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Old 08-20-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
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2002 34' Classic S/O
Irvine , California
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Maintaining a polished exterior

I'm looking to buy a 1996 AS that was polished 6-7 years ago. Generally it looks good, but it is cloudy. Should it be re-polished? Or is there some other way to clean it up? If I do have it re-polished, what life span can I expect, and what maintenance should I look forward to?

I'm not a DYI guy, so I'm trying to see what I am looking at going forward.


Phil in Bellflower

Phil in Irvine
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2002 34 Slide Out Lounge
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:12 PM   #2
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1999 34' Excella
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Hillsboro , Texas
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Howdy,,, generally a yearly task that is best to be maintained or task more difficult.

It is a good time to reseal immediately , too.

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Old 08-21-2013, 12:23 PM   #3
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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The super-shiney, mirror-like vintage trailers you see are usually touched up once a year and do not have clearcoat on them. It depends on where you live / travel / store your trailer as to how often you will have to touch it up to maintain that look. In higher humity areas or around saltwater it will oxidize faster than in drier climates.

The annual maintenance, if done yourself (we do), will take about two weekends or 40 +/- hours. Expect to pay about $50 per lineal foot (22' trailer = $1100) for a touch-up/repolish of a recently polished trailer if you don't want to DIY. If it's either too oxidized or a first time polish, it will generally run $100-150+ per lineal foot or take upwards of 150-200+ hours to DIY.

Some folks choose to polish it once and either clearcoat it or just let it re-oxidize for an overall less shiney finish and less maintenace. New clearcoat finishes only last 5-7+/- years then will they have to be stripped and re-done unless you are able to store your trailer indoors. If you do have clearcoat or choose to go that route, the Walbernize line of products help maintain it longer, as wax does for a car's clearcoat.

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Old 08-21-2013, 07:37 PM   #4
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1978 31' Sovereign
Texas Airstream Harbor , Zavalla, in the Deep East Texas Piney Woods on Lake Sam Rayburn
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20 months on last polish

It certainly could have used a polish after 12 months, but looked OK from 20'.

I had to start with F7 on the polisher, but one day on the cyclo with C and one day with S it looks pretty good. Look up the "Nuvite" polish system. Three days to bring the shine up.

The more often it is polished the easier it is to put a top polish on.

Mine lives under an open cover, but seldom gets wet.

"Suck it up, spend the bucks, do it right the first time."

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Old 08-21-2013, 09:57 PM   #5
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1988 32' Excella
Robbinsville , New Jersey
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A 1996 will look cloudy when it is first polished. It is a different type of aluminum then the older trailers and wont get a mirror finish.

Not sure how that effects maintenance though.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:49 PM   #6
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2002 34' Classic S/O
Irvine , California
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Thanks for the input. I don't need a mirror-chrome finish, but the cloudy look is a little annoying. I'm in coastal SoCal, but I don't have an indoor storage place. I will be looking to have a re-polish done, then consider a clearcoat. Sounds like a plan...
Phil in Irvine
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2002 34 Slide Out Lounge
2005 Yukon XL, 3/4 ton, 4WD, 8.1 engine
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Old 08-22-2013, 11:52 AM   #7
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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you can try Toolbox polish from Lowe's on a rotary polisher it might do what you want. It has worked well for many others.
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Old 08-23-2013, 09:12 PM   #8
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1997 25' Safari
Yakima , Washington
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Check out this thread, it has a lot of detailed photos and comments. I believe it is also about the same year, and therefore probably the same aluminum finish that you have. I could be wrong about the similarity in the years, it has been a while since I read this thread.
1996 Excella Strip and Polish - the slow way


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