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Old 02-05-2008, 04:58 PM   #29
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Acid bath

An acid bath for an Airstream or Argosy, is a NO, NO, NO.

Why?

A pressure washer, will not remove all the acid that gets under the rivet heads.

In time, perhaps 3 to 4 years, corrosion will appear around many rivet heads.

Each of those rivets is a water leak, until the rivets are replaced, with Olympics and Vulkem sealer.

Polishing the trailer, waxing the trailer, clear coating the trailer, or painting the trailer with an automotive paint, will not stop the corrosion.

Almost every polish job that comes into our shop, that was polished a couple of years ago, or so, has the same universal complaint.

I have water leaks, lots of them. What can I do?

What you can do, is don't allow anyone to give the trailer an acid bath, unless they are willing to give you at least a 5 year written warranty, for any water leaks caused by rivet leaks.

Then be prepared for a, well, but, but, I never heard, etc, narration.

Andy
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:12 PM   #30
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Painted trailer

Andy,
What is the approx cost to paint an 87 34'?
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:45 PM   #31
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ACID Wash

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumatube
Question for you, Clint. From what I understand it is an absolute NO-NO to acid-wash an A/S exterior, due to the acid being captured around the rivets where it can't easily be washed off and over time eating away at the aluminum there. Do you have any long-term results on your acid-wash finishes?

Thanks,
Susan
Susan, I am NOT a vintage owner, so I won't pretend to be an expert, but I do remember high school chemistry. I think it's possible that the whole acid wash no-no is a "rule" that isn't backed up by actual facts.

MOST acids are unstable and break down quickly so they do not stay on surfaces for days or even hours. Many break down simply by adding water... the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in the water cause the acid to decompose by bonding with molecules in the acid... and of course the water also dilutes the acidity of any acid. Enough water and the acid simply is too wimpy to work. Depending on the acid used AND on several other conditions like sunlight, the acid may all be gone within 15 minutes of rinsing.

Now if I were ambitious (or nuts ) enough to want to polish an Airstream I'd probably get some clearcoated aluminum pieces, rivet them together, then acid wash them, wait a day or two and get out the magnifying glass and look at the rivets and seams. Perhaps I'd even disassemble the scraps to check under the overlap.

Paula Ford
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:56 PM   #32
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My memory of chemistry in college generally duplicates what Paula Ford said above. Once a molecule of acid combines with say a molecule of metal, it changes and is no longer acid. The acid is quickly transformed into a product which is no longer a theat to the metal molecules. At least that's the way I remember it. What I'm unclear about is what it turns into. I think it turns into a salt and as such, it attracts moisture and it's the continuous presence of moisture which may be the culprit in causing oxidation, damaging the metal over time.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:06 PM   #33
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Bob,
How long ago was yours painted and is it holding up well?
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:11 PM   #34
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Clint,

How would you compare the longevity of Sharkhide to Liquid Glass - if you have any experience with that product.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:16 PM   #35
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Hi,
I have a 94 Excella that was painted by an Ontario dealer when still on his lot new. The unit had some kind of finish failure due to a chemical wash being sealed under the original clear coat. It started to etch the aluminum under the clear coat. Airstream decided that the only way to be able to sell the unit was to paint it. They stripped it down to the aluminum and then put a multilayer paint job on it(automotive clearcoat type finish).
Still looks new with only a maybe once a year coat of wax. I'm a bit lazy.
Al
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:30 PM   #36
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Hi, I painted mine in the spring of 2004 and it is doing great. I have towed it about 35,000 miles since I painted it. I wish I could say I wax it all the time because that somehow seems virtuous. The reality is I've never completely waxed it even once. I have waxed some parts twice if that counts for anything. Other than than, it looks just like the day it was finished. It still has a very high gloss, which can be attributed to the quality of the clearcoat and the fact that I always wash it with either a mitt or a very soft brush that doesn't scratch the finish. I've also washed it many times with car wash power washers with no paint failure issues at all. The sealant and caulking is all doing great also. I thought I would have issues with the Parrbond, but after the initial "gator backing" it has done fine. The big surprise is the SeamerMate! It looks absolutely fantastic! It's as good as the day it was installed. I wish I'd used it in all locations where I used Parrbond.

Overall, it's a delightful success, and yes, I would do it again.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:28 AM   #37
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Sharkhide

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin
Clint,

How would you compare the longevity of Sharkhide to Liquid Glass - if you have any experience with that product.
Hi Garry,
I'm sorry to say I don't have any "hands on" with Liquid Glass. But let's start with the shortest length of protection I ever see with Sharkhide. This would be on Tractor Trailers, and in the absolute worst case, it's about a year. This is on their polished wheels and leading heads on their fuel tanks. Keep in mind, these guys put more miles on in a year than some of our stuff will see in two life times. But I can tell you that when we apply Sharkhide to lets say a boat for instance, we comonly see three to five years of protection or more between coats.
I hope this helps,
Clint
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:53 AM   #38
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Sharkhide Cleaner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumatube
Thanks, Clint! That is very good to know! And I am sure you would have had people contacting you if they had issues.

I would love to see a few shots if you can post them easily.

Thanks for the info!

Susan
Hi Susan,
You're exactly right. My past experience and that of my customers is all I can base my opinions on.
I'll try to post a couple of pictures of a boat we did to give you an idea of the finish left with my cleaner.

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Old 02-06-2008, 12:38 PM   #39
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Painting is not a quick fix alternative...

While I happen to think that painting is a good idea and intend to have that done one of these years I would like to note that proper painting is not a quick and easy alternative to the other options that have been mentioned. From what I understand for paint to stick properly requires at least as much preparation as polishing or re-clear coating does. While I think it could very well be a better long term solution (especially since some body blemishes can be fixed with bondo before painting) I do not think it is an easier or cheaper solution.

On another note it seems to me that what would be usefull would be to have some sort of protective coating that could be pealed off and re-applied whenever it is needed. Is there such a product?

Malcolm
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:56 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thompson
My memory of chemistry in college generally duplicates what Paula Ford said above. Once a molecule of acid combines with say a molecule of metal, it changes and is no longer acid. The acid is quickly transformed into a product which is no longer a theat to the metal molecules. At least that's the way I remember it. What I'm unclear about is what it turns into. I think it turns into a salt and as such, it attracts moisture and it's the continuous presence of moisture which may be the culprit in causing oxidation, damaging the metal over time.

Almost 42 years experience examining customer trailers for many different reasons, including acid baths, says otherwise.

The acid hides under the rivet heads, and will eventually eat away at the clearcost or auotmotive paint.

I probably have seen at least 100 trailers with that kind of damage.

Recently, we had a customer who lives in the Cailfornia desert, bring his water leaking trailer into us.

He used his trailer everyday as an office. Because of the desert heat, he installed an overhead shower, for the complete trailer, to keep the shell cooler during the day.

In just a few short months, the plasticoat on the roof was gone. Now the water from the shower landed and stayed on the bare aluminum roof.

The chemicals in the water, that he also had as drinking water, reacted with the roof metal, just like any acid.

There were several hundred small holes in the roof, all caused by the water shower, that all leaked water

The roof sheet had to be replaced, much to the customers sadness.

He also learned, not to do that again.

So much for even small traces of acid, even from the water we drink.

Andy
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:25 PM   #41
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We are certainly enjoying our ‘silver paint’

em.
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:08 AM   #42
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Sharkhide Polish

I did searches in many ways, and did not find anyone speaking about SHARKHIDE ALUMINUM POLISH
The website says "
is a very high grade, single step polish that will leave a swirl
free mirror finish when used on aluminum. It can also be used on copper, brass, stainless, steel,
fiberglass, as well as removing scratches from plexiglass, and lexan windshields. It's also
recommended for removing blueing from chrome and stainless exhaust."

Has anyone tried this? I realize clearcoat will still have to be removed, could this give a nicer look to the AS that I am too lazy to C7,S,C9 and all those other polish names- not to mention the different cyclo and buffers etc that would have to be purchased?
Maybe I will try a small patch.
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