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Old 10-05-2003, 07:51 PM   #1
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Polishing a Airstream

I have just retired from the Army and hope to do some traveling.
I am new to this sport! I just bought my first Airstream, 73 and have been reading the articles about Super Shine. It all sounds interesting but I need information from the very beginning.
I have been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and fixing some of the defects and I thought if I felt energetic enough this spring I might try polishing.
My first question is how do you safely remove the clear coat; second is what equipment do you use as in buffers or is it all elbow grease?
I have pick up some good techniques and how-toís from the forum and hope to discover more.
I have just retired from the Army and hope to do some traveling.
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Old 10-05-2003, 09:16 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums.
First do a search on 'Soutern Shine' and you'll get a lot of the info you need.
Polishing is a very controversial topic and you best read everything you can on former threads and then jump into it!
Be prepared for a lot of elbow grease and time - and once it's shiny you've got the upkeep-but they sure turn heads!!
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Old 10-07-2003, 06:37 PM   #3
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My restoration

Thanks creampuff for the information.
Can you tell me what and how to strip the clear coat?
Today I just finished the last two front, curved, sealed windows thanks to information from the forum. Instead of breaking the inner pane I used a small carbide spade drill. Didnít have to drill all the way through, just enough for the point to make it through. In a few seconds the window just shattered. Quite a job getting all the glass and old putty removed.
That is all the windows taken apart and cleaned with new gaskets.
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:45 PM   #4
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Lots of info

Just do a search on this board for "clearcoat stripping" and you'll find a lot of info. Basically, it comes down to this: take it off with whatever works. The non-methylene chlorida strippers work but slowly. The others work faster but they can be dangerous and toxic. Good luck and be careful!

Read up on polishing before you attempt it. It's a major labor of love and requires some careful thought before you jump in. Even with the latest techniques, many hours can be expected. Check the current thread "Finally got started ..." to get an idea.
-- RL
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Old 10-07-2003, 07:47 PM   #5
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welcome two dogs, on polishing you might want to look at the current thread "Finaly got started". Review all 5 pages and there is an answer to most polishing questions. Also you can do a search on polishing and get more info.

Garry
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Old 10-07-2003, 10:44 PM   #6
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I'm wondering if maybe too much attention is being focused on polishing. Whether you use nuvite, southern shine or other, it's a hard job and needs to be maintained.
Walbernize does a good job of shining up an Airstream and the application is simple compared to polishing.
I guess it boils down to the owner's preference between a "mirror shine" for show or just a nicely shined AS for camping,
They're all good.

Rog
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Old 10-08-2003, 09:03 AM   #7
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Right on Rog

Having polished I would NEVER recommend anyone take on this task unless as in my case the A/S had around 50% of the clear coat missing and "really" looked bad.
Stripping & Pollishing is HARD work and once polished the surface has to be maintained with once or twice a year waxing and that is no fun. If you let the waxing go you will have to repolish
Not sure if walbernize will help once the clear coat has deteriated to the extent I had. Guess it would have been worth a try but to late for that. I would prefer the clear coat knowing I am in for the long haul of washing and waxing but I would do it all over knowing how bad the A/S looked and something had to be done.
Can't have worn out looking A/S's running up and down the interstate or people might get the idea we are not all millionares

Garry
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Old 10-08-2003, 11:23 AM   #8
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Two dogs

Quote:
I have just retired from the Army and hope to do some traveling.
You said that twice. You said that twice. Is that why you are called TWO dogs?
I'm just playing, Enjoy your new toy. You might want to shop around for a Humvee as a tow vehicle. That would be way cool.
:

Rog
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Old 10-08-2003, 03:35 PM   #9
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Re: Polishing a Airstream

I also just bought my first Airstream - a 1968 27" Overlander. A great website (IMO) is inlandrv.com. You can (for a pricey price) purchase vintage parts and there is an article on polishing -- and a place where you can have your AS polished.

I saw a professionally polished AS and had mixed feelings. It's pretty, it's shiny -- in fact it is so shiny that it looks like a piece of chrome.

Not having the strength or elbow grease to do this myself, this is something I may explore further.

LaVonne
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Old 10-08-2003, 04:28 PM   #10
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Yes laVonne

It's great to have a bright shiny AS but polishing it is only
half the battle. Maintaining the shine is the other half. As I said earlier in this thread, I guess it all hinges on the owner and if they want the unit as a showpirce or just as a very nice camper
I agree that Inland RV has a good website although I would like to see a search engine there to make it easier to locate a part.

Rog
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Old 10-08-2003, 04:46 PM   #11
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The only shine you are going to see on my Airstream is from my ear to ear smile... (or the sun reflecting off my ever growing bald spot.)

I think Airstreams are beautiful when polished, but know it isn't practical for me. I can really appreciate all the work put in to achieving that shine. More power to you!

I am modernizing the interior and for now, intend to leave the exterior as is. The finish isn't too bad at all except for a few small places. I have even thought of having it painted... silver of course, but no rush on that either.

Any Airstream is eye catching. I'd be willing to bet that anyone of us could spot one from a mile away tucked in the backyard of someone's house and covered with mildew... and still be intrigued. Right?
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:54 PM   #12
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SO, now that mine is at least reasonbly shiny (not counting the FFFC and the PO-supplied creases) what's the best way to keep it that way? Does anybody have anyting that actually works?

We do a lot of muttering about waxing and re-polishing here, but no definitive answers!

BTW, Sneakinup, I drove past a steel fabrication yard that had an Airstream parked in it, and stopped in to ask about it. It was a 1978 Tradewind, almost like mine, but with the interior gutted and a busted front window.

Guy running the place said, "It ain't mine. Belongs to a customer. I could'a sold it a thousand times."

Oh, well - another nice trailer rotting in a field!

If anyone knows how to look up ownership of Florida license plates, we could try on this one...

-Don
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Old 10-19-2003, 08:56 AM   #13
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Having lived with a shiney Airstream for 5 years now, what I do is use Rollite Sealer and once per year I do an "annual polish update". I used to use Rollite, now I use Nuvite S. On my 25 foot trailer I make it a very easy 4 day project - front, back and each side, then use The Rollite Sealer.


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Old 10-19-2003, 07:11 PM   #14
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Has anyone tried using an air-compressor powered polishing head on an airstream? I saw one in the paper about two weeks ago and it looked much lighter weight than what most of us are using and would probably be easier on the arm and shoulder muscles. It wasn't all that expensive - the tool and a small compressor might still be cheaper than cyclo . . . .

Virginia
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