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Old 07-28-2003, 03:26 PM   #1
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Can paint be removed from top of airstream?

A couple of the airstreams I have been looking at for purchase have the top panels painted white. I am told that this was popular a couple of decades ago to keep them cooler, especially if they did not have a/c. However, for asthetics reasons, I am not interested in the white top.

My question is can the paint be removed easily from the skin so that it can be polished back to the original shiny aluminum?
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Old 07-28-2003, 03:52 PM   #2
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On more recent models of Airstreams, the very top (roof) is white rather than aluminum. They are that way from the factory. If that is the section you are concerned about, I doubt anything can be changed on it.

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Old 07-28-2003, 04:03 PM   #3
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No, I'm talking about mid-sixties airstreams where the seller says "I painted the top white myself like the newer-model airstreams to keep it cooler." I got the impression that this is common, and someone here might have some experience un-doing it (or recommending I look for another airstream to restore.)

Thanks
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Old 07-28-2003, 04:21 PM   #4
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Without knowing what was used to coat it I would be reluctant to attempt to strip it off. Once you get the unit's top stripped then you will need to go all out and strip the rest and polish it if you want it all to match.

Of course there is a forum member who is doing just that to make a few clams while someting permanent comes along, and the pics look great.

You will spend many hours or $$ getting it the way you want and it will not increase the value by the man hours you put in it. In this case I would say pass, there are plenty of them out there unless you are looking for a model that was limited in production.
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Old 07-28-2003, 04:51 PM   #5
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It would also depend on how well they prepped the aluminum before painting. If they did it right and used a dual action sander you are talking about a kazillion scratches that may be hard if not impossible to polish out. I would look at repainting it as good as a silver as you can get just to get it match somewhat better. Have your cake and eat it too? Polishing the roof is a pain in the butt anyways.

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Old 07-28-2003, 06:13 PM   #6
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i have seen a few white roofs and most are coated with cool seal . not a big deal to remove they didnt do any prep just sloped it on. if it is for sure paint it was sanded and roughed up so the paint would stick. and that will be a pain tp polish out. if it can be polished out. need to determine if it is paint or cool seal and if they did the proper prep to paint if so keep on walking.lol
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Old 07-28-2003, 06:18 PM   #7
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I am sure it can. With time and money almost anything is possible!
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Old 07-28-2003, 06:58 PM   #8
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If prepped properly for paint the top has probably been sanded. In that case it may be hard to get it polished.

Strip off part of it and see. You may be lucky and it may be beautiful preserved aluminum underneath.
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Old 07-28-2003, 09:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for the comments. I think I'll wait. I've only been looking for a couple of months for the right one to come along. I think I'll do some more research and see if I can find out how many Tradewinds or Safaris were made in the sixties.

This site is great!
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Old 08-19-2003, 10:11 PM   #10
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My 78 was painted and i mean not just the roof. The paint is peeling in numerous spots. Has anyone tried stripping and buffing or are is strip and repaint the only course of action?
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Old 08-19-2003, 10:16 PM   #11
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Well, I would say strip for sure. Repaint is dependent on what you find under the paint. It could be someone wanted to cover the peeling plasticoat is all. So once you strip you will have a silver trailer. Then the question is to clear coat it, or repaint with silver paint. It really depends you may decide to leave it raw and polish it.
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Old 08-19-2003, 10:38 PM   #12
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The front coners are pealing and the shell got sanded, looks like paint is the way to go. Does anyone have any recomendations on what kind of paint to use? Is airplane paint a good idear? Planes have to withstand all kinds of climate changes. If i'm gone paint i might as well only do it once and do it right.
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Old 08-20-2003, 07:06 AM   #13
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i heard imeron was the paint to use. and is not cheap lol
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Old 08-20-2003, 01:38 PM   #14
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Painting an Airstream

There are two basic methods used when painting an Airstream.

The cheap way, calls for an acid etch (WRONG THING TO DO), then apply paint. Result, poor adhesion, peeling in time, but cheap. Not to mention, using cheap paint.

The second and most expensive and far superior way, is to sand into the metal with 120 to 150 grit sandpaper. Apply two coats of flexible epoxy primer, three coats of metallic silver and three coats of a poly clear.
Expensive, yes, but long lasting (20 years at least).

To remove the paint when the cheap method was used, is not difficult. Keep in mind, that the sides of the trailer will be be stripped as well at the same time.

To remove the paint when the expensive method was used, is considerably more difficult, because of the surface prep.

Polishing the trailer or the roof as the case many be, when the cheap method was used, is not much more difficult than if it was never painted.

To polish the trailer or roof, again, as the case may be, when the expensive, but far superior method was used, may be impossible, because of the depth of sanding.

Additionally, when the expensive method is used, the need to use Imron paint is not required. Using Imron paint without a clear, will result in a faded paint. Putting clear over Imron, is a waste of money that was put into the Imron.


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