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Old 12-19-2015, 06:57 PM   #1
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1976 25' Tradewind
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What is this dark dull stuff on the aluminum?

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All of it is on the roof. It's smooth to the touch. I applied Rustoleum aircraft remover and let it set for half an hour. Hosed the chemical off. The dark aluminum remained. It won't come off. Is it corrosion? Is this anodized aluminum? What is the correct term?Click image for larger version

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Old 12-19-2015, 07:07 PM   #2
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What is this dark dull stuff on the aluminum?

The pictures are before the application of aircraft remover. The dark stained aluminum remained on the roof and end caps
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Old 12-19-2015, 07:33 PM   #3
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What does oven cleaner do to the shell?
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Old 12-20-2015, 08:40 PM   #4
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It appears to be oxidation. The clear coat fails on the roof first allowing the aluminum to oxidize. Try a bit of aluminum polish or toothpaste and buff a small spot with your finger and a rag.


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Old 12-20-2015, 10:16 PM   #5
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You won't have to remove clear coat from those areas....it's gone! Try your polish there & look forward to what the rest of your trailer will look like after stripping & polishing:-)
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Old 12-20-2015, 10:33 PM   #6
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The bad news is your clearcoat has failed...The good news means that there is less clearcoat to remove before you polish it! Happy polishing!
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:16 AM   #7
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That's a coating of aluminum oxide. Fortunately, aluminum is self-protecting unless exposed to extremely corrosive conditions. That natural coating is a good substitute for clear coat, and it is why Alclad aluminum is made with a pure aluminum layer rolled on to the aluminum alloy sheet.

Polish it off and your trailer will shine. Strip the clear coat off the rest and then polish that too.
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Old 12-21-2015, 09:30 AM   #8
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What does oven cleaner do to the shell?

NOTHING GOOD! The shell has lost it's clear coat, you don't want it to lose it's al-clad (layer of almost pure aluminum on the surface). You can polish al-clad to a mirror shine, but if you get over-enthusiastic you can go through it and destroy it. Think of polishing silver plate until the silver comes off - same thing with al-clad.

There are numerous threads on polishing - do a google search and read more than one. Consider consulting with someone with LOTS of polishing experience before you go charging ahead. An ounce of prevention will save a lot of expense and wasted time.

Paula
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:21 PM   #9
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The black stuff could be Aluminum oxide, but it may also be mildew or both. Try a soft brush or sponge with a mild mixture of Dawn Dish Detergent with a little bit of Clorox in a spot where it won''t show. When the clear coat starts to peel or chip, the aluminum oxide underneath will pit just enough to hold some dirt which will grow mildew in a humid environment.
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:09 PM   #10
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The black stuff could be Aluminum oxide, but it may also be mildew or both. Try a soft brush or sponge with a mild mixture of Dawn Dish Detergent with a little bit of Clorox in a spot where it won''t show. When the clear coat starts to peel or chip, the aluminum oxide underneath will pit just enough to hold some dirt which will grow mildew in a humid environment.
what Jacob says - also the toothpaste polishing trick works too. (No GEL!) It'll give you a look at what polished can be! It'll also mislead you into thinking that you're going to find polishing easy and quick. In truth you'll end up with "Popeye forearms" and ache in spots you don't know you have.

Paula

BTW - your Airstream has "male pattern baldness" - clearcoat failure on the top and curved part of the sides. Typical of Airstreams that are 20+ years old and have been well used. Only the garage kept ones that are taken out 5 times a year maintain flawless clearcoat.
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Old 12-21-2015, 03:50 PM   #11
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Any idea what oven cleaner does to this oxidation?
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:52 PM   #12
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Any idea what oven cleaner does to this oxidation?
Yes it will destroy your aluminum to the point of replacing the skin. Don't try it!!!
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Old 12-21-2015, 05:07 PM   #13
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What is this dark stuff on the aluminum?

The photo of the rear end of the trailer looks a lot like my '72 Sovereign in various areas. I have been following the discussions on this topic for awhile now, especially on the subject of polishing and wasn't quite sure what folks were talking about. If I remove what remains of the clear coat can I then apply another layer of clearcoat over the entire trailer or is polishing the only alternative once the remaining clear coat is removed? There is a lot of surface area on a 31' AS and I don't look forward to the amount of labor I envision it would take to keep it polished.

Any suggestions will be appreciated!
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:25 PM   #14
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Do Not Use Oven Cleaner!
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