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Old 11-24-2013, 12:44 PM   #15
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Greetings Foxbrook!

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Originally Posted by Foxbrook View Post
First, I will need to think about the work involved polishing it since I have successfully made it look worse instead of better. That rubber paint is going to be messy to strip.
I hope that you don't find any surprises as you strip the paint on your Airstream, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if you find one or more suprises hidden by that paint. While some Airstreams have been painted strictly as an appearance enhancement, that is not always the case. Often, when one encounters a painted Airstream, it was painted to hide bodywork done with bondo and other fillers/dent remedies. There was an instance about 15 to 25 years ago where there was a terrible hail storm at one of the WBCCI International Rallys held in Bismarck, North Dakota . . . the Airstreams parked there were subject to hail denting so severe that many were totaled . . . some were repaired using automotive body repair techniques with a new paint job rather than the panel replacement that would be typical of the repairs necessary to maintain the natural aluminum finish.

Good luck with your project and hoping that you do not uncover any unexpected surprises!

Kevin
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Old 11-24-2013, 01:04 PM   #16
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so this "ageism" is commmon in the boat world and I thing for much the same reason. In fact it not just age but constuction that limits morrage. many marinas Have a "No Wooden Boats " policy. For them its not just how it looks but older boats have older system and older systems like electrical and Propane fail and whne the do it can be disasterous. Howerver most dock masters can tell at a glance if a boat has been kept up or if is is a fire wainting to happen. The boat I had before the one I have now was a 1964 30 Chriscraft, the place I wanted to keep told me that they did not accept Wooden boats I mearly showed the the most recent survey and offered to let them inspect themselves and I was let right in. The ironic bit is that less that 5 years later there was a fire at that marina and it started on a nearby fiberglass boat I lost that boat. The point is that the marina owner or the park owner has the right to protect their property and the property of the other renters for something they judge to be a fire risk.
More than once I wish that dock master and looked a bit closer at some of the other boats and not worried so much what it was made from.
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Old 11-24-2013, 01:22 PM   #17
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Every time this subject comes up, I find it interesting that posters here find it difficult to understand the concept of private property rights when it comes to setting rules and regulations.
I don't think it's a matter of not understanding the concept of private property rights in private campgrounds, but a reaction to what appears to be a "snob" factor.

For some, this is okay. For others, it is offensive.

Many private campgrounds deal with avoiding run-down, dilapidated RV's by posting a sign that they are a private campground and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.


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Old 11-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #18
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Update: I figured there was no time like the present to power wash and see how the skin looked. We thought that the airstream was that cloudy silver white and mostly needed a good scrub, paint stipper and then the buffing process.

WRONG!!!! The PO painted it with a dull rubber silverish color paint. It is now even worse looking as the pressure washing has peeled little of the paint away here and there and left an ugly mess. Also, they applied gunk on the roof, under the paint but over rivets. They must have had leaks or something. I might not have time to fix this before I am due back in Southern California. I definitely will not be permitted to stay for very long at any of the campgrounds until this is stripped and polished.
I would spend the time to completely strip the paint & residual clear coat off the trailer & not bother with polishing just yet. As this trailer was clear coated when it was new, the only areas that will appear not quasi shiny will be where the clear coat fell off, which is typically the upper part of the endcaps along with the roof. So, then step back & try to blend the oxidized areas with the shiny areas with fine scotch brite & lots of soapy water. The soapy water will help to lube the surface & diminish the abraisiveness of the scotch brite, but allowing you to remove the oxidation. This is going to give your trailer a fresh clean appearance, so campground owners will be more likely to let you in. When you finally get the time to polish the whole trailer, the previous work will be a step towards that end. I have done this in the past & it certainly freshens the look.
Good luck with it,
Colin
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:17 PM   #19
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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Thank you for all the thoughts and advice.

After pressure washing and cleaning the airstream roof, the reason for the terrible silver rubber coating has become apparent. The power washer lifted some of the paint leaving a mess. I have not had the time or weather to strip it all off yet.

It has been rather stormy for the last few days and several leaks have shown up around the AC unit, the vents front and back, down the curbside wall in the rear bedroom, the vent pipe in the bathroom, the fan hood over the stove and over the bed.

Do I strip and then seal it? It is looking pretty rough right now. It looks like it will be a while before any rv park in LA will accept us. It is going to be great when it is done though.
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Old 11-28-2013, 11:11 PM   #20
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You didn't ask BUT...

when has that ever stopped me?

Trying to polish a painted Airstream - well if it was done right it might have been sanded before painting, possibly sanded too deeply to ever polish. And you noted leaks since you power washed it.

I assume since you are going to grad school, money is very much an issue. I've been doing the annual re-seal on my new Airstream, and while I'm 65 and not particularly fit, it still has to be a pain in the neck to do even at 25. Then there's polishing which you can do obsessively or do a basic job to make it look respectable. If you've got friends or relatives and in this weather - if you've got a garage or shelter to do it in, you might be able to get the job done before school starts but it's a HUGE labor on a 31.

Before you start - Consider if there is ANY way you could actually get a newer or even new unit. Interest rates are pretty darned low right now, and you could get some kind of trade in allowance. You'd be stuck with payments, but you might get something that wouldn't take all that labor.

I didn't notice where in NC you are, but if it's anywhere close to Out of Doors Mart, give them a call and see if they have any newer used ones, consignments, or perhaps a left over 2013. If nothing else, Terry (Overlander63) would be happy to advise you on what you need to make your unit safe and habitable for the trip. Have him inspect your FRAME too... he'll tell you why. He'd also give you a legit idea about whether you should polish or possibly re-paint your Airstream - which might be cheaper and could fix the leaks too.

Paula

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Old 11-29-2013, 12:12 AM   #21
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Hello Foxbrook:

Just a thought! There are many silver painted Airstreams that are beautiful. With your deadline of next February you might consider repainting instead of polishing. I know of one Airstream where a PO had sandblasted the aluminum. Now polishing it isn't an option. Good luck!
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:40 AM   #22
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Wow, sand blasting? I will have to look carefully. Money is a concern, definitely. My wife and I are trying to keep expenses really low. Taking on a payment might not be the best idea but I am driving by out of doors mart tomorrow and it wouldn't hurt to take a peek at options. Painting seems like a reasonable solution too. I keep everyone posted. Thank you for all the responses.
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Old 11-29-2013, 08:45 AM   #23
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Quote:
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Wow, sand blasting? I will have to look carefully. Money is a concern, definitely. My wife and I are trying to keep expenses really low. Taking on a payment might not be the best idea but I am driving by out of doors mart tomorrow and it wouldn't hurt to take a peek at options. Painting seems like a reasonable solution too. I keep everyone posted. Thank you for all the responses.
You might well be able to rent a sandblaster and any other large equipment you may need.

This is especially helpful for those big ticket items you only need occasionally.

Check your yellow pages for rental centers.


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Old 11-29-2013, 09:32 AM   #24
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Wow, sand blasting? I will have to look carefully.
Look VERY carefully! Many of the more typical sandblasting abrasives, including silica sand, glass beads, slag, etc. will destroy sheet aluminum.

Soda blasting works well with aluminum. That's blasting with baking soda. Yep. The same stuff that's in a box in your fridge, that some people brush their teeth with. They use it a lot on aircraft that need to be repainted.

Some plastic abrasives also work well with aluminum. But soda has the added advantage that cleanup is simple; just hose it off. No need to reclaim the blasting abrasive.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:13 AM   #25
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Sandblasting is a terrible idea especially with aluminum. I won't go into the gory details but I worked in body shops for years and did my share of sandblasting. Even on a steel bodied car it is difficult to avoid collateral damage such as sandblasted glass and trim, and warped panels. On an Airstream you would be sure to ruin it.

Without seeing the unit in question it is impossible to give any sensible suggestions but if you have to strip the paint use a heat gun or aircraft paint stripper. Use a plastic scraper to avoid scratching the aluminum. The pressure washer seems to have done part of the job, it may get more off but be careful not to drive water into the seams.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:56 AM   #26
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Strip Clear Coat

I got my 1976 31' Sovereign in 2000. It had sit in a dirt field for more than 10 years. The interior was all original and the floor was sound no leaks. The outside showed the effects of the Sun. The Clear coat or what was left of it looked like it had melted down the sides. After paying the ransom and bringing it home I took everything out from inside. Although it was all original nothing worked and the curtains, carpet and couch and bed material would just fall to pieces in your hand. But that is another topic. My first task was to see what I could do about this ugly old aluminum trailer. The Air Forums was not around at that time, at lease I don't think it was. But someone told me to get some paint stripper and see what happened. I was amazed at what I found under that old ugly clear coat after just stripping. Take a look.

Airstream strip clear coat.pdf
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Old 12-02-2013, 09:41 AM   #27
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I am excited and worried about what the previous owners may have done under the paint. Bondo, sandblasting and panel repair are all nerve wracking possibilities. Hopefully, we get some warmer weather soon and I can get started with the paint removal soon.
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:45 PM   #28
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I understand the rule as there are some rough looking rigs on the road, but, since leaving Alaska last fall I've run into several campgrounds that had a "10 year or newer" rule... funny thing when they ask what I had and heard it was an Airstream, I haven't had one even so much as ask for a photo. I'm at the Lazy Daze Resort in Tucson right now and was told they had a 10 year rule, but they didn't even ask when I pulled in to register.
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