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Old 08-27-2006, 12:03 PM   #1
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1989 34' Limited
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Polishing our 34' Limited

Are there any videos out there to help us get started and polishing our masive beast? I might tackle the job next spring if i can find the time.
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:43 PM   #2
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Polish a 34 footer, that is quite a challange! Check out this document from VTS. http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...hingAdvice.pdf
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Old 08-27-2006, 10:14 PM   #3
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Hi, Tin Lizzy,

What some folks here at the forum have done is to restore the satin finish on the later models without all the polishing. The plasticoat failing, or "Airstream baldness syndrome," is the usual problem.

Look at the skin on your trailer. Does it have a distinctive, and hopefully, uniform grain?

This was part of the sheen. It never had the mirror quality the vintage models can attain. That's not to say that it can't be done. You'll find examples here on the forum of folks that have done it. Getting the ultimate shine requires removing that grain. That's a whole lot of work, a whole lot of drudgery.

I used to work as an airplane mechanic, and I've spent my due time in the mechanical act of polishing unpainted aircraft. It is very labor intensive, even on the small ones.

I look at the surface grain on my '79, and I think NO WAY. I'll be satisfied if I can cure APB someday, but I'm never going to polish THIS trailer.

You need to get more feedback and think about this some more.

Good luck.

Lamar
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the heads up Lamar. If polishing is out, how can we restore it to the factory finish?
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
Getting the ultimate shine requires removing that grain. That's a whole lot of work, a whole lot of drudgery.
I gotta say I can personally attest to this. It's some tough sledding. I thought stripping clearcoat was going to be the biggest pain - until I hit the decals. I then thought decals would be the biggest pain - until I started cutting the mill finish. My Limited got uuuuuuu-gly for a while. But it actually looks decent now, though I'm still not to the final result yet.
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Old 08-28-2006, 04:37 PM   #6
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If your clearcoat is in reasonable condition, meaning not peeling or completely faded out, a little lighter compounding ( white polish) will often help bring it back, then you can seal it with a shiny surface coating of your choice.
I did this and used Liquid Glass ( do a search here fo more info) to seal it on my 1982. It gave a nice shine to the plasticoat and the aluminum looked great under it.
If your is too far gone, then stripping will work, and you can polish and seal the aluminum without going for the mirror shine.
I did the bottom area of the 82, stripping the grey paint and shining it, before sealing. Check my photos on that job. It came out quite nicely.
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:14 PM   #7
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I've found that all I need is some polish, shade/clouds, about 4-6 hours and a six pack of beer. The AS doesn't look so great, but I sure feel pretty good!
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Old 08-28-2006, 10:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeHarbor
Hi, Tin Lizzy,
Look at the skin on your trailer. Does it have a distinctive, and hopefully, uniform grain?

This was part of the sheen. It never had the mirror quality the vintage models can attain. That's not to say that it can't be done. You'll find examples here on the forum of folks that have done it. Getting the ultimate shine requires removing that grain. That's a whole lot of work, a whole lot of drudgery.

I used to work as an airplane mechanic, and I've spent my due time in the mechanical act of polishing unpainted aircraft. It is very labor intensive, even on the small ones.

I look at the surface grain on my '79, and I think NO WAY. I'll be satisfied if I can cure APB someday, but I'm never going to polish THIS trailer.
Lamar
I have a 1981 that I just started on this past weekend. Most of the panels lack any plasticoat at all, but the oxidation isn't very bad. I tried a few things using what I have to work with and a limited budget. Using a low cost compound, a high speed pad on my drill, and a low speed buffer I was able to make a difference. Then I used a wool polishing pad material I found at WalMart that really took up most of the remaining oxidation. I finished with Liquid glass, and what panels I have finished I can see myself in. I didn't realize the finish was different on older models, and didn't notice any kind of "satin" appearance to the metal. Would my 81 have the less glossy skin, or not?

I just want to make mine look decent, but I can't see putting a hundred hours or more into it. From what I have done thus far I think I'll end up with 25-30 hours in it. I am having my 2 boys help, so they'll save some time. Then I'm having the blue stipe area etched, and painted. With everything I think I'll have around then $300 in the project, painting and all.
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:20 PM   #9
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Hi, Pacerized,

Hopefully somebody here will correct me if I'm wrong, but sometime in the past, Airstream stopped using the very shiny Alcad and went with a less expensive skin that had a grain. These were plasticoated on the outside before assembly, and that was seen as an advantage. Then they went to some pains to make sure that the colors of the panels matched up for each trailer assembled.

They didn't bother to do this for the Argosys, so they were painted.

My '79 has a very obvious pattern grain on the panels. It's very horizontal, and the panels are very nicely matched.

I don't think this trailer would look right polished.

Cleaned up, yes, and cured of ASB, yes.

Now that's just my opinion. It has a satin finish that you can still see on the sides, and I wish it all looked that way.

Lamar
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:25 PM   #10
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According to P&S Trailer, your 79 has a shinier finish aluminum than our 71, Lamar. A/S apparently went to a different composition aluminum. P&S advised me against polishing ours, but rather just re-plasticoat it, when the time comes.

Frederic
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Old 08-29-2006, 06:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StingrayL82
According to P&S Trailer, your 79 has a shinier finish aluminum than our 71, Lamar. A/S apparently went to a different composition aluminum. P&S advised me against polishing ours, but rather just re-plasticoat it, when the time comes.

Frederic

Well,it looks like we have another rivit master.

Congratulations.
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