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Old 05-01-2005, 12:21 AM   #1
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Thumbs up How to clean and shine?

Hello,

Can someone tell me a product that is recommened for fine cleaning and polishing of aluminum exteriors? And what method of polishing as well. Thanks
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Old 05-01-2005, 12:53 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums!

There are several active threads regarding polishing of Airstreams...if you use the search tool, it will call them all up and keep you reading for quite awhile!

Basically, you'll get as many answers as people you ask ~

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Old 05-01-2005, 01:13 AM   #3
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How to clean and shine?

Greetings Jonandrew52!

Welcome to the Forums!

I would add to what Shari posted that the answer is also, at least to some extenet, dependent upon the coach involved.

If the coach is a late model with the pre-finished Alcoa panels, there is a factory recommendation of using high quality automotive products designed for the clear-coat finishes on current model cars and trucks.

If the coach is an older model that has the Plasticoat finish, then the recommendation was for use of Walbernize as the clean/protect product. This product is typically only available from Airstream dealers or via sources on the Web or by mail order. My '64 Overlander was polished and Plasticoated by the Ruths at P & S Trailer Service, and the Plasticoat is easily maintained with twice per year applications of Walbenize. Plasticoat of varying formulas was utilized on Airstreams from around 1961 (when it became an option) and later became standard around 1964 -- the pre-finished Alcoa panels came along approximately one decade ago if my notes are correct.

Prior to Plasticoat, Airstreams were not coated. The finish was maintained with MetAll Polish in combination with Glass Wax. MetAll Polish works acceptably for small touch-ups, but isn't terribly useful beyond that, and Glass Wax was discontinued sometime last year. The modern solutions that you will read about elswhere as recommended by Shari will give you some ideas for the more preferred modern alternatives.

Good luck with your research!

Kevin
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Old 05-01-2005, 08:18 AM   #4
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I agree with Kevin - it really depends if you have clearcoat or not. On trailers without clearcoat the best polish jobs that I have seen use products called Rollite or Nuvite - I only use products that are approved for Aircraft since Airstreams are riveted - have to be careful not to use stuff that can get under the rivets and cause leaks. My understanding is stuff that is used for tank trucks is too rough for our trailers. Metall is an older product and I understand they don't make Glasswax anymore.

The newer trailers use Walbernize which is a favorite for coated trailers.
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Old 05-01-2005, 12:33 PM   #5
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Better buy a trailer first:)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonandrew52
Hello,

Can someone tell me a product that is recommened for fine cleaning and polishing of aluminum exteriors? And what method of polishing as well. Thanks
I've gotten killed here because I have a trailer and started asking questions about polishing one, and found other options. You're REALLY asking for it from these guys!
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Old 05-01-2005, 12:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelCloud
I've gotten killed here because I have a trailer and started asking questions about polishing one, and found other options. You're REALLY asking for it from these guys!

He asked what to do, what to use. He has not disagreed vehemently with everyone else because he does not like the answers, cost, or is looking for a different way. Even thogh the members that have done are all saying it worked for them. I doubt he will get beat up by anyone for asking a question.

When someone is augmentative, why should they expect to be treated with respect when they do not show respect? All we are trying to do is help each other.
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Old 05-01-2005, 01:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonandrew52
Hello,

Can someone tell me a product that is recommened for fine cleaning and polishing of aluminum exteriors? And what method of polishing as well. Thanks
Welcome aboard! I have a string going on my effort, check it out if you like. Also I keep web pages with all my restorations, feel free to check it out. What are you looking for? Polishing the clear or bare Aluminum?

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Old 05-01-2005, 01:41 PM   #8
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There is a difference-

Between being argumentative and challenging a system that appears expensive and flawed. Especially when the mere mention of something else brings out the lynch mob.

I originally came here seeking the latest and greatest, but was told of "the way" and looked elsewhere. To that solution I was getting "talk is cheap", and told that I haven't done it- which I already know as everytime I look outside and see that baby- I'm reminded I haven't done it...

I would not have looked elsewhere if the pro's I asked hadn't laughed at "the way" as hard as they did- or "the tool" either. But when professionals laugh, and amateurs insist, and actually become offended that I would exercise my right to disagree- what is that saying?

I'm encouraging open thought and discovery- not pushing a line of product. I see from the past that anyone pushing lines of products that are used and liked- are quickly pounced upon. What I've said is that its all the same- made from rouge- so why pay so much? Why take so long? I find fault in that system- if I'm the only here that either cares to speak up about, or sees the difference, than that would be different. A select few have piped up and agreed, and many others seem afraid. Why is that?

Thanks for assisting us-
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Old 05-01-2005, 02:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelCloud
I'm encouraging open thought and discovery- not pushing a line of product. I see from the past that anyone pushing lines of products that are used and liked- are quickly pounced upon. What I've said is that its all the same- made from rouge- so why pay so much? Why take so long? I find fault in that system- if I'm the only here that either cares to speak up about, or sees the difference, than that would be different. A select few have piped up and agreed, and many others seem afraid. Why is that?
While I applaud the idea of "thinking outside of the box" I have to disagree with the quote above. All others "pushing" a product have not IMHO been pounced upon. In one of the most famous cases of someone pushing, the member was pushing a system that we all questioned. His responses were "my way is the best and the rest of you are idiots" when we tried to better understand the product and process he continued to say the same thing. If it not able to be explained, not able to be reproduced, but there is a system that can be explained and reproduced, what way would you go.
This member was also kicked off of every aluminum trailer forum we could find for the same attitudes.

There are many examples of people that have tried something different and it works and they are happy with the results. Do they want to post or defend their method, maybe not. That is their option, I think calling them afraid is just a method of trying to bait them to do something that they have decided to keep to themselves. Are you calling them "chicken"?

I know of members that use a buffer and rouge bars to polish. I have seen the result of one and it is coming along nicely. Once it is done (a motorhome) he may post all about it. I have also seen other members that have done the polish with their own system and they are willing to share, but are not going to argue the products/methods here. The one I am thinking of is willing to show all that will listen how to, but only in person.

The best way to prove that your proposed system works to the forum is to do it. One of the hurdles you are dealing with is the fact that most of the folks with polished trailers have done it. They spent the hours, dealt with the issues. IF the system you propose is better you will win converts once the system is proven by a hobbyist. A pro can do things than very few of us can do in almost any endeavor.
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Old 05-01-2005, 03:45 PM   #10
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Hear hear! The real value of this forum does not come from regurgitating "what the pros do" or "I heard this but I never tried it". It's the first-hand user experience of the members. Believe it or not, the amateurs in this community often come up with better ways to do things than the pros -- and innovative new ideas that save us all time and money.

For example, the theory about all polishes being the same sounds good, but the first-hand reports of many folks on this forum is that all polishes are NOT the same in their real-world performance. That's valuable empirical data from people who have really done it. We need more of that.
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Old 05-01-2005, 04:06 PM   #11
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Believe it or not, the amateurs in this community often come up with better ways to do things than the pros -- and innovative new ideas that save us all time and money.
Hear hear! Who are ya gonna trust more, the pro who is charging you by the hour, or the amateur who's done it to his own property, and will need to live with the results.

I wouldn't hesitate to acid wash YOUR trailer, but I wouldn't do it to MINE?
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Old 05-01-2005, 04:53 PM   #12
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Been there, done that, doing that
I started polishing a 31' trailer in 2003, I read everything, tried everything written and followed a great thread on this forum.
I spent over forty hours trying sure fire methods that didn't give the results consistently! I started in August and polishing in the sun doesn't work. I started compounding with Nuvite F7 and got great results on one panal and poor results on the next! I even tried skipping the compound and used F7 with the cyclo, the first panal I tried was one of the best I did. I tried 3M products, SS and others all with inconsistant results. I used up my F7 and had to reorder, Perfect Polish had Recommended F7 on a trailer in decent shape,in reordering I tried G6 which is recommended for heavy oxidation. PRESTO--- the G6 worked in 1/3 the time, gave great results, and consistant results for the first time!
The G6 elimanated shadows that remained on some panals even after I compounded 3 or 4 times!
I tried Rolite and thier heavy duty remover is in my opinion comparable to nuvite C.
I would strongly suggest if you decide to go with the Nuvite system buy at least one of the small continers of G6 to try!! cyclo with C or F6 after compounding and finish with S. I started a 25 foot trailer this spring in beautiful 50's and 60's weather and it is going very quick!
I need to cyclo the 31' when finished with the 25' never finished after componding with G6.
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Old 05-01-2005, 04:53 PM   #13
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I find this group to be very open - way way back we were using Airmark polish then I remember everybody thought Rollite was the way to go - then there was a Rally out in California where the Nuvite folks showed up - yea we were a bit skeptical at first because we had so much success with Rollite, but the Nuvite proved to be easier. I'm still a little concerned about Nuvite S because it does have a grit in it whereas the Rollite is zero cut - but they have done tests at Bowing aircraft where they have polished planes 300 times and have not cut threw the Alclad - so since in costs less than $45 to polish my 25' trailer each year using less than one jar of Nuvite, that sounds like a pretty good, inexpensive way to maintain a nice shine. I never heard of tests and how fast wet sanding will cut through the Alclad, so I will never use sandpaper for that reason.

None of us enjoy spending hours and hours on our trailers nor do any of us like to spend we don't need to - if there is a better way, I would say we are all for it, I don't think in my case I'm going to try something because somebody told somebody who told somebody that a particular method is better.

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Old 05-01-2005, 10:12 PM   #14
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No offense-

But pro's using a drum and a high powered compressor is different than these guys using a common buffer just like the one that I have. I think wet sanding is quite a menial job- I've done it on hundreds of auto paint jobs, followed by compounding and polishing with 3M products. I also think that we can all do that type work- maybe they save a day from their experience. Their trailer was a 1953 and I think its a big difference than doing a 1970's that had clear covering it...

There is no difference between coarse grit rouge or polish and sandpaper, except the application, and I'll take smooth controlled strokes over a 5000 RPM buffer, plus the stuff costs nothing!

I seriously hope someone else here takes the initiative to try it out- I can't start mine for some time, even though the information I'm getting is making me anxious- til then I have to just bear it and wait...
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