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Old 05-31-2014, 06:15 PM   #1
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1975 31' Sovereign
Cedar Bluff , Virginia
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 26
I know nothing

My first airstream and I know nothin about the finish. It is not shiny and actually pretty dull in places.

Does it just need to be buffed out or is there a coating of some sort of finish that needs to be removed?

I need all the help I can get.
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:17 PM   #2
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1971 25' Tradewind
1993 34' Excella
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Estancia , New Mexico
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There is factory clear coat over the aluminum, unless a PO has already stripped it. Are you a fan of Sergeant Shultz?
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:57 PM   #3
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1975 31' Sovereign
Cedar Bluff , Virginia
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Not a fan yet but it looks like I might be.

What is the best or most common way to do the stripping? What will I need to do after it is stripped?
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:11 PM   #4
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
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Your vintage Airstream is made with expensive, durable Alclad aluminum. It will likely polish up very nicely. There are many treads on this stripping and polishing process. It will cost about $500 ($100 for compounder, $250 for a Cyclo, $200 for polishes and buffer pads) and take you about 400 hours of hard work. Sounds fun, don't it? I did my 34 footer so I speak with some experience.

The Nuvite website has a good tutortial on the process. So does Vintage Trailer Supply.


You will make your old Airstream look significantly better while you give yourself significantly more work every year.

By the way, polishing the exterior is not the first order of business. Frame rust, floor rot, axles, brakes, tires, plumbing, propane, electrical, and reducing weather leaks are more important maintenance items on an old Airstream. Don't be guilty of putting lipstick on a pig. Make sure your hard earned dollars and time go to stabilizing the major systems first.

David
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:16 PM   #5
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1952 25' Cruiser
1967 22' Safari
1969 18' Caravel
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If you want it shiny it's a labor intensive job. You have two choices. You either pay someone else to do it or do it yourself. If you pay someone else to do it you're looking at about two grand. If you do it yourself it's about 800 bucks for the polishing machines and compounds and over 100 hours of labor-so they say. First you take a look at your skin to determine if it has a clear coat on it. It's pretty easy to tell because the trailer will look botchy you will see the clear coat has come off in some places and not in others.

The clear coat is easy to remove. Contact vintagetrailersupply.com they sell the remover. Check out youtube as well. You put this stuff all over the trailer, leave it on over night and then remove it.

Once it is gone you start the polishing process. Again check out youtube for how to do this. You will be removing years of dirt and oxidation. It will take multiple passes over the same area-everything will turn black. vintagetrailersupply sells the rotary polisher, the pads, the various grades of goop you need to remove the dirt and a pad scrapper.

The final step is to do the same thing all over again with a cycle polisher this is what will give it the really good shine.

Again vintage trailer supply has lots more information for you.

good luck
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:18 PM   #6
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1952 25' Cruiser
1967 22' Safari
1969 18' Caravel
Palo Alto , California
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I meant cyclo polisher-sorry
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Old 05-31-2014, 09:06 PM   #7
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http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...67720277,d.aWw
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