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Old 12-11-2010, 02:47 PM   #1
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Removing Interior Paint from Aluminum

I found a 55 Safari last month that was close to home. So even though I recently restored a 65 Globetrotter, I did the only right thing. I bought the Safari!

3 Questions.

Question 1: The interior zolatone paint was painted over with lime green and red. The paint is peeling in some spots. I want to strip and polish the interior endcaps and the aluminum airline cabinets. What is the best stripper?

Question 2: I need to paint the rest of the interior. The old paint is peeling in spots. Do I need to strip old paint, or can I treat it with something to stabilize it? Other than Zolatone, what paint would be good to use on aluminum.

Question 3: Why is one vintage Airstream not enough?
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:03 PM   #2
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OK, I'll bite. Bear in mind your mileage may vary, etc., etc.

1. Removall. Removall is totally different from all other strippers; it is not solvent based and has very little in the way of fumes. It took clearcoat off our trailer like nothing else would. I can't tell you how it would work on Zolatone, which is close to indestructible. It's harder to come by than it used to be, but Vintage Trailer Supply has it.

2. Can't imagine. If it so happens that the stripper takes off the paint but leaves the Zolatone, you could probably paint over the Zolatone. (Just make sure you get the stripper cleaned off!)

3. Because.

Good luck,
Nuvi
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Old 12-11-2010, 03:27 PM   #3
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I have tried removall on the interior of my 53 and have so so results. Some areas it worked great on the zolatone other areas the paint just will not come off. I painted the stripper on, waited various times (15-20 minutes had the best results) and then power washed it off. I got very wet and it was very messy but the good thing about removall is it does not burn and it is nontoxic. As of right now, it got cold so i gave up and continued on to removng the shell. I will try again come spring.

The positive side of using Zolatone is the texture, so I am hoping the skins do not need to be perfect, just free of loose paint.

As far as Question #3 my only answer is that it’s a sickness. I am also inflicted.


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Old 12-12-2010, 10:06 AM   #4
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Thanks guys!
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:30 AM   #5
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A nasty product called "Aircraft Paint Remover" will work the best on Zolatone, but it still isn't easy. I only used it outside--I'd be really hesitant to try it inside due to the fumes. Quite a bit about stripping Zolatone in my thread, I've done quite a bit.

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
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Thanks Steve!

I read the first 9 pages of your thread. Great stuff! My Safari is now sitting in my back yard, in the snow, at 1 mile high on the continental divide in Montana. I need to find a shop.

I'm stuck now between, thinking how cool it is and being scared I can't get Humpty Dumpty put back together again. I need an indoor shop.

I saw how polished your interior endcap while it was inside the trailer. I saw the post about sanding the pitted areas starting with 320 and working to 1000. Did you use Aircraft Stripper while the end section was inside the trailer?

Scott
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:01 PM   #7
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Hey, Scott,

Hang in there! I'm on the same roller coaster. They say it does get better and the payoff is satisfying, eventually.

I'm also looking into stripping what looks like oil based paint over whatever the interior skins were covered with in 1968. Some kind of vinyl. End caps are fiberglass overhead, vinyl below, maybe a little ABS on the sides over the windows.

I'll be posting some photos, but it might be in the Spring before I can get back to it. It's pretty cold here -- for Indiana -- 18 F today.

Anne

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Originally Posted by wheelerimage View Post
Thanks Steve!

I read the first 9 pages of your thread. Great stuff! My Safari is now sitting in my back yard, in the snow, at 1 mile high on the continental divide in Montana. I need to find a shop.

I'm stuck now between, thinking how cool it is and being scared I can't get Humpty Dumpty put back together again. I need an indoor shop.

I saw how polished your interior endcap while it was inside the trailer. I saw the post about sanding the pitted areas starting with 320 and working to 1000. Did you use Aircraft Stripper while the end section was inside the trailer?

Scott
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelerimage View Post
I found a 55 Safari last month that was close to home. So even though I recently restored a 65 Globetrotter, I did the only right thing. I bought the Safari!
Congratulations!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelerimage View Post
Question 1: The interior zolatone paint was painted over with lime green and red. The paint is peeling in some spots. I want to strip and polish the interior endcaps and the aluminum airline cabinets. What is the best stripper?
I found that CitriStrip worked much better on the interior of our '56 Safari than Removal - we tried both. Aircraft stripper definitely works better - BUT I would never use it inside or overhead. If you are removing the interior panels and can strip them outdoors or laying flat - Aircraft Stripper would be great otherwise, I'd use CitriStrip.

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Question 2: I need to paint the rest of the interior. The old paint is peeling in spots. Do I need to strip old paint, or can I treat it with something to stabilize it? Other than Zolatone, what paint would be good to use on aluminum.
We went with Zolatone & an epoxy primer, but any good quality latex paint will be fine as long as the surface is cleaned & primed with a suitable primer. The primer is always the key to a professional paint job.

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Question 3: Why is one vintage Airstream not enough?
Good question...we have the sickness too.

Shari
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheelerimage View Post
I saw how polished your interior endcap while it was inside the trailer. I saw the post about sanding the pitted areas starting with 320 and working to 1000. Did you use Aircraft Stripper while the end section was inside the trailer?

Scott
No, I used Citristrip and Kleen Strip on the inside. Probably 4 or 5 applications to get all the Zolatone off. Only used the Aircraft Stripper on panels I removed and took outside. I did have my end caps down later for insulation and I think you could get them outside ok, but they're pretty floppy when taken down.

cheers,
steve
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:51 AM   #10
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January in Montana. It finally warmed up a little. We've had below zero temps. It is supposed to be in the 30's today. Heat wave! I almost have one interior endcap stripped. I used citristrip, and a plastic putty knife and #3 steel wool. At first it seemed that the Citristrip wasn't working well. I left it on for a half hour and then started scraping. It went very slowly with alot of work. The paint was hard to get off. I realized that the stripper didn't have time to do its job. I think the strippers performance may be somewhat temperature sensitive. I now leave a space heater on to warm up the trailer. I let the stripper work for about an hour. You can see when the stripper is working. It goes on as an orange gel. If you start scraping when you can still see orange, the stripper hasn't been on long enough. You can see when the stripper is taking effect. You can see the paint melting. That is when it is time to scrape. Probably everyone but me knows this. When down to the aluminum, I do a final clean up with steel wool , towel and mineral spirits.
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Old 12-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #11
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New 55 Safari Pics

Here are pics of my 55 Safari. Interior shots are Before-After of paint stripping looking toward rear of the coach. I used Citrastrip and oderless mineral spirits. I did this im Montana during the winter. Heat is necessary for citrastrip to work. Because of the cold, I had to leave on the stripper much longer for it to work. There were 2 layers of latex paint over the zolatone paint. So here was my process.

1. Turn on electric space heater & wait one hour.

2. Brush on Citrastrip and wait 2 hours. I covered a 2ft by 3ft area. You can see when the stripper is dissolving the paint.

3. Scrape off stripper and paint with a plastic putty knife. Take steel wool, soak with mineral spirits, and scrub remaining paint. Wipe off area with a paper towel. Brush on more Citrastrip. Repeat as necessary.

4. At the end of the day, I would brush on Citrastrip, unplug the heater and let the stripper work overnight. The stripper didn't dry out over night because it was too cold outside. It took about 3 passes to remove all the paint.
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:43 PM   #12
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Nice work. I know how much effort that took and it couldn't have been easy in a Montana winter.

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:05 AM   #13
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Thanks Steve,

I think I found a shop to work in this winter. Hopefully I can make more progress during the cold months. I'm too busy in the summer to work on the trailer. I want to rewire and insulate. I'm scared if I take those endcaps down, they might not want to go back up. I was thinking of using Prodex insulation like you did. By the way, your Island Girl trailer is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story!

Scott
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Old 07-10-2016, 01:29 PM   #14
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I used the aircraft paint remover to get the zolatone off. With great success but your method is most important.
First, I did it with the walls still intact and upright- took a long time and I had to jump in the pool for a chemical bath a couple times- strong stuff mixed with sweat and fumes! Cover up!
I took a grinder with a medium fine grit to the wall to give make it brushed aluminum.

Eventually, we took the walls down- that's the trick! My life was much easier. I was removing the vinyl wallpaper in huge sheets. Like airstream leather! it was so satisfying.

I can't wait to play with the walls once they are back up. Different grits and shapes of grinders and sanders give different looks with the motion. Kinda trippy!! This is why I've been working on this project for 2 years already!!
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