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Old 05-18-2009, 06:51 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Bob Thompson View Post
I'm about to do a "5 years later" of my paint job and other improvements and the jist of it will be, except for some problem sealants, it looks almost exactly today as it looked when I finished it 5 years ago, no thanks to me and my dislike of waxing. The paint has held up superbly! .


And Bob may wind up being critical, even then. My wife and I had the opportunity to view this trailer, inside & out, and there is nothing about it that doesn't inspire admiration, as well as respect for the quality of thinking that altered the interior, and parsed out the necessary materials for the exterior.

This is just the trailer folks wish for when they think of restoring or renovating an old Airstream. It has all the qualities of being new, and the character from years on the road. I hope many of you have the chance to see it, and appreciate the subtleties involved.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:33 PM   #114
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Bob, Glad to hear that your not short a rivet or two.. As I try to reasearch paint etc. and find someone willing to do the painting, It's amazing the lack of detail these shops are willing to give you about what they plan to do. I say, "what kind of paint do you use?", They say " we can match any color", I ask how they plan to prep the aluminum. They say"The right way" etc. I have a lead on someone who paints trucks that I'm following up on. I would be supplying the materials, so that would give me better control, but also I need to make the right choices. Sometimes I wish I didn't ask so many questions. Drop it off, pick it up, live happily ever after. Even trying to decide what color to paint the old Argosy is hard. White just seems so boring. Let us know about that 5 year update. Thanks again, George.
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:08 PM   #115
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Bob, Glad to hear that your not short a rivet or two.. As I try to reasearch paint etc. and find someone willing to do the painting, It's amazing the lack of detail these shops are willing to give you about what they plan to do. I say, "what kind of paint do you use?", They say " we can match any color", I ask how they plan to prep the aluminum. They say"The right way" etc. I have a lead on someone who paints trucks that I'm following up on. I would be supplying the materials, so that would give me better control, but also I need to make the right choices. Sometimes I wish I didn't ask so many questions. Drop it off, pick it up, live happily ever after. Even trying to decide what color to paint the old Argosy is hard. White just seems so boring. Let us know about that 5 year update. Thanks again, George.
Those are typical answers. You get that way after a few years of watching the customers' eyes glaze over when you try to explain what you do.

Painting an aluminum trailer is not an everyday job. A good painter can do it but may have to look up the details.

But if the original finish is good enough to paint over, then it is the same as painting over any painted vehicle. The only tricky bit would be priming any bare aluminum patches and that simply requires buying the right grade of primer and prep materials.
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:19 PM   #116
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HI Bob,

Just found your post and hope you are still on the forum. I have a 73 Silver Streak that has anodized alluminum and was wondering if the process for painting would be different? I would not have to strip clear coat as it has non. The finish is very faded and I am looking for a way to give it a long term solution. How has your paint held up over the years? Again, thanks for the detailed posts of your project.

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Mitch
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:47 PM   #117
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Hi Mitch, I still frequent Airstream Forums, I just post less. As you would expect, anyone not following the herd is going to take a lot of flack when they go off doing their own thing. I ran into it when I painted my Airstream and again when I was the earliest to switch to 16" wheels and Commercial LT tires. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f438...res-16506.html

I was told Airstream had spent millions perfecting their choice for tires, GYM's, and they were not to be altered or terrible things would happen. Terrible, terrible things! Sometimes it's hard to see with dim bulbs for guidance.

Similar with painting a Airstream. If I were planning to paint a Silver Streak, I would take the same approach as I used on the Airstream with the exception of using the stripper to get clearcoat off. I would sand the anodized finish until the surface looked like mine before the alodine was applied. More precisely, I would sand until I achieved a "sanded aluminum" look, removing any earlier finish including anodizing. Then, just before I planned to do the alodine, I would wet sand it again until no "black" (the oxidized aluminum) washed off. I would let it dry and apply the alumiprep then rinse, let dry and just as soon as dry, I would apply the alodine conversion coat. From there, you need to get the epoxy primer on it within a day or two. Once the epoxy primer is on, you've sealed the aluminum and you can lightly wetsand the primer and apply the finish of your choice. It is not necessary to use the PPG paint I used. Just use a quality basecoat/clearcoat or Imron type finish paint.

My paint job is doing great. I did get the clearcoat a bit thin in two places on the top and have had to touch up about 3 sq. ft. of it, but the rest is doing great. It is still very lusterous and people still have a hard time determining it is not a brushed aluminum finish under clearcoat until they get within a couple feet of it. I would change one thing. Instead of using a GM color, I would stick to my guns and go with the lighter, more metalic silver popular on many Honda's.

I would expect my paint job to last at least another 7-10 years. When needed, I will sand down to the epoxy primer then repaint with a basecoat/clearcoat system.
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:41 PM   #118
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Thanks Bob,

One more question to ask is did you paint the top of your camper also?

Regards,

Mitch
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:59 PM   #119
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Didn't need to, it came from the factory already painted white. Eventually I will need to repaint it and I'm not looking forward to it. By then the sealant around the vents and skylights will be in bad shape and will have to all come up before painting.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:02 PM   #120
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Bob, a quick question: do you keep your Airstream stored under cover? I would assume that you do....Do you think that the paint would hold up as well as yours has if you were to keep it stored outside in the winter and the blazing TX summer?
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:15 AM   #121
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I keep it under an RV Carport with ends covered by shade cloth. If I had left it out in the elements, I'd expect the finish to be less lustrous and maybe have a somewhat dull finish on the upper areas which would have a lot of UV exposure. Texas summers can be brutal. Most of the finish still looks almost new. I think this is more a product of using a really good clearcoat for the basecoat/clearcoat system. If I remember correctly, I had a choice of clearcoats, some better and more durable than others. I remember one, I think it was called "Diamond Brite" or something like that, was suppost to be superior to all others in terms of clarity and durability. At the time I was painting it, I was venturing into some unknow territory so I went with a less "pricey" option. However, in todays "light" (6 years later) I wish I'd sprung for the best stuff. The trailer has served us very well over the 100,000 or so miles we've towed it. I'm convident it has several times that many more miles remaining in it's useful life. It has a great "durable" and enjoyable quality to it. Those are virtues I value in any project, and I'm pleased I was able to express them in this project.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:44 AM   #122
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Leong1, I have the same trailer as you originally painted in 1990. Like Bob, mine was stored under an RV carport with the ends exposed. The paint has held up wonderfully where the sun did not directly hit it. The blue stripe and the pewter bumper and a-frame have been repainted more than once. I also just had a silver panel repainted on the curbside fore and aft of the entry door due to peeling of clearcoat from sun exposure. It is now stored indoors. As Bob stated, the finish is durable and enjoyable. People have no idea the trailer is 34 years old.

I'd rather spend an afternoon waxing the trailer once a year than spend days/weeks polishing the bare aluminum more frequently. Painting is much more expensive than stripping and polishing initially but under the right storage conditions will end up being cheaper/less labor intensive in the long run to maintain.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:31 PM   #123
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Here's my RV cover and trailer in the back yard.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:39 PM   #124
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Hi Bob,

Hope your still out there. More questions, when you were painting each side of your trailer how or where did you mask off for an ending spot? Did you stop at a rivited section? Have really enjoyed your thread. I hope this summer to paint my Silver Streak.

Regards,

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:58 PM   #125
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I would stop the paint where the front cap joint meets the side and at the joint where the rear cap meets the side.

I'm seeing signs of the clear coat starting to break down so I know I'm going to have to repaint this winter. The plan is to sand it down to the epoxy primer and shoot a single stage paint this time. When I shot the two stage paint, I was given a choice of clearcoats based on price. I went with the lower priced clearcoat thinking the difference was in clarity or ability to be glossy. Turns out, it must have been in UV resistance.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:56 PM   #126
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Thanks Bob,

Any idea what brand of single stage paint you will use? That is what I plan to do on mine, when I get myself started.

Mitch
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