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Old 09-22-2011, 06:38 PM   #1
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Is it true that pre-1969 trailers.....

Polish better than later ones because of different aluminum that was used? Before I start my polishing job, I want realistic expectations about what kind of finish I can get on my '69...
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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I have seen some beautifully polished 1970's. I think that you can go into the 1980's and still obtain a good polish.

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Polish better than later ones because of different aluminum that was used? Before I start my polishing job, I want realistic expectations about what kind of finish I can get on my '69...
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:32 AM   #3
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You're right, but the year is 1985. So pre-85 have Alcad skin and polish up great. 85 and newer can also be polished, but not quite as shiny, and it is a lot more work to polish (start with F9 and sometimes fine sandpaper [never on a pre-85!] ). It will look great and the difference is only visible if you park next to an older trailer. Our preference here at Airstreams4rent is pre-71, but that is because the interior is WOOD. See our website for how a newer moho polished up.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:32 AM   #4
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Since you have only 32 post, I presume you are pretty new to Airstreaming. The really great polished units are the ones that have Alclad for their skins. To achieve the ultimate, you also can not clear coat them, as it detracts from the polish. That means that, unless you keep the unit indoors all the time, it will have to be repolished on a regular basis. I am not a purist and store my trailer outside, I therefore only polish my 63 for about 6 hours once a year. The amount of effort can easily exceed ten times that amount of effort for those who are competitors. I have clear coat on my 77 and it naturally is breaking down. The 89 was kept inside for 10 years and still looks good. I like using my units more that spending the time polishing them.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:27 AM   #5
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I believe that AS has always used Alclad, the difference is thickness and clearcoat.

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Old 11-23-2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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I believe 2024 T3 aircraft aluminum at .032 thickness was used until sometime early in 1969. I assumed that Wally purchased and used war surpluses until he ran out.

Can anyone confirm or deny my assumption?
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:16 AM   #7
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This may help.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf airstream alum.pdf (192.5 KB, 94 views)
File Type: pdf History of Aluminum at Airstream.pdf (56.9 KB, 88 views)
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I believe 2024 T3 aircraft aluminum at .032 thickness was used until sometime early in 1969. I assumed that Wally purchased and used war surpluses until he ran out.

Can anyone confirm or deny my assumption?
Well you can still buy alclad 2024 T3 .032, so part of your assumption is not quite right.
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:31 AM   #9
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I did a 1969 Caravel. It turned out beautiful! Side by side with my 1966 Caravel...no difference.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:17 AM   #10
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My '69 Overlander has the high quality aluminum on the sides (mirror finish), but the end caps do NOT polish as well (shiny, but not mirror smooth). Almost a mill finish on the end caps. It wasn't evident until I stripped the old clear coat and started polishing last week.
With more effort, I think I can get a real good shine on the ends, but not a mirror.
Either way, it's worth polishing!!
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:54 AM   #11
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Well you can still buy alclad 2024 T3 .032, so part of your assumption is not quite right.
My assumption was not that 2024 T3 was no longer available (I had to buy some when I rebuilt my '66). I am wondering, however, if Wally bought WW2 plane surplus that lasted until early '69. Then, possibly due to cost, changed to something else....
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:57 AM   #12
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Airstream has changed the aluminum they use to build their product several times – and most likely for several reasons - cost and durability among them; the ugliness of deteriorating clear-coat is likely another.

It’s not reasonable to expect different alloys to polish the same…

The alloy used in 2024 T3 has a thin outer layer of pure aluminum, which is why, if you don’t wear away that smother outer layer, it polishes like a mirror.

2024 T3 was made to be strong and flex without breaking down with the vibrations, twisting, and pressure applied to an airplane while going down the runway or during flight - unlike the aluminum used to make soda cans – which can be flexed in two after a few repetitive bends.

Though the outer layer of today’s Airstreams may hold up to the weather better, I personally think they are also more easily dented and there by less durable then 2024 T3.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:58 PM   #13
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Wow! What a wealth of knowledge--a bonus for this "newbie"! Thanks for all the responses. I feel confident now that (hopefully, come spring) my '69 will polish up nicely. Ed, my end-caps also look different (duller finish) from the rest of the trailer. I thought maybe they had been replaced, but sounds like this is common.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:52 PM   #14
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Sarasafari,

We have a member of the GA Unit, Levon, who is an absolute wizard at polishing. I am not sure if he will be at the Christmas lunch on December 3rd, but he will definitely be at some of the rally's up in Helen starting next spring. Please come out and join us.

The unit website is: Top of Georgia Airstream Park
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