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Old 01-08-2008, 06:15 PM   #1
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Cleaning Anodized Aluminum - Silver Streak

Hey.

I have a 1975 SS trailer. Real beautiful unit. I know that I can't get this to a high polished shine like you Airstream folks, but id like to clean it up back to its original look if poss. The aluminum has become a little tainted in places and has some slight staining that im finding hard to remove. Does anyone have any ideas of how to restore the anodized finish. Acid bath?

Thanks

James
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:19 PM   #2
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I think the aluminum is too soft for acid, you would probably wind up damaging the panels. I would suggest oven cleaner, but don't know what that would do to your anodizing.
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayk47
Hey.

I have a 1975 SS trailer. Real beautiful unit. I know that I can't get this to a high polished shine like you Airstream folks, but id like to clean it up back to its original look if poss. The aluminum has become a little tainted in places and has some slight staining that im finding hard to remove. Does anyone have any ideas of how to restore the anodized finish. Acid bath?

Thanks

James
James,

You prompted me to learn something new today. Apparently, you have to de-anodize the aluminum and then clean and polish and then re-anodize.

Check it out HERE
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Old 01-08-2008, 08:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by byamcaravanner
James,

You prompted me to learn something new today. Apparently, you have to de-anodize the aluminum and then clean and polish and then re-anodize.

Check it out HERE
I read the instructions, he may have difficulty finding a shallow pan large enough to immerse his panels in. I wonder if there is a "plan B" for large pieces?
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63
I read the instructions, he may have difficulty finding a shallow pan large enough to immerse his panels in. I wonder if there is a "plan B" for large pieces?
I didn't say it was easy.

The real problem will be what to do with the swimming pool full of acid when he is done.

Another site suggested using one of the liquid abrasive (Soft Scrub) products to carefully clean the surface. It sounds like the key to maintaining a good anodized surface is to clean and maintain it continuously over it's life.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:47 AM   #6
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Have tested EaCoChem's RESTORE on a small section per their advice. Will also be using their A.R.T.; a sort of clear-coat that is easily removeable on my SS.

Contact them directly after reading on their site. I had a good conversation with a rep after an e-mail request.

My trailer looks good for an SS, and I have used some buffered acid products already (MaryKate Aluminex Clean & Shine[for anodized metal]). When I have more time, I'll be bringing the 34' SS home for low-presure power washing numerous times with RESTORE.

RESTORE seems to get the mineral haze off. The deeper pitting is something to live with. A.R.T. ought to do it for me, even re-applying it more than once yearly.

Also, see what the Avion guys are doing with clearcoats through the dealer, CAYO.
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Old 04-10-2008, 09:49 AM   #7
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I just noticed this thread. I think oven cleaner is likely to strip off the anodized finish. Forum poster "A-Merry-Can" has a vintage aluminum Feathercraft boat that had an anodized finish, and oven cleaner is what he used to remove the anodized finish and strip the boat back to bare aluminum. After that, he was able to polish the boat to a mirror finish.

You can check out his comments on it in his thread about the Feathercraft here:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ion-37500.html

If you're still around and still wanting to do this project, good luck!
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:39 PM   #8
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anodizing ...

I used to work in a manufacturing environment featuring anodized aluminum parts. I don't think I would recommend de-anodizing the aluminum. I still have some friends in that industry who might be able to help point a better direction - the company is Spectra Anodizing/Aluminum in Toronto - ask for Brian or David - give them my name if you like - it's Paula.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcasa
I used to work in a manufacturing environment featuring anodized aluminum parts. I don't think I would recommend de-anodizing the aluminum. I still have some friends in that industry who might be able to help point a better direction - the company is Spectra Anodizing/Aluminum in Toronto - ask for Brian or David - give them my name if you like - it's Paula.
Yes, I gathered that the OP simply wanted to clean the surface and not strip the anodized finish. I was attempting to warn that oven cleaner would likely accomplish the latter and not the former, since that is exactly how A-Merry-Can removed the anodized finish on his aluminum boat.

Now, whether or not that was a good idea I don't know, but it looks very cool.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:41 AM   #10
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There are companies which specialize in restoring architectural anodized aluminum; a Web search will turn them up.

I am working with EaCoChem which is a supplier of products for restoration

| EaCo Chem Inc. | Restoration

As time permits this year I will be dragging the trailer home to work on the exterior finish.

Preliminary tests show promise.

The thread originator should look into the clearcoat as applied by CAYO on anodized AVION trailers if his finish is already good.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:21 AM   #11
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On my Avion, I have tried many polishes and waxes.

They never left the shine I was looking for.

Also, I tried Met-All, it worked great till the first rain and washed it off.

Last summer I sprayed automotive clearcoat on the roof and sides.
That actually worked, the unit look a lot better.
Still look great this spring.

Cayo Repair in Michigan has a spray finish for Avions called Perma-Cote, something like the Airstream clearcoat. I have heard that service is expensive also.

Keeping an anodized finish looking like new has been an issue in the Avion community for years; Probally in the SS and Streamline communities as well.

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Old 04-11-2008, 10:51 AM   #12
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Yeah, the perfectionistic desire isn't limited to A/S owners spending 100-hrs annually on shiny-ness. For those not familiar with an anodized surface, well, it's hard as a rock which is nice, takes a lot to scratch it.

On the other hand, exposure to the elements (pollution) the surface tends to cloud up and loses its appeal. Sort of the difference between matte and polished.

The product mentioned above, A.R.T., is said to be removable easily, but needs, probably, to be re-applied yearly. It should give me the look of clearcoat without the expense and trouble of removal after five years. Since my storage is covered I'm going to try it and see if it looks good after a year.
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