Originally Posted by HarleyLeo101
We just purchased a 1978 28' Ambassador. ... An estimate to strip, polish, and clearcoat comes in around $6800. Given the time...how many would buy the polishers and do it yourself? How many have done this? Thanks for the advice.
At what price to you value your personal time?
First, you start with a typical ragged out 1978 Sovereign
Then, three years and one hurricane later, you end up with this:
Yes, that pathetic little twig of a tree in the first picture is one and the same as pictured above.
The problem with a "turn key" polish bid is the differences in the owner's and the bidder's individual definition of "polish". Differing definitions of "polish" will quickly turn into a spitting match between the two parties and both will feel as if each took an economic loss. In my opinion, better to work by the hour, then, if you don't like what you see, either start over or accept the job 'as is'.
You can get 20 foot polish (looks great on a cloudy day from 20' away) in a hundred hours or so, but to get a really mirror job with NO swirls visible in the sun it will take three or four times as long.
The intial polish job on the 30' Sovereign
required $2,000 in supplies (all in) and a total of 480 hours of labor (a combination of paid for semi-skilled, some of my own) in 2007.
2008 maintenance (on the exterior polish) was $600 in supplies and 140 hours of labor in total.
So far, in 2009, $250 in supplies and 70 hours of total labor are in washing and polishing. Expect to "touch up" the polish every three to six months. I HAVE found that the more the aluminum is "worked" the easier it is to touch up.
Some owner's will spend more or less time than others in doing the same job. My investment in time is probably on the upper end of the scale, but the hours ARE accurate. I will probably NOT do another such project, but I am pleased with both the exterior and interior work on the '78.
There is no clearcoat, I have not been able to convince myself that ANY product will stick to a "mirrored" polished aluminum surface. I have talked to several manufacturers, but all have backed off of a claim to provide satisfactory performance when I explained the application.