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Old 10-14-2010, 12:01 PM   #15
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1981 20' International
Shasta Lake City , California
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Painted Airstream

The following are photos of my 72/31' airstream.... The paint has flaked off the top and cornners. So I can re-paint, or strip and try to buff out. I want to buff out, but I may run into bodywork repairs underneath the paint. Should I try to buff out one of the areas where the paint has flaked off? I know that I am saying enough to show my ignorance about Airstream skin. But I don't want to make anymore bad decisions. I don't know who painted her, when she was painted, or any other history of the "Old Girl".

I have most of the interior removed as of today...only the bathroom and closets are left in place. And feel good about modeling the inside. But the outside skin is looking like one big azz money pit. I have owned the "Old Girl" for only two weeks, but I love her already....and based on what I have learned thru this forum, I paid to much for her.

Thanks for your ideas and help folks, Rex






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Old 11-11-2010, 08:03 PM   #16
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We were in the same boat... Our 84 31' International had been painted too. I was in a position where I needed to get a trailer that week. Our option was, pay $40,000 for the white box we could tolerate, (and try not to think about how much money we were wasting), or, buy the painted AS for $6,000 and hope for the best. After redoing the interior, (pics in the interior reno section soon!), I stripped the exterior. Surprise, surprise! They had replaced a couple of panels, and instead of using the "mill finish" aluminum that the factory uses, they used a regular "flat finish" alloy. Too bad they wasted the effort, as the mill finish material is only pennies a square foot more $$$. So, instead, they wasted thousands on a paint job. It stripped off no problem, and all in all, I think it looks better stripped.

Make sure you look at the rivets for evidence of replaced panels! That would have been a clue for me had I known more.

Pics below show lower half stripped, and second one is of difference in the two alloys...
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Old 11-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #17
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1973 Argosy 22
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O boy, now what do I do?

I just bought a '73 22' Argosy. the pictures on the internet looked like the body was in very good shape, which turned out to be correct, however the idiot I bought it from had it about a month, spray painted it a light cream color which turned out ,when you get up close,with an orange peel look to the finnish. Also had not cleaned off bad spots nor taped off anything so paint was sprayed over everything except the windows.

Has anyone ever had to take off the old paint and repaint, and if so what kind of job is that and how did you go about it?
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:32 PM   #18
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It may be possible to wet sand and polish the paint. Depends what kind of paint it is. Auto paint can be polished, but not house paint.

Aircraft paint stripper is probably the best thing to strip the paint with. I mean to clean off overspray areas.

Really it's hard to say without seeing it. It might be possible to clean it up and make it look halfway decent without repainting. It might be necessary to sand it down and repaint. Worst case, would be to strip the old paint off with aircraft stripper and repaint from scratch. But that would cost at least twice what the trailer is worth.

Do you know a good auto body man or car painter? Someone who knows is stuff could figure out in minutes, whether it can be fixed or not.
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:31 AM   #19
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Unhappy What now?

Thanks for the advise. There is a good auto body shop in our area, and as you said I should probably see them to get an idea of what can be done.

My problem with going to this auto body shop is you do not know if they are only going to suggest and entire strip and repaint to line their pockets or if there would be a way to light sand and/or compound the existing job to try and make it look better.

We are way out in the boonies away from a large town where there are competing shops for this kind of work. I just was needing to hear suggestions that I may not have thought of.

Appreciate your response and will move forward with a professional shop to have a look at it.
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Old 11-20-2010, 12:33 PM   #20
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1953 17' Clipper
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Not too bad after six years!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Polishing our old Airstreams to a mirror finish looks so dramatic. It is a relatively inexpensive way to refinish the old, dull gray trailer. Lots of compliments on how great the trailer looks when you finish.

But I would submit it is a big mistake to strip and polish an old Airstream. I am nearly done with the compounding on mine, and I truly regret the 100 hours of work I have in it. The aluminum is quickly corroding back to the dull gray it was before. Every rain event, every bird dropping, every bug splatter creats another series of water spots and stains. Gotta love those summer showers where the sun quickly returns and bakes those water spots inito the aluminum. And then there are all the corners, awning mounts, clearance lights and furnace vents that the polishing pads don't reach. So the trailer looks shinny from 10 feet, but when you get close, not so good. I will be traveling to Denver in the rain this week. It will not look very good when I get there.

Airstream did it right back in the 60's with brushed aluminum and plastic coat. Tastefully glossy, but does not show all the imprefections and stains. The aluminum is protected against corrosion for the life of the plastic coat.

The Swift Aircraft polishing video Nuvite sells recommends keeping your freshly polished airplane in a dry hanger with a cieling fan on all the time. My Airstream sits outside in the Minnesota weather. I can't possibly keep up with a mirror finish.

Think again before you grab that can of stripper. Until someone creats an effective preservative that can be applied by hand on a fresh polish job, you are destined to watch all your hard work revert back to dull gray aluminum in fairly short order.

David
I polished my '67 about six years ago, and never really finished. Six years later, it is still quite shiney!!

I have to say, though, after polishing my "new" '53 a year and a half ago, I plan to set aside at least a two week period every summer to try to keep up with them.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:55 AM   #21
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Still Shinny

Thank you Pinktrailer for your input. It is encouraging to see your 67 still shinny after 6 years. Is it outside all the time? It's snowing today here in Minnesota and my stripped and polished '85 has snow and ice on it. I fear next spriing I will have to start all over again. Do you use any automotive wax on your Airstream?

This thread got a little off subject with talk about keeping birds away and stripping painted trailers. Stripping and polishing aluminum Airstreams is fun to do and is a cheap, labor intensive way of improving over faded clear coat. But will it last?

David
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:12 PM   #22
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Hi David--I did not wax or anything, always presuming that I would finish polishing the next summer, but I never did any more polishing. The last Nuvite polish, that I used with the Cyclo, has some preservative agents in it.

I have to agree that drips leave spots, rain leaves spots......but it still looks fantastic, particularly next to other trailers that have not been polished. It doesn't look great, compared to how it first looked, but that picture of it near the lake, was taken after it had been sitting in my yard for months, and I didn't even have a chance to wash it before I left for the trip!

Polishing the '53, just over a year ago, helped me to figure out how to properly use the cyclo so I didn't hate it. I now feel that I can try to keep up from year to year.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:40 AM   #23
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My Clear Span Shelter

Whoops! I forgot to tell you that three years ago we put up a "Clear Span Shelter" for the '67. It is in there from early November until late April. I just wish that we had put up a larger one so that I could fit both trailers in there.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:55 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightridder View Post
Thanks for the advise. There is a good auto body shop in our area, and as you said I should probably see them to get an idea of what can be done.

My problem with going to this auto body shop is you do not know if they are only going to suggest and entire strip and repaint to line their pockets or if there would be a way to light sand and/or compound the existing job to try and make it look better.

We are way out in the boonies away from a large town where there are competing shops for this kind of work. I just was needing to hear suggestions that I may not have thought of.

Appreciate your response and will move forward with a professional shop to have a look at it.
Just to clarify - the easiest fix would be to clean off overspray, clean and polish the paint. Wet sand the worst areas with 600 then 800 or 1000 wet or dry paper before polishing.

If this won't fix it, it may be possible to spot paint the worst areas IF you can get an exact match for the paint.

Harder, would be to sand down the old paint and repaint complete.

Hardest of all would be to strip the old paint and repaint complete. This would only be necessary if the old paint was peeling off or cracking.
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:31 AM   #25
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What now?

Well, thanks for the advise. However since my original post I had a paint guy look at it and it appears the dummy owner prior to this dummy buying it, painted it with a household paint!!............so the only way to fix it is to take it all off and start over with a new paint job.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:06 PM   #26
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Stripping the paint isn't so bad.. I used some Hydrostrip from ICI paints (same as Removal). The hard part was the galvanized domes on the ends, ended up using Aircraft strippier (nasty stuff) to remove that. This weather isn't conducive to stripping however. The environmental stuff likes some heat (say 60 degrees or so).

You might get lucky, the alumanum underneath maybe ok for polishing, with paint on the endcaps.

Good luck!
Marc
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:27 AM   #27
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What now?

Really nice looking '75 Argosy............did you completely go through it, interior and exterior?

I finally found that the paint the guy I bought mine from is a exterior latex paint! So.......I would like to remove it all and have it repainted correctly. However, not sure I want to go to all that expense at this time.
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:50 AM   #28
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Yup, slowly but surely we replaced every system there was. Still would like to gut the interior and start again, but my '63 comes first (and that is slow due to life with kids).

Stripping didn't cost too much, and polishing is just man labor hours.
You can always paint later!
Marc
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