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Old 02-24-2002, 07:28 PM   #1
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Question Basic exterior cleaning of a neglected trailer

I recently purchased a 1961 Bambi that had been sitting in a field in Idaho for who knows how long? What should I do to clean the exterior of as much residue as possible.
  • Will a coarse scrub brush scratch the surface through the oxidation?
  • What soap/detergent would work the best?
  • I have read about mineral spirits? Would these be effective at this point?
I plan on polishing her when it gets warmer.
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Old 02-24-2002, 08:48 PM   #2
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Cleaning your trailer

Your 1961 Airstream most likely does not have a plasticoat on it. That means you can polish it as soon as you are ready to do so without having to strip first. But it also means you have to be careful not to scratch the aluminum while trying to clean it.

Don't use any steel wool or any of those green plastic scrub pads on it. Just get some dishwashing detergent or car wash detergent and wash it using a wool or terry car wash pad or mitt. There's no problem using mineral spirits if it helps to remove some residues.
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Old 02-25-2002, 08:37 PM   #3
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I second Steve's cautions and mild detergent recommendations.

In my experience, a nylon Libman scrub brush helps with residue without scratching.

However, test scrub a small spot first on yours...the skins can vary.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:27 AM   #4
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I have a 66 Safari that I stripped the clear from about 4 yrs ago, then polished most of it.....now it has been exposed to salt air and lots of whitish oxidation..... I plan to polish it again IF I can can, then store her INSIDE this time! Can anyone suggest the best way if possible to remove the VERY coarse oxidation? Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:59 AM   #5
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This might help you:

Polishing - Vintage Airstream
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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Salt air is always a pain. You can polish it. But you will need to try a few different things. First, I would not assume you need to start with the most abrasive polish (Nuvite F9). You might be able to start with something finer like Nuvite F7 or even Nuvite C. Follow our polishing recommendations on our site as if your trailer has never been polished before. You'll need a DeWalt 7"/9" polisher or similar with 100% wool pads. Remember, though, that you are scratching the oxidation off so you will then need to go to the Cyclo with Grade S to finish. If you are dealing with corrosion instead of oxidation, this may not wok. Corrosion eats into the aluminum, actually pitting it. Oxidation sits on top so it can be removed. If you have a Cyclo, you might consider trying polishing with only that tool first. Perhaps you have overestimated how severe the problem is. But with salt air involved, you are probably right that you need to start with the wool on a DeWalt.

Let me know if you need other ideas.

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I have a 66 Safari that I stripped the clear from about 4 yrs ago, then polished most of it.....now it has been exposed to salt air and lots of whitish oxidation..... I plan to polish it again IF I can can, then store her INSIDE this time! Can anyone suggest the best way if possible to remove the VERY coarse oxidation? Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:41 AM   #7
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Thanks Steve..... I will try that (the Dewalt) because I know I have pitting from the salt air......BTW....I am the guy that wrote the Pictorial Guide To RVing book you have for sale on your site...... I have an Airstream Book coming out this late fall as well........

Thanks Again ~ John Brunkowski
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:12 AM   #8
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I suggest you look at Jetsco and Caswell sites. I have found that those processes and techniques are superior and WAY cheaper than Nuvites'.....particularly with the condition you mention. However, the final with Nuvite S and a cyclo can't be beaten.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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Melody~ Thanks for the tips! The condition IS that bad....... I was compounding today with the coarsest Nuvite and the pitting was still black although the surrounding areas are shining nicely...... can you tell me how to find the Jetsco and Caswell sites? Thanks~! John
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:47 AM   #10
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When traveling about what is the best way to wash the exterior. I know truck stops have truck washes but that might be too harsh. Do campgrounds have facilities to wash the trailer?
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:54 AM   #11
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Beware Car Washes

With your new trailer and its plasticoat, it may be fine to use a truckwash. I'm not sure. But if you have a polished skin, you will not want to take it to a carwash. Whatever they put in their soap, etc, can ruin a perfectly good polish. We've heard from more than one customer devastated by this mistake. Using the Nuvite NuImage cleaner and/or some Dawn dishwashing detergent and a soft pad/mitt are your best bets with a polished trailer.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:52 AM   #12
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With your new trailer and its plasticoat, it may be fine to use a truckwash. I'm not sure. But if you have a polished skin, you will not want to take it to a carwash. Whatever they put in their soap, etc, can ruin a perfectly good polish. We've heard from more than one customer devastated by this mistake. Using the Nuvite NuImage cleaner and/or some Dawn dishwashing detergent and a soft pad/mitt are your best bets with a polished trailer.

Just wanted to mention that the new trailers are not Plasticoated but have a clearcoat finish on them similar to a clearcoat on new vehicles.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:03 PM   #13
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Thanks, Bluto. I know just enough to be dangerous on new trailers.

Quote:
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Just wanted to mention that the new trailers are not Plasticoated but have a clearcoat finish on them similar to a clearcoat on new vehicles.
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