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Old 09-02-2008, 05:36 AM   #15
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Airstream adopted the white roof aboutthe time they changed the cross section of the trailers when they went to wide bodies(1996). The wider body had a flatter profile and squarer corners for more interior walkable space. This also resulted in the roof becoming less visable when walking by the trailer. They had already gone to prepainted (clearcoated) aluminum by that time and so it was easy to just order the aluminum for the middle of the roof already prepainted white. I painted the roof on my 77 in the center section white about 10 years ago. It did help keep the temperature down. I used a high gloss exterior durable enamel to make it easier to clean and minimize the cauking that could leave white streaks down the side of the trailer.
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
We used:

Product Detail (Snow Roof)

So far, so good. It has made a marked difference and as we live in Miami, there has been ample opportunity to garner results.

Looks pretty good and it rolled on painlessly.

Mike
This looks interesting, any new developments from the summer heat? Can you post a pic??
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:31 PM   #17
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Strip First?

I've been thinking about this on my 89 Classic MH. Does any one know if I must strip 1st or can it be applied right over the clear coat.
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Old 10-09-2008, 08:11 PM   #18
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I've been thinking about this on my 89 Classic MH. Does any one know if I must strip 1st or can it be applied right over the clear coat.
My foggy memory brings up a post from another member about using an aluminum etching primer then Interlux Marine Enamel. I don't know much about the subject but I would strip the clearcoat.
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:59 AM   #19
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Interlux Brightsides marine paint is what I used. I scuffed the surface with sandpaper and did multiple light coats.

I used Interlux Brushing Thinner to slow the drying of the paint and you wouldn't know it wasn't sprayed on.

The finish is highly reflective and has been durable for the past two years.

The problem in the past with the elastic roof coatings has been the flat finish collecting dirt and then as it ages it chalked leaving streaks on the sides. I've only seen/used this on mobile homes in Florida.
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Old 10-10-2008, 09:27 AM   #20
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Use aircraft paint supplies

I recently did this to my 1987 34' Avion (which is shaped pretty much exactly like the new Airstreams....or rather they are shaped like it ) because in 95 degree sunshine the a/c was getting over powered and a guy with a 34 foot 'stream told me he'd painted his roof white for the same reason and he saw a 10 degree internal temperature drop.

You do have to etch aluminum for the paint to stick to it well.

Through a friend of a friend that works at US Air I was able to get some self etching aluminum primer that they use on their airliners. I also got some metal prep cleaner / etcher called "Metal Prep 79" or something very similar. You can get that from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty or places like that. You soap and water wash it really good first. Then you hit it with the metal prep 79. Roll it on heavy, let it sit 10 minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly. After it dries, I put on the self etching primer (get a good mask, the VOC's in it are nasty) with a roller. After that, you could use about any good oil based paint. I had some US Air gloss white, but the VOC's gave me a headache from the primer (and I was outside doing this with a mask on....apparently not a good enough mask) so I used gloss white Rustoleum. Like I say, once you get the primer on, the hard part is done. It turned out really nice. We had an 80 degree day the other week and the coach sat out in the sun closed up all day. About 4:00pm I went inside and it was very much cooler than it would have been before. There is something to the gloss white reflective paint.

I do still plan to replace my 21 year old 13,500 btu Coleman with a new 15,000 btu model. I'm hoping that the two combined will fix the problem. If not, then it's a new 60amp intelipower and I rewire the coach and put a second a/c in the bedroom.

Cheers,
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:04 AM   #21
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I thought painting the top of my 1987 Excella white was going to be easy after reading this discussion, but the more I read the more confused and complicated it seems to be.

This is what Interlux says the preparation needs to be for aluminum:
  • Clean with Interlux 216 Special Thinner.
  • Prime surface with Interlux Viny-Lux Primer Wash 353/354 thinned with Viny-Lux 355.
  • One or two coats of Interlux Pre-Kote Primer, possibly thinned with 333 thinner.
  • One or two coats of Interlux Brightside Polyurethane Blue-Glo White thinned with 333 thinner with light sanding between coats.
Can any of these steps be replaced with an aluminum prep? What is the difference between Metal Prep 79 and Alumiprep 33?

And when I stopped at the local auto parts store to check on a metal prep, he told me to just use white vinegar.
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:20 AM   #22
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its an old story...

Use of acid to brighten and prep aluminum for painting....I just cant go there again.

The vinegar is acidic and will mildly etch for you. The acid etch primer will too. To make it easy, follow the instructions.
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:21 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Skipper View Post
I thought painting the top of my 1987 Excella white was going to be easy after reading this discussion, but the more I read the more confused and complicated it seems to be.

This is what Interlux says the preparation needs to be for aluminum:
  • Clean with Interlux 216 Special Thinner.
  • Prime surface with Interlux Viny-Lux Primer Wash 353/354 thinned with Viny-Lux 355.
  • One or two coats of Interlux Pre-Kote Primer, possibly thinned with 333 thinner.
  • One or two coats of Interlux Brightside Polyurethane Blue-Glo White thinned with 333 thinner with light sanding between coats.
Can any of these steps be replaced with an aluminum prep? What is the difference between Metal Prep 79 and Alumiprep 33?

And when I stopped at the local auto parts store to check on a metal prep, he told me to just use white vinegar.
Etching the metal on an Airstream, with acid, of any kind, is a joke. Best way in the world to create water leaks down the road.

If your going to paint the roof, get serious about it.

Sand, yes sand, into the metal with 120 to 150 grit sandpaper. Not "scuff," but sand, in a serious way.

Surface preparation is always the key to painting metal.

After the metal is "sanded," clean it up with a "good" lacquer thinner. You can then seal the seams. Then apply a couple of double wet coats of flexible "epoxy" primer. Let the primer "out gas" foe a few days.

Then paint the primer with a good auto paint, again applying at least 2 double wet coats.

If you really want to jazz it up, cover the white paint with "clear" auto paint. If you chose to do that, you must apply the clear while the white is "tacky."

Now you would have a paint job, that is first class. Hail will not chip or crack it, nor will a severe bend, like a tree falling on the roof.

We have been painting Airstream trailers for many years using the above procedure. We have many "metallic silver" paint jobs out in the field.

Anyone that has visited out facility and asks about "painting," is shown a door from a motorhome that was painted, that is severely bent and damaged, yet, there is not one single crack or chip in the paint. Some of them are members of this Forums. A recent visitor was "beginner".

Spray can painting a large area, is a joke and a half. The paint is not top quality, and you would need a dumpster for the empty spray cans.

Spray painting is not a secret art. But, if not done correctly, it will disappoint you in a short period of time.

Leaving the clearcoat on the roof and applying any material on top of it, will quickly fail, as you must get to the metal.

Applying white roof sealers, is another no no. When it rains, traces of that sealer will streak the sides of your trailer, big time.

If you want to maximize the cooling effect of a white roof, the white paint should start at the middle of the side windows.

Painting "just" the roof will help, but not as much as you may think it would, unless you paint down to the center of those windows.

Been there, done that, for over 40 years.

Andy
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:41 PM   #24
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I just purchased a '78 22' Argosy. It needs paint and has a basketball size dent in the rear of the roof. Is there a process using suction cup technology to fix the dent? Where is the paint available for repainting? Also, I am looking to replace the fiberglass strip in the rear that holds the tail lights...any clues as to where I can buy this?
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Old 04-18-2009, 12:57 PM   #25
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I just purchased a '78 22' Argosy. It needs paint and has a basketball size dent in the rear of the roof. Is there a process using suction cup technology to fix the dent? Where is the paint available for repainting? Also, I am looking to replace the fiberglass strip in the rear that holds the tail lights...any clues as to where I can buy this?
Trailer or motorhome?

Where on the roof?

If the dent is in the top end cap, you will never pull it out, but in can be filled Bondo and then painted.

Don't use the original paints. They were junk materials, at best.

For a good paint job, you should completely strip whats on the coach now.

The tail light bezels were made with plastic. Sounds like someone has already attempted some repairs.

That bezel has not been available for at least 25 years.

Some owners, remove it, throw it away, and install tail lights that are used on the Airstream trailers.

Since your going to paint the coach, now would be a good time for that task.

Andy
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:17 PM   #26
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We have 34', 1996 which I think is first year Airstream started using the pre painted roof. Since ours sits in the hot AZ sun the roof seems to have faded and seems to be in need of a new paint job. We want to repaint and hope with new roof pant, that what ever we use, will help us get more use during the hot summer months here in AZ as it is now if temp is over 100 dep our 15,000 btu AC just does not cool enough to allow comfortable use. Andy, at Inland seems to have best idea; however, just wonder if it would also be solution for Arizona? Any idea of cost?
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:28 PM   #27
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Hey Arizona,

The key to painting aluminum is that you have to etch it first. Then you have to use the proper primer. If you don't do these processes, it'll wash off after a few good rains.

When I did my roof, I got the etcher from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. A half gallon would probably be enough for you (it was for my 34 foot Avion). After etching it, I then painted it with aircraft zinc chromate primer, ala US Airways had left over. Once that's done, you can paint it with whatever oil based paint you like.

Now in your case, if it's factory painted, the hard part is already done for you. Airstream already etched it and primed it. All you should have to do is lightly wet sand the old paint, wash it off clean, and then repaint with white oil paint.

I used Rustoleum gloss white and put it on with a 4" wide foam roller. It does a really nice job, doesn't leave brush marks, and looks great. Mine's been on for just about five years now. It was starting to fade in a few areas, so I cleaned it up and put on another coat. It looks great now.

The bright gloss white really does help a lot. Going from silver to white cut my interior heat by a full 10 degrees F. I then replaced my old Coleman Delta T 13,500 btu a/c with a new Carrier AiRV 15,000 and it'll get like an igloo in there.

best of luck,
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:16 PM   #28
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Thanks for your reply.

Ralph Wood
Scottsdale
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