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Old 12-02-2006, 06:17 AM   #15
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My recommendation would be against the acid wash! It will get down between the panels and be very hard to get out or neutralize. Unfortunately there is no easy, no pain, no gain method of polishing I have found. It all comes down to how much work you want to put into it for how much results. Me I just live with the classic APB (Airstream Pattern Baldness)

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Old 12-02-2006, 07:27 AM   #16
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Acid wash works great on the tankers because all of the seams are welded. I would not use it on an Airstream because it would cause the sealent between the pannels to be disolved. Dull and dry is better then shiney and leaky.
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Old 12-02-2006, 07:57 AM   #17
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acid wash has been dicussed a lot here in other threads, the general opinion is it would cause more problems than it would solve. Tankers after all are stainless steel.
BAsically if you find a good mildly abrasive polish and use it right you will get results. The milder polishes like Mothers and such are great for touch up afterwards.
I also like the Polymer sealants asa final touch to help keep the shine, although they work for 4-6 months usually ..maximum.
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Old 12-02-2006, 08:18 AM   #18
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Remember though that ALCLAD is different

While sanding and acid wash are used and can speed up the process or reduce the cost of polishing, remember that ALCLAD or the aluminium used for Airstreams up to the early 80s is composed of an AL alloy underneath and pure AL on the surface. If you remove that upper coating of pure AL in places the shine on the finished surface will be different on the AL compared to the Alloy(I've done it in places where I had scratches). The AL clad was added for corrision resistance. The pure AL clad is very thin at about 5% the thickness of the panel.

The claim for the compounding stage of the nuvite method of polishing is that it doesn't remove the AL clad it just moves it around, smooths the surface and fills or rounds the edges of the microscopic pits in the metal produced by the oxidation. I've seen several polish jobs that were still quite shiny but had oxidation spots (measles) returning which I think is a case of the oxidation returning in the pits.

Acid washing and sanding are more agressive methods and will remove some of the clad. AL tank trucks are thick compared to our Airstreams. Full scale acid washing is also thought to remove some of the sealer between the panels and thus lead to more leaks.

I've tried many methods and they all work. I so far keep returning to the Shirley (nuvite) method because in the end its faster. And cleaner which equates to faster also.
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Old 12-02-2006, 09:59 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbond
The claim for the compounding stage of the nuvite method of polishing is that it doesn't remove the AL clad it just moves it around, smooths the surface and fills or rounds the edges of the microscopic pits in the metal produced by the oxidation.
I have used muratic acid to etch swimming pools. While not the same for aluminum trailers, the acid can be very messy, and will probably do more harm than good.

The quoted explanation above helps put the process into perspective. I just wish there was a product that would etch the grime and oxidation away without stripping the AL clad. It would reduce the black mud stage. Then the finer polishes could be used to move or smooth the rest of the surface (just thinking out loud).
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:47 PM   #20
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Today, I did a comparison between SS and Diamond Brite. My SS bottle was nearly empty so off to Lowes I went to get some DB. Even though my trailer is painted, there is still quite a bit of aluminum which gets polished. IMO, the DB provides a deeper more "chrome like" shine than SS with about 25% less effort. Now.......I'm a convert to DB.
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:18 PM   #21
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DB at Lowes?

The Lowes in my neighborhood does not stock the Diamond Brite polish. I asked for help, but couldn't find it. Perhaps it is only in some stores. What section is it stocked in?
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:24 PM   #22
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I asked two different employee's who didn't know what I was talking about but sent me off to alternatives in the store. One alternative was in the area where Brasso is found, the other was in the polishing tool section of the "Tools" area. I found the Diamond Brite in the same area as the aluminum tool boxes for pickup trucks. My store only had 3 bottles.
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Old 12-02-2006, 11:37 PM   #23
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The folks at Lowes had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about DB. It seemed a little pricey for a little bottle, but it goes a long way.
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Old 12-03-2006, 12:47 AM   #24
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Quote:
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...Diamond Brite in the same area as the aluminum tool boxes for pickup trucks...
That's where I've always found it - sometimes the employees don't know what the heck they carry
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Old 12-03-2006, 08:43 AM   #25
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yes at Lowe's here no on knew where it was either. I figured they didn't carry it, until I saw it alongside and almost in back of the truck tool boxes. They must not care if they sell any. Does work well.
Has anyone tried the new Meguirs polish that is out now? At Wallyworld its 8 bucks.
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