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Old 01-16-2005, 07:21 PM   #1
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Roof discolored Help!!

I have a 1974 AS that is in great shape, except the top is a little chaulky looking.I am sure this is normal due to age.

How is the best and easiest way to fix this. I want it to match the rest of the AS.

I love the Mirror shiny Airstreams, but I am not willing to spend many many hours of hard work to get there.... yet..
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Old 01-16-2005, 10:01 PM   #2
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Roof discolored Help!!

Greetings BrianWSNC!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianWSNC
I have a 1974 AS that is in great shape, except the top is a little chaulky looking.I am sure this is normal due to age.

How is the best and easiest way to fix this. I want it to match the rest of the AS.

I love the Mirror shiny Airstreams, but I am not willing to spend many many hours of hard work to get there.... yet..
What you are describing is likely the Plasticoat failing. There isn't any easy correction once the surface begins to fail. The accepted remedy is to strip the Plasticoat, polish, and then re-Plasticoat if so desired. Depending upon how far down the sides the failed Plasticoat is found, some have chosen to paint the top panels white - - but this wouldn't be a potential solution if the failing Plasticoat extends down the side panels. A thorough cleaning followed by coating with Walbernize should help to slow the progression of the Plasticoat failure.

Good luck with your coach!

Kevin
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Old 01-16-2005, 10:13 PM   #3
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Unfortunately as Kevin noted above, the chalkiness on the roof of your trailer is caused by the failure of your 30 year old clearcoat/plasticote.

You can strip the old coating off and leave the aluminum bare, however you will find that the aluminum will oxidize over time, taking whatever shiny finish you have left with it. The other problem is, where the coating has failed first, the aluminum will have already begun the oxidation process and areas of later failure will have less oxidation. So if the whole trailer is stripped, without polishing, it will most likely have a splotchy appearance.

Another option is to have the old coating stripped, the trailer polished to even out the finsh and then re-coated.

This last summer, I saw a trailer that was 'sandblasted' with walnut shells...it looked very nice, more of a matte finish similar to the newer trailers.

I've also seen several trailers that have been stripped and painted with silver paint specially formulated for aluminum, with varying degrees of success.

Of course, there's always the 'slippery slope' of the polishing process...

Lot's of options...you just need to find the one that best suits your lifestyle.

Shari
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Old 01-17-2005, 12:39 PM   #4
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Hey Brian -- Looks like you're becoming a regular, but a belated 'welcome' to the Forums! There are so many tough decision points in caring for our babys.

I don't recall what year Airstream went to painting the roof white to prevent heat buildup. You can stand near the trailer and not see the white -- it's just over the curve and out of sight. I'll assume you have something more obvious (in which case an Argosy owner better back away...).

Shari -- At this thread, steelbird312's reply on page 2 confirms my experiment -- walnut shell blasting warped the aluminum. I'd suspect it burnished the blasted surface, causing expansion to just the one side, thus the cupping away that was observed (blasted side becomes convex). Did you observe any ripples on that trailer? Walnut shell blasting will be an irreversible process -- don't think you'd shine 'er up again without a lot of work. I'd think all the clearcoat would have to be off before one would want to get near the trailer with walnut shells.
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Old 01-17-2005, 01:00 PM   #5
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The other "blasting" method of stripping I have been told works with really good results is called soda blasting. It uses baking soda, the particles are-so fine that the heat issue is resolved. This is the preferred method for stripping paint off of aircraft. They have many nooks and crannies that a liquids could penetrate on smaller aircraft, so the soda blasting is used. It would offer the control of only stripping what you want to strip and there would be no toxic leftovers for the process.
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Old 01-17-2005, 02:55 PM   #6
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Happened to cruise through this thread today -- looking for other things: The bashful stripper (ahem! Clearcoat that is...)

Dontcha just love federal holidays!
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Shari -- At this thread, steelbird312's reply on page 2 confirms my experiment -- walnut shell blasting warped the aluminum. I'd suspect it burnished the blasted surface, causing expansion to just the one side, thus the cupping away that was observed (blasted side becomes convex). Did you observe any ripples on that trailer? Walnut shell blasting will be an irreversible process -- don't think you'd shine 'er up again without a lot of work. I'd think all the clearcoat would have to be off before one would want to get near the trailer with walnut shells.
No, I didn't observe anything looking like ripples, cupping or distortion of the panels. It was a very nice even finish and I thought it looked great! Much better than some of the silver paint jobs I have seen. I think the painted option could look good, I just haven't seen one yet!

Brett, I do recall hearing of the baking soda blast, but I haven't seen one - that I know of...have you? Not that I'm shopping for an alternative to the old fashioned elbow grease involved in obtaining the mirror finish...we are way past committed!

Shari
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Old 01-18-2005, 04:08 AM   #8
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It may have been the operator of the walnut shell blaster We have some guys in our shop that can figure out a way to screw up a piece of 1/2" stainless steel plate, then there are a couple of others that can butt weld light guage steel sheet together and when they are done you are hard pressed to find the weld. An inexperienced or careless operator can mess just about anything up, that is why I prefer to do things myself then I have no one to blame if it is screwed up and I am not PO'ed at giving some clown my hard earned money to do a bad job, that end up doing over myself. Kind of like Barking Spider's roundabout with his floor repair a while back...

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Old 01-26-2005, 11:10 AM   #9
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Thumbs up stripping old clearcoat from roof

I have some of the same clear coat failure on the top of my AS. I understand the use of stripper but how do you apply stripper to the top of the unit and rinse it off without it running down and streaking the sides of the trailer? Whenever I get out of this outage we are in (mid-april) I plan to get started on the roof.
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Old 01-26-2005, 11:24 AM   #10
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Ga Pockets.

You don't strip just the top.

The plasticoat that is on your trailer was good for 3 to 4 years, under normal conditions.

Therefore, "all" of the paint is shot.

The roof turns a milky color, when the paint has crystalized, as in your case.

Refinish the complete trailer is your only options, other than wearing very dark sun glasses when your near your Airstream.

It that way, you won't see it, therefore, out of sight, out of mind.

Andy
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Old 02-01-2005, 09:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Ga Pockets.

You don't strip just the top.

The plasticoat that is on your trailer was good for 3 to 4 years, under normal conditions.

Therefore, "all" of the paint is shot.

The roof turns a milky color, when the paint has crystalized, as in your case.

Refinish the complete trailer is your only options, other than wearing very dark sun glasses when your near your Airstream.

It that way, you won't see it, therefore, out of sight, out of mind.

Andy
Andy, What is the average cost to strip and recoat assuming little or no repair. The unit was used a little the first few years after purchase but has not been used for the last 8 years. I am in the Pensacola fla. now but sometime this spring or summer (after my project is over) I will take it back home to Ga. hopefully for a few months. The PO bought the unit new from Three Way Camper (25 miles from my home) near Acworth/Marrietta area however I know very little about their abilities.

Thanks

Bill
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Old 02-01-2005, 10:36 AM   #12
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Bill,
I will add my $.02 worth on the subject. I have a 31' 78 Excella. The first stripping and polishing cost me about $800. That included the cost of the Kleen Strip Aircraft stripper, Cyclo polisher, polishing cloths, etcetera. It took about 200 hours to strip and polish the first time.

You will need a good compounding buffer. A 1/2 drill will work if it has a pistol grip and a handle. Go to perfectpolish.com for all the information and polishing supplies you will ever need. Be advised that once you start, you are committed. It is a messy, messy job. The second and successive polishings will only take 20-30 hours if you don't let the finish get too oxidized. I live near the coast in FLA and I have to do my at least twice a year. Each time it will cost about $250 in supplies, like more cloths, more polish, etc. I use Nuvite polish in various grades. I finish with Liquid Glass as a protectant.

Over the past 3 years, I spent around $1200 on stripping/polishing supplies.

No one has mentioned that having the stripping and polishing done professionally will run around $130-150/foot of trailer length. Painting will run about the same. Painting, while more expensive, will be less work for you. Depending on whether or not you want to make a "career" out of keeping the finish up to snuff, should drive you to polishing or painting.

I am retired and polishing keeps me off the streets and in better shape than sitting around watching the television. I also have an abundance of spare time.

Good luck with your decision. Keep those arm and shoulder muscles in shape.

Vic Smith
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Old 02-01-2005, 11:00 AM   #13
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Ga Pockets.

Replasticoating currently runs $ 115.00 per running foot.

Metallic silver runs $ 180.00 per running foot.

The cost will vary depending on where you live.

Refinishing an Airstream trailer, is very time consuming. But, if poorly done, it won't last 6 months.

Therefore be very careful who you choose to do the work. Ask them "how do you do it," from beginning to end.

Andy
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Old 02-01-2005, 12:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Ga Pockets.

Replasticoating currently runs $ 115.00 per running foot.

Metallic silver runs $ 180.00 per running foot.

The cost will vary depending on where you live.

Refinishing an Airstream trailer, is very time consuming. But, if poorly done, it won't last 6 months.

Therefore be very careful who you choose to do the work. Ask them "how do you do it," from beginning to end.

Andy
I use my AS primarily as my apartment as I am on the road 50 or so weeks a year. I don't have the time for the upkeep on a polished rig. I wish I did cause they sure look good! I am more interested in having it look more like the orginal factory look with clear coat that I can wax a couple times a year as time permits.

Thanks for all advice
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