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Old 04-27-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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What do I use to wash and wax my trailer?

Is the finish a clear coat over the aluminum skin? Can I use car wash soap and wax to wash and wax the trailer?
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
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It's a coating put on when the panels are made. I don't think it's identical to auto clear coat, but serves the same purpose. Any car wash soap and wax should be fine. There are many opinions on what is best (like most things around here!). For wax I like Wolbernize because it's the easiest I've used to apply and remove. Keeps the water beading on Safari all year.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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If you have never waxed it I would recommend Glare polish. (Any previous wax must be removed for it to bond.) I put it on last fall after seeing a complete line of Glare finish products at the Airstream Store in Jackson Center, and seeing they recommend it.

I was especially interested in a glass ingredient in the polish that is supposed to protect the finish from the sun's ultraviolet light. That will take some time to realize, but it's easy to put on and lasts very well, and looks really good.

I also put it on the front sunshield/glass protector of the Airstream; after a couple thousand miles this past week it appears the splattered bugs come off much easier, although it was cool weather and not many test critters in the air.

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Old 05-04-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
It's a coating put on when the panels are made. I don't think it's identical to auto clear coat, but serves the same purpose. Any car wash soap and wax should be fine. There are many opinions on what is best (like most things around here!). For wax I like Wolbernize because it's the easiest I've used to apply and remove. Keeps the water beading on Safari all year.
I asked Alcoa for info about the coating, no info but I found out that it is supplied by a third company so I requested a MSDS sheet.
Base on that I am pretty sure it is polyethylene (it could be polypropylene, unlikely but the conclusions would be the same). So basically our Airstreams are coated with a trashbag, the same stuff you get at Walmart.
Unfortunately this does not tell us much since there are many polyethylenes and many stabilization additives they can use. But some general statements can be made. First, some soaps can damage PE (stress-cracking) so a good wash with clean water after washing. PE is chemically resistant and less scratch resistant so frequent wash is not probably the best thing. PE relies on additives for UV resistance so some added protection from UV is good (what form I do not know maybe the classic 'wolber' has some UV protection). As people found out you cannot repair the coating, paint does not stick to it, it is pretty much a one shot deal, in some years it will be gone.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:39 PM   #5
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Seems like the sun would be the enemy. I plan to build it a shelter at some point in the future as money permits. Maybe the clear coat/plastic bag will last that long. Seems like car wash soap and wax couldn't hurt it. When it is gone will I be able to polish the aluminum to a mirror shine like those old trailers?
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:15 PM   #6
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Be patient waiting for the chance to polish your bare aluminum. That "trash bag" finish lasts a long, long time. Not so with the sealants, seals, and plastic exterior components in the sun. They need to be watched for degradation, and resealed as needed to prevent leaks. Some of us wipe or spray on an exterior UV protective spray regularly.

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Old 05-05-2013, 10:39 PM   #7
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Thumbs up What I've found that works......

First a good mitt...., won't scratch, great reach!!

Then a good soap..., sooper slick.

Then a good sealer....easy on and off, and it lasts.

Then towels to dry....the corner pockets come in handy!

Plus any of their microfiber cloths....

Great products, sooper customer service.

Bob
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:48 AM   #8
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Hi, wash trailer with a good automotive soap like McGuire's. And.......................................... well, I don't wax mine.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #9
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The silver trailer will ride again the week of Memorial Day. I'm sure I can knock the dust off with clear water and a clean white cotton t-shirt cloth. I have a telescoping brush I bought when I had another brand trailer. After hand washing the trailer with a bucket and soap with a step ladder and cleaning the rubber roof on my hands and knees with a bathroom scrub brush I decided the brush would make my life easier. I am afraid to use the brush on my silver trailer for fear of scratching the plastic bag clear coat. I use the brush on parts of the roof and windshield only on my big ole monster pickup. Even with a step ladder I cannot reach the center front of the roof or windshield. The truck might be little too big. What about cleaning the roof of the Airstream? I will probably use that telescoping brush and a step ladder.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:10 PM   #10
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I use one of these to do the roof.
Wash Mop Stick Kit - Cleaning Tools - Car Washing - Car Care - Griot's Garage

I use car wash in the water and use the product in the link to wash the roof.
Once the roof is clean and rinsed I have extra mop heads that I use for drying the roof. Just switch out the mop heads on the pole and finish it up.
After applying wax on the roof I use more mop heads to remove the wax from the roof and polish it to a nice shine.
It's one of the best tools I have found to help clean and shine the hard to reach places like the roof.
I give credit to Robert Cross for telling me about that product. It saves me from over extending myself on the ladder and does a great job on the roof.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:19 PM   #11
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I second Robert Cross' suggestions. I don't think either of us have any connection with Griot's, but we've become believers. I just finished the Otter last Sunday using the methods and materials he described. She GLEAMS in the Sun.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:37 PM   #12
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I like Simple Green...it's biodegradable and a microfiber rag to get the bugs off the front.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:16 AM   #13
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Purple Power might work as well as Simple Green. I discovered when I couldn't find any motorcycle cleaner in my town that Purple Power does essentially the same thing. I have cleaned 2 motorcycles with Purple Power followed by drying with a microfiber cloth and then polishing with motorcycle polish or Meguiar's Instant Detailer which is essentially the same thing. I think Meguiar's instant Detailer would work great on the silver trailer as well.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:27 AM   #14
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Question SG is ok if......

.....your using the correct product.

Bob
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