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Old 08-20-2005, 09:10 PM   #1
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Paint VS Clearcoat

Other than making a "purist" gasp in horror is there any reason NOT to paint an Airstream?

Done correctly it should be far more durable than clearcoat AND I dare say undetectable from more than 5 feet if you use the right paint.
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:19 PM   #2
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I painted mine 16 months ago and it is doing fantastic! See: Chronology of Painting MY Excella 25, http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=10522

We were at a small gathering of Airstreamers a while back and it took a day or two for some of the attendants to notice it was painted. The paint is very easy to keep up, just wax twice a year. Despite some of the dire warnings for using alumiprep and alodine, the paint shows no aging or ill effects. None of the predicted downside discussed in the posts in the thread have taken place. I know the detractors meant well, but they were missinformed. The painted surface and integrity of the body is near perfect. If I hadn't already done it I would be making plans to do it again. Count me as pro-painting!
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Old 08-21-2005, 12:34 AM   #3
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I think that paint is ok, so long as it is applied professionally, and done really well. I have inspected a few trailers for purchase that had poor paint jobs, and I would not touch them with a 10 foot pole. Nothing like badly faded silver paint. I'll take failing clear coat any day over that.
One thing to consider is that once a trailer is painted, it might lose resale value over an original clearcoated one. Especially if in the course of painting it received deep gouges from sanding the aluminum.
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:25 AM   #4
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IF YOU DO A SEARCH ON THIS fORUM THERE ARE OTHER POSTS AND THREADS REGARDING PAINT.MANY HAVE DONE IT.
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Old 08-21-2005, 09:56 AM   #5
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If I ever get around to refinishing mine I'm going to try either Nyalic or Vivilon. I first heard of them on the Turbo Diesel Register site and they sound like a good alternative to ordinary clearcoat. The product sites are www.vivilon.com and www.nyalic.com.

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Old 08-21-2005, 10:32 AM   #6
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There was one at the midwest rally this past June. Looked great and you couldn't tell from 10 feet away that it was painted...mabye even 5 feet.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:53 AM   #7
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Gene, you might also consider Evershield as an alternative to clearcoat.
http://www.aircraftfinishing.com/evershield.htm

Andy at Inland was going to purchasing some about 3 months ago, to try out. Perhaps he has some first impressions to share.
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Old 08-21-2005, 03:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thompson
I painted mine 16 months ago and it is doing fantastic! See: Chronology of Painting MY Excella 25, http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=10522

We were at a small gathering of Airstreamers a while back and it took a day or two for some of the attendants to notice it was painted. The paint is very easy to keep up, just wax twice a year. Despite some of the dire warnings for using alumiprep and alodine, the paint shows no aging or ill effects. None of the predicted downside discussed in the posts in the thread have taken place. I know the detractors meant well, but they were missinformed. The painted surface and integrity of the body is near perfect. If I hadn't already done it I would be making plans to do it again. Count me as pro-painting!
Bob,

Thanks for the link. Your trailer looks GREAT! I read every post and have decided that I'll paint my trailer as well. I'll have to wait until some time after I retire in early 2007 in order to have enough time.

Given aluminum's quick oxidation I think I'll do it in stages. Sand then quickly prime one area before moving on to the next section.
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Old 08-21-2005, 06:09 PM   #9
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Steve, I think that is a reasonable and prudent approach. I opted for the alumiprep / alodine approach because of the info I found about airplanes. I now feel that sanding with 120 grit and quickly priming with epoxy primer is just as good of solution. May I also suggest you use a white based epoxy primer in lieu of a grey based primer, if you have a choice.

Once primed, any two stage (color coat - clearcoat) top quality urethane auto paint should work well. PPG and Dupont are excellent choices. Avoid the lacquers as they are too brittle and won't flex the way the trailer flexes.Go for the best quality clearcoat they offer to give the finished product an extra bit of durability and gloss.

I'm not sure if you ever watch the "American Hot Rod" at Boyd Cottingtons, series on the Discovery Channel, but they occasionally cover the details of painting, color sanding, and clear coating. It's worth a watch if you come across it.
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Old 08-21-2005, 09:11 PM   #10
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My 1987 has been to P&S for recoating in 2002. I am very disappointed in the damage bugs can do to the front of the trailer. Questionable return on investment. The clearcoat is apparently so brittle that bugs will put burnish marks on impact.

Then too, I hear the stories of how poorly the new trailers are holding up.

I used to think that clearcoat was good for about 10 years and then you needed a recoating but, looking at mine and hearing the stories -----

Painting sounds better.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:35 PM   #11
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Prior to purchase, it was on our second visit to the dealership we noticed the top half of our Classic motorhome had been professionally painted, leaving the rear cap and bottom half in the orig aluminum finish. Routine washing with an occasional wax job allows us to keep the low-maintenance exterior looking so clean and shiny, the only comments we (always) hear are: Is it new? How do you keep it looking so nice?

Two years ago, painting an Airstream to us seemed inconceivable, unimaginable, unfathomable; today we'd say that unless one is going for the labor-intensive, polished mirror-finished look, don't hesitate...
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Old 09-05-2005, 08:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thompson
Gene, you might also consider Evershield as an alternative to clearcoat.
http://www.aircraftfinishing.com/evershield.htm

Andy at Inland was going to purchasing some about 3 months ago, to try out. Perhaps he has some first impressions to share.
wow. that stuff sounds really easy to use (according to the marketing copy, at least). any reports on using this stuff? i've DEFINITELY decided to clear mine once i'm done with the exterior. polish it first, then clear.

i like the idea of a repairable surface. i wonder how often it would need to be reapplied on an airstream? looks promising, though!

jordan
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