Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-04-2004, 06:09 PM   #1
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
Rog0525's Avatar
1966 20' Globetrotter
Saginaw County , Michigan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,555
Images: 11
The bashful stripper

I started stripping the clearcoat from my Caravel today in preparation for the polishing.
Egad, what a job! Nothing I've read on these forums prepared me for what I was getting into ( I'm sure I missed something).
Somehow, silly me, I was under the "wipe on, wash off" notion. 5 hours of hard labor produced very little results. 33 year old clearcoat doesn't surrender easily. I'm using Citristrip mainly because I figured it's more environmentally friendly than the highly toxic stuff I've seen mentioned on other threads. The directions (yes I read them) said apply generously with a paint roller or brush. I did that and even waited the suggested 25 minutes before washing off with mineral spirits, several times. I thought 2 quarts of the stuff was pretty generous for an 18' trailer but boy was I wrong. Two quarts gone and about 10 feet of trailer left. I also discovered that trying to rinse it off with a garden hose is like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Tomorrow morning I'm off to Home Depot for another gallon. I'll try slathering it on more than generously and take it to the local carwash for a pressure wash but there's got to be an easier way without "intoxicating" the neighborhood???


May you camp where wind won’t hit you, where snakes won’t bite and bears won’t git you.

Rog0525 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2004, 07:27 PM   #2
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
rluhr's Avatar
1968 17' Caravel
2005 30' Safari
Somewhere , roaming America
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,093
Images: 39
I wish there was an easier way

My experience was very similar. I only stripped one panel, and found the Citristrip to be a waste of time. I ended up going to one of the many strippers containing methyl chloride. Roger, I hate to say it but you have a choice between environmentally friendly, and getting the job done expediently. I don't think there's much you can do to make Citristrip more effective.

This conundrum is precisely why I have been reluctant to proceed with polishing the rest of the trailer. The stripping seems to be worse than the polishing. Getting the job done means fooling with known carcinogens, and -- if you're not very careful -- potentially washing them into groundwater or public sewers (where the toxic goo of stripper and old clearcoat might get treated before being dumped back into the sea, or might not).

If someone came up with a really effective stripper that was truly safe, they'd be a millionaire Airstream owner like all of us ...

Former full-timer | AIRSTREAM LIFE magazine | Tour of America (old blog) | Man In The Maze (current blog)

rluhr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-04-2004, 07:36 PM   #3
Just a member
thenewkid64's Avatar
1978 28' Argosy 28
Tampa Bay , Florida
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,539
Images: 21
Send a message via AIM to thenewkid64 Send a message via Yahoo to thenewkid64 Send a message via Skype™ to thenewkid64

There is a really good stripper, but you have to have special equipment to do it. It uses air and baking soda to remove the clearcoat or paint and leave the surface unmarred. It is how they strip airplanes. No residue to speak of that is toxic and the metal does not get hot to deform. Just have to pay someone to do it
Brett G
WBCCI #5501 AIR # 49
1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

thenewkid64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2004, 12:29 PM   #4
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
Rog0525's Avatar
1966 20' Globetrotter
Saginaw County , Michigan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,555
Images: 11
No more bashful stripping for me

I wanna take it all off and see bare naked skin.
After reviewing the results of 5 hours of stripping, sanding cleaning, plus 1 1/2 hours waiting for the Citristrip to dry, much of the clearcoat remains on the area where applied. I'll be shopping for a much more aggresive stripper.
My hat is off to those who have had success with Citristrip. I imagine the results would vary based on age and condition of trailer.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	May05003.JPG
Views:	350
Size:	59.5 KB
ID:	6416  

May you camp where wind won’t hit you, where snakes won’t bite and bears won’t git you.

Rog0525 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2004, 12:59 PM   #5
a.k.a. Ambassador Tim
Safari Tim's Avatar
1960 28' Ambassador
Northern , California
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,921
Images: 35
I also tried Citrastrip and found it to be a waste of time.

I ended up using Bix also from Home Depot with very good results. I just purchased the chemical gloves from Home Depot and wore eye protection.

It's not really as bad as it sounds. Just be thougthful about what your doing and it will work great.

I just applied it with an old brush, waited about 10 minutes or so, then used a plastic scraper on the tough areas and hosed it off.

Some times I had to go over a spot a couple of times. Just very the amount you use and the time you leave it on, you get what works for you.
1960 International Ambassador 28'
2001 Silverado 2500HD CC 6.0L 4.10
Check out my book: Restoring a Dream
Check out my Airstream book for kids!: Airstream Adventures
theVAP - Airstream Podcast
Safari Tim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2004, 01:06 PM   #6
Rivet Master
InsideOut's Avatar

1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 11,823
Images: 108
At the past couple of VAC Rallies I have attended, there is usually some sort of demonstration or "testing" that inevitably takes place. A couple of years ago there was discussion that straight ammonia removes clearcoat. So we tried it on a couple of different trailers to see if it worked. What we discovered was that it worked on some, but not others and varied year to year...what we surmised was that different years, different clearcoat formulations must have been used. This could explain why Citristrip works well for some and not others.

Personally, we found the KleenStrip Aircraft Stripper to work the best on ours...BTW the ammonia didn't budge it on our '64 but it did the trick on some '70s trailers. Yes, it's nasty stuff...but I didn't want to make a career out of stripping the it was, it's no picnic, a lot of hard work and it took several weekends to get it all done. I have pictures & info on my experience on our website under "During"...

Good luck Rog...looking good, and keep in mind you only have to that part (stripping) once!
Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | Sisters on the Fly | Tin Can Tourists
BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
InsideOut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2004, 07:09 PM   #7
Rivet Master
tin can luv's Avatar
1968 22' Safari
1976 27' Overlander
Newport , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 864
Images: 82
I used generic stripper...

Well, not so generic, and I'll have to check what it was, the type that gets on your skin, and you can only take so much burning before you have to run inside and wash it off, kind of thing. It took it off in seconds, not minutes....It's all washing into the sewer, I know, bad me, but no worse than the guy accross the street who changed his oil, and dumped most of it on the ground and washed it into the alley, and the rain did the rest. The polishing is enough of a nightmare, as I am just now realizing why it takes SO long.....No time to wait for environmentally safe stuff to work.

Once again, that's my opinion.

Ron ... now in Newport, Washington
[font=Impact][font=Arial Black]
tin can luv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2004, 09:17 AM   #8
5 rivets, 1 loose screw
Rog0525's Avatar
1966 20' Globetrotter
Saginaw County , Michigan
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,555
Images: 11
This is much better.......

I had to put this project on hold to tend to other matters but I'm back at it now.
After the poor results with Citristrip, I tried Bix. It worked better but 3 coatings still left patches of crusty clearcoat
Yesterday I tried Klean-Strip Metal Stripper (sic) from Walmart and had far better success.
I discovered that by letting the first coat work for 30 minutes, a second application without cleaning off the first one dissolved the clearcoat without scraping. The other strippers both required scraping and the plastic scraper was scratching the finish. I hosed it off, cleaned it with mineral spirits then washed it with dish soap and water.
I managed to strip 9 front panels plus the door in 3 hours. I'm trying to get my hands on a power washer to finish the job before I tackle the polishing.
Summary: As I see it, both clearcoat removal and polishing results will vary with users' techniques and products. This is my first stab at polishing an AS and I'm learning as I go. Thanks to all for their input.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	62704c.jpg
Views:	215
Size:	92.8 KB
ID:	7365  


May you camp where wind won’t hit you, where snakes won’t bite and bears won’t git you.

Rog0525 is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
clearcoat -plasticoat stripper art Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 62 07-18-2004 12:59 PM
wood stripper recommendations fitzjo1 Cabinets, Counter Tops & Furnishings 24 01-24-2004 04:59 PM
biodegradeable clearcoat stripper? Rog0525 Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 3 01-23-2004 06:46 PM
1955 Flying Cloud Interior Walls Steph Upholstery, Blinds, Walls & Interior Finishes 6 01-12-2004 08:48 PM
Polishing Blues. TBKP's Overlander Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 19 10-12-2002 07:57 AM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:42 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.