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Old 07-18-2010, 08:27 AM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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What year did they start clear coating streams

Just got my first trailer, 76 Sovereign and it could use exterior cleaning and in researching I keep reading about removing clear coat. I am thinking early 80s was when the clear coat craze hit the automotive world???
Anybody know on Airstream when it started?
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:47 AM   #2
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Just got my first trailer, 76 Sovereign and it could use exterior cleaning and in researching I keep reading about removing clear coat. I am thinking early 80s was when the clear coat craze hit the automotive world???
Anybody know on Airstream when it started?
Airstream clear coated the trailers, as an option, if I remember correctly, in 1962.

In 1964, the clearcoating became standard.

Over time, the formulation changed, more than once.

Andy
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:25 AM   #3
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I believe it was still an "option" in 1964 - I've seen some with and some without. Could be that it was standardized in the CA plant before the OH plant.

Shari
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:03 AM   #4
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Clear Coat confusion???

Brand new to the Forum! After 15 years of dreaming and absolutely wearing out my SOB, bought new in '93, I found the deal I was looking for quite unexpectedly and suddenly while on vacation in my SOB! I got an 07 Classic 30...BARELY used, then stored in a barn for 2 years, due to illness. Inside is pristene. Outside is dirty and contains several "garage boo-boos. Thus my question: I have read and read this forum this week and am unclear. I think my unit is clear coat paint and not plasticote...right? If it is paint, what kind? Enamel, laquer etc. If it is paint, can it be finessed exactly like a car, using the same products?

Thanks, and I look forward to participating in this forum for many years to come!
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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Hi,

Welcome to the forums.

Your unit has the clear coat applied at the factory (Alcoa).

Originally the Airstream factory would spray the plasticote on the skin after completion of the shell.

Good Luck

Greg
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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Airstream clear coated the trailers, as an option, if I remember correctly, in 1962.

In 1964, the clearcoating became standard.

Over time, the formulation changed, more than once.

Andy

Andy,

Does that mean that my '61 bambi is probably not clearcoated? I can't visually tell if it is, and I have tested it with a stripper.

Thanks
Brian
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Brand new to the Forum! After 15 years of dreaming and absolutely wearing out my SOB, bought new in '93, I found the deal I was looking for quite unexpectedly and suddenly while on vacation in my SOB! I got an 07 Classic 30...BARELY used, then stored in a barn for 2 years, due to illness. Inside is pristene. Outside is dirty and contains several "garage boo-boos. Thus my question: I have read and read this forum this week and am unclear. I think my unit is clear coat paint and not plasticote...right? If it is paint, what kind? Enamel, laquer etc. If it is paint, can it be finessed exactly like a car, using the same products?

Thanks, and I look forward to participating in this forum for many years to come!
Airstream's clear coat (plasticote) is specially designed to bond to aluminum.

The forulation has changes over the years, but the purpose is the same.

Automotive clear coats, of any kind, "WILL NOT" bond properly to aluminum. After it ages about 2 to 3 months, it can be peeled off as though it was cellophane. Even the wind will peel it off when traveling.

Also, "NO" etching of any kind is needed with the old clearcoats.

Andy
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #8
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2007 Airstreams were made using from precoated sheet aluminum that is applied on the production line at the Alcoa plant. The top sheet is precoated white and the sides were clear. The parts that are stretched to form the ends are also precoated before Airstream does the stretch forming. As previous posters stated, anything before 1962 was made from Alcoa Alclad aluminum laminate and was not coated. My 1963 is made with Alclad and was not coated. For about $1 per foot they could have ordered the plasticoat option spray painted on at the Airstream factory.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:48 PM   #9
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So what is used on newer AS? I understand it is not Plasticote.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:18 PM   #10
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It is proprietary to Alcoa but I believe it a polyester based polymer. It is cured on line.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:41 PM   #11
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What would you use for touchup on chips & scratches then?
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:51 PM   #12
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Does that mean that my '61 bambi is probably not clearcoated? I can't visually tell if it is, and I have tested it with a stripper.
If your trailer never had clearcoat, then it will be a uniform dull gray color overall. This photo shows our '56 Safari which was never clearcoated. Notice the even grey appearance of the skin. If yours had clearcoat that has failed, it will have a more splotchiness where the clearcoat has deteriorated and the oxidation has progressed unevenly over time. It will have a "peeling sunburn" look to it. This photo shows our '64 GT with peeling clearcoat & resulting splotchy oxidation, before it was polished.

The easiest way to test to see if you have clearcoat is to take a plain white t-shirt scrap, put a tiny dab of toothpaste on it and gently rub where you think the clearcoat is on your trailer (in an inconspicous place). If it turns black, there's no clearcoat...if not, you have clearcoat protecting the aluminum. The bare aluminum will turn the spot jet black...not just dirty.

Most likely, your '61 Bambi wasn't clearcoated...

Shari
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:33 PM   #13
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'03 CCD clearcoat????

Is my '03 22ft. CCD International clearcoated and what is the best method to remove it? Will the newer AS's polish up like the old ones? Thanks, Airstray
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:37 AM   #14
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The newer Airstreams use an aluminium sheet which has a brushed mill finish on it before it is clear coated on the Alco line. The old units were made from a laminate aluminum sheet called Alclad and was originally intended for airplanes. It has a pure aluminum exterior and ha heat treatable alloy 2024 interior. The mill finish on this sheeting was quite smooth and shinny. I found an unaged area in hidden area on my 1963. If you wanted to polish a new Airstream you would need to compound off the brushed finish which would take quite a bit of work. The new alloy will most likely not take quite as bright a finish and will dull faster due to surface corrosion, but I have not proven that. You should talk directly with Alco to be sure.
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