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Old 12-16-2003, 08:35 PM   #15
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As I understand it the issue with the paint is the same as the issue with the clear coat. The Aluminum has a high degree of dimensional change based on the ambient temperature as well as the heat created by the sun shining on the unit. I know all of my Airstreams have had popping noises as they heat up in the first light that hits the ends This was part of the problem with the later clear coat failures after the EPA make Airstream stop using some of the additives. The product would not bond to the skin as well and the elasticity factor was much lower so it would harden and craze, then fail.

This expansion and contraction has to be allowed for in the make up of the paint along with the proper preparation of the skin itself. At least with paint you can use etching primers that are not available with the clear coats.

An aluminum wheel will have some change in size associated with heat, but I would bet that it is not the going to undergo as large a change as the skin on your or my coach. This is a factor of the ability of the wheel to absorb more heat due to the amount of aluminum vs the skin. The thinner skin will get hotter and expand at a higher percentage than a cast wheel would.

Most automotive paints are flexible for the first 90 days then they really get hard. This is how most manufacturers get the car to keep that shine along with a good clear coat.

I am lucky that for the most part my paint is good. When I have it done I know I will be taking it to a shop that understands how to paint Aluminum so that the paint will hold up for many years.

I am not an expert, but I did sleep at a Holiday inn express last night I have asked many a service manager about this and the above info is how it was explained to me. YMMV
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:04 PM   #16
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Sneakinup,
Looks good!

Thenewkid64
Your point of thermal expansion is a good one. That signifies an intermediate molecular weight resin with a touch of plasticizer, which sublimes after full adhesion is attained, as in your clear coat reference.
Dick
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:16 PM   #17
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Coefficient of expansion works in proportion to linear dimension. The aluminum skin spans significantly more distance than an aluminum wheel's diameter. A trailer's skin also heats quicker than the underlying frame, so that expansion produces some flexure in such a thin material.
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Old 12-17-2003, 11:55 AM   #18
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Paint the trailer exactly the way light aircraft are painted - strip off the current clear, alodine, alumiprep, chromate primer, and polyurethane. The metal is not sanded. No clear coat is used. This finish will only last 10 years before it starts looking ratty. See .Aircraft Painting

This is a serious commitment to having a painted trailer. I would think it would reduce the market value of your trailer (if that matters). For similar or less money you could strip and recoat the clear, or strip and polish.

Store the trailer indoors and any properly applied finish will last nearly forever.
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Old 12-17-2003, 12:58 PM   #19
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In many circles, a "silver painted" Airstream sells for more money than a plasticoated coach.

Why? Properly done, the silver paint, waxed once a year, will last at least 20 years. We have documentation that bears that out.

That type paint job costs about 50 percent more than a plasticoat job, but out lasts the plasticoat by at least four to one, if not more. Therefore, it is by far more cost effective.

"ACID" of any type, is "NEVER" applied to any Airstream product, without having deleterious results in a year or two, depending on the climate. There is substancial information to document those results as well. I know that some will take exception to that, but facts are facts and not ought to's.

It is true that some aircraft are made with the same metal that some of the older Airstreams were made with, but aircraft are not exposed to the same envirornment. However, aircraft do not used the same metal that Airstream has since 1982 1/2.

As with any paint job, the surface preparation and the quality of materials used, are the key to longevity.

We are not trying to be evasive, but our method and materials took many years and considerable money to develop, AND, have the custom mix approved by Dupont.

Perhaps it is time for us to make available the materials as well as the printed proven method available, as a package, for others to use.

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Old 12-17-2003, 01:12 PM   #20
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dmac,
A ray of sunshine.
Thanks for the input.
Hagerstown, thats not too far away; worth a trip.
I thought chromates (an enviromental no-no) were banned. I guess these guys figured ouy how to get around that. We were forbidden from using it, but thats MD, and we were in Chgo.
Dick
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Old 12-17-2003, 05:14 PM   #21
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Both stripper and acid etch get under rivet heads, and then ooze back out after painting - causing the paint to bubble. This problem is not unique to Airstream trailers. The following link describes a two-part etch primer that replaces the alodyne step - and is worth considering.

Aircraft are commonly skinned with 2024 T3 alclad, which I understand was used by Airstream through the early 60's, perhaps beyond. Alclad is a thin layer of nearly pure aluminum applied to each side for corrosion resistance. I assume a different alloy, without alclad, is used now (given the grained finish).
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Old 12-19-2003, 02:26 PM   #22
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DMAC

We contacted JRA Executive Air in Hagerstown, via e-mail, as a possible source to paint Airstream products on the east coast.

They are obviously very well qualified painting Aircraft of all types.

We asked them if they would paint an Airstream trailer, metallic silver.

They responded via e-mail and we quote.

"We normally do not paint anything but aircraft, but this is something we might consider if our schedule permits. Aircraft painting is relatively expensive, due to the fact that we normally chemically strip each plane, remove control surfaces, paint specific schemes and strippings, etc. If you would like to talk with us, please give Keith Timmons, our Paint Shop Manager, a call (toll free) at 866-791-3642.
Signed, Don Ardinger, Marketing Manager"
unquote.

Perhaps this might be of some help for the east coast Airstream owners.

Andy
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Old 08-05-2004, 11:10 PM   #23
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Painting Airstream

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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Navigator.

The paint is available.

The process is proprietary, but can be obtained under certain circumstances.

The process does require professional application, by an experienced spray painter.

Andy
Andy,
What is secret to obtain the proprietary information. I cannot come to CA and would like a local painter (experienced aluminum, i.e. aircraft,etc) to paint my 1965 Airstream Safari. Someone recommended blasting with baking soda (I have witnessed results without having to mask and the results are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!) Thanks for any suggestions, advice.
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:27 AM   #24
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Painting aluminum

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Originally Posted by Navigator
Has anyone tried painting the exterior of an A/S, not with Rustoleum, but with a clear metallic acrylic?
Dick
I have never heard of a clear metallic, unless you are talking about a basecoat/clearcoat 2 stage process. Anyway, painting aluminum can be tricky. It is generally recommended it be primed with zinc chromate primer to stabilize the surface then usually a color is shot over that. I have had some success clearcoating with DuPont Centari Polyurethane directly over freshly prepped raw aluminum but wouldn't trust it in an outdoor - especially vehiclular application. Ozone, Sun, acid rain and dew, salt, etc would be hard on it. You may try experimenting on a small section before committing to a huge job. GOod luck! Andy.
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Old 08-06-2004, 09:08 AM   #25
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Roswell.

Sand it, prime it, color it, clearcoat it.

Use "nothing but" top shelf materials.

Use no acids or zinc chromate paint.

Our methods and materials have stood the test of time, for over 20 years.

Andy
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Old 08-06-2004, 09:16 AM   #26
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Quote:
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Roswell.

Sand it, prime it, color it, clearcoat it.

Use "nothing but" top shelf materials.

Use no acids or zinc chromate paint.

Our methods and materials have stood the test of time, for over 20 years.

Andy
Thanks Andy.
I will email results when complete.
Darrell
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