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Old 10-31-2014, 04:43 PM   #1
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Coating on the exterior of modern Airstreams

I've searched this forum and the internet in general for information on the chemical nature of the coating that is now used on Airstream exterior aluminum. As I understand it, it is not a clear coat and that starting in about 2000 Airstream started using precoated panels from Alcoa. I checked my manual (2006 Bambi 19') and it gives no information. This topic must have been discussed on the forum previously, but all I can find is material on the old clear coat finishes. Any information would be welcome. Thanks in advance.

George
Tucson
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Old 10-31-2014, 04:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ghatfield View Post
I've searched this forum and the internet in general for information on the chemical nature of the coating that is now used on Airstream exterior aluminum. As I understand it, it is not a clear coat and that starting in about 2000 Airstream started using precoated panels from Alcoa. I checked my manual (2006 Bambi 19') and it gives no information. This topic must have been discussed on the forum previously, but all I can find is material on the old clear coat finishes. Any information would be welcome. Thanks in advance.

George
Tucson
George.

Sorry, but what you found is all there is, NOTHING!

I can't find out either, and I am a dealer.

Andy
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:57 AM   #3
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There is a little description of the Alcoa material in post #2060 in the huge "corrosion on new trailers" thread. The poster called it Alcoa Bright Versatrim 3004-H18. This post was informative to me.

I understand it is a longer lasting coating and is more environmentally friendly. It does provide raw edges where filliform corrosion to migrate under the coating. This requires routine maintenance by Airstream owners to mitigate the chance of corrosion.

I'll bet it is an Alcoa exclusive process where detailed recipe information is closely guarded.

The clear coat on my 86 had weathered off over the years causing the trailer to look pretty bad. Stripping and polishing was a poor man's way of regaining a better appearance.

David
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Old 11-04-2014, 09:53 PM   #4
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Could it be a fluorcarbon coating?

I found this video from 2011 which discusses the construction of Airstreams.

Airstream Travel Trailer Factory Alcoa Aluminum Shell Construction - How to Guide on How it's Made - YouTube

Near the beginning of the presentation the exterior coating on the aluminum is described as a "fluorocarbon" coating. A little Googling using fluorocarbon and Alcoa came up with several references to Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000 which are PVDF polymers. These are polymers of polyvinylidene floride

Polyvinylidene fluoride - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alcoa does use this polymer as a coating on some of their building materials. Two products used by Alcoa are Kynar 500 and Hylar 5000. Interesting reading.

"For over 45 years, finishes based on Kynar 500® PVDF resin have helped protect commercial, industrial, and residential buildings around the world. Kynar 500® is a special grade of PVDF resin used by licensed industrial paint manufacturers as the base resin in long-life coatings for aluminum, galvanized steel, and aluminized steel. Applications include metal roofing and siding, window and door frames, curtain wall and other miscellaneous metal trim and components."

"Hylar® 5000 HG is a higher gloss PVDF base resin used in the formulation of long-life architectural coating systems for metal elements of residential, institutional, commercial and industrial building types."

Could PVDF be the mysterious coating on our modern Airstreams? If they don't use it, maybe they should. PVDF polymers are UV and weather resistant.
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:48 AM   #5
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Thanks ghatfield, excellent research. Very interesting. I wonder why Airstream is reluctant to brag about their improved coating? If it is confirmed as a PVDF type coating, I would think it could be advertised as "long lasting" and better than the spray on clear coat of the past. A major Airstream improvement.

David
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:21 PM   #6
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What we have found is akzo nobel has been providing Alcoa with the "clear coat". The coating is supposedly a pvdf (polyvinylidine flouride). All I know is it is extremely durable. We have only been able to remove it with heat so far if that let's you know how strong it is.
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Old 03-05-2015, 10:37 PM   #7
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I have some surface scratches on both of my trailers, and have had no success in polishing them out. A local dealer has told me that they have found nothing that works, and a high quality body shop gave it a test try and also failed.

What the heck is this stuff, and can scratches be polished out??
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Old 03-05-2015, 11:31 PM   #8
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As long as they are in the coating they can be buffed out. If they are all the way through they can't be for obvious reasons. Light scuffs or brush scratches are decently easy to get out. We've messed around with some Nuvite products Nupol and Nupower at the alumafandango rally in Oregon And had good luck on brush scratches. I used a rotory buffer with a wool pad on a slower speed. Careful not to get the coating too hot as you can melt it off. Then use some type of random orbital to take any swirl marks out. Post a pic of your scratches so we can get a better idea of what you're working on.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:55 AM   #9
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I've removed quite a few minor clearcoat "surface" scratches using 3M products...

Green & yellow by hand, (following the horizontal grain on our 2002), with a microfiber cloth, blue, very carefully, with a random orbital on a foam pad and finally a wax or sealer with foam applicator and MF removal cloth.

If you can feel the scratch with your fingernail, be VERY careful not to burn thru....better a slight blemish than an area without the Alcoa coating.

Bob
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:00 PM   #10
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[/QUOTE]..better a slight blemish than an area without the Alcoa coating.
[/QUOTE]

Akzo coating
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:28 PM   #11
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..better a slight blemish than an area without the Alcoa applied Akzo coating.
[/QUOTE]

Akzo coating [/QUOTE]

....corrected.

Bob
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:23 PM   #12
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Haha just busting some chops. I have an article from airstream that gives the history of the metal and coatings from the beginning of time. I don't know how to post pdf attachments here but if anyone wants it I'd be happy to email it to you. Shoot me an email at pscharff@nuvitechemical.com or pm me ur email
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Old 03-07-2015, 06:54 PM   #13
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Hi pscharff94. You have a rather famous e-mail address. I might be you can help Airstreamers with coatings, and polishing.

I'm interested in your article. I have a little info on all the different grades of aluminum Airstream used through the years, but not on the coatings. My 66 still had some coating left on it. My 86 coating pretty much burned off in the sun and looked pretty bad.

Nuvite became Universal Photonics? I ordered a pound of F-7 directly from them in Brooklyn as all the other suppliers were out. The person on the phone said they had moved the factory to Hicksville. Maybe that's why Nuvite products went scarce? Anyway, I finally received my F7 last week.

I hope you find Air Forums interesting and continue to provide good information.

David
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Old 03-07-2015, 07:15 PM   #14
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Hmmmm. The more you guys educate me on the modern coatings, the less I mind my scratches!
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