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Old 04-21-2014, 11:55 PM   #1
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Compound Polish Won't Remove Water Spots?

I've read several threads this afternoon regarding how to prevent water spots from returning after polishing, but nothing explaining how to overcome them in the first place.

I've polished previous trailers using just Nuvite "C" and a Cyclo and was satisfied with the "pretty shiny" look. On this trailer, however, I'm attempting to do everything by the book:

- beautiful 73 degree day, indirect sunlight
- 1957 trailer, Alclad skin, no clear coat
- variable speed drill, slowly roving over an area @ 1100-1400 RPM
- Brand new can of Nuvite "F9"
- barely wet fingerprints spaced correctly, just the right amount of polish

I'm already on my third pass, and have spent probably 30+ minutes on a 2 sq. foot area. These water spots are invisible to the touch, but have not even begun to fade. Feels like trying to clean a piece of glass with the spots on the other side.

Any ideas? I've watched many videos and I'm not getting that way cool, brilliantly swirly shine that's begging for you to move onto "C" or "S". We've had other panels replaced (we moved windows around) and it's going to be pretty lame if I can't do better than this. Very confused.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:28 AM   #2
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Brad,
I would think if you are using F9 and the water spots are not going away then I would conclude that there is major oxidation that has scorched through the alclad and exposed the 2024.... I have discovered F9 with a 800 grit foam 5" sanding disk will bring your aluminum back to life!
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:14 AM   #3
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That dosent look like water spots it looks like corrosion or pitting. Does the area feel smooth? You can try 2000 grit wet sanding in a small, less obvious place to see if it helps, and / or apply more pressure w the buffer.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:02 AM   #4
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Thanks, both. Possible it's not water, I s'pose. Completely smooth L, yeah. Just seems like the right watery pattern, and there are vertical streaks accompanying it in places. I'll try better photos.

Hate to resort to sanding - 800 or 2000, given the "no sanding" mantra that's been drilled into my head over 11 years of reading threads about polishing. But you're right in that there doesn't seem to be many other options it seems, either. I'd really like to achieve an initial perfect polish, though (deep scratches not included - I consider those character marks).

I happen to be tackling the front end cap first, but in looking ahead I'm seeing the same condition on virtually the whole trailer.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:54 AM   #5
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Brad....Switch from that wool pad to an aggressive "wheel" type. it is, in essence, compounding from the beginning. Then come back with the wool pad and a less aggressive Nuvite. Always finish up with a Cyclo pass and Nuvite S.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:53 AM   #6
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Melody, do you mean the stitched variety from, say, Harbor Freight? I could try that.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:05 AM   #7
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Hi...I have not seen Harbor Freight wheels. I use both Jetsco and Caswell. Their wheels are well made and sewn tight to give a strong wheel. In the worst case I used Jetsco real strong, yellow, wheel. Scarey to look at and think about using it on aluminum....but, it does no damage and really gets the job don on heavy duty compounding.
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:52 AM   #8
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Gotcha. I'll see what H.F. has, it'd be nice to take advantage of the nice weather.
I'll post an update, as it seems the consensus is basically to use a more aggressive method.
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Old 04-22-2014, 12:03 PM   #9
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Is this mostly on the lower panels? If so, I suspect it could be corrosion from road salt spray, not just water.

If you aren't having luck with the horizontal wool pads & Nuvite, try switching to the stitched cotton vertical pads & tripoli bars as Melody Ranch also suggested.

We found with compounding that some areas responded better to one method than the other - wool pad/Nuvite vs cotton wheel/bars. We used both to cut through the oxidation on both our trailers. It doesn't really matter how you get the oxidation off, the key to a mirror polish job is the "last steps" with the Cyclo Polisher. BUT, you do have to get the oxidation off first.

We too got our pads & bars from Caswells, I listed everything in Birdy's "It's a Girl!!!" thread (here), if you want a list of the specifics - mail order showed up quickly, no running around town.

Good luck Brad!

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Old 04-22-2014, 11:09 PM   #10
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Thanks, Shari! While I've never seen Maxwell or Birdy in person, I've seen and read about them enough to consider them benchmarks to strive for. Thanks for the shopping list, too.

I can't comment yet on whether it's worse below the belt or not, but salt sounds like a good guess. Regardless, after today's little shopping trip for cotton wheels, rouge, and a smaller wool head for doing the window frames, I think I've got just about every tool to play and experiment over the next few days. I always like my threads to wind up on a happy note - so I'll post photos and a description of whatever I find that works.
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Old 04-23-2014, 06:30 PM   #11
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The weather wasn't as cooperative today as it'd been over the weekend. We only hit about 50º today.

Still, I gave the "first cut" another try, first changing from the wool pad to the stitched canvas wheel - and sticking with F9. No good. Those stubborn little spots hardly budged.

I dug out a dried up old rouge bar I picked up a couple summers back at Harbor Freight, and never even opened. I'm not sure they're supposed to be the consistency of the sidewalk chalk you give to kids... and I wasn't feeling confident when it was barely visible on the wheel when I applied it.

But 5 minutes later (on a section I'd previously worked on with severe spots) I started to grin. Extremely good results. The spots still aren't 100% gone, but it's a world of difference and I suspect another pass will finish 'em off for good. I'm already looking forward to finding out if the next step will be going back to F9... or skipping to C before pulling out the ole' Cyclo.

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! The rivet line in the photo below denotes "before & after".
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:35 PM   #12
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Hey Brad- looking good. Did you use the Harbor Freight sewn wheel and rouge? If so, which rouge worked for you? I've been using the wool and F9, and have a couple spots I'd like to try the sewn wheel and rouge, but its not that important that I want to invest in a whole new polishing setup not knowing if it will even work.... The HF stuff is cheap enough to toss if it doesnt work.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2014, 08:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinstream View Post
Brad,
I would think if you are using F9 and the water spots are not going away then I would conclude that there is major oxidation that has scorched through the alclad and exposed the 2024.... I have discovered F9 with a 800 grit foam 5" sanding disk will bring your aluminum back to life!
Vinstream- can you elaborate on this? Is the 800+ grit sanding method ONLY if you've ruined your Alclad? I've got some spots that I'm afraid I might have ruined my alclad.... When re-attaching the shell to the c-channel, I clecoed the entire perimeter and couldn't get back to riveting for several weeks... Meanwhile it was rainy weather, and they began to quickly rust, so I "gently" sprayed some Ospho on them to try and stop the rust, but I still must've gotten overspray on the aluminum. Stupid mistake...

I'm afraid the spots where the Ospho got on the aluminum, are where it ate through the alclad. Luckily its not too bad around the sides, but behind the LP tanks in the front is pretty spotted up.

Any suggestions welcome!
Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2014, 09:12 PM   #14
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Micky, I bought their spiral sewn cotton wheel and a tube of reddish brown rouge about the size of a big cigar.

Keep in mind, to use the cotton wheel, I had to borrow the washer and nut from my grinder, as most of these variable speed drills - at least mine from Harbor Freight - only comes with the Velcro base pad, no nut.

Personally I felt a lot more brave trying rouge than I would've usng sandpaper, and I'm happy it was enough to cure my problem. Just a thought.
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