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Old 02-16-2012, 11:01 PM   #1
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1969 25' Tradewind
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What next?

I recently purcased a 1969 Tradewind( overall decent condition). Not my first Airstream. Note to self: Dont buy an Airstream in the dark of night.
The overall condition of the trailer was not bad, but in the light of day, I discoverd that the trailer had ben washed in a very corrosive acid. Most of the alclad was gone, with the exception of some very large junks on the door side of the trailer. The only way to save this old girl is to get rid of all all the alclad, and polish the base aluminum. Any ideas on removing whats left of the alclad ? Im not afraid to go Where no man has ever gone with the metal( considering belt sander). PLease let me know if anyone has any ideas.
Thanks, Steve in Austin
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:24 AM   #2
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Are you _sure_ this is the alclad rather than the clear coat being gone in parts and then those sections oxidizing?

- Bart
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:37 AM   #3
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Alclad

Unfotunately it is the Alclad. The chunks polish. I've had a lot of Airstreams, but never seen one one like this. Thanks for responding.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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Welcome Aboard....

5039,

Some pic's would help....

It would be difficult to acid-off the the aluminum coating without collateral damage, it's the outer layer of the Alclad thats the "pure" aluminum..bonded to a corrosion resistant base alloy.

Our 63 Safari looked patchy= unevenly worn clearcoat.

The "chunks" do polish, they are the surface layer.

Bob
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:10 AM   #5
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I think I know that 69 Airstream. It is a weathered skin and needs to be stripped. Then you will be able to polish it up.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melody Ranch View Post
I think I know that 69 Airstream. It is a weathered skin and needs to be stripped. Then you will be able to polish it up.
MR

So what you are saying is that its the pure aluminum outer layer you need to remove to get that nice shiny surface?

Bob
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:53 AM   #7
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Lightbulb Try this...

Quote:
I discoverd that the trailer had ben washed in a very corrosive acid. Most of the alclad was gone, with the exception of some very large (ch)unks on the door side of the trailer.
Wash two small (6"x6" is fine) areas on the trailer - one where you believe the "alclad" remains and one where you think it is gone. Next, take a tiny dab of toothpaste on your finger. Rub it gently on the area that you think the "alclad" has been removed. It should turn black. Now take another dab on a clean finger and do the same thing where you believe the alclad still remians. Does it turn balck there too or does it stay cleaner? If it stays "clean" then that area still has "clearcoat" protecting the aluminum. If it gets just as dirty as the first area, it does not - the clearcoat is probably gone and what you are seeing is the bare aluminum that has oxidized.

As the clearcoat fails over time, the exposed areas oxidize at various rates. As the aluminum is exposed longer in areas that failed first is oxidizes worse than in the areas it has more recently failed. The Alclad is most likely still intact - it's the clearcoat that has failed. That is very fixable through polishing...our first trailer, was very oxidized in some areas and not so much in others. After stripping all the remaining clearcoat off, we were able to poilsh the whole trailer to a beautiful shine without needing a belt sander!

As others have also stated, the Alclad is a thin pure aluminum layer that most likely would not be effected by an acid wash that didn't also distroy all the plastic & painted bits on your trailer too.

The pictures I've attached are of our old trailer before polishing:





& after polishing below...



If you can post some pics of yours, BEFORE you take a belt sander to it Puh-leeeez-e, we can better assess what you are working with. I suspect, it's not as bad as you think it is...

Shari
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:46 AM   #8
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Pictures of the acid damage would really help.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:56 PM   #9
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alclad

Thanks for the input. I originally thought the trailer needed stripping,and tried, but nothing happened. Did the "toothpaste test" and found both spots turned black. The base aluminum does polish out, as well as whats left of the alclad. Its just not a smooth surface. The person that did this to the trailer is no longer alive. Unfotunate for both of us. No one knows what he was using. Sad part is, he was washing the trailer for a friend. They just didnt know what they were doing. Im still experimenting, but I promise not to use the belt sander. I have had and been around many Airstreams. Never have seen this. The rest of the trailer is solid and the interior is in great shape. No rain leaks.. I am new to this site and dont know how to post a pic . Thanks again for input.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:44 PM   #10
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I don't know what your intentions are for the trailer or how much you have already in it, but if the exterior bothers you that much, you may want to sell it and start over before you do too much to the rest of it. A lot of folks might not care...

Shari
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:34 AM   #11
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To post pics, first click "Go Advanced" below the reply box. Then click on the little paper clip in the top task bar above the new reply box. Follow the directions for uploading pictures from your computer.

When you want to insert them into a post, select where you want them to go in the reply box and click on the paper clip icon again for a drop down menu of the pictures you've just uploaded.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:57 AM   #12
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Thumbs up Several ways..

Or, after selecting "go advanced", scroll down to additional options below and click on "manage attachments" either way werks fine.

Bob
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