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Old 07-20-2005, 04:04 PM   #43
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Great Polish Job! This was an excellent, educational, thread! Happy Camping!
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Old 07-20-2005, 05:06 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferroequine
Well, the polishing is nearly complete. There is still more compounding to do near the top, but that's next year's project. Overall, she looks pretty good.

Mrs. Ferroequine has had more than enough of my polishing, and therefore we're hitting the road for a couple of weeks along with Ferroequine Jr. for some R 'n R.

(But I packed the cyclo in case I get bored... ).
Nice Job! Enjoy your treasure!
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:52 PM   #45
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Great results~!!
Nice looking rig...
After all that polishing, Ferroequine's arms=Feels like Popeye's...lol
ciao
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Old 10-27-2005, 11:40 PM   #46
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All the Gear is in!!

Hey everyone,

I've finally received my Cyclo and found a local ICI dealer to buy the 502 stripper. We're having the bench seats/couches reupholstered right now, but once I get the AS back, the exterior stripping project will begin. Wish me luck

Mitch
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Old 10-28-2005, 05:45 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swanny
Hey everyone,

I've finally received my Cyclo and found a local ICI dealer to buy the 502 stripper. We're having the bench seats/couches reupholstered right now, but once I get the AS back, the exterior stripping project will begin. Wish me luck

Mitch
Good LUCK! Hope all goes well, keep us posted with your progress, pics if you can??
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Old 11-05-2005, 10:04 PM   #48
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Polishing Frequency

Hey gang thought I'd give an update on our polishing. Sorry, but I haven't started yet. We took the AS in to have the couches reupholstered and they haven't finished the trailer yet.

This brings up a question I have. We went to dinner with some long time AS owners and one of the individuals said you do NOT want to strip and polish your AS since it will look horrible in 1 month. Because of this I'm a little jittery over the whole issue.

My question is this. How often should you polish your trailer after the initial job?

Mitch
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Old 11-06-2005, 11:40 AM   #49
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quote=Swanny]Hey gang thought I'd give an update on our polishing. Sorry, but I haven't started yet. We took the AS in to have the couches reupholstered and they haven't finished the trailer yet.
This brings up a question I have. We went to dinner with some long time AS owners and one of the individuals said you do NOT want to strip and polish your AS since it will look horrible in 1 month. Because of this I'm a little jittery over the whole issue.

My question is this. How often should you polish your trailer after the initial job?

Mitch[/quote]

Mitch,

Stripping and Polishing an Airstream is a lifetime commitment and totally worthwhile.

I have to redo mine every 4 to 6 months primarily because we live about 8 miles from the Atlantic and the salt air is a formidible enemy. It is my understanding that most people have to repolish about once a year.

It took me 200 hours of stripping and polishing to do it the first time. The follow-on polishing generally takes about 50 hours.

It is true that the surface will start to oxidize when you finish. The sealer of Nuvite "S" or it's Rolite counterpart helps to slow down the process. Many of us use a different sealer once the job is complete. I have used Liquid Glass which costs $16.00 a pint, others have been successful with Nu Finish in the orange can. I am experimenting with the Nu Finish and have been pleased with the results.

One thing I have noticed is that even though I think the finish looks awful because of the oxidation, I still get people marvelling at it, thinking it is fantastic. Each time you redo the polishing job, the finish looks better and better. Of course, the more you polish the more finniky you become.

One other thing I tell people who are contemplating polishing their unit is that it is dirty business. Your polishing rags will become black with aluminum oxide. When you wash these in the home washer/dryer you will get a black scum on the drums. If you dont clean up well, your wife's frilly things might get ruined which can lead to divorce. If that happens, be sure to get custody of the Airstream!!
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:23 AM   #50
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As far as the rags are concerned, I've been throwing away the cyclo towels when I've used all their usable areas. It isn't worth the mess they create in the washer & dryer (or the arguments with the person in charge... ).

The finish is still looking fairly good right now, although it is a bit duller than last summer and is also streaky and dirty from the rain / snow. Still better than it was with the peeling finish!

Come May, I'll go over things with the cyclo and a bit of compound here and there (areas that could have been done better) to get her shiny again.

BTW, here's a pic during our vacation. We tended to attract quite an appreciative crowd of SOB owners.
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:38 PM   #51
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1985 34' Excella
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Question motivated but curious

I'm brand new to this group and read your thread on polishing the exterior with great interest and awe!!!! NICE JOB. I have some questions that I hope you or others in the forum can answer for me. Note that I have a 1985 34' Excella.
1) How many hours did it take you to do your trailer?
2) Do you suggest stripping in sections or all at once?
3) If in sections, how much area should be stripped and how long would that area typically take to complete?
4) What did you do about the seams (removing sealer and coping with the obvious ridge), window frames and awning cover?
5) Did you create any leaks by removing the plasticoat?
6) Would it be easier (or not recommended?) to remove the name plates, running lights and other raised items to ensure an even surface when refinishing?
7) I'm not sure I want the mirror finish. I'd be happy just to get it back to the factory look all over. Is that possible? If so, how?
8) After the buffing is done and there's a fantastic finish... how do you protect it? (wax?, special polish? or is the buffing compound enough?)
9) Do you need to apply something each year as maintenance?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer,
Brian
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Old 02-10-2006, 06:59 AM   #52
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Another option

Last year I had to strip 2 panels that had been replaced 3 years earlier after some bozo did a hit-and-run in the storage lot where I keep my trailer, causing $3k worth of damage. The coating on the new panels had bubbled and peeled worse than the original plasticote.
I didn't know about buffing, but managed to get the finish looking good using very fine steel wool gently brushed in the direction of the 'grain' in the aluminum.
Then I painted it with CLEAR Dupli-Color lacquer paint, which is meant for use on bare metal, including aluminum. It can even be hand or machine polished, although I haven't had to do that. It still looks like new.
It took 2 spray cans to paint the 2 front curved panels to the right of the front window and below. I also stripped, cleaned and clear painted all 6 wheels and they look fantastic!
I'm thinking that this could be a great option to protect our trailers, whether just partially buffed or finely polished.
Has anyone else tried this? Any thoughts?
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Old 02-10-2006, 07:58 AM   #53
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Motivated but curious

I may be wrong but I think the 84's don't have alclad aluminum which polishes up to a mirror finish. They have aluminum that was coated at the Alcoa plant.

There are as many methods of polishing as there are folks who do it. Do a search on stripping and polishing on this forum and you will get all the advice you need and get an answer to most of your question.

Got to www.perfectpolish.com to get the best info on the process and the equipment needed to do the job correctly. There is a link under "misc info" on their home page to the Mannings website where they give a blow by blow of their project.

Note that once you start the process, it becomse a lifetime commitment.
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:45 PM   #54
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Welcome!

Welcome 2manyhobbies! Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad this thread is useful.

Let's see if I can answer all of your questions.

I think I've got about 120 hours into this project, including the stripping.

I stripped in sections with the stripper that I used, just for convenience. I did each side and the front & back separately.

I just "painted" the stripper around the window frames, and stayed away from the awning. The stripper didn't appear to harm the Vulcum sealant between panels.

No leaks were created by removing what was left of the plasticoat.

If I could remove the separate letters & running lights, I would have. They are a pain in the butt to polish around (especially the letters). But they are riveted on somehow, and I didn't feel like taking the inner liner apart to find out. When stripping, I taped up the lenses just in case, and I did remove the lenses when it came time to buff & polish (again taping up the exposed parts of the light). I repainted the letters with Tremclad after the polishing was done (they were faded anyhow).

The fantastic finish does dull a bit over time. The final coat of S has an anti-oxidant in it that protects the finish somewhat. I expect to spend about 15-25 hours each spring polishing things up with the cyclo polisher. Some other people have used a special, obscure wax, but I haven't seen he results myself.

I inquired about refinishing to the original factory finish - there is a place in Ohio called P & S that does it. I think the estimate to do our trailer was like 5 grand , and it would take about a week.
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:47 PM   #55
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Alcoa Panels

Startrekker, didn't the Alcoa panels start in the early 90's?
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Old 02-22-2006, 11:55 AM   #56
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Your trailer looks great! I have stripped my 27 ft. International. I am now polishing with the Nuvite. Does the corrosion ever come all off? I have gone over each section three or four times and still have little gray corrision marks. Thank you for the help.
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