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Old 04-02-2014, 08:39 PM   #15
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I've always thought it would be cool to have a silver painted airstream, if done correctly, they are really great looking! Low maintenance but very expensive to get a high quality job.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
lso, it is pretty unlikely that you ever had clearcoat on your '63 as it wasn't really even an option until '64 and didn't become standard until a couple of years later.
this is not accurate. my 62 had a clearcoat. until around 62 or 63 it was an option. by 64 it was standard IIRC.

if you are insisting on polishing, your PO has likely sanded right through the alclad layer which does polish up much more 'mirror finish' than the alloy. it would be nice to have the overall look uniform ; all one even finish.

I suggest you test an area with what was mentioned above - wet sanded with 600 grit,then 1000, then 2000, then coarse nuvite, medium, fine. it might not be mirror finish but it will be bright...

i like the painted idea but it seems like you are opposed. the white could be clear coat left in the places the aluminum hasnt been well sanded. forget the citristrip, its not very effective, go for the aircraft stripper. you'll see it bubble up if there is clearcoat left. aircraft stripper can be bought at an auto paint store.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:18 PM   #17
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The rivets create a challenge when trying to deliver an automotive quality paint job on a metal trailer. The time that has to be spent sanding 360 degrees around every rivet is very time consuming and tedious.

However, if expectations are reasonable, a trailer can be painted and look very nice in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable price.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:25 PM   #18
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The last two pictures showing the shiny but textured finish looks rather cool- I just had some custom stainless counters done for a project and the surface looks similar. It sounds like without the alclad layer, it won't hold that shine as well, but if it's even all over, it'll look good. Replacing all the exterior panels sounds like a colossal pain.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:47 PM   #19
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I agree with trying the wet sanding in a section before throwing in the towel to paint. I wet sanded my Bambi II with pretty good results. It's not perfect, but heck, it's 50 years old!
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:49 PM   #20
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I wonder how well the paint would stick to the metal seams, where there might be sealant. The wet sanding sounds like a good idea.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:54 PM   #21
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'63 Bambi with a sanded exterior. Am I doomed?

Paint will stick fine provided the surface is clean and well sanded with paper not more fine than 180.

But yea, it important to sand well into the seams.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:30 AM   #22
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Thanks to everyone for all the great feedback on this. It is quite reassuring to hear from people with some real experience doing this work. I really appreciate it!

I just checked out a number of silver painted airstreams online, and it does look pretty nice. I just can't bring myself to paint it just yet. Since my compounding experiment the other night, I quickly came to terms with not being able to get this trailer to a mirror finish. As Globie64 mentioned, I too kind of like the way the sanded sections came out after a few passes with F9. If I can get the whole trailer to a shiny polished "milled" finish, I think I will be happy. My whole approach with this project is to rebuild it like a tank, with as many modern materials upgrades that I can take advantage of, while still maintaining the vintage integrity of the model and year. In my head, painting it would be a huge departure from its original form. That said, if I get through my first pass of compounding, and I am feeling crummy about things, I will probably go for it with a nice silver paint job. In my heart, I really want to avoid it though.

So given that I am going to try to salvage this sanded exterior in an attempt to achieve its maximum polished potential, and based on some of the suggestions folks gave me in this thread, here are the questions that come to mind:

1. Should I wet sand the whole trailer to achieve a uniform "milled" finish before starting in on the compounding and polishing, similar to what beckybillrae mentioned above? From what I have read, I would probably go PPG Final Scuff with Scotch Bright pad, then 600 grit wet sand, then maybe 800, then the Nuvite 3-stage compound/polishing schedule. Does this sound reasonable? Any other recommendations for a wet sand/polishing schedule?

2. Beckybillrae, do you have any pics of your wet sanded Bambi II? Is that the trailer in your Avatar?

Here are a few additional pics of the exterior sections, so you can see more of what I am dealing with.
Click image for larger version

Name:	Bambi Windows Steel Screws.jpg
Views:	104
Size:	243.0 KB
ID:	208876

One of the POs also did some additional modifications/repairs, and decided to refit the windows and eyebrows using steel screws. As you can see, the screws have all reacted with the aluminum and rusted. I have been removing the eyebrows, and am finding some remnants of the old camouflage paint job in more areas. I just picked up a pneumatic rivet gun on ebay for cheap, and have been practicing on scraps. After I patch all the holes/openings in the exterior skin, I plan to pull all the windows and redo the gaskets etc. Then refit everything back with Buck rivets, while the interior skins are still off.

I suppose my “glass half full” perspective is that I can now get a lot of the cruddy residue and oxidation off the exterior with an abrasive, and not worry about scratching the already sanded surface. As Cochese mentioned, I’m already screwed in this department; )
Click image for larger version

Name:	Bambi Front no box.jpg
Views:	100
Size:	277.8 KB
ID:	208875
This is where I removed a custom battery box that the PO has hastily installed on the front with lots of steel screws. There is lots of old camo paint and crud around the old footprint that I will likely sand/scrub away now as well.

Once again, a million thanks for all your feedback. It is great talking with all of you about this.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:49 AM   #23
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yes! i vote to go with this plan:

Quote:
Should I wet sand the whole trailer to achieve a uniform "milled" finish before starting in on the compounding and polishing, similar to what beckybillrae mentioned above? From what I have read, I would probably go PPG Final Scuff with Scotch Bright pad, then 600 grit wet sand, then maybe 800, then the Nuvite 3-stage compound/polishing schedule. Does this sound reasonable? Any other recommendations for a wet sand/polishing schedule?
you'll need to go to a much finer grade sandpaper before polishing. i find you really have to go from at least 1000 to 2000, (available at automotive parts store) to really get the scratches out. they will come out if you wet sand repeatedly with finer and finer grades of paper.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:51 AM   #24
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My first AS was 1962 22 ft. Pur in 1963 from Chicken farmer in Ind. it to was sanded ext. price was so low had to buy, looked like $$$$ lived with it until pur. new AS 1966 made a little profit. Bill
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:58 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trestrey View Post
Thanks to everyone for all the great feedback on this. It is quite reassuring to hear from people with some real experience doing this work. I really appreciate it!

I just checked out a number of silver painted airstreams online, and it does look pretty nice. I just can't bring myself to paint it just yet. Since my compounding experiment the other night, I quickly came to terms with not being able to get this trailer to a mirror finish. As Globie64 mentioned, I too kind of like the way the sanded sections came out after a few passes with F9. If I can get the whole trailer to a shiny polished "milled" finish, I think I will be happy. My whole approach with this project is to rebuild it like a tank, with as many modern materials upgrades that I can take advantage of, while still maintaining the vintage integrity of the model and year. In my head, painting it would be a huge departure from its original form. That said, if I get through my first pass of compounding, and I am feeling crummy about things, I will probably go for it with a nice silver paint job. In my heart, I really want to avoid it though.

So given that I am going to try to salvage this sanded exterior in an attempt to achieve its maximum polished potential, and based on some of the suggestions folks gave me in this thread, here are the questions that come to mind:

1. Should I wet sand the whole trailer to achieve a uniform "milled" finish before starting in on the compounding and polishing, similar to what beckybillrae mentioned above? From what I have read, I would probably go PPG Final Scuff with Scotch Bright pad, then 600 grit wet sand, then maybe 800, then the Nuvite 3-stage compound/polishing schedule. Does this sound reasonable? Any other recommendations for a wet sand/polishing schedule?

2. Beckybillrae, do you have any pics of your wet sanded Bambi II? Is that the trailer in your Avatar?

Here are a few additional pics of the exterior sections, so you can see more of what I am dealing with.
Attachment 208876

One of the POs also did some additional modifications/repairs, and decided to refit the windows and eyebrows using steel screws. As you can see, the screws have all reacted with the aluminum and rusted. I have been removing the eyebrows, and am finding some remnants of the old camouflage paint job in more areas. I just picked up a pneumatic rivet gun on ebay for cheap, and have been practicing on scraps. After I patch all the holes/openings in the exterior skin, I plan to pull all the windows and redo the gaskets etc. Then refit everything back with Buck rivets, while the interior skins are still off.

I suppose my “glass half full” perspective is that I can now get a lot of the cruddy residue and oxidation off the exterior with an abrasive, and not worry about scratching the already sanded surface. As Cochese mentioned, I’m already screwed in this department; )
Attachment 208875
This is where I removed a custom battery box that the PO has hastily installed on the front with lots of steel screws. There is lots of old camo paint and crud around the old footprint that I will likely sand/scrub away now as well.

Once again, a million thanks for all your feedback. It is great talking with all of you about this.

Cheers,

Jim
Really you are at the point where replacing aluminum is very easy. you have the tools, you have the windows out of the way, all you need is some aluminum. Once you do one section you will be surprised how easy it is to do. I have replaced all the lower panels on a 56 22' and it sure looks better and only takes a couple of hours per panel.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:06 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
Really you are at the point where replacing aluminum is very easy. you have the tools, you have the windows out of the way, all you need is some aluminum. Once you do one section you will be surprised how easy it is to do. I have replaced all the lower panels on a 56 22' and it sure looks better and only takes a couple of hours per panel.
I hear you, Doug. I am just worried about the end caps. The compound cuts would intimidate me. This is a one man show.
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:23 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
Really you are at the point where replacing aluminum is very easy. you have the tools, you have the windows out of the way, all you need is some aluminum. Once you do one section you will be surprised how easy it is to do. I have replaced all the lower panels on a 56 22' and it sure looks better and only takes a couple of hours per panel.
I agree, it's much easier than you would expect and will take a LOT LESS TIME to replace as many of the flat panels as you can. Then you can focus more time on the compound curves with the scratch removal/polishing process...



Check out our panel replacement projects starting at posts #207-237 over a long weekend, Mr.InsideOut, WeeWind 47 (Fred) & I replaced a panel on each of our three Airstreams (about 30' of panels)...it would have taken much longer to polish that much aluminum.

Another weekend, we takled the corners on our '64 GT see posts #38.

Shari
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
I agree, it's much easier than you would expect and will take a LOT LESS TIME to replace as many of the flat panels as you can. Then you can focus more time on the compound curves with the scratch removal/polishing process...



Check out our panel replacement projects starting at posts #207-237 over a long weekend, Mr.InsideOut, WeeWind 47 (Fred) & I replaced a panel on each of our three Airstreams (about 30' of panels)...it would have taken much longer to polish that much aluminum.

Another weekend, we takled the corners on our '64 GT see posts #38.

Shari
Shari,

Do you think replacing all the panels, except for the end caps, would leave my polished trailer looking odd? Y'know, mirror finished trailer with scuffed, but polished end caps?
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