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Old 01-11-2004, 09:03 AM   #1
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Polishing alternative?

I've posted before about my thoughts on whether to repaint my '74 Argosy motorhome or try to polish it. I'll obviously have to paint the end caps no matter what I do, but I'm still in a quandary over what to do with the body.

I really don't want the highly-polished look. While I find it very appealing on some smaller Airstream trailers, It just doesn't work for me on the motorhome. What I'd really like to do is restore the mill finish look - not a mirror polish, but a nice, uniform sheen that I can clearcoat and preserve.

Has anybody ever tried to do this? It seems that if you used some sort of a one-directional buffing wheel and a medium-grade polishing compound, you could come up with something usable. A very fine grit flap wheel also seems like a possibility. It might give the desired sheen and could follow the body contours as well.


Bob McKeown

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Old 01-11-2004, 09:20 AM   #2
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Nix the fine grit flap wheel.


I've done some polishing on the 345, and some sanding where I had to. The sanding was always done wet with an air powered jitterbug, final wet-or-dry grit was 2400. Even with the 2400, visible scratches were dificult to polish out.

Be sure to get a variable speed buffer, one that goes as slow as possible. I use a Makita at 600 rpm, and sometimes wish I could cut that speed in half.

Be REAL careful on large areas, as it's way too easy to get the larger areas too hot.

So far, I have found that each panel has it's own characteristic, and each panel responds differently to different types of polishing.

I have Nuvite, SS, 3M, and several others, each panel seems to respond differently. I think a lot has to do with how the panels were worked. The curb side quarter panel seems to require at least three different polishing techniques.

Then again, maybe it's just me.

Keep us posted on your progress!


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Old 01-11-2004, 09:21 AM   #3
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While I like the idea I would be concerned with being able to maintain a consistent look on such a soft material. The mill finish is just that, this happens as the sheet is made and therefor is pretty consistent across the sheet.

If you strip it yourself I would think that would save a large chunk of the refinish cost to have it painted a nice metallic silver and be done. But that's just my opinion. You would still need to find a shop that is familiar with the proper prep and paints to paint an Aluminum body.
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 01-11-2004, 11:53 AM   #4
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Painting with a metallic Aluminum paint is the way I plan to address my trailer. Andy at Inland RV does it and has a high regard for a good paint job that looks similar to a mill finish.
There was a thread on that subject just recently.
It is quite an involved process I'm told.
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