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Old 12-03-2013, 10:32 PM   #1
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1989 25' Excella
okeechobee , Florida
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5
polishing a newer vintage airstream

I have a 1988 Excella airstream. I just got done stripping the clear coat. The skin is in good shape. Some areas of oxidation. Since no major oxidation or pitting I decided after consulting with Vintage trailers to start with Nuvite A followed by Nuvite S. I understand that the aluminum is different then the aluminum made before and not to expect a mirror finish. That's ok with me. However, I was told that newer vintage trailers are trickier to polish because of this difference in aluminum and therefore can end up with areas of different shininess. I was told that if you spend too much polishing time in an area, you end up with a blotchy appearance. Is this true? Has anybody personally experience this? If so, how can I avoid this?

John Wade

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Old 12-04-2013, 04:31 AM   #2
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1970 27' Overlander
Espanola , Full Timer
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I think autozone has a good polish called white diamonds that can be used by hand polishing...Your year and type of Airstream looks to be brushed aluminum, so you know it is not going to mirror polish. But try the White's affordable (about 14 dollars a bottle). It is real good about pulling up oxidation so have lots of towels/rags handy, and some kerosene to wipe it up with.

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Old 12-05-2013, 07:43 AM   #3
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1973 23' Safari
1970 27' Overlander
1959 24' Tradewind
1975 20' Argosy 20
Phoenix , Arizona
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 16
Polishing Newer Airstreams


It is certainly possible to polish your post-87 A/S, and it will be a mirror shine everyone will love. Just don't park next to a polished vintage trailer and you will be fine! It won't look as shiny and will be a slightly different (warmer) color.

We have gone to using Nuvite F7 with a rotary compounder and then F7 again with a Cyclo. This gets rid of the compounding scratches. Then clean up well (if you haven't all along) with mineral spirits, especially around the seams and rivets. Skip the Nuvite C and go right to the Nuvite S polish with the cyclo. Microfiber cloths and flour at the end if you want.

We found that the Nuvite C would make darkish "smudges" when we used it. If you get one, go back to square 1 in that spot and bring it back through all the steps (it doesn't take that long) to get rid of it.

You do have an advantage with the non-Alclad skin. It's the same all the way through, so you can actually sand out scratches with fine sandpaper, then compound and polish. We call it "getting away with murder" as you MUST NOT do this on Alclad. We've seen many trailers with what we call "polishing damage" where they blew through the Alclad veneer and the only fix is to replace the panel.

Check out Airstream Polishing at Airstreams4rent in Phoenix, AZ for an example of how a Classic 350 MH turned out. (At least you don't have to strip paint & undercoating on a trailer!) The factory sanded the aluminium under the paint to make it stick better.

Home this helps,
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