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Old 06-25-2008, 09:30 PM   #1
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Scratches! ...in clearcoat?

So... I have my first scratches...

I was backing the camper up at my Dad's in KC, trying to fit it into a spot, and I scratched it up pretty good in the back on some bushes. I think it's only in the clearcoat, but I'm not sure. How can I tell? What can I do about it?

I know I'm being a total tool, but I'm so sad I have scratches... Can I try and polish or buff them out? How?

So sad...

Hayley
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:37 PM   #2
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Sometimes they are so minor than using Walbernize rubbed in the direction of the grain of the aluminum might just pull them out. My dealer uses this technique frequently. I've used it when I brushed a low hanging limb once and saw the scratch disappear. But if the scratch is deep enough, there isn't a lot you can do other than to attempt some wax or Walbernize the area and see if it minimizes the scratch appearance.

Jack
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by iHayley View Post
So... I have my first scratches...

I was backing the camper up at my Dad's in KC, trying to fit it into a spot, and I scratched it up pretty good in the back on some bushes. I think it's only in the clearcoat, but I'm not sure. How can I tell? What can I do about it?

I know I'm being a total tool, but I'm so sad I have scratches... Can I try and polish or buff them out? How?

So sad...

Hayley
Don't let it bother you Hayley. They are probably just surface scratches in the clearcoat that will disappear with some waxing. I did that to mine with some tree branches and was sick about it. After I Walbernize waxed it the scratches went away but not for good. As long as I keep it waxed they don't show. Some folks on the forum have been using a polymer-type wax with good results. The advantage being you don't have to apply it as often. You may want to search the threads for further information as this has been discussed many times before here on the forums.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by iHayley View Post
So... I have my first scratches...Can I try and polish or buff them out? How?
here ya go hayley including product links...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/473677-post5.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/504360-post11.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...tch-37735.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ues-20048.html



cheers
2air'
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:13 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone! I'd say after looking at it again this morning that they're only in the clearcoat. When I run my hand along them, they still feel totally smooth.

So, 2air, I'm looking at basically a super-mild abrasive to "polish" the scratch, then wax over the top. Wax?? Is this something I should have been doing all along?

(insert Scooby-Do "uh-oh" noise here)
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:34 AM   #6
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Yes Haley, most recomend waxing at least twice a year to protect the clear coat or "plasti-coat" when we are talking about Airstreams. I wax my unit twice a year, but I keep in under storage when not using it that protects it from sun and weather. I have a friend who is a fanatic that waxes numerous times a year. He doesn't have the luxury of inside storage. In all fairness, his unit always out shines mine by quite a bit and looks new even though it is an '88 model. As pointed out earlier (and this is very important) always rub the wax into the clear coat side to side with the grain of the metal. Never apply it in circular motions as you would with an automobile.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
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So I wound up using the Scratch X Scratch remover, and then Turtle Wax Express Shine over the scratch... came out pretty good! I'd say that it didn't totally remove the scratch, but it lessened it's appearance dramatically. I think the casual observer would not notice it now, and that I only do because I know it's there.

I wound up using the Turtle Wax Express Shine on the whole thing... looked pretty good when I was done! I don't mind using that stuff because it's pretty easy -- I think it's a poly-based wax, vice a natural wax, and it's way easier to apply. Basic wipe-on, wipe-off. Is it sufficient to protect my baby? Or do I truly need to bust out the old school paste wax that takes FOREVER...?

However... I read the thread on corrosion in new Airstreams. That was SHOCKING. I had no idea these things had this problem. I'd be unspeakably upset if my camper was less than five years old and developed this problem. It seems to fly in the face of all I read and learned about Airstreams for quality and durability and why I chose it in the first place.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:26 PM   #8
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So I wound up using the Scratch X Scratch remover, and then Turtle Wax Express Shine over the scratch....
good follow up hayley!

IF you go over the problem area 3-4 times with the X the appearance will continue to improve.

it's not necessary to use old hard paste waxes unless ya want the exercise!

MANY of the polysealants are liquid and pretty easy on and off.

the express shine is fine, the issue is how much of a protective barrier does it add, and HOW LONG will it last?

some of the 'quick on/quick off' products vanish in weeks or with a couple of washings...

so the goal should be to find a product that lasts AT LEAST through the season, i've linked some of those already.

the 'auto specific' wash products that don't strip wax are nice, and following the washes with a 'detail spray' can help a lot too...

stick with the least abrasive coatings so fine scratches aren't generated during the waxing process.

cheers
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by iHayley

However... I read the thread on corrosion in new Airstreams. That was SHOCKING. I had no idea these things had this problem. I'd be unspeakably upset if my camper was less than five years old and developed this problem. It seems to fly in the face of all I read and learned about Airstreams for quality and durability and why I chose it in the first place.
What we seem to be finding out, it seem to effect about 1 in 20 newer Airstreams, and probably 1 in 5 of those could be considered "bad". Our '74 has a small amount of it, near a couple of seams, so it's not a new phenomenon.
It is something to watch for, but it is not a big enough problem to run screaming into the streets over.
To try to put it into perspective, 20% of 20% of new Airstreams will have a serious problem with it, compared to 90+% of SOB trailers falling apart before their tenth birthday.
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