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Old 08-04-2003, 04:49 PM   #1
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Question what is plasticote?

hey all,

just successfully touched up the clear coat on my trailer. with good results.

i used "rv clear acyrillic" from airstream, $21.00 a spray can.

was wondering if any one has figured out exactly what airstream uses for "plasticote". i would like to buy it in bulk and spray it on myself.

i have all the equipment for spraying automotive finishes, thought i could save a few bucks and redo the whole trailer properly.

my trailer has a mill finish, so polishing is out of the question.

any thoughts?

john
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Old 08-04-2003, 05:39 PM   #2
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All I have is rumor. I have heard that it has to be mixed just prior to use and the dew point of the day you spray is a factor in how much accelerent (sp) you use. Also all of the current plasticoat has to come off first. If you mix it wrong, or take any kind of a break in spraying you can screw up the whole thing because it doesn't flow like automotive paint.

I learned most of this from talking to one of the guys at Ace Fogdall while I was waiting on some repairs. They used to do it, I don't know if they do any more. He told me that something like 25% of the recoats they did came back in with problems.
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Old 08-04-2003, 06:28 PM   #3
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Last known reserve of the stuff

N Dallas RV has the last of the ingredients. They bought all Airstream had in stock when A/S made the switch to the Alcoa preapplied coating. The formula was all in the head of the chemist that A/S had employed for years (and who came up with the formula in the first place). Seemed he had been there 30+ years and was ready to retire anyway. After the disaster with those initial years of the precoated, A/S tried to get him back, but he was not interested, nor was he in the humor to give up the formula (seems A/S thought they would never need it again, so they did not get him to document it). N Dallas was also approached by A/S during those dark years of the early precoat, but they were not interested in selling any of it back (they did over 300 recoats of those initial years of the precoat...all at their expense...seems that the precoated aluminum had a very predictable habit of lasting almost exactly 2 years and so they were out of warranty). At least this is the story as related to me N Dallas RV.

The good news is, according to N Dallas RV (certified AS service center), after a few years of struggling, Alcoa finally did arrive at a durable coating that is actually superior to the old plasticoat.
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Old 08-04-2003, 06:33 PM   #4
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brett,

i know it won't be a "backyard" job.

the whole thing will need stripping and cleaning. i hope to get it indoors for this project. i don't need a 29 foot piece of flypaper!

i have sprayed 2 part urethane before with clearcote.

very toxic stuff! and hard not to get holidays and runs.

john
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Old 08-05-2003, 05:36 AM   #5
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why plasticote?

Hi guys... I have a "Dumb Question"...

I'd never really given this much thought before, but since I now have a '94 that will need to be resprayed one of these days... why can't we use clear auto finish? Is it because the aluminum expands and contracts enough that it would cause the finish to check and peel or is there some other chemical reason or something...???

Just curious... and thanks!

Roger
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Old 08-05-2003, 06:18 AM   #6
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Why Plasticoat

Roger,
I am not sure of all the reasons. I don't think the expansive nature of the aluminum skin is the problem since there are LOTs of clear coated cars out there with aluminum hoods and the Audi A8 has an all aluminum skin. My suspicion is that it has more to do with the chemical nature of the bare aluminum skin and the material being applied. Aluminum LOVES to oxidize, especially under heat and moisture. The ONE thing that you can't allow to happen is for a coating material to attact moistureas this would quickly lead to oxidation of the skin and seams. Lots of materials readily absorb small levels of moisture, although I can't say that acrylic clear coat is one of them. Another thing is that the plasticoat thickness is deeper than normal acrylic clear coat. This gives a more forgiving film to brushes from trees, bugs, etc. Remember that acrylic clear coat is a final layer on cars, with 1-2 coats of primer, 1-3 coats of base and then finally 1-2 coats of clear coat.
Is plasticoat the absolute best...probably not, but it proved over many years to have a long life and to protect the A/S.
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Old 08-11-2003, 06:52 PM   #7
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Question can't be that hard!

anyone ever purchase plasticote in bulk??

or find a replacement for it??

john
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Old 08-11-2003, 07:19 PM   #8
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The supermarket has a special on Glad wrap right now.....

With a heat gun you could be dangerous....
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Old 08-11-2003, 07:28 PM   #9
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Thumbs up saran this!

twink

good one!

lol

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Old 08-12-2003, 07:44 AM   #10
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ask steve at p&s in helen ohio. he uses plasticote. dont have his no but he has a ad in the blue beret. the coating that airstream is using now you have to use a respirator to put it on . plus they wont sell it to you for safety reasons. plus all panels come coated from alcoa or who ever. you can get the spray cans but it is not the same as the new coating. lol
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Old 08-12-2003, 08:42 AM   #11
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One of the problems with clear coating aluminum is adhesion. There needs to be some sort of corrosion restistant, adhesion promoting primer used under the clear topcoat. They are typically Acid Etch Vinyl primers. The problem is they have a tendency to not be clear like the topcoat. Usually a transparent green shade. The other option for adhesion is like what they use in the airline industry which is Acid etch and alodine. There are some clear alodines available. This system is not as user friendly. A product called Acry-Glo (Sold by distibutors to the aviation industry )might be an option for clear coating but one must decide how to get adhesion. Acry-Glo is also designed for aircraft so care must be taken during the cleaning process. I will be polishing my MH and would sure like to clear coat it once its done but with the info I have right now I'm not sure what Im going to do.
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Old 08-12-2003, 09:35 AM   #12
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so is it possible to repair the plasticoat where it has worn off ( bird droppings etc.) I have had a few different stories on this.
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Old 08-13-2003, 10:02 AM   #13
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Plasticoat availabilty

Plasticoat is "still" available from a dealer, if they want to help you.

The latest is a two part formula.

Touching up peeled plasticoat is at best a stop gap measure.

Usually, when the plasticoat has peeled, it's telling you that it is "aged out." Therefore touching up dead paint doesn't accomplish very much.

As always, there are exceptions, and plasticoat certainly does that. Normally, plasticoat is good for 3 to 5 years, and is climate sensitive, in that it ages out the fastest, in hot weather, such as in desert areas of California .

Work is underway for a new type "plasticoat." However, the quality, durability and when it may be available, are questions that at least at this time, no one has answers to. It could be months, years, and the possibility exists, that it may be never be available.

The shipment of bulk plasticoat is not cheap, since it is a flammable material, and must be shipped as such. It can never be shipped by "air," unless in is in a leak proof separate container, that is also strong enough to be dropped, without suffering any damage.

Andy
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Old 08-13-2003, 04:37 PM   #14
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thanks

andy

thank you for clearing that up!

your experiance and connections are valuable assets to this community!

john
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