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Old 02-25-2010, 08:19 AM   #1
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1973 25' Tradewind
miami , Florida
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Cleaning the yellow stained end caps

Hello all fellow airstreamers,
I am new to the forums here and I am happy to have finally found them. I am having an issue with the plastic end caps. They are very yellow and look terrible. I just put down teak floors and want to finish up the interior. There are places where it looks like someone used some cleaner and it worked in places. I haven't been able to find a chemical that will clean it back to original condition. I sepent hours searching this forum and the best thing that I came up with is oven cleaner. Do people still use this technique or is there something a little less toxic that I can use to accomplish this task? Thank you all for reading.
Clint,
Miami, Fl
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:34 AM   #2
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1975 25' Tradewind
Holland , Michigan
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Check out this thread.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f39/...tic-50799.html
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirmill View Post
Hello all fellow airstreamers,
I am new to the forums here and I am happy to have finally found them. I am having an issue with the plastic end caps. They are very yellow and look terrible. I just put down teak floors and want to finish up the interior. There are places where it looks like someone used some cleaner and it worked in places. I haven't been able to find a chemical that will clean it back to original condition. I sepent hours searching this forum and the best thing that I came up with is oven cleaner. Do people still use this technique or is there something a little less toxic that I can use to accomplish this task? Thank you all for reading.
Clint,
Miami, Fl
Welcome to the forums sirmill, I found a couple of threads that you may not have seen. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f46/...ent-24237.html and http://www.airforums.com/forums/f39/...tic-50799.html and http://www.airforums.com/forums/f38/...tic-48931.html. Keep us posted on what you do. We really like pictures...
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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I found the foaming bubble shower cleaning worked to get some of mine off.. Best bet is to tape it all off and spray it with a plastic spray paint... then you can have whatever color you want. Make sure it is very clean and it's a spray paint for plastic or it will peel.

It did this with the plastic cabinet in my bathroom and it turned out great..
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by sirmill View Post
Hello all fellow airstreamers,
I am new to the forums here and I am happy to have finally found them. I am having an issue with the plastic end caps. They are very yellow and look terrible. I just put down teak floors and want to finish up the interior. There are places where it looks like someone used some cleaner and it worked in places. I haven't been able to find a chemical that will clean it back to original condition. I sepent hours searching this forum and the best thing that I came up with is oven cleaner. Do people still use this technique or is there something a little less toxic that I can use to accomplish this task? Thank you all for reading.
Clint,
Miami, Fl
Hey Clint; Use 3M Sharpshooter straight. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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endcaps

We have a 1978 Argosy Minuet that has the yellowed endcaps. Since the end caps are not made of aluminum, but are galvanized steel, we think that the heat (from the outside) is probably part of the cause of the discoloration of the end caps. I have scrubbed and scrubbed. We know many people that have found good ways to paint and lighten up that color. We have not tried the plastic bleaching though.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:40 AM   #7
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Paint it

When Ibought my 1976 Sovereign in 2000 all of the plastic trim including the end caps had yellowed. There is no way to bring these back to their orginal color by just cleaning them. So I took a sample of the light tan trim that was still in good shape to Sherwin-Williams and had them match the color and mix up a can of their high quality latex in a flat finish and a semi-gloss finish. I then just painted the areas that needed painting including the end caps and surrounding area around the front overhead cabinets and in the bath room. I also painted the overhead tambour doors which had yellowed with the semi gloss finish and the trim area and they look brand new. I found that the overhead tambour doors are made of a different material and accept paint very well. I prepared all of the surfaces like any other painting job and it has help up very well. I did not paint the original coating on the interior walls or ceiling just cleaned these areas real well, except in the bath area. This area had the pink and blue flower design which came with a lot of the 70's Airstream's which was really ugly. So I painted this with a tan base coat and the used a sponge with a gloss gold type color to produce a more modern looking finish. So it is possible to paint the interior walls and ceiling if need be.

I also went to a local wall paper store and looked through reams of samples until I found some a vinyl wall covering that matched the texture and color of the actual coating on the interior walls and ceiling. It was not an exact match but a very good match. I used this on the walls separating the kitchen from the center bath area as well as other flat surfaces. The big closet doors in the center bath area covered in the wall covering with oak trim. These are actually the original doors but now look a lot better with the covering. The two small cabinet doors in the kitchen under the Bar as well as the front panel as you enter the trailer also have the wall covering. I used a heavy duty paste to apply the wall covering.

Most of the painting was done in 2000 and and still looks great. People ask me today why my end caps and plastic trim have not yellowed since they look like new. I have had some argue with me and tell me that I must have done more that just paint them. They find it had to beleive that they are just painted with a simple latex paint.

Here is a pdf file that has some recent pictures of my 1976 Airstream. Scroll through them to see the interior pictures.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Don's 1976 Airstream.pdf (4.58 MB, 310 views)
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:46 AM   #8
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1973 25' Tradewind
miami , Florida
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Well,
I'm overwhelmed by the quick responses. Thank you all for the input. I will try marine clean first. If it is not light enough, I will paint with the plastic paint.
My rear bathroom counter is very stained and yellowed. I suppose that I will paint it at the same time. I have been toying with the idea of using diamond plate for the counter top in the rear bathroom. I already had a piece cut and bent for my stove cover. Mine was missing when I got the trailer. It cost 13 dollars I think. looks good but small cups don't sit on it very well. I guess that's the price you pay for diamond plate. I look forward to getting the inside lightened up a bit.
On another note, has anyone had any luck with the 12 volt L.E.D. replacement bulbs? I have not checked the cost of these bulbs. Does anyone know how much each one is? Im sure the white light will look much better than the dull yellow tail lights that most people use now. Thank you all again for the knoledge. Keep it on the road.
Clint,
Miami, Fl
1973 25' Land Yacht
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:40 AM   #9
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L.E.D is a good white light. Just remember they are a directional light. They kind of just go in one direction so they are not that great for lighting up areas.. I use them for lights over the front couch/ bed and the kids bunks over the sink is a good place too. other than that i went halogen for the main lights.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:45 AM   #10
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I used Krylon Fusion plastic paint for the internal endcaps, available in spraycans from WalMart, among other places. It's important to clean well, and then use several light coats of the white Krylon primer, so the fnal coats of topcoat are just for the color. The results have been superb, even after seven years. I even used it on horizontal surfaces such as the credenza, and the surface has not worn. I am very impressed with this paint. Nick.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:55 AM   #11
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Please see the impressive article written about plastics and yellowing. It is dealing with computer cases, but the concepts are the same for Airstream endcaps and plastic window trim.

Vintage Computing and Gaming | Archive Ľ Why Super Nintendos Lose Their Color: Plastic Discoloration in Classic Machines

Personally, I'm going to paint the endcap with the Krylon Fusion paint.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:56 PM   #12
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Quick and easy

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirmill View Post
Hello all fellow airstreamers,
I am new to the forums here and I am happy to have finally found them. I am having an issue with the plastic end caps. They are very yellow and look terrible. I just put down teak floors and want to finish up the interior. There are places where it looks like someone used some cleaner and it worked in places. I haven't been able to find a chemical that will clean it back to original condition. I sepent hours searching this forum and the best thing that I came up with is oven cleaner. Do people still use this technique or is there something a little less toxic that I can use to accomplish this task? Thank you all for reading.
Clint,
Miami, Fl
We solved our problem with the 1976 Sovereign yellowed end caps by throwing them out. Easy as pie sort of...don't ask me for step two.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:50 PM   #13
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The link above is for bleaching the yellow color out of computer cases and monitors made from fire retardant grade ABS. Some of the yellowing that occurs in the ABS parts used in Airstreams is similar. The grades of ABS used in Airstreams are not fire retardant and therefore the formulation might need to be re-optimized. The use of Oxichem type of oxygen bleaching agent may help for slight discoloration.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:00 PM   #14
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We solved our problem with the 1976 Sovereign yellowed end caps by throwing them out. Easy as pie sort of...don't ask me for step two.
Oh my! Are ya gonna buy new ones?
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