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Old 05-20-2018, 08:58 PM   #1
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1976 Argosy 24
Monroe , Michigan
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Interior Skins: paint VS just cleaning VS waxing

Hello From Michigan! The weather has broke and we have just gotten the interior skins off our newly purchased leaching sticky vinyl 1976 Argosy 24'. Of course want to try to make the Argosy look great and stay looking great, so we would like to know what is the PREFERRED or BEST process to promote clean-ability and longevity for anyone who is up to giving advice?

1. Clean skins, fill holes with bondo, touch up color, leave "as is"?
2. Clean, fill, touch-up and Wax (wax name)?
3. Clean, fill, seal with a primer then paint (if so what's best)?
4. Clean, fill, touch-up & paint with Zolatone paint or other vinyl paint (if so, what kind).
5. Strip skins, fill, clear-coat or wax?

Any downfalls leaving as is but clean, or using wax, primer/paint, using more vinyl paint or the stripping process?

Thank you in advance for your input!
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:08 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 26
Morrill , Nebraska
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I used "Simple Green" full strength. Working relatively small areas at a time. 3'x3'. Rinsed with plain water.
My '74 Argosy cleaned up really well.
Used white pop rivets to fill any holes.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:47 PM   #3
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Mr clean magic eraser works great then rinse with water on microfiber towels.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:44 AM   #4
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2018 27' Globetrotter
1993 30' Excella
Flushing , Michigan
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Here is what I did: after removing all skins, scrub them on the floor (I put all of mine on an old piece of carpet) with "Krud Kutter" (all versions seemed to work equally well for me) using a stiff bristle brush, then wipe down with paper towel and repeat--it is incredible what filth and grease comes off, so use rubber gloves--finish with clear water. On the backside, just one pass with the Krud Kutter and brush, then water. On mine, the inside was smooth with a green coating, the outside was textured "vinyl" and VERY dirty--I had great results with Krud Kutter, however it is a lot of effort. Then I primed both sides with Kilz after wiping all down with mineral spirits. Next I reinstalled all panels with poprivets. For my topcoats (took two to cover acceptably) I used Sherwin Williams "All Surface Enamel", a very durable coating with lots of odor, using a roller where possible and leaving the windows open for days.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:49 AM   #5
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1975 Argosy 28
Springville , Alabama
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I removed my interior skins. Cleaned with krud kutter. Reinstalled with pop rivets. Some of my panels were sticky after cleaning. I painted with zinzer bondcoat primer. Filled holes with all purpose bondo. Sanded smooth. Wiped all panels down with lacquer thinner. Then topcoated with a good latex paint.
No more sticky, no more ugly stains, no more holes, no more stinky! Click image for larger version

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Old 05-21-2018, 11:17 AM   #6
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1969 18' Caravel
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As others note, the plastic coating will clean up nicely with a variety of cleaners. I have had success with 409 and scotch-brite pads on my '69 Caravel -- looks like new, no need to wax or seal or prime or paint.

You could do so if you want to change the color, but the weight of that gallon of paint is how much weight you will be adding to the trailer, and I am always mindful of how what I do to the trailer will add to the weight, which will decrease your mileage and add stress to the frame and tires and suspension.

With some experience in aviation, I am perhaps more aware of weight and balance than usual. Weight is so easily overlooked in trailer renovations, yet for the engineers who designed them, it was critical factor and what led to the hollow core cabinets, and other ingenious innovations that kept Airstream (and Argosy) lightweight and easy to tow.
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:32 PM   #7
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1953 25' Cruiser
Richland , Washington
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Not sure what you mean by skins...I have an Airstream that had the original paint (Zolatone from 1953) on the walls, interior cupboards etc. There were only a few areas that were peeling, but the surface was pretty chalky and thin from age. First, I cleaned it really well with TSP. I then primed all the walls, inside closets, cupboards with aluminum primer (I was painting it light grey so the primer color worked just fine for me.) I wanted to keep it original so I went with Zolatone roll-on paint. Zolatone sells the required undercoat paint that is really flat and sort of goes on like chalk paint and looks a little like chalk paint also. And then the application of the Zolatone paint. It was quite frustrating. And, I think its pretty strange stuff. I had quite a few conversations and exchange of photos with the service rep (who was great to deal with) because I just wasn't sure if I was even applying it right. It has the consistency of a thick plastic coat paint, but is textured with little beads. Very important not to break up the little beads in the paint. My experience is that it is not brushable, only roll-on with the rollers that they also provide. It was also quite expensive. I used 2 or 3x the paint they say it will cover. It required two coats. If I didn't put it on thick, it didn't look right when it dried. If I remember correctly, I think the Zolatone part of the paint job cost me around $550-600 with shipping costs. BUT, I do REALLY LOVE IT! I like to say that the entire trailer could crumble but the paint would still be standing! It really makes the interior of the trailer. The one warning or drawback is that nothing sticks to it! I tried to put up some decorative decals and ended up keeping it on by applying glue from a glue stick on the backing. Now, that I've experienced it, I'd do it again, but it was definitely a learning process. For the areas that weren't rollable (inside closets, cupboards, etc) I used a matching Sherwin William All Surface Enamel, which is really great stuff also. Good luck with whatever you choose to use for your project.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:35 PM   #8
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1976 Argosy 24
Monroe , Michigan
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Thanks for tips on cleaning the walls! We are still wondering if we should strip the vinyl off interior wall panels then paint, or paint over the sticky residue, or just clean and leave "as is".

I read on a post that the vinyl will leach again getting sticky all over again if just cleaned and left. If we clean this spring, does anyone know how long it will take to get sticky again?

A question for the zolatone paint... Will this solve the sticky problem? How long will it last?

Its VERY hard to decide which route to take. Still looking for proven outcomes and more first hand knowledge. AND... how long the recommendations last.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:01 AM   #9
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1953 25' Cruiser
Richland , Washington
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For Zolatone, the surface has to be really clean. You have to do all the steps, aluminum primer (if its peeling (sand it) or any see through), their undercoat and then the paint. You can always call them. They are great to deal with. Can you remove the sticky residue with adhesive remover? The best to you on your project.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:12 AM   #10
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Lexington , Minnesota
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From my readings, I get the distinct impression that Zolotone, and stripping off the vinyl are very labor intensive processes. We had vinyl in mostly good condition, so chose to paint. We had been advised on the Forums, to wash and rinse VERY well. Used Simple Green. Rinsed twice. Primed with Bondz, then painted 2 coats of exterior grade latex paint. It's holding up very well after 6 years of use. Our trailer goes through the freeze/thaw cycles in MN winters (can't quite retire yet). We filled holes with rivets and painted over them. Looks fine.
BTW, we did not have sticky walls to start with. I understand that waxing helps with that, but we've not had that problem.

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Old 05-30-2018, 09:20 AM   #11
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1976 Argosy 24
Monroe , Michigan
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So far, we have cleaned the skins. The krud kutter worked great! It was the first one that had been mentioned here on the forum that I found at Lowe's. We plan to install the rest of interior walls and paint while on the wall. We will probably prime and paint with a latex paint.

I would love to hear any other tips on painting. Specific paints, colors, types, brands, processes would all be helpful.

Thanks for your advice so far!

~Katty
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1976 Argosy 24'
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:31 AM   #12
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1976 Argosy 24
Monroe , Michigan
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Good ideas! How long ago did you paint and how is it holding up?
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1976 Argosy 24'
1975 Trillium 13'


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Old 05-31-2018, 05:34 AM   #13
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1976 Argosy 24
Monroe , Michigan
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When did you paint the walls and how is it holding up?
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1976 Argosy 24'
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:42 PM   #14
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We painted about 6 years ago. It's holding up very well. A small (6 inch) roller works the best on the curvy areas. You can use a bigger roller for straight sections.

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