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Old 09-25-2008, 12:06 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
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Clear Coat Removal question

After washing my "new to me" 1977 Excella, I found that the clear coat on the upper half of the trailer was in pretty bad shape. I am not ready to polish or re-clearcote, but would like to improve the appearance. Is there any downfall to just stripping and leaving a bare shell? Also, when stripping do ou need to remove all caulking around roof vents and such?

I have only owned an Airstream for 3 days now, and I am totally hooked!


Thanks for all the help!

Nate
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:29 PM   #2
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there are many threads on this topic, Using Removall from Vintage Trailer Supply is the easiest and most painless method. It will not harm your plants, your caulking or any plastic lenses, although it is advisable to tape these off too be extra safe.
You merely brush on a good coat, wait 4 or more hours. Hose it off. Just be sure to get it all off as if it dries it is impossible to remove.
The trailer may look so good to you then, all you would do is wax it.
One large can should do the whole trailer.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:35 PM   #3
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Congrats on your find.

Stripping and not recoating will cause a sort of a water spot "oxidation" over a period of a few months (length varies on exposure, climate, and geographical location). It all depends on what you are willing to put up with. I do not think it (the lack of polishing or recoating) will hurt the longevity of the aluminum, though.

You will find some information of what happened to me here in post #53:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f219...ign-14737.html

Be prepared to replace any lens (or other plastic) which comes in contact with the stripper you use - even though you carefully tape it up. I have not used the "Removeall" that Alansd referred to above, so there may be strippers out there that would do the job without eating up the plastic. There are many threads on the "best" stripper - remember that individual results vary greatly. Some of the (pretty powerful) chemicals I tried did a really poor job - it seems that each trailer and applicator has somewhat unique results. I had my best success with "Aircraft Stripper" - available at Walley Worlds (the stores that Sam Walton's kids now run) - in both the quart sized cans and the spray cans for touch-up areas. Some auto parts stores and hardware stores also carry the product. The main thing is to LEAVE IT ON LONG ENOUGH FOR IT TO WORK!

If you have known areas of leakage, I would suspect that sealing them prior to stripping would be the way to go, but be prepared to do a post-strip leakage test and reseal any leaks or suspected areas of damaged seals.

Make sure you post before and after pics (and lots of them) for any job you tackle on your Land Yacht.

Luck.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #4
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Nate,
I am no polishing guru, but I would assume leaving bare aluminum to the elements will cause oxidation and make eventual polishing all the more difficult. Some end caps on our '87 were "burnt" (clear coat gone due to sun). The folks at P&S Tailer Services told me to spray Krylon clear on the burnt spots to keep oxidation down to a minimum until I delivered to them for polishing. I did as instructed becuse we got the trialer in October and it wan't going to them until May.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nd48463 View Post
Is there any downfall to just stripping and leaving a bare shell?
The only downfall I see is, it will oxidize without clearcoat...which could be a good thing, sort of. With splotchy clearcoat it will oxidize as the clearcoat fails leaving a splotchy appearance to the aluminum. If the clearcoat is removed, it will still oxidize, just more evenly (except where the clearcoat has already failed).

It's a slippery slope though...once the clearcoat is gone and the oxidation sets in...you'll be polishing before you know it! I agree, the longer you wait the more difficult it will be...but not by much. It's a tough job no matter what...but very rewarding once you are done.

Shari
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Old 09-25-2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
...It's a slippery slope though...once the clearcoat is gone and the oxidation sets in...you'll be polishing before you know it! I agree, the longer you wait the more difficult it will be...but not by much. It's a tough job no matter what...but very rewarding once you are done.
Don't try to do a "test polish" on a small area - it's a bit like parachuting (though why anyone would jump out of a perfectly good airplane is beyond my comprehenshion) - once you thake that first step, you ARE committed.

Do a thorough search on the time and costs others have found necessary to do a "good" polish job.

I WOULD recommend that you get all of the external and internal issues straightened out prior to starting to polish...the polish job is very rewarding as you can see immediate results...once I started the polishing commitment I did not hesitate to finish the job as quickly as possible. It was a good "final job" to have prior to "launching" the Land Yacht.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:22 PM   #7
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Call and talk to Steve Ruth at P & S Travel Trailer Service, Helena, Ohio. They stripped the upper half and recoated it and the trailer looks brand new. Great people to work with.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:30 PM   #8
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Call and talk to Steve Ruth at P & S Travel Trailer Service, Helena, Ohio. They stripped the upper half and recoated it and the trailer looks brand new. Great people to work with.
Dwight,
That's what we took our '87 34'er out for, strip, polish, and clear coat just the top half. When we got there, there was an '88 34'er there waiting for pickup that they had just polished the entire thing. I took one look at it and told them to make mine look just like the '88. You are correct, they are great folks to work with.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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Between stripping mine and when I could get it clearcoated, I used Meguiars Aluminum Polish (Hot Rims?? Mag and Aluminum Polish). It looked pretty good and held up for months.

Mind you we are talking looked good -- it certainly did not have that mirrored surface that you get when you truly polish with Nuvite or some such.

Might work in a pinch.

Mike
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:57 PM   #10
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clearcoating

If you want a easy clearcoat, look at How to Restore Metal, Protect Metal & Keep Metal Looking It's Best.. I used this product on my 94-21 foot soverign after stripping with removall. This stuff is very user friendly and so far has held up very well. They claim it will last years. Aplication is just a wipe on with a supplied pad. It can also be sprayed, which probably be better, but the results are very nice. The instructions are very clear and the price is resonable. Stripping and coating can easily be done in 1 day. Ask for teresa, she is very knowlegable about the product. Also a 1-800-304-0566 number.
good luck, chuck
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:33 PM   #11
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Thanks SBold for your help,,, have a peeling 97 Safari that in the Spring will need some serious attention,,, glad to know another Montanan is on the Forum,,, best,,, donna
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:25 PM   #12
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I stripped my 78 Sovereign as described above,mildly polished it with Liquid Glass which also sealed it. It stayed nice and shiny for about a year.
My 80 Excella is highly polished and has held up pretty well using Auto Glass cleaner ( non ammonia) to keep it clean.
Removall is not like aircraft strippper, it does not burn your skin, is water washable and you can hose it off into your garden with no ill effect.
check my photos to see how the Sovereign looked before and after.

airstreampassion.blogspot.com
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:26 PM   #13
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Does anyone know where I can buy RemovAll, aircraft stripper or other recommended product for clearcoat removal directly in San Diego? I don't have time to get it shipped before I leave.

Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2008, 03:50 PM   #14
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You cab get the Removeall from www.vintagetrailersupply.com. It will take about 2 days.
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