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Old 02-05-2014, 11:20 AM   #15
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That acid etch is what preps the surface for the clear coat. If you want plastic over a mirror surface, I don't think you are going to get that. The only way a polish works is to keep it polished. I am not sure how Airstream did their old trailers. I expect it was a complicated expensive process and that is why they cheaped out and are using this factory coated junk on the new trailers. A good clear coat will etch the surface and that is why the finish looks kinda dull with the old clear coat. I expect it is the etch. I expect the old panels were dipped in an alodine solution rinsed dried then painted.

Perry
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NEVER, EVER acid etch the exterior of any Airstream.

Not even if your going to use regular paints.

To do so will in time, create many water leaks. GUARANTEED.

The surface can be prepared simply by wiping it down with a high grade "lacquer thinner", using a soft cotton rag.

Andy
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:07 PM   #16
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I was not suggesting using battery acid or some home brew to prep your aluminum. However, any aluminum surface has to be prepped with some sort of acid based primer or surface treatment to ready for coating. My point is that clear coating aluminum is not an easy process and the surface treatments to get it ready to paint are highly toxic and it may have been the primary reason Airstream got out of the clear coating business. I work in the aerospace industry and everything has to be coated and it is not cheap. You can't just go out and buy a can of clear coat at the autoparts store and get it to work.

DGR Industrial Products, Inc. :: Specialty Coatings :: Conversion Coatings :: Alodine Chromate Conversion For Aluminum Alloys :: Henkel Alodine 1201 Chromate Conversion Coating

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Old 02-05-2014, 05:26 PM   #17
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I was not suggesting using battery acid or some home brew to prep your aluminum. However, any aluminum surface has to be prepped with some sort of acid based primer or surface treatment to ready for coating. My point is that clear coating aluminum is not an easy process and the surface treatments to get it ready to paint are highly toxic and it may have been the primary reason Airstream got out of the clear coating business. I work in the aerospace industry and everything has to be coated and it is not cheap. You can't just go out and buy a can of clear coat at the autoparts store and get it to work.

DGR Industrial Products, Inc. :: Specialty Coatings :: Conversion Coatings :: Alodine Chromate Conversion For Aluminum Alloys :: Henkel Alodine 1201 Chromate Conversion Coating

Perry
Perry.

After 48 years of experience with Airstreams, using any acid on the exterior is an absolute NO NO.

Commercial Aircraft uses different aluminum than Airstream.

The acid will bury itself under the rivet heads, and in time, will attack the back side of the rivet and the rivet hole. End result, LEAKS, BIG TIME.

I have been through that many many times.

Andy
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:50 PM   #18
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ahem commercial aircraft us exactly the same aluminum as vintage trailers no difference at all, none
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Old 02-05-2014, 05:52 PM   #19
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I am not sure how Airstream did their old trailers. I expect it was a complicated expensive process and that is why they cheaped out and are using this factory coated junk on the new trailers.
The EPA had more than a little to do with this being brought to a halt. The new panels come from the factory with the coating already applied and ready to install.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:08 PM   #20
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Just thought I'd add that all the aircraft the went through my old shop were acid cleaned prior to the surface coating process (Endura is not a paint) and I can't say acid under the rivets was a concern. Having said that we didn't use as many 1100 rivets and our planes only went back to the early 60's.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:24 PM   #21
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The acid we are talking about is a weak acid that is consumed in producing a porous oxide layer that will allow the clear coat or paint to bond to the metal. Usually, it is something like hexavalent chromium (bad stuff). It is what is called a conversion coating. It also helps prevent corrosion because now the metal has a continous oxide layer on it. You can take this process further and make the oxide layer thicker with more chemicals and usually electrolysis. This process would be called anodize. This is what AVION did to their trailers and the EPA maybe responsible for these trailers no longer being made. Aluminum will form its own oxide layer and that is the color of weathered aluminum. This is one reason that it last so long. The oxide protects the metal from further oxidation most of the time. Salt will corrode most metals even stainless steel. High strength aluminum alloys will corrode more readily than pure aluminum and that is why the old trailers had a layer of pure aluminum over the top called Al-clad. I think Airstream started using non-coated alloys of lower strength aluminum in the 70's. These alloys did not require the more expensive Al-cladding. The bad thing is that the newer Airstreams have corrosion problems. I think this is partly because the alloy and partly because of the fact the panels are coated before they are fabbed into a trailer and the edges and holes are not coated.

Andy how about finding out from Airstream how they coated their old trailers?

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Old 02-06-2014, 09:00 AM   #22
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The acid we are talking about is a weak acid that is consumed in producing a porous oxide layer that will allow the clear coat or paint to bond to the metal. Usually, it is something like hexavalent chromium (into a trailer and the edges and holes are not coated.

Andy how about finding out from Airstream how they coated their old trailers?

Perry
Perry.

Not everyone would pick a non abusive acid, simply because to them, acid is acid.

Airstream has used, in the past many years, several different types of clear coatings, that bond to bare aluminum.

They all lasted about 5 years or so, regardless of waxing or not.

Simple exposure to the sun, started the aging process.

Todays coating is not applied by Airstream.

Todays coating is even very tough against Aircraft stripper.

A relatively new panel's coating won't even be touched by Aircraft stripper.

Andy
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:44 AM   #23
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Back to what works!

Ok plasticoat works, are there other products that work?

I've heard that KBS' Diamondfinish Clear works for small repairs has anyone used it to refinish the whole camper?

Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:04 AM   #24
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You might inquire with P&S in Ohio or Oasis in AZ. They might tell you their process.

adonh has his trailer shined and clear coated at Oasis.

Here is his thread on the subject.
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f474...ing-87114.html
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:15 PM   #25
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two part clear coat

It sounds like they are using something like this.


POR 15 GPCQ Glisten Pc Clearcoat

POR 15 GPCQ Glisten Pc Clearcoat Quart Kit Quart Kit With Hardner
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:28 PM   #26
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I have a small kit of Glisten PC that I have been waiting to try. I plan to polish a small 4'x4' sheet from an old scrap trailer and then apply the Glisten PC to see how it works (or not). Let it sit in the Texas sun for a year and see how it holds up.
Sharkhide is another product that comes up around here from time to time.
There is another thread around here where someone shared his bad experience with the POR Glisten PC.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:22 PM   #27
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shark hide hmm...

shark hide looks good !!!
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