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Old 03-11-2004, 10:18 AM   #1
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Which clearcoat?

The '97 Excella I purchased this week comes home tomorrow and I'm planning my first refurbish project. The clearcoat is in rough condition, flaking and coming loose in areas, so I wanted to fix it first.

The plan is to apply aerosol Strip-Ease to remove the old Plasticote, then use either Napa Alum Prep or Star-Brite to clean and prep for new clearcoat then shoot new clearcoat. I prefer to retain the brushed aluminum finish and I have read the Alum-Prep will leave the aluminum with a slightly white appearance which is just fine with me. Summers in south Texas get quite hot, so lighter colors equate to cooler skin. And, I think I'm going to like the slightly platinum look of the skin. The question is does the Alum Prep or Star Brite leave a fairly uniform appearance, as the skin is now blotchy looking?

Then the question is which clearcoat to use. From all I can tell, the original finish is Plasticote Clear, which is an acrylic lacquer. I haven't been able to find it so far and have even read it is a two step application process only done at authorized service centers.
I found a clear finish for airplanes from Randolph Finishes called Randacryl Acrylic Lacquer which I found in the Aircraft Spruce Catalog. The Randacryl is advertised as having excellent gloss retention and excellent durability. Has anybody used the Randacryl? Any recommendations one way or the other?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-11-2004, 07:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
The question is does the Alum Prep or Star Brite leave a fairly uniform appearance, as the skin is now blotchy looking?
What I believe you are going to discover is that as the clearcoat failed over the years, the exposed aluminum oxidized. Removing the clearcoat will not remove the oxidation...thus the splocthiness will remain to some extent.

We had this issue to contend with as the clearcoat had flaked off in stages, it had differing stages of oxidation...that which flaked off first was worse than areas that had flaked off later. I'm sure ours was worse because our trailer is older, but the only way we found to remove the oxidation and even out the finish was to polish the whole thing....which we were planning on doing anyway.

Sorry, probably not the news you wanted to hear...

Shari
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Old 03-11-2004, 08:20 PM   #3
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I am going to paint mine with a silver pigmented urethane; the grade used to paint airplanes.
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Old 03-11-2004, 09:08 PM   #4
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Which clearcoat?

Greetings Bob!

Quote:
From all I can tell, the original finish is Plasticote Clear, which is an acrylic lacquer. I haven't been able to find it so far and have even read it is a two step application process only done at authorized service centers.
The Plasticoat used by Airstream isn't sold in quantity, except to certified installers. There are very few shops that have the certification and are able to provide the authentic Plasticoat as used by Airstream. One of those installers is P & S Trailer Service of Helena, Ohio - - they polished an Plasticoated my Overlander a little more than two years ago and the results were fantastic. I asked for a factory original sheen/gloss, and that is just what I received. The trailer looked so much like it did when it was new in 1964 and owned by friends of my family that is was almost beyond belief. The photo below was taken just a few weeks after the job was completed:



Good luck with your search for refinishing products and processes!

Kevin
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Old 03-12-2004, 06:22 AM   #5
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in the meantime...

bob

until you find a plasticote solution for your trailer you can purchase cans of plasticote from your airstream dealer for touchup. about $22 a can.

i did mine last fall, you will not get perfect results. BUT, you will prevent any further oxidation of the skin.

mine passes the 10 foot test, that is, further than 10 feet away you cannot tell it was resprayed.

some day i'll just have to bite the bullet and have mine recoated at p and s like kevin did.

gotta keep out of the piggy bank for a while! the last time i checked they charge $125.00 per liner foot for a recoat including the tounge!

john
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Old 03-12-2004, 06:24 AM   #6
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oh yeah, here is a link for p and s....


http://www.pandstrailerservice.com/index.htm


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Old 03-12-2004, 10:17 PM   #7
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Driving to the (Rio Grande) valley today to pick up the Excella 25, I had plenty of time to dwell on the clearcoat issue. No matter which direction I go with clearcoat, it will probably last 5 years then it will have to be done again. During that 5 years I'll be committed to waxing it every 4 months, and giving it a lot of TLC to protect it from the cruel world. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the direction Navigator is going. I can clearcoat then do it again in 5 years, or I can paint it with something like say Imron, and it could last the life of the trailer and require almost no annual maintenance. Add to that, the blotchy skin color won't matter using Imron because it will be covered. I've only used Imron in solid colors so I don't even know if it is available in metallics, but damn Imron is tough stuff. I have a couple windsurf boards which were painted with Imron 6 years ago, and they are still doing great after plenty of abuse. Monday I'll call the local paint store and determine if Imron is available in metallics.

Navigator, which urethane were you going to use?

Thanks in advance. Bob T.
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Old 03-13-2004, 04:18 AM   #8
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DuPont Imron 5000
The aluminum color with the blue tint, NOT the yellow tint.
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Old 03-14-2004, 03:31 PM   #9
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Please photograph the process and post the results. It would be very interesting to see. One of my problems would be finding a paint booth large enough to handle a 34'.
FWIW I talked with a worker from Canam and he said that they had switched to auto clearcoat with good results. I know its not susposed to work and I've never used it just passing the info along.
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Old 04-20-2004, 06:38 PM   #10
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Thumbs up clear coat finishes

Seems we all have similar questions when it comes to making the twinkie sparkel. Deft makes professional products (not found in the hardware store) that are used on aircraft - there is a one step process finish. They also make strippers and bonding solutions (etchers) these will give a slightly frosted look. The new AS's panels come from Alcoa with the clear coat already applied to each panel before it is assembled. However, there is a guy in OR that claims to have invented the clear coat finish that was used from the mid 50's; his formula provides an elastic finish that tends not to crack as the aluminum expands and contracts. His name is Dick McIntyre and phone is 800 912-9572. He restores the exteriors of AS for $85.00/sq ft. He will be working on my 34' LTD in June. Ernie
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Old 05-09-2004, 11:14 PM   #11
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Contact info for Dick McIntyre

Ernie:

I tried Dick's 800 number (didn't work) and found out it is 888-912-9572. He charges $85 per running foot. For instance my 31 foot Limited would cost $2635 (31 x $85). He has about a two month backlog.

I talked with Dick a couple of days ago. He sounds like a great guy. He is 70, really knows his stuff and keeps on ticking. However, in case he ever decides to slow down and retire, does anybody know of anyone else who offers a similar service?
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Old 05-10-2004, 08:11 AM   #12
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Imron is great stuff. It is a two-part paint, it dries very hard (brittle). It lasts about 8-10 years on light aircraft, much longer if stored inside and seldom used. It is difficult to strip for a future repaint.

Store your trailer inside and your Imron (or clearcoat), tires, sealants, drapes, plastic parts, wood floor, and everything else will last much longer.
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Old 05-10-2004, 10:23 AM   #13
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Any top quality paint such as a metallic silver can be used.

However, the secret is to use a "flexible" primer over a sanded surface.

And finally, thanks to the "air" we all breathe, the color coat must be clear coated. If not, even Imron will dull out in a year or so, depending on the climate.

The quality of the primer should be "high."

The quality of the silver should be "medium" or better.

The quality of the clear coat must be top shelf, if you want it to last a long time.

Andy
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Old 05-27-2004, 07:36 PM   #14
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Talking Plasti Dip

Has anyone had any experience with Plasti Dip? It comes in clear and colors, claims to remain flexible and wont chip, crack, or become brittle. I used a can to cover some oxidized areas until I have the whole trailer done by Dick; it made a multitude of sins disapear. Napa stores carry the product. Thanks for any info anyone may have.

Ernie
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