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Old 08-16-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
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Polishing Trials and Tribulations

I have been polishing my 1961 Bambi for many laborious hours following the recommended polishing technique as I understand it. Except for the isometric workout, the return per hour so far has been disappointing. The trailer was heavily oxidized, it having spent a fair amount of time near the beach in California. It was last clearcoated about 20 years ago but was garaged for a portion of that time.

After removing the clearcoat, I used a Makita polisher with Nuvite F7 and C, making five or six passes using F7 and C on every square foot of the trailer. I discovered, after some time, that the recommended fingerprint of polish on every 3 inch square was inadequate. Instead, I had to put enough polish down so that I could thinly cover the surface with polish using my fingers to spread the polish around in order to get a more uniform shine. Not doing this resulted in shiny streaks with unpolished areas around the streak. I am still not fully satisfied with the results using more polish. What looks like a well-polished area in bright light, shows blotchy, dark shadows under low light conditions. These dark areas are apparently areas that are still slightly oxidized. They are a headache to remove because they are difficult to see in regular lighting and will require many more passes with the polisher. The trailer is now semi-unsightly, exhibiting polisher swirl marks and non-uniform shininess. Is this problem commonplace, just requiring a lot of additional polishing (Ughh) or could the method I am using be improved upon? Also, does removal of polisher marks require a Cyclo polisher?
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:15 PM   #2
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We had a demonstration at the RMVAC. Rob used the same method made 2 passes with F7, 2 passes with C and it looked great. One thing he did was to put a little water on the bonnet, but he only put a fingerprint every couple of inches. He then finished up with the cyclo and some S.

He did another section with the big cloth wheel and some bars of rouge. That technique went a lot faster and the results were just as good if not better.

Only the upper panel was done during the demo.
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Old 08-16-2008, 06:47 PM   #3
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polishing.

Please remember that when you have a highly polished Airstream, assuming you want to keep it that way, that it must be washed and waxed every 30 days, unless it's kept in a barn.

However, if they trailer is withing about 50 miles from the oceans or the gulf, it must be washed and waxed every week.

In either locations, slow oxidation will start unless the washing and waxing routine is followed.

Don't believe it??

Leave it go and watch what happens.

Of course, you can clear coat a polished trailer that eliminates the routine polishing. But the clearcoats only last about 5 years depending on the trailers location.

Like Morey says, "when it comes to maintaining the exterior of any Airstream, your not the father," oops, there is no magic timeless answer.

Airstream never said, that when you own an Airstream product, your life would become simplier.

Andy
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Old 08-16-2008, 07:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walwalla View Post
I have been polishing my 1961 Bambi for many laborious hours following the recommended polishing technique as I understand it. ...
Member 62overlander has experienced many of your frustrations.

Drop him a line if he does not see this thread.

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Old 08-16-2008, 08:16 PM   #5
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I beg to differ~

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Please remember that when you have a highly polished Airstream, assuming you want to keep it that way, that it must be washed and waxed every 30 days, unless it's kept in a barn.

However, if they trailer is withing about 50 miles from the oceans or the gulf, it must be washed and waxed every week.

In either locations, slow oxidation will start unless the washing and waxing routine is followed.

Don't believe it??

Leave it go and watch what happens.
Andy
We polished our trailer in the spring of 2004 using the Perfect Polish (Nuvite) method.. It parks outside 24/7. We have never waxed it and washed it less than half a dozen times. Yes, we do live in a very arid climate, but the picture below was taken two weeks ago...it still looks pretty darn good to most. Does it need a touch-up, yeah...maybe next year, but it was still complimented as one of the shinest trailers in attendance at the RMVAC Rally last week.

You be the judge...

Shari
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:26 PM   #6
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He did another section with the big cloth wheel and some bars of rouge. That technique went a lot faster and the results were just as good if not better.
Doesn't rouge have ferric oxide in it - wont that being ground into the aluminum cause some sort of long term reaction?

Don't know - just asking...
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
We had a demonstration at the RMVAC. Rob used the same method made 2 passes with F7, 2 passes with C and it looked great. One thing he did was to put a little water on the bonnet, but he only put a fingerprint every couple of inches. He then finished up with the cyclo and some S.

He did another section with the big cloth wheel and some bars of rouge. That technique went a lot faster and the results were just as good if not better.
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Doesn't rouge have ferric oxide in it - wont that being ground into the aluminum cause some sort of long term reaction?

Don't know - just asking...
Yes, jewelers rouge (red) does contain ferric oxide. Rob (Mr.InsideOut) used Tripoli & "White Rouge" which does not.

A lot of people call anything in a bar "jeweler's rouge" - 'rouge' is French for 'red'. Jeweler's rouge is red because it contains ferric oxide. If it doesn't contain ferric oxide, it's not really rouge.

Green and white rouge, as many people call them, are abrasive compounds - not true "rouge".

Shari
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Old 08-16-2008, 09:33 PM   #8
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I am just getting started on the polishing process. So, which is better the "rouge" or Nuvite? What do you use to clean the metal, Laquer Thinner?

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Old 08-16-2008, 10:08 PM   #9
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Thanks for clearing that up Shari. Rob did a great job with the demo and yes, Maxwell looks great. I would never guess that the polish job is 3 years old.
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Old 08-16-2008, 11:28 PM   #10
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I would never guess that the polish job is 3 years old.
It's actually 4 years old ~

Thanks for the pics Richard...I didn't take any of our trailer @ the rally.

Shari
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Old 08-16-2008, 11:46 PM   #11
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I am just getting started on the polishing process. So, which is better the "rouge" or Nuvite?
Well, it's hard to say. The compounder & Nuvite leaves circular swirls and the buffing wheels leave linear swirls. Both IMO need to be followed up with the cyclo to get to that final mirror finish.

We went through the entire process on our '64 GT with Nuvite. We are planning on trying the "rouge" method on our '56 Safari. But we have a ways to go before polishing with the '56, we are just doing the trim work as we restore it and putting it back together. Although we hope to have it done for next season.

Shari
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Old 08-17-2008, 06:52 AM   #12
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For me the key is persistence. My trailer had extreme amounts of oxide in some areas that felt like 100 grit sandpaper. I had to wet sand that off to get down to actual surface. I went all around the trailer with F7 on a wool bonnet. I use a makita compounder that has a high amount of torque(unlike the cheap chinese ones sold at harbor fake). Just "breaking" the surface oxide took me 140 hours. I have now gone back and began redoing the panels one by one. They have that dark cloud pattern you referred to. I am now compound with Nuvite "C", then cyclo with the "C", then cyclo with a clean new terry cloth bonnet. I have some "S" on hand, but have not seen it make any difference over the way I am currently doing it. I can tell you it takes a lot more work than most state, unless someone polished it before. If someone did it in the past, it just might be done within 100 hours. The key is developing a technique that works for you. The way I do it might be totally different than you. The key is persistence.
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:59 AM   #13
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My 80 Excella was polished before I got it in March, how long before I don't know.
I have used Auto windshed cleaner ( non amonnia) in a spray bottle to keep it up, and it has retained a nice shine so far. The one panel I tried to repolish with a variety of methods ( but not yet cyclo and nuvite) has gotten cloudy and I have been unable to get it up to the level of the rest of the trailer.
Should have left well enough alone!



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Old 08-17-2008, 12:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Please remember that when you have a highly polished Airstream, assuming you want to keep it that way, that it must be washed and waxed every 30 days, unless it's kept in a barn.

However, if they trailer is withing about 50 miles from the oceans or the gulf, it must be washed and waxed every week.

In either locations, slow oxidation will start unless the washing and waxing routine is followed.

Don't believe it??

Leave it go and watch what happens.
Hey Andy, what do you base this statement on? My actual results are much different from that.
My Overlander got polished 2004/2005, and in between was only wiped down with warm water and a microfiber rag. I have never waxed it, and only twice completely washed it, both ties after coming back from Texas with bugs all over it. I did a touchup this spring, which removed a slight haze, but no oxidation per se was present. My trailer is normally parked inside every night, but sits outside during the day, rain or shine. I am approximately 20mls or less from the Pacific Ocean. Many nights the trailer is pulled in with dew on it, but it does not seem to diminish the shine.
Just sayin'.
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