Originally Posted by AWCHIEF
My new to me 2006 Safari has the dreaded filaform curse. Mainly it is on the the rear light housings. I have just spent the better part of an hour attempting to clean 1 sq inch. On the recommendation of the local Airstream dealership I used fine sandpaper, very fine steel wool and metal polish. Got most of the filaform off and somewhat polished. There has got to be a better way. There are literally thousands of post on this subject. Information overload. Does anyone have any helpful tricks to make this a bit easier job?
AWchief, here are some repairs to the cast pieces that always cause problems early--tail lights, door hinges, boarding handle. It does not take much effort at all to sand the existing clear coat and filiform--that is on the AL surface directly under the clear--from these castings using 1000 grit wet/dry paper. If you need to go faster, use 600 and then go back over with 1000 or 2000. These pieces shown are re coated with Nyalic. You can brush or spray and because it is very thin, it flows very well and comes out nice. These tail light castings here were taped off and sprayed, the handle and hinges were brushed on with a small 1/2 inch artiest brush for oil paint. The tail lights would be easier if you removed them, but if not, just tape off the skin and plastic lenses real well so as to not sand the wrong thing and you should be OK. GOOGLE Nyalic and you can buy it direct. I suggest you just buy a spray can or two and if you want to brush paint, spray some into it's own lid and paint from there.
Nyalic is a polymer and will not break down like an acrylic, lacquer or plastic will. It is softer and will be effected by more solvents (alcohol is one and we use that to clean up after caulking with ParBond, etc), but it is bullet proof against UV and salts. If you really want the mirror shine and don't mind keeping them polished, follow the advice above and just clean them up, buff them to the shine you want and polish. But you will have to keep after them as you would a vintage Alclad trailer that is polished and not clear coated.
Dremel sells small buffing wheels that work great on small areas removing the clear coat and filiform. They leave the aluminum underneath polished and ready to re-clear coat. But for the whole tail light casting, you will probably have to, at least, finish the filiform removal with the sand paper just to insure a consistent looking surface. Good luck.