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Old 01-08-2017, 06:41 PM   #1
Rivet Master
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 839
Stripping and polishing questions

Yes, I know there is a sticky on this that goes back to 2005 with 40 pages of posts.

We're seriously looking at 34' Airstreams from the late 90's to the early 00's. As I understand it, Airstream used several different aluminum formulations in the 90's before settling on one in 2000. The earlier ones have/had problems with the clear coat peeling, but beginning with the new formula in 2000 that has been less of a problem. Is this information correct?

Is it safe to say that most pre-2000 coaches will have much, if not all, of the clear coat more or less gone? What's the current thinking on what should be done? Should I remove whatever is left or leave it alone and let it peel off by itself?

Once the original clear coat is gone, what then? I've heard that clear coating the whole coach is quite expensive. What's the best practice to protect the aluminum?

I've seen pictures of some very highly polished Airstreams, and they look good in the pictures. How practical are they in real life, especially for full-timers? I'm thinking that something that highly polished could be reflecting the sunlight right into the mirrors which then is reflected into my eyes. Going the other way, it could be blinding other drivers. Is this a real issue, or am I thinking too much? I want a good-looking coach, but I don't want to create a hazard.


David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
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Old 01-08-2017, 06:45 PM   #2
Overland Adventurer
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,834
Ours is a 91.... only very minimal sunburn on the top most segments. Lives outside... in constant motion. Washed by the rain. Still looks fab!

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Old 01-08-2017, 06:48 PM   #3
Overland Adventurer
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,834
Posted too fast...
When it starts to look bad I have decided to paint it rather than polish or reclear... too much upkeep to mirror.... to short a lifespan to re clear with epa formulated finishes
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