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Old 09-07-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
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AKBambi's Avatar
1961 16' Bambi
Anchorage , Alaska
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Routine exterior washing vintage trailer?

I have a 1961 Bambi that I just drove up the ALCAN. Needless to say, there is a fair amount of road dirt on the skin. Once I hose off the dirt, what is the best method and products to use for general cleaning? I've seen many threads on stripping and polishing, and on washing newer trailers, but what about routine washing of vintage skins? Warm water and a mild car wash soap with a clean, soft bristle automobile brush? Brush with the grain of the aluminum? No? Any pitfalls to avoid?

Many thanks,

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Old 09-07-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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1961 22' Safari
Union , Oregon
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Your '61 does not have a clearcoat from the factory so stripping is not an issue. I have decided to never polish my '61 Safari just because it is too much work to maintain the polished condition. My solution for cleaning is to hose off the dirt then rub the trailer down with "Bon Ami" ("Never scratched yet") cleanser. I apply it liberally on a wash cloth and rub down the entire trailer once a year. I spend about 45 minutes cleaning my 22' Safari. Over the last 4 years it has become noticeably cleaner and even toned, but will never appraoch a polished condition.
My suggestion is to try it on a small area and to see if you like the results.

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
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1961 16' Bambi
Anchorage , Alaska
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Thanks for the recommendation, Sam. I'll check out Bon Ami. I used Maguires car wash and a microfiber hand mitt yesterday to fairly good results, but I do think some of the nicks and scratches would benefit from a polish. With winter coming, I likely will not attempt that due to lack of time. But, it is reassuring to know that a number of vintage trailer owners such as yourself do not wax at all, with satisfactory results. JC
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Old 09-08-2013, 01:10 PM   #4
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
Join Date: May 2008
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The last two years, I wash our Sov in a bucket (well, two really) of warm water with a dollup of a Canadian Tire auto wash liquid soap that has wax in it. I rub it all over the body with a long-handled soft brush. This is followed by a rinse in cold water.

Comes out nice and glowing, and the wax makes the rainwater roll off, too.

Good enough for Henri and me.
If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:46 PM   #5
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Folsom , California
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Thanks for the tip Sam! I have a '46 and it was highly polished about 8 months ago. Now to keep it shiny! (why wasn't I warned!!! LOL), anyway, will be showing it next weekend and trying to get it ready...really dusty dirty. Think I'll try some Bon Ami on the roof and see what I get. But otherwise, I think I'll give a try to washing it with dish soap, and dry with chamois. Then on the sides where it's real noticeable I'll use my polisher and shine it up with the microfiber pads and Mother's polish. Seemed to do the trick last time I showed.
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:15 AM   #6

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Thumbs up Never polishing.....

......worked very well for us also.

We just let it "age" along with us.

Washed with car wash soap and a boars hair brush on a stick. (didn't have to worry about scratching clearcoat)


AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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