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georgezink 04-21-2015 12:29 PM

Can this be polished?
3 Attachment(s)
After almost 9 years of ownership, we finally decided to do something about the exterior paint of our 6 metre Minuet - now 38 years old. Don't know yet just what the finished treatment will be, but decided that stripping the old paint off would be the first step. We decided to start with the area between the rub rail and the belt line, as we were thinking we might polish that area and paint the rest for a two tone effect. The paint is coming off quickly with SmartStrip, and the resulting haze is removed with denatured alcohol. However, we have run into what appears to be a lot of sanding swirls. The non-sanded areas polish up to a nice sheen with Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish - but does nothing to the sanded areas.

Can these swirls be buffed out and polished? Or, are we destined for a full repaint?

Thank you...Geo...

Minno 04-22-2015 07:16 AM

If the sanding goes all the way through the outer coating of aluminum, then you're looking at a paint job.

I would try sanding with 400, and then 600 grit sandpaper. Maybe even go up to 800 or 1200 grit. Wet sanding would be ideal I think. If you can get the swirl marks out by sanding with the progressively finer grits, then you might be able to buff it to a polish. Buy good sandpaper made for wet sanding, and a rubber body work sanding block. One that will conform to the curves of the trailer easily.

It'll be a lot of work, but worth it if you really want to polish the lower half.

Good luck!


Melody Ranch 04-22-2015 07:52 AM

You will be WAY happier if you go the paint route. WAY HAPPIER.

bganso 04-22-2015 08:12 AM

Have you given any consideration to a vinyl wrap?

robwok 04-22-2015 09:40 AM

There are some amazing options in paint. use 2 tone colors that blend well if you can, lighter up top. Just google argosy paint job or something similar. Love the candy apple red one. And if you get a vintage vehicle to match or coordinate, even better.


thesignlady 04-22-2015 09:44 AM

yes it can be...just a lot more work than your standard airstream as you have to get past the swirl marks they put in for paint bondage. You will need to paint your end caps though as they are galvanized metal and will rust once exposed.

you would cut thought the first layers of swirls with a polisher like this...

7 in. 10 Amp Variable Speed Polisher

then finish with a beauty like this...

Cyclo Model 5-Pro Polisher

Some one else can chime in with what kind of polishing compounds to use that will cut appropriately.

And Please post pictures of the steps you used if you do go ahead and do it. I have an Argosy that I am thinking of doing the same thing to once my restoration of the '69 Safari is done :-)

thesignlady 04-22-2015 09:51 AM

Oh and the Krylon fusion for plastics spray paint can be used for painting the plastic vents, hood scoops and lights etc...they have a great aluminum metallic that is a very close colour match or use you can use an etching primer and use any old aluminum coloured spray paint. While you are doing all this work replace your plumbing stack covers gaskets if needed, as they are supposed to be done every 5 years or so. Andy at Inland RV sells the new gaskets

Inland RV Center Inc.

georgezink 04-22-2015 08:19 PM

Thank you for all the responses...
We've been doing a lot of searching of the forums to find how others might have solved this problem of factory applied sanding swirls on the Argosy. Many ideas, but no clear-cut "this is what worked for me".

The sanding swirls appear to be very fine and difficult to feel with the finger pad, a fingernail would not catch . I'm reluctant to add to the sanding in an attempt to get rid of the sanding, but others have tried it with success. Chris, should only the sanded parts be sanded, or will it need to be done over the entire surface? And how do you know when "the sanding goes through the outer coating of aluminum"?

We never entertained the idea of polishing overall and painting the endcaps to match. In SW Florida, a white or off white top is a distinct advantage, but we did think a little "shine" would look so retro. "Groveland" posted a photo last September of his just finished project with below the beltline polished (except for the door, which was fully polished) and above the beltline being painted white - it looked terrific.

We've also thought of starting the white top at the bottom of the end caps and going all around the coach with that line - interrupted only by the door and side windows. Perhaps move the beltline trim up to that line to further accent it. But, we are having a hard time visualizing that option.

We should finish stripping the bottom tomorrow, weather permitting. We have two grades of Met-all on hand from a prior project, and I think we will try that first before we resort to the sanding.

I will definitely post pictures of progress...thanks again...Geo...

georgezink 04-22-2015 08:26 PM

This is Groveland's "project"...;d=1409704572

georgezink 05-15-2015 05:31 PM

Making progress, but not finished...
Lots of wet sanding, starting with 220 grit, 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000 - then compounding with F9. More compounding to be done and then on with the polishing. But first, an intermission - camping to Texas...Geo...

georgezink 05-15-2015 05:47 PM

3 Attachment(s)
I hope the photo's post this time...........

mayco 05-15-2015 07:51 PM

Very nice

Roadrunner 05-15-2015 08:24 PM

Very nice job! I've seen another Argosy that had lower paint and the upper panels were stripped and polished (except for the end caps which were painted). Goes to show what a little elbow grease will do...enjoy your Argosy...

Bob "Roadrunner"
Indiana, PA

WBCCI 4871

Gearheart 06-06-2015 01:10 PM

One thing Airstream did to allow a lower cost on the Argosy was to use a cheaper grade of aluminum. Hence the need for paint. Scratch damaged panels from regular AS units also found their way into Argosy trailers. Polishing an Argosy will be an endless task as the softer metal will need constant attention.

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