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Old 10-25-2008, 05:26 PM   #1
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Acid Used-How long for damage to appear?

I am looking at an early 60's model trailer that has had some form of acid wash done to the exterior skin (per current owner). I am wondering how long it might take for water leaks to appear? I have read all the horror stories of leaking trailers due to acid being used to clean off the oxidation (rivet heads mainly). On this unit it was described that a mild acid was used, and then a soapy type of wash, followed by a water rinse.

It was over a year ago that it was performed, and I can see no evidence of internal water leakage. The original caulk (Vulkum?) between the aluminum sheets is still intact. I must have tried to twist a hundred rivets, and all seem to still be tight and in place. There is zero evidence to date of any water leakage internal into the coach.

So how long might it take for water leakage to appear after an acid wash? It would be easiest to avoid this AS, but considering everything I can see with my own eyes, there does not appear to be any negative effects of the acid wash on this particular unit. Opinions and experience welcome on this!

-Tim
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:52 PM   #2
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too many experts out there

Once again...ALL aluminum aircraft, auto, truck and boat surfaces can, and should, be safely acid etched before painting or polishing. It is the standard. It has always been done that way, is still done that way and should be done that way. Don't do it that way if you please. Do it correctly and you will have no problems.

Aircraft Painting - Solving the Mystery
http://www.menaaircraftpainting.com/Process/process.htm
http://www.oecs.org/eccaa/docs/acs/a...20Aircraft.pdf
GIV Refurbishment Slideshow

etc., etc., etc.

brightener mentioned in aluminum treatment is ACID.

Just be careful and do it right.
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:37 PM   #3
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considering everything I can see with my own eyes, th

-Tim

Tim:

You have to read these pages with caution. There is good advice and bad advice dispensed here. The trick is being able to consider the evidence and make up your own mind.

Im with Melody Ranch. Professionals use acid washes to prep aluminum before painting all the time.

I spent 3 years rehabilitating a 1976 Argosy. After we stripped the paint off with aircraft stripper, I used acid wash to clean up.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f227...e-18448-5.html

Before Wiltsie Truck Bodies, a company with more than 50 years experience, painted my trailer more than a year later, they etched it again.

There is no sign of any kind of damage caused by the acid.

If the P.O. used it correctly, following the directions, there will be no damage caused to yours either.

Sergei
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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Acid wash before polishing?

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Once again...ALL aluminum aircraft, auto, truck and boat surfaces can, and should, be safely acid etched before painting or polishing.
I assume the acid wash before painting is for a better bond, right? But why an acid wash before polishing?
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:08 PM   #5
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what type of acid are ya'll talking about? muiratic is used for cleaning brick in deluted forms. but I'm not sure if thats what you mean.
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Old 10-25-2008, 08:10 PM   #6
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The acid wash takes off the Oxidation. Oxidation comes off black. Acid wash is much less labor than taking it off with Nuvite Grade F7 polish and a Rotary Polisher. Acid wash goes on and is washed off with at minimum water. Polishing is much harder physically, and many more hours of work.

My question is still; after an acid wash, if there was going to be a problem, how quickly would a leak appear? Since it has now been over a year with no water leakage problems, would it now be considered safe?

Tim
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:13 AM   #7
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I would have to say, that after a year, with no evidence of leaks, you are fine now. I can't believe an acid would remain active after 365 days.
Marc
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:40 AM   #8
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Since an Airstream has an outer and inner wall, the only thing I was thinking is that any small leaks in the outer skin rivet heads would possibly be hidden. Also not sure how long the acid would continue to eat at the metal, if it is hidden under the heads. I am much less concerned with where the panels overlap, as I can see that they are 95% intact with what I assume is Vulkum, and what is missing might just be from 40+ years of age. I'd very much like to agree with 3Ms75Argosy, SmokelessJoe and Melody Ranch. There are many threads that say "never, ever, ever under any circumstances acid wash an Airstream", but then you keep reading, and find many people have successfully acid washed. I am hoping that after this much time, there would have to be some evidence of a water leak, and if no leaks by now, this AS is safe.

-Tim
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:14 AM   #9
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Tim,

Melody Ranch and me are telling you the same thing - too many so-called experts out there.

You can easily read yourself into undue concern about many things on these pages.

In the end, trust your own instinct.

Sergei
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:48 AM   #10
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Sooo, Is there a product or a formula for an acid wash, especially for oxidation?
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:38 AM   #11
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The references above give the details for aluminum aircraft and is exactly the same for Airstreams. If you undertake this task, i would do a test spot on the underside of the trailer. Aircraft are often painted after etching. Some aircraft are left bare and polished. It is these sights that I would search for clues.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Sooo, Is there a product or a formula for an acid wash, especially for oxidation?
The Blue Beacon Truck Washes use an "acid" wash, or actually two. The citrushine is a mild citric acid base that is used for polished aluminum like on fuel tanks, wheels, etc. The official policy is that the wash will not eat the clear coat off of wheels. This works pretty well for oxidized aluminum. There are a bunch of Blue Beacons and are usually found at large truck stops on the interstate. Dump stations are in the area, as a rule.

They have a different style of acid wash for aluminum trailers such as my car hauler. I do it once a year and it cleans very well. It has not affected the clearcoat on the wheels. I don't know if they will use the good stuff on RVs or not. As I understand it, there is a little of the Cirtushine in the regular soap mixture. The rinse is immediate and thorough.

The stuff is sprayed on by the workers w/ no breathing apparatus or protective clothing. I figure it must not be too caustic or it would eat the workers.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:30 AM   #13
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polish after acid brightening

Brightener is also used as a recommended control....remover of corrosion. Most common in Airstreams is seen on the belly pan as a white stain like powdery substance...usually along the seams. A 5 to 1 dilute solution of muriatic acid, or a brand name aluminum brightener, used with a small brass brush (I have used 3M green pads and rubber gloves with excellent results on airplanes) and then agitate till the area is clean. Thoroughly wash. Now, alodine wash if your going to paint or start your normal polish routine.

Polished Airstream after an acid wash......
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:31 AM   #14
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I am going to work on trying to find the exact acid wash that was used. It was in fact completed at some form of truck body shop. I also do not want to lose sight of the original post; So how long might it take for water leakage to appear after an acid wash?
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