Originally Posted by flyslinger
I recently purchased my first Airstream and would like to know if it okay to polish it without stripping..
This is from the 2002 AIRSTREAM INTERNATIONAL TRAILER OWNERS MANUAL
As a general rule of thumb we recommend the trailer be washed about every four weeks and waxed in the spring and fall. To make sure your new unit is always protected you should wax it immediately or have your dealer wax it just prior to delivery. In industrial areas cleaning and waxing should be done on a more frequent schedule.
CAUTION: ABRASIVE POLISHES OR CLEANING SOLVENTS SUCH AS AUTOMATIC DISHWASHER OR ACID ETCH CLEANERS ARE TOO STRONG AND SHOULD NEVER BE USED. RINSE ALL GRIT FROM SURFACE PRIOR TO WASHING.
Use soft rags or wash mitts always moving lengthwise with the trailer. NEVER rub hard on the coating. Even the softest rag will damage the coating if excessive pressure is applied. ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR TRAILER IN THE SHADE OR ON A CLOUDY DAY WHEN THE ALUMINUM SKIN IS COOL. Oil, grease, dust and dirt may be removed by washing with any mild nonabrasive soap or detergent. Cleaning should be followed by a thorough clean water rinse. Drying the unit with a chamois or a soft cloth may prevent spots and streaks. WHEN WASHING OR POLISHING YOUR TRAILER, ALWAYS WIPE "WITH" THE GRAIN OF THE METAL.
After cleaning and drying, a good grade of nonabrasive automotive paste or liquid wax will increase the life of the finish, especially in coastal areas where the finish is exposed to salt air or in polluted industrial areas. It will also protect the shell from minor scratches and make subsequent cleaning easier.
It is important to remove sap, gum, resin, asphalt, etc. as soon as possible after they appear by washing and waxing. Sunlight and time will bake-harden these materials making them almost impossible to remove without heavy buffing. If asphalt remains on the trailer after washing, use a small amount of kerosene on a rag and wipe the spots individually, being careful not to scratch the finish.
If a substance is found on the coating that cannot be removed by normal washing procedures, Airstream recommends using DX 330 Acryli-Clean made by PPG Industries. Follow all directions and warnings on the product container. Acryli-Clean should be used by trained personnel only, using the proper equipment under controlled conditions. Use the Acryli-Clean as sparingly as possible to remove glue, tar, and other similar substance.
To keep your trailer looking new, paint the "A" frame, LPG tanks, and rear frame periodically.
It is recommended that the caulking and sealant used in external seams and joints such as end shell segments and around window frames, light bezels, beltline and rub rail molding, etc. be checked regularly. If this material has dried out and become cracked or checked, or if a portion has fallen out, it should be replaced with fresh material to prevent possible rain leaks. Caulking and sealing material is available from your Airstream dealer.