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Old 04-26-2014, 07:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by 65CV View Post
Isn't Aluminum Nitrate a passivation technique -- translation -- a PITA to polish off?
yes the nitric acid passivates the aluminum (often called pickling). I don't remember the strengths we used from 25-yrs ago. Aluminum will dissolve in solutions of both sulfuric and hydrochloric acid, as well as nitric, this is how liquid solutions of Aluminum are made. Of course the amount of dilution has important role.

I guess my approach would be to start with the mildest acid solution (in terms of pKa and dilution) and slowly experiment, preferably on a scrap piece of aluminum. Of course it's important to install an obligatory disclaimer and statements regarding chemical safety. Strong acids can cause serious skin burns, damage eyes, or corrode piping systems when poured into drains. I would be very careful and wear gloves & goggles when handling. Solution should be neutralized with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) before discarding to drains.
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:44 AM   #30
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I am going to forego the chemical process and continue with removal using heavy duty scotch brite pads and where necessary wet sandpaper. It's going to be a process that will add many hours to the polishing job, but what I am finding thus far is that it does work....it's just extremely time intensive. After talking to a couple of people who have had to use a sanding process on areas of their aluminum trailers, I am less afraid of ruining the skin this way than I am using some of the caustic chemicals out there. Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions. I will post pictures as this progresses!!
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:05 PM   #31
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One thing about using an abrasive technique (forgive me if I'm repeating something, I haven't re-read the whole post) but I believe there is a thin layer of a different alloy on the surface of the exterior aluminum, and I think you want to avoid going through this? That would be the argument for the (most gentle) chemical route. It may be that it doesn't really matter if you lose this layer... re: sulfuric acid- I worked in a gas station through high school, and we sold batteries ('78-81) and I had to fill them with sulfuric acid. That is the nastiest stuff I have ever encountered. Probably a lot higher concentration than anyone was suggesting here, but still, totally gross. I've been really curious to follow this as I'm about to start stripping our '64 of the foggy, cracked plastic coating.
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:57 PM   #32
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Aircraft Stripper or Removall used to be the products of choice, but Removall isn't available anymore, but this is:

Eldorado PR-5044 Paint Remover
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:31 PM   #33
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Here are a few pics of my day's work. I focused on this one panel today and after sanding I got as far as using the f9 Nuvite, followed by a little G6 Nuvite (course to medium). I'm happy to finally be making a little progress. You can actually kind of see the reflection of my house and the cypress tree in the skin!!








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Old 04-26-2014, 10:32 PM   #34
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Aircraft Stripper or Removall used to be the products of choice, but Removall isn't available anymore, but this is:

Eldorado PR-5044 Paint Remover


Thanks. It's unfortunate that this is only available in a 5 gallon bucket now. WAY more than I will need.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:41 PM   #35
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I wonder if I bought the worst out there??

I have seen this before, it is cement that gets airborne when they burn (cook) the lime at a batch plant, it is expelled through the smoke stack and condenses in the air and settles on everything.

If there was clear left on the trailer, which I doubt since my 72 for all practical purposes had none, paint stripper would have the effect of taking the clear, and the lime deposited on top of it off in one shot.

I would give it a run, as I am all but certain that just sanding this stuff is going to scratch the crap out of your trailer and the cladding is only so thick to straighten it up.
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:12 AM   #36
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I have seen this before, it is cement that gets airborne when they burn (cook) the lime at a batch plant, it is expelled through the smoke stack and condenses in the air and settles on everything.

If there was clear left on the trailer, which I doubt since my 72 for all practical purposes had none, paint stripper would have the effect of taking the clear, and the lime deposited on top of it off in one shot.

I would give it a run, as I am all but certain that just sanding this stuff is going to scratch the crap out of your trailer and the cladding is only so thick to straighten it up.


Thanks for the input. I tried a couple different types of paint stripper and it did nothing. I'm actually having some luck with the sanding process....I am trying to be really careful as to not sand right through the outside layer. My cousin just told me about a product called Mudslide by ZEP that he uses at his work to clean concrete off aluminum.....that might be worth a shot.
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Old 04-27-2014, 12:37 AM   #37
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A softer approach?

Years ago I lived in NYC while the restoration of St Patricks Cathedral was underway. The cleaning procedure involved a very prolonged misting of the structure that went on for weeks and months. I don't recall seeing any aggressive water or sand blasting equipment used on the stone which would probably have done damage to the surface.

Since your trailer has spent years baking in the Arizona sun, how about giving it a long, slow, misty bath in the shade, and see what happens. I'm pretty sure that crust won't get any harder than it already is. You could set up a garden soaker hose over the top, and just let it go for a week or so. Maybe that stuff will loosen up and release itself from the aluminum with the help of a gentle scrub or pressure wash. If it works, you'll save yourself a LOT of sanding / polishing time down the road.

You'll also find out if you have any leaks!
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Old 04-27-2014, 01:14 AM   #38
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Years ago I lived in NYC while the restoration of St Patricks Cathedral was underway. The cleaning procedure involved a very prolonged misting of the structure that went on for weeks and months. I don't recall seeing any aggressive water or sand blasting equipment used on the stone which would probably have done damage to the surface.

:
Might it have been the NYC water? (I can say that, I'm married to a New Yorker)
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:00 AM   #39
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My cousin just told me about a product called Mudslide by ZEP that he uses at his work to clean concrete off aluminum.....that might be worth a shot.
If that Mudslide doesn't work, try this recipe. Guaranteed to help.

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 1/2 ounces Baileys Irish Cream
1 1/2 ounces Kahlua
8 ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces cream
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
2 scoops chocolate ice cream

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Old 04-27-2014, 09:15 AM   #40
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If that Mudslide doesn't work, try this recipe. Guaranteed to help.

1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 1/2 ounces Baileys Irish Cream
1 1/2 ounces Kahlua
8 ice cubes
1 1/2 ounces cream
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
2 scoops chocolate ice cream



That's the ticket!!!
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Old 04-27-2014, 08:37 PM   #41
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Might it have been the NYC water? (I can say that, I'm married to a New Yorker)
If she's a true New Yorker, you'd better hope she's not reading your posts!!!
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:49 PM   #42
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It's a he and he's used to it. I make fun of his accent.
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