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Old 10-11-2004, 11:07 PM   #15
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Paul,
Thanks. Think I might try that. Haven't heard of that one before.
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Old 10-16-2004, 01:30 PM   #16
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'Plowboy' Paul -- On their website I don't see any link to an MSDS for the Metal Cleaner. What more can you tell us about the fluoride product? Hydrofluoric acid can etch glass from what I recall. Try on a less visible sample first! Help me out here readers -- hasn't there been discussion from aircraft maintenance types with input from InlandRV where advice against using acids was offered?

Don -- It took me a while but here is my picture of a 3" x 7" piece of 0.032" 5052 aluminum cleaned with walnut shells. The 5052 didn't seem as soft as a piece of a lamp I cleaned some years ago. I went over the one half pretty well to avoid streaks like a bad spray paint job. Alarmingly the piece took a 1/8" warp on the blasted half, cupping away from the cleaned surface! It may be that the 'worked' side was burnished by the air-shell action. Particle size averages just under a millimeter and a lot of dust is generated in the process. Don't use near a garden or plantings you like (Google on 'juglone' to look at plant toxicity).

Looks like it's a day for 'Buyer Beware.' You better find some Argosy-tinted Imron for your unit!
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Old 10-16-2004, 01:57 PM   #17
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Work Safety

Worth an extra post: I seem to recall that hydrofluoric acid dulls nerve endings as it burns skin. Therefore you would not know the difference between sweat or leaks in a glove. Eye protection goes without saying. Work very clean and with good equipment!
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Old 10-16-2004, 02:05 PM   #18
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Worth an extra post: I seem to recall that hydrofluoric acid dulls nerve endings as it burns skin. Therefore you would not know the difference between sweat or leaks in a glove. Eye protection goes without saying. Work very clean and with good equipment!
Bob,

Thanks for the report. Not sure I should risk the walnut shells on alclad, as it might not be reversible.
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Old 10-16-2004, 08:32 PM   #19
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-- hasn't there been discussion from aircraft maintenance types with input from InlandRV where advice against using acids was offered?
Yes. In all seriousness, you may be able to do something with bleach, but even that may be too caustic.
Why not try painting the offending panel in a color to match the rest of the trailer? Paint, unlike acid, will clean off relatively easily, if you don't like it, some thinner will make it "all better". A nice coat of matt, or flat clearcoat, might be just the thing.
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Old 10-16-2004, 09:47 PM   #20
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Don, I bought Metalwax polisher and cleaner directly from the guy who sells it. I had him demonstrate it on my trailer and it worked. I have since cleaned and polished about 70% of my trailer and am satisified with the results. After trying the compounding method with all the time, money and mess that goes along with it I'll go with metal wax any day!

I've been using the cleaner diluted 50:50 with water and appling it by soaking a rag and wiping it on. I had to clean and polish the roof several times to achieve a clean shine.

If you have concerns about the cleaner you can call thier number, 408 848-1497, and ask them to explain the chemical properties.

Paul
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Old 10-17-2004, 02:50 AM   #21
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Please leave the acid washing to a professional. Hydrofluoric acid is highly dangereous. Five square inches on your skin left untreated will kill you. I work in a chemical plant where we use Hydrofluoric acid in the manufactor of refrigerant gases. Maybe you meant hydrochloric acid even this should be left to a professional.
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Worth an extra post: I seem to recall that hydrofluoric acid dulls nerve endings as it burns skin. Therefore you would not know the difference between sweat or leaks in a glove. Eye protection goes without saying. Work very clean and with good equipment!
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:33 PM   #22
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Try Vinegar It is a mild acid, we used to use it to tone down new coppper when we did a repair. Actually it happened by accident, someone knocked over a big jar of pickles in the shop and it spilled on some scrap copper and the idea was born.

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Old 10-17-2004, 12:47 PM   #23
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I bought a bunch of copper light fixtures and 'aged' them with vinegar (half white, half balsamic). Developed a nice verdegris color in a few hours. Over time it darkened and now they look about 20 years old.
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Old 10-17-2004, 05:34 PM   #24
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Don -- I'm surprised you didn't happen upon and join with the acidity of tomatoes. A bit of garlic and, as required for a vintage restoration like yours, anchovies instead of salt. Throw in salt cured olives from the 'Hidden Valley' of western Ohio and there you have it -- Airstream Puttanesca! (ahhh, my lee-tle Street-roller -- come hither....)
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Old 10-23-2004, 07:58 AM   #25
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Why ignore Jalina's input?

It strikes me odd that the best suggestion of all(in my humble opinion) is totally ignored. She is very right about the truck wash, and the acid wash. It could be, not only washing the new panel, but doing the whole trailer would cause the 'match' you are looking for. After achieving the desired color, the acid is neutralized, and you should be happy.I do know that many folks in the cabover Avion community use this proceedure prior to polishing to bring about a uniform color as well as to shorten the polishing process.
If there is any scrap from the installation process, why not take it by the truck wash, and ask them to spray it during the process of the next truck they do, and take it home for comparison.
Aluminum can not be blasted by media successfully, except possibly baking soda. It will stretch the metal.
Good luck in your attempts,
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Old 10-23-2004, 09:09 AM   #26
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Thanks Jalina,
I'm trying various acid washes and none of them have dulled the aluminum. I suspect that the acid wash may have been followed by an alkaline rinse to neutralize the acid, and I'm currently testing some alkaline rinses. Will report if anything works.
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Old 10-23-2004, 09:22 AM   #27
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Truck wash on an Airstream is not a good idea. The acid will get into the rivets and very difficult to neutralize - it then causes leaks that you can never get rid of. Airstream polishing follows the airplane polishing community and you never hear of airplanes being truck washed.

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Old 10-23-2004, 06:51 PM   #28
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Polishing

In May, the WBCCI Region 3 had a rally in Charleston, SC, at which there was a seminar put on by a professional polisher on polishing Airstreams. At that seminar, the man polished a 3x3 foot section on an old Airstream, showing each step and the products use to achieve certain steps. He then shocked the whole group by telling us that the brightest, most uniform polish jobs were achieved by using an acid wash after all this polishing, and then a last buffing would make it look like a mirror.
Now, I don't claim to know everything there is to know about polishing, yet, I saw one of his polish jobs that had not been touched up in a year, and it had been sitting outside. It had no problems with the rivets. I guess we might ought to contact him and let him know what he is doing it wrong.
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