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Old 02-26-2012, 04:24 PM   #1
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1975 27' Overlander
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Couple questions - polishing

For Christmas I received the jestco polishing kit. As it is still winter here, and I'm getting bored, I decided to try polishing the propane tanks. The first one I just used the grey bar, then the pink bar. Then cyclo. Experimenting with the polisher, wheels etc. it took a lot of polishing to get it shiny. The next one. Sanded with 400, then 800 grit first, then hit it with the polisher. Same result but less time. There are still "marks" in the aluminum, looks to me like the metal got stressed when it was bent to form the tank. Verticle lines that I can't get rid of. They are pretty shiny, but not "perfect". Is this as good as they get? Then I took of the small fridge access door and stripped the clearcoat, then polished it. Again, it's pretty shiny but not "perfect", not sure if I am expecting too much. It is very shiny, but still has a few blemishes, marks in it. Wife is quite happy with the result, me not so much. Should I be expecting a perfect "mirror" finish?
Also the Overlander has cast aluminum wheels, can they be polished too?
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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With a mirror finish, most strive for "perfection" at 5, 10 or 20 feet, meaning it looks "perfect" at that distance. But while actually polishing, you're only at 12-24 inches - you're going to see imperfections at that distance that you won't farther away. It's never going to look "perfect" at those close-up distances.

The thing with the tanks is, they are not Alclad aluminum like the skins, so they won't polish up quite as shiny. The skins have a "more pure" aluminum surface which achieves a brighter polish than the tanks which are a different alloy. Once they are on the trailer and the whole thing is polished, it will probably look a lot better than sitting by themselves.

One more thing, the '75 skins have a different mill finish to them than the 50's & 60's trailers - they can still be brought to a mirror shine, but it takes more effort to get through that milled finish - whereas the old skins are slightly smoother to begin with.

Keep at it and know that each year you touch it up, it'll get better.

Shari
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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Try to figure out this picture thing.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:04 PM   #4
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Cute Weimaraner! I think your access door looks great!
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:36 PM   #5
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Mine next?

Got the power cord out by my new 1972 Overlander and needs a good shine.. You could use mine to lean how and then do a bang up job on yours..

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Old 02-28-2012, 10:28 PM   #6
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Looks like Northlander is snowed in!!! Might want to send your little doggie for help....or not...
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by beckybillrae View Post
Cute Weimaraner! I think your access door looks great!
Me too!

Shari
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Old 02-29-2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the positive comments.
I have only seen pictures of polished Airstreams, and they sure look nice in the pictures. I would like to see one in person.
We are snowed in for a while yet, as you can see. I am taking the other access door off and will polish it as well. Not much else I can do until spring.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:43 PM   #9
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I can tell you that most of the polished AS's look better in a photograph than in person. You can go to a lot of different levels in your polish job. With your own eyes, you can see the cloudiness, or lack of it, while you work. In a photo, those imperfections aren't picked up. So, while you might think all of us who have polished trailers have absolute mirror, I'll be the one to say, they all aren't perfect (at least mine weren't!)
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #10
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I agree w/Becky. My 65 looks like a perfect polish job from 30' away. The closer I get the more flaws I see. When polishing I found that it really helped me to take a break and step back away to see my work. Once all the compounding was done I got pretty good results using Nuvite S with the Cyclo. In some places 2 or 3 passes to get all the swirls out.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:36 PM   #11
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Spring has sprung, and I have started stripping. Sure wish I could buy citri-stip or removall in Canada. I have tried a few different strippers, none work as well as what those two sound like they do.
Another question, do I whack off the airstream letters with a putty knife like Andy says, or leave them on and fuss around them?
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:45 PM   #12
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Spring has sprung, and I have started stripping. Sure wish I could buy citri-stip or removall in Canada. I have tried a few different strippers, none work as well as what those two sound like they do.
Another question, do I whack off the airstream letters with a putty knife like Andy says, or leave them on and fuss around them?
I worked around mine... its not perfect but still looks good. you can get the "mushrooms and other funny shaped polishing tools for your drill at Vintage Trailer Supply; that is good for the letters and other tight spots. I got as close as I could with the buffer and a wheel, then tried some nuvite by hand. again... not perfect, but good enough.
I would try working around them first, then if you dont like the results, take them off and polish.
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:57 AM   #13
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jestco grey bar

How shiny should it be with the grey bar? I'm finding that if I spend lots and lots of time with the grey bar, I can get it really shiny, and even looking. But am I wasting my time? should I just be using the grey bar to take off the bulk of the surface, not worrying about it looking too good, and then will the pink bar/cyclo will do the rest. And when do I throw out the buffing pad and switch to a new one? I've got the whole rear done with the grey bay now.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
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I used both Nuvite and the jestco system on my TW. A word of caution. I think, but can't prove because I don't have a lot of before pictures, that the jestco heated up the skin in places around the rivets and caused some dimpling. It does not look good and on the top where I only used wool pads and Nuvite I do not see the problem. The jestco cuts faster and does a good job but just watch the heat. Again, I can't prove that what caused the dimpling effect around the rivets on the side. It may be just the shine allows me to see the blemishes.
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