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Old 07-12-2014, 06:52 PM   #1
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Can a newer AS be shined up?

A friend told me that they changed the aluminum and only vintage AS's can have that beautiful mirror finish.. Just wondering..

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Old 07-12-2014, 08:16 PM   #2
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yup. True!
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:58 PM   #3
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I've heard that but I'm not certain it's true. I had an area of filliform corrosion on my 2005 that I cleaned up and polished. It actually came out totally mirror-like, which surprised me, and I had to etch it so that it matched the existing satin-like finish. I've seen some late 80's model AS motorhomes polished up nicely, but I'm not sure when they changed the aluminum. Maybe somebody that has actually tried it will chime in.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:27 PM   #4
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Prior to some time in the early 80's the skin was made of Alclad aluminum sheet. This consists of a sheet of high-strength alloy (2024-T3) with a thin layer of pure aluminum bonded to the surface. The high strength alloy gives the desired mechanical properties, and the thin layer of pure aluminum gives the desired corrosion resistance. The pure aluminum also takes a very nice polish. See Alclad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Since that time the skin has been made of straight alloy with a clear coat. You can polish the alloy, but it doesn't polish up quite as nicely, nor does the shine hold up to the weather as well as the old Alclad.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:42 PM   #5
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Here's and older thread on the subject. According to Andy R at Inland, any Airstream can be polished to a mirror finish. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...ange-6981.html
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:39 AM   #6
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My 86 had faded, sun burned clear coat on the skins and it looked bad. I stripped it and polished the skins. They are not Alclad. It polished up nice enough. I agree the corrosion resistance is not there so bird droppings, leaf stains, and water spots all contribute to the polished surface reverting back to its old corroded dull gray self. A light polish every year seems to keep it okay.

I believe newer Airstreams can be polished. It takes more effort and maintenance than the Alclad.

I purchased some new 2042 T3 Alclad aluminum for a patch on my 66 Trade Wind. The new material came with almost a mirror finish on it straight from the supplier. It piece is my "standard" for judging polished aluminum.

Bottom line, newer Airstreams can be stripped and polished. It is a poor man's way of fixing the old faded clear coat. Stripping and replacing the original clear coat would be expensive.

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Old 07-13-2014, 09:01 AM   #7
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I would love to have the clear coat reapplied on my 1992 Excella, but even finding someone to do the work is difficult and holy yike it's expensive.. The pealing looks pretty bad, but more worrisome is the possibility of corrosion.. I wonder what others do? On the other hand I would love to shine her up, but don't think it's worth it with all the maintenance.


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Old 07-13-2014, 09:10 AM   #8
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I have thought of stripping the roof only on my Airstream or better yet paint if white. I think the hard part with the newer Airstreams is getting the plasticoat stuff off. The non Alclad alloys are harder to polish because the surface is harder.

Perry
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:11 PM   #9
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I purchased this 98 Bambi about six weeks ago, the original owner had it polished and clear coated, I think it looks great
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:22 AM   #10
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Thats looks like a mirror finish to me! Who says you can't polish a newer AS! Look great!
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:24 AM   #11
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It is just harder to do and it may not last as long unless clear coated.

Perry
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Old 09-18-2014, 08:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster10 View Post
I purchased this 98 Bambi about six weeks ago, the original owner had it polished and clear coated, I think it looks great
I have "polish envy"! My wife has forbidden me to begin polishing ours...."yet"....Someday!
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:11 AM   #13
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Polished the top half of our '98 Excella. Took some work but happy with the results. See attached before and after photo
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Old 09-18-2014, 09:21 AM   #14
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Polishing a newer A/S

Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster10 View Post
I purchased this 98 Bambi about six weeks ago, the original owner had it polished and clear coated, I think it looks great
Oh crap, that's going to haunt me, especially as I have a couple of small areas where the clearcoat has peeled off. It does look nice.....
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