Best regards,
Levon
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:28 PM   #7
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Levon,
Great video! Thanks. It may be a long time till I get to that stage but I have a little more confidence to approach the job now!

Matt
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:04 AM   #8
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Thumbs up

++1, Levon is the man.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:34 PM   #9
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what is the skin thickness for a 1972 tradewind 25'?
Thanks
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:11 AM   #10
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Should be .032".
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
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Something I have never known, was the super high shine the way the trailers came from the factory?

Tony
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:02 PM   #12
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I don't think so. Most B&W pics I've seen look like a brushed finish. Polished is impressive but it will not fix the leaking holding tank...
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:28 PM   #13
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Factory Shine

Greetings,

Years ago, I owned a one owner 64 Safari that I had planned to strip the clear coat because of some peeling at the top and polish to a mirror finish.....BUT decided to leave the original shine instead....it was not the highly mirrored shine we put on them today (I think that started about 15 years ago), nor was it the brushed look, but it did have a very nice original finish as you can see from the photo.

More photos of this trailer can be seen here:

1964 Safari 22' - * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Southern Antique

Best Regards,
Levon
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