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Old 09-28-2003, 10:44 PM   #1
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What Year Did the Exterior Finish Change???

What year did the exterior finish on the panels change so that polishing is not a doable thing?
I know early trailers can be polished. But, I have been told that trailers after a certain year cannot be polished...What year was the change?
Was it in the early 80's?
Someone surely knows the answer......
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Old 09-29-2003, 10:00 AM   #2
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Your informant was not correct.

The newer trailer metal can be polished just as well as the old.

If you want to see a sample, go to:

http://inlandrv.com/polishing/

Andy
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Old 09-29-2003, 10:26 AM   #3
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ALL Airstreams can be polished, although clearcoat or plasticoat needs to be stripped to achieve a "professional" shine. My understanding is that clearcoat first became an option in 1963.
Tons of info on various suggestions for polishing methods are available on these forums and elsewhere, such as on this
AIRSTREAM.NET FAQ page.
The big question seems to be if you want to hire the job done by pros such as Inland RV or tackle the job yourself.
A far less complicated and expensive method of shining, such as Walbernize, might give you a satisfactory result.

Rog
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Old 09-29-2003, 11:35 AM   #4
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Even the MH's

Andy,
Thanks for the info. I hope I'm not being redundant here but I had to ask about polishing newer MH's. I've been hoping to polish my 86 345 at some point. Most of the clearcoat is gone on the upper 1/3 and all of the nose already. I like the look of a polished AS (who doesn't) but wasn't sure it could be done on my MH.

Based on some posts and other online reading I expected that a polish job on the newer MH aluminum would shine up a lot but could not acheive the "mirror finish" that is the mark of a vintage trailer polish. A few other 345 owners on the forum have also been looking into this (one has even started polishing). What results can be expected on the "newer" MH skins?

PS - the polished AS pic on your site was very inspiring!
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Old 09-29-2003, 03:14 PM   #5
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Thanks Andy

Andy-
Thanks for the information. I was misinformed that once Airstream went to the more satin looking skins that they were thinner and polishing was not an option.
I stand informed now!
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Old 09-29-2003, 05:03 PM   #6
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I think some clarification might be needed here. You asked about polishing. As Andy indicated, any trailer can be "polished". I think your question might be about the satin finish and whether or not the finish can be polished to the mirror finish of vintage trailers. You are correct in your assumption that there is a cut-off year for finishes that can't be polished to a mirror finish. I know that I own a 2002 Bambi whose finish can't be polished to the mirror finish of the vintage units.
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Old 09-29-2003, 06:43 PM   #7
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Okay...then what?

yukionna
Quote:
You are correct in your assumption that there is a cut-off year for finishes that can't be polished to a mirror finish. I know that I own a 2002 Bambi whose finish can't be polished to the mirror finish of the vintage units.
Then, share your knowledege~!
What is the exact year?


ciao
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Old 09-29-2003, 08:04 PM   #8
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Re: Okay...then what?

Quote:
Originally posted by 53FlyingCloud
What is the exact year?
I heard that 1981 was the last year that Airstream made trailers out of the type of aluminum that could be polished to a mirror finish.
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Old 09-29-2003, 09:11 PM   #9
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Re: satin finish

Here's an excerpt from the link I posted earlier in the thread:

Q: Will newer vintage Airstream skins polish as well as old skins?
A: Yes. The pure aluminum alclading that allows the skin to take a high polish was used up until the middle of the 1982 production run, when the finish was changed to a satin finish.
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Old 09-29-2003, 09:20 PM   #10
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Middle 1982 is the change?

Ok...then middle 1982 is the changeover to the satin finish that does not go to mirror finish when polished, although it can probably be polished shiny (not dull) even if it is a satin finish.
That was what I wanted to know...and now we have a time frame on it.
I thought my 1984 was sure a satin looking finish to it....and sure enough, it is.
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Old 09-29-2003, 09:53 PM   #11
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Anyone have an example?

OK..this is very educational for me. I'm post 82 with a satin finish and don't expect a mirror finish (but I can dream).

Does anyone know of or have pics of some examples of what a post 82 AS looks like polished up? I'm curious to see wha a "less than mirror" shine actually looks like before I start on mine.
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Old 09-30-2003, 03:17 PM   #12
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Polishing Rumors and Myths

TO ALL POLISHING INTERESTS.............

Please be advised, that when done "properly" ANY Airstream trailer can be polished to a mirror finish, REGARDLESS OF YEAR.

A mirror finish, is one with zero grain showing.

A 1997 LEGEND is shown on our web site that has zero grain.
http://inlandrv.com/polishing/

The basic metal in 1982 1/2 is the same as used today, as per Airstream.

How someone may choose to polish a trailer or the classic motorhome, quite well may be very different from a professional.
Generally speaking, the materials and procedure used by a professional polisher, go to greater depths than the average person may want to become involved with.

Andy

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Old 09-30-2003, 04:50 PM   #13
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Yipee!

Andy,
Thanks for the reply. Its good to know this can be done if someone wants to invest the time, equipment and knowledge required or can hire it out to a pro. The fact that the Legend on your site is a 97 certainly answers this ongoing question quite definitavely.
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:53 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Anyone have an example?

Thanks Andy, and all
I'm in the mist of things polishing my 84 A/S..You can see the pictures as the work in progress.
Finally, got started~
ciao
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