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Old 08-15-2012, 09:59 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Polishing 1976 Sovereign - help please!!

Hello fellow Airstream fanatics! My wife and I have been polishing our 1976 Sovereign and mixed results thus far. Attached is a picture of the finish on the front right, eye level panel next to the rock guard.

Things look good right?! Well.. in my next post I'll show you what photos of the polished surface look like straight on, not at an angle.

First some background. We polished the surface using the grey and then red rouge sold by jestcoproducts.com. Using 10" and 8" hard sewn buff wheels the corrosion came off with probably 50 hours of polishing. We used mineral spirits between each polish grit of course.

Finally, we used our Cyclo polisher with Nuvite S. I wrapped a white cotton t-shirt around the 2 foam pads (so they wouldn't spin completely, just randomly vibrate across the surface), and buffed for a minute or so until the polish was almost all picked up by the t-shirt. Then I used a micro fiber cloth to buff off any residual polish.

Please scroll down to see more photos.. and help us figure out what we're doing wrong!
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:06 PM   #2
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OK, here are 2 more photos of the surface up close.

I'm dealing with 2 problems - cloudy spots, and very small scratches.

#1 - Cloudy spots. Some spots seem to come out if I go back over it with grey, then red rouge, but then it seems like other spots then pop up that I didn't notice before.

#2 - small scratches shaped like a 1/4 moon. These are from the cyclo polisher. I was under the impression that the cyclo with Nuvite S would leave NO SCRATCHES. Is that incorrect? Is my light just too harsh?

I'm looking for tips or suggestions on how to finish up our project strong. The corrosion is gone, now I just want the best mirror finish I can get.

Thank you!! Matt & Michelle
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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Here's a link to my polishing job.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f441...per-90054.html

It looks like you skipped about two steps, but not sure.

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Old 08-15-2012, 10:47 PM   #4
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The Jetsco sewn wheels are a first cut type wheel....for normal polishing...not heavy corrosion. I THINK THAT IF YOU CAME IN WITH the unsewn cotton WHEELS ( I USE TWO, STACKED) with either red or white bars it would smooth it out. Then, with clean, CLEAN, terry cloth material hit it with Nuvite S.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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With my polish job, I didn't have scratches before I used the Cyclo. I didn't use any sewn wheels. The Airway white unsewn wheels didn't leave scratches. All the Cyclo and Nuvite S did was polish and even out the aluminum. Some people who don't want a mirror finish, stop after the Airway wheel polish step.

Maybe watch the two videos on my stripper link.

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Old 08-16-2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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Thank you for the responses thus far.. keep them coming!

I think #1 - using hard sewn wheels for the first cut was OK, but I should have switched then to a loose sewn wheel, or an airway wheel at that point.

Great, I would never have thought of that! Now can anyone tell me where I can pickup some Airway wheels today... I live in the Kansas City area, should I just try calling some auto parts stores?

Another question - I wonder why the cyclo is leaving small scratches? The scratches are all vertical after the grey bar, they just about disappear after the red bar.. but then they turn to swirly scratches after the Cyclo, seems odd right?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:15 PM   #7
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I got the white non-sewn airway wheels at the auto supply store located near the truck shops. The other auto supply stores didn't have the aluminum polishing stuff. Truck guys and snowmobile guys polish aluminum a LOT.

My friend with snowmobiles told me which parts store to go to.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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I've found some 8" & 10" airway wheels and am excited to give them a try on Friday PM.

I'm guessing that the hard-sewn buff (which was great at taking off the filliform corrosion) is just so sensitive to how much pressure I apply using the polisher that I've been left with an unevenly polished surface. The corossion is definitely gone... it's just a matter of evening out the scratches made by the grey bar, so the red can do its job properly.

I've read just about all the threads on polishing and hope to have a guide that I can add to my first post about how to get through this polishing process with the least amount of energy, time, and $ expended.

I imagine it looks like this:
Products & Prices:
Polisher(s) - Dewalt variable speed polisher (~$175) has been great to me, but harbor freight model using coupon ($30) and warranty is the real way to go. Cyclo is sure expensive ($300), but will be used every year for touch up polishes and can always be resold for good money on eBay.

Polishes or Rouge - Rouge from Jestco is fairly inexpensive (~$12/bar) and just a few bars are needed. Grey works well for cutting, red or pink (not sure about pink) for 2nd pass. Go for the Nuvite S ($45/lb) on cyclo using cotton towels as final step. Mineral spirits or Kerosene between coats.

Clear coat stripper - I read alot about Removeall, and that stuff is nasty, nasty. It burns when it touches your skin in about 3 seconds. Citristrip ($30 worth of product used on our trailer) not only has a pleasant odor, but does not burn at all. You would think that makes this product inferior - but I believe it's all in technique. We removed just about all the clear coat on our 31' trailer in 2-3 hours, and most of time we were just standing around waiting. Apply the citristrip on an overcast, cooler day using a foam roller. Don't try this on a 95 degree sunny day, the citristrip will dry in minutes and will stop doing its job. Wash off after approximately 30 minutes using a strong hose or combine with a car wash brush to speed through the process.

Good set of in-ear earbuds - these allow you to listen to your iPod while you work, and keep out most of the grinding noise - skull candy makes some $15 ear buds that work great for me

Face shield ($20) - much better than just safety glasses in my opinion

Procedure:
1 - Remove clearcoat with stripper of choice
2 - Chock up 8" or 10" Airway vented buffs onto variable speed polisher to remove corrosion using grey rouge. If corrosion is persistent try a hard-sewn wheel, or even a very high grit sandpaper if all else fails.
3 - Apply mineral spirits or kerosene on cotton rags to remove residual polish
4 - Use a different Airway vented buff with the red rouge to minimize the large scratches left by the grey bar.
5 - Apply mineral spirits or kerosene on cotton rags to remove residual polish
6 - Wrap cyclo polishing heads with a cotton towel or large cotton rag careful not to cover up motor vents. Apply a dime size amount of Nuvite S to surface, move tool across surface until polish applied is just about all picked up by the cotton surface. Overlay a microfiber cloth over the polishing heads and continue polishing motion so the last bit of polishing residue is removed.
7 - Put on sunglasses and then enjoy your bright, shiny Airstream!
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:11 AM   #9
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... so the white Airway wheels are amazing!! The finish is so much more even now.

I applied the grey rouge to one airway wheel and completed 1 side of the trailer, then mineral spirits, then applied red rouge to another airway wheel and went over the same area. I'm very happy with the finish.. but I know it can be even better.

Enter the Cyclo. I have foam pads, covered with terry cloth bonnets, covered with 100% cotton t-shirt material. I applied some of the Nuvite S to the surface of each head, polish away...... then I looked closely at the finished product. The surface is a bit shinier.. but upon closer inspection I see scratches that look worse than the surface did after the red rouge!!??!! I'm not happy at all with the finish left by the Cyclo.

I also have a bottle of Metal Armor that I will try instead of Nuvite S tomorrow.. but I feel like I'm missing something. I know that I didn't get any of the other grits on the cyclo because I mineral spirits'ed well and then tried the cyclo in an area with no rivets or seam overlaps where grit may have been hiding.

What am I missing? I want the Cyclo to make the trailer look better, not worse!
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:41 AM   #10
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Try sweat shirt terry cotton with the Cyclo. As soft as you thing T shirt cloth is I think Terry is much better for this phase.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
Try sweat shirt terry cotton with the Cyclo. As soft as you thing T shirt cloth is I think Terry is much better for this phase.
Fuzzy side inside or outside?
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:39 PM   #12
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same experience with the Cyclo

I felt the same way with after using the Cyclo. It did get the trailer shinier, but the finish was more even, less patchy looking before the Cyclo. I will try some terry cloth rags instead of the tshirt material.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:57 PM   #13
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I used the t-shirt material only for clean up. The polishing cloth I found at a material shop. It was white and heavier than t-shirt material. It was fuzzy on one side and very soft. I polished with the fuzzy side. I was very satisfied with the results.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:53 AM   #14
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cloudy spots

76 Sovereign,
Did you figure out the mystery of the cloudy spots? We're repolishing after a year of use. It seems we are getting more cloudy spots than ever!
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