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Old 04-21-2012, 10:49 PM   #1
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31' Sovereign and my quest for the right polishing technique

My trailer has horrible corrosion in spots and I've been trying like heck to minimize my time and cash spent polishing this beast.

I thought about the nuvite and edge pad route, but I couldn't find anywhere that had Nuvite in stock and I wanted to get started immediately while I was waiting on a locksmith and the trailer was in the driveway.

I've been on the quest to find the right pad, poslish and speed for my buffer for over a week now and I think I have it figured out finally... at least for me.

First, I've tried all the locally available polishes and pads I could find, lol. I had a few on hand already, but picked up at least four others along the way. Pic below.

Today, while getting the propane tanks filled at the local truck stop, I picked up a bottle of Busch Super Shine Aluminum Polish and gave it a whirl, pardon the pun.

My polishers are an old school B&D and an el cheapo Harbor Freight with a 2 year warranty purchased on Easter with the 25% off coupon.

The pads are (four) HF wool pads, (two) Porter Cable wool pads, 3M foam compounding pad (yellow) and Northern Tool polishing pad (grey). In the mix are a few others that really aren't worth mentioning.

Rather than dragging this out any further, my perfect combo was found this afternoon. This is, of course, what worked for me, and your mileage will vary.

Harbor Freight polisher, set at 3. wool pad, and Busch's polish for heavy cutting, followed by the Northern Tool grey pad with White Diamond polish.

I'm moving and groovin now and could conceivably be done tomorrow afternoon with the whole project. It took approximately 35 hours to do curb side, mixing a ton of polishes, wet sanding with 1200 grit, 00 grey scotchbrite pads, etc. I've got around 6 on the camp side and expect another 6 or so to complete what I have left.

I'll update better pics when I finish it up.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:44 AM   #2
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WOW, good work, jim
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:58 AM   #3
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Looks great!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:26 AM   #4
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Looks fabulous! How did you sand it with the paper & scotchbrite pads? By hand or by machine? (I'm going to do my Bambi II & it has tons of corrosion & scratches and I need to sand it first....would love to do the FASTEST way!) I've done some cleaning up with grey scotchbrite pads on my little air angle tool, but am a bit afraid to do it on the trailer.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:57 AM   #5
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Just finished one side with the red/black compound and airway 10" wheel on my 31"

It took 10 hours, so I figure 25 hours to do that and another 10 or so to do the white.

this is a pic from another post

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Old 04-22-2012, 05:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckybillrae View Post
Looks fabulous! How did you sand it with the paper & scotchbrite pads? By hand or by machine? (I'm going to do my Bambi II & it has tons of corrosion & scratches and I need to sand it first....would love to do the FASTEST way!) I've done some cleaning up with grey scotchbrite pads on my little air angle tool, but am a bit afraid to do it on the trailer.
Definitely by hand and even then, I'd have to caution against using anything other than a polisher and a lot of time and patience. The more you sand (scuff), the more you have to polish anyway to make it even.

If you can use a wool pad and some good abrasive to get the corrosion out, I'd suggest it over sanding. If you can't stomach the thought of holding that polisher the few more hours it'll take, yeah, hand sand and go light and try to go even as possible.

Here's the progress I made today. I wasn't able to finish everything I wanted to, but I took it in stride as I was able to get out and play golf this morning and I spent a little too much time at the 19th hole. I spent about 4 hours total this afternoon, polishing 'ol Ethel. I need to get some more polish tomorrow after work and finish her up.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:59 PM   #7
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Looking good! Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by beckybillrae View Post
Looks fabulous! How did you sand it with the paper & scotchbrite pads? By hand or by machine? (I'm going to do my Bambi II & it has tons of corrosion & scratches and I need to sand it first....would love to do the FASTEST way!) I've done some cleaning up with grey scotchbrite pads on my little air angle tool, but am a bit afraid to do it on the trailer.
I thought I'd expand a little upon this. Here's what I was dealing with. The first few pics show the type of corrosion that is all over my Airstream. The last one is after Busch's polish.
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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mmmm interesting, We have the same type of corrosion on ours...
just wondering, after Busch's polish did you still used the cyclo?
BTW how many bottles of Busch's polish did you used?
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:15 AM   #10
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mmmm interesting, We have the same type of corrosion on ours...
just wondering, after Busch's polish did you still used the cyclo?
BTW how many bottles of Busch's polish did you used?
I used two bottles of it and had I know then what I know now, I probably could have gotten away with one. It's all in the technique. Less is more and knowing what you're doing and how the aluminum is going to react makes all the difference in the world. Keeping the polisher at a slower speed (say 2.5 out of 5) is the way to go and working on very small areas at a time is key.

I definitely used a cyclo with NuVite S to finish the project as the angle grinder polisher leaves swirl marks no matter what speed you or the polisher operate at.

The best way I can describe it is polishing with the grinder, no matter what the brand, will give you a "wow", while the Cyclo with NuVite S will give you a "Daaaaaaamn!"

It's not finished until it's cyclo'd. I should write copy for them.

Good luck and let me know if you need any help, and by help, I mean I'll show you and then grab a lawnchair and a sixer and watch you.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Taylormade View Post

Good luck and let me know if you need any help, and by help, I mean I'll show you and then grab a lawnchair and a sixer and watch you.
Funny...
It its going to take as long as everyone is sayin I will recomend to bring you Airstream and just parked next to ous....it will take for ever...it seems lilike a week just with the grinder and then a polisher, then Cyclo...wondering why people are chargind 2K for the job
Collecting all the materials for the polishing and so far we have:
Remove All
Grinder
buffing wheels (yellow/green/white)
Mineral Spirits
.....What else are we missing here
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:49 AM   #12
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tons of rags to wipe off excess polish, but I bet you know that with the mineral spirits line there.

Corn starch or baking soda work just as well, if not better, than mineral spirits by the way. The problem with mineral spirits is it leaves streaks everywhere and dulls the shine you just worked so hard to accomplish.

If you do it right, yeah, it'll take a few weekends to accomplish, but it'll be well worth it when you're done. Remember to remove your light lenses and tape up anything else you don't want melted when you use the remove all. That stuff is nasty.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:00 PM   #13
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Well we are getting ready to start this now that the weather is helping.
Wondering about the pads that you used with your cyclo. Do you use the one with the velcro? We saw people in youtube using the 4.5" microfiber regular application pads and reversing them....
Any inputs?
Thanks again
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:35 PM   #14
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Yeah, I used the velcro pads and then the little "socks" for lack of a better word, that go over the pads. Then I used t-shirts to wrap over them both. That's what worked for me, if you find another application that works by all means, please share!
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