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Old 03-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #61
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That's some awesome work Shelly. Very nice.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:22 PM   #62
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Down south, we call those skills a "payin gig"...

Me, I'm ashamed to say I fixed my bad plaques with a Visa Card...
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:28 PM   #63
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Thanks Top and Vernon! I'm saving that credit card for the rest of the restoration lol
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:19 PM   #64
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Thanks John!

That's because it is! Seriously I have to do something while I'm waiting for Colin.... And its better than buying another trailer!
Hi Shelly,
Did I hear my name spoken in vain? I was going through my home office recently & came across an envelope with the original warranty sheet that came out of your closet. Peter is dropping their trailer off tomorrow for some minor work, so I'll give it to him. Don't worry, you're getting closer to the front of the line.
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:16 PM   #65
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Hi Shelly,
Did I hear my name spoken in vain? I was going through my home office recently & came across an envelope with the original warranty sheet that came out of your closet. Peter is dropping their trailer off tomorrow for some minor work, so I'll give it to him. Don't worry, you're getting closer to the front of the line.
Thanks,
Colin

Well it better not be in vain!!!!! Think of it as a gentle nudge LOL!!!!
Cool about the warranty sheet. Thanks!
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:53 PM   #66
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I have a eureka moment!

I have been eyeing the rolled up interior panels in the back of my garage for quite some time. I did a bit of practice stripping on a few small panels in the spring and was not looking forward to doing the big long panels. My Overlander came with 4 different colors of latex paint plus the zolatone.

Assuming each paint color coat took two coats (and I think the pepto bismal pink was actually 3) you're talking 8 layers of paint PLUS zolatone. Since in my tests I was only taking off 2 layers per application.... well the math doesn't lie, I was looking 3-4 applications of paint remover for each panel. Yech.

People who know me, know I like to experiment - (legal stuff only LOL!). And I really needed a better way to strip these larger panels.

So my requirements were a safe environmentally-friendly stripper and as few coats as possible. The safe aspect took on new significance recently...... as I managed to burn myself pretty badly spraying poison ivy with Roundup.


I was spraying the Roundup when I got stung by a bee. I tend to have an allergic reaction to bees (hives) so I was more concerned with icing the bite and getting benadryl on board,. By the time I realized my arm was burning it was too late. I was wearing long sleeves too.. Grrrr


This was after 2 weeks of healing even!

Whoops, re-focus, .... sorry

Now I had already done the side by side comparison of as many different brands of paint stripper as I could find. Aircraft stripper and Citrastrip came out on top as suspected.

Suprisingly, I thought the Citrastrip did as well, if not better, than the Aircraft stripper, but the darn stuff is expensive, $20 for a half gallon and I needed at least one and a half containers to do a panel with one coat!!!! Add that to repainting and my cost was going to approach reskinning with new, especially if I want to factor in my time.

I decided to strip one panel and see how it went.

Well as I was stripping the first big panel I noticed that the plastic putty knife did a great job for the first foot or so and then rapidly dulled and got beat up every time I hit a rivet hole. That's when the light bulb went on folks! Some time back I blogged about these handy fellas, plastic razor blades. At Amazon, they are like $9 for 100!

They worked AWESOME!!!!!! FAN FREAKIN TASTIC!!!! Oops, there I go with the exclamation points overuse again. I promise to stop. Pinky swear.

This is ONE pass with a razor. Okay 4 passes in a row LOL but all eight layers AND zolotone are virtually gone. This is epic!


The process after I refined it a little (of course I did):

Paint a fairly thick layer of Citrastrip over the whole panel. Leave at least 4 hours (overnight was fine but I didn't find it worked any better and it was worse if it dried out).

Scrape a small one foot by one foot section using the plastic razor blade.

While the residue is still soft keep scraping until nothing else comes up

Using a cloth and some mineral spirits (or a little extra citrastrip), clean off any remaining paint in that one foot square section - really important to do this before the area dries out.

Move on!


I did this whole panel - the picture only shows half of it - in just over an hour. Then I pressure washed it and came back at it with a green 3m scrubby and some extra Citrastrip to get all the edges and areas I had missed.







Just a few hints,

Its essential to have the panels out and flat. There's a correct angle to holding the blade (more like 60 degrees than 45) to get the best effect. I suspect that doing this while the panels are still on the trailer might work, but pressure is key to removing the most layers in one pass.

Try to use a plastic razor blade holder, otherwise sooner or later you'll slip and gouge the metal. Yep did that! They sell one with the blades at amazon, unfortunately I couldn't find mine and spent a couple of hours looking for it ...after I scratched the metal of course ! It took me longer to find the darn thang than to strip the panel!

Leave the edges and rivet holes for when the blade is dull because it will wreck the razor's edge pretty fast which defeats the whole purpose! I generally got a 2ft by 2ft section clean before I had to flip the blade (there are two good sharp edges per blade- pay attention to the orientation, its not like a metal blade) I probably used half a dozen blades on this panel but that's way cheaper than another layer of stripper!


One small problem...

After I cleaned the panel really well I noticed that they wiped it with something (Aluma prep?) in prep for painting I'm guessing. Is there a way to remove this? It left a funny haze. I don't want to polish but I might consider leaving the aluminum bare in a few areas if I can get rid of this... HELP!

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Old 07-11-2012, 11:03 PM   #67
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Shelly, serious question, how much to restore a vintage plate? I'd love to have you do ours.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:50 PM   #68
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Oh no you don't! I have a THOUSAND things for her to help me with on my airstream (she is my twin sister) and of course, she has TWO THOUSAND items on her list for her own airstream! She likes to help me on my trailer since when we really screw up, she takes notes for doing it the right way on her trailer!!!
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:19 PM   #69
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What a difference a day makes!

These are the original overhead lights. They are aluminum and I had seen examples of them stripped before on the forums.

They looked very cool when shiny, so I got out the trusty Citrastrip and painted them with a thick layer and left them overnight.

Some of the paint came up pretty quickly but Airstream must have treated the bottom edge with something because there was a 2" strip all the way around (inside and out) that the Citrastrip didn't budge. Even after a second coat! Tougher than a woodpeckers beak!




I decided to ramp it up and use the nasty aircraft stripper. It worked better but I still had to take a green 3m scrubbing pad to it to get it all off. I wasn't too worried about scratching the aluminum because I was planning on polishing the light anyway.

This little guy came out to see what I was doing! He lives under the front step and likes to sun himself on the top step. People who leave our house often do it screaming!!


A little work on the polisher with a grey bar and voila! Not too shabby!





Next up were the plastic light covers. Mine were horribly yellowed and stained (from smoking?) Here's what I started with, yech!


I had read on the Internet about a homemade solution called RetrObright that was supposed to brighten up yellowed plastic electronics. If you want read more about it here: http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/Retr0Bright+Gel

The recipe calls for:
  • 1 pint (500ml) Hydrogen Peroxide, 10 to 15% strength (40 vol)
  • 2 heaped tablespoonfuls of Xanthan Gum
  • 1 level teaspoonful of Glycerine
  • 1/4 teaspoonful of "Oxy" laundry booster

Basically you pre-dissolve the oxy in hot water, mix it all into a gel and paint it on and let it sit in the sun or under a UV lamp. See the website for more detailed instructions- the pictures make it look like magic!

Here were my ingredients.. I left out the Oxiclean, oops lol .....and even I didn't feel the need to show you boiling water!

The glycerine I got at a drug store, the peroxide at a Sallys Beauty Supply and the Xanthan gum from a health foods store. Probably cost me $20 in gas running all over town! And I had to go to the Beauty supply twice cause nowhere on the label does it say what percentage of peroxide it was. Grr ...by the way you want the 40 VOLUME!

I did one light cover at a time cause I wanted to show the improvement. So I mixed up a half recipe but used 1/4 tsp of oxi instead of 1/8 tsp.

Here's it painted on:

It says you have to wait at least a day and I did. To crushing results.... nada , zip, zilch... kinda like Mitt Romney's support among black voters!

The hard part was that it's supposed to stay wet... tough to keep something in full sun and wet! I thought the plastic bag would help but nope! Your supposed to see bubbling... what little bubbling I saw, even a guppy wouldn't have been proud of!


You can use a UV light but I didn't have one....

I'm a rebel. That's what I am... Adhering to a recipe makes me feel trapped. LOL

So for round two, I made a bath of just peroxide and the oxiclean. I dissolved a teaspoon of the oxi in water added it to the remaining half pint of peroxide. I plastic lined a cake pan and added the light cover. At this point I didn't have high hopes but the bubbling started pretty fast and by the next morning I saw vast improvement! Yippee!



What a difference a day makes! I was getting a little worried because the solution didn't seem to be bubbling as much and I wanted to get the other light cover in before things stopped working so I added a little more Oxi and some water because there wasn't enough solution to cover them both.

It started bubbling away again after I added the oxi, so I waited another day, until they got as good as I thought they would ......and the end result speaks for itself!




They aren't truly white but I actually think they are back to what they started out as originally!

The lights have two sockets on the interior - one dedicated 12v and one 110v - my Overlander was wired at the fixtures for both. Maybe I'll change out to LED bulbs or get rid of the sockets and use two LED pads.

I haven't decided yet and it might be awhile before these beauties get put back up. I'm leaning toward the bulbs as it would appear more original, but LED's are a fast changing world so I'm putting finishing this the back burner for now.

What do you think? My advice - skip the xantham gum and glycerine and bleach away!
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #70
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Whoah! Great job on those lights!
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:18 AM   #71
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Very "retro-bright" Good work
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:03 PM   #72
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Thanks Top and Lynne! I have to admit I was sure the light covers would dissolve to a pile of goo but there really was no damage!

By the way we have a new member in the family. His name is Finnegan and he's my daughters graduation present. The first month was rough but thing's are starting to look up!
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:03 PM   #73
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I have no idea why that picture is upside down ... or how to fix it LOL
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:18 PM   #74
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I have no idea why that picture is upside down ... or how to fix it LOL
Fixed...

Our Border Collie Mac looks EXACTLY like Finn!!!!
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:22 PM   #75
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Thank you! As I write this he is tearing around the room making his own agility course! My sheltie and dachshund are looking at him with disgust.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:35 PM   #76
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Here is what Finn will look like in 18 months...
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:28 PM   #77
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An important news flash!! It's time for Moonraker to take her turn! I'm so excited! Here she is being moved into Colin's shop, stay tuned!
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:58 PM   #78
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An important news flash!! It's time for Moonraker to take her turn! I'm so excited! Here she is being moved into Colin's shop, stay tuned!
I just noticed on John's thread your trailer going into Colin's shop. Has to be a good feeling.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:14 AM   #79
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You must be SO excited!! Looking forward to seeing the results.

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Old 12-12-2012, 05:49 PM   #80
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Thanks Tom and Mike, I am extremely happy to be starting this project.

Yesterday I made the trip up to Colin's shop to deliver wheels/tires, Prodex, a new coupler, a Bulldog jack (manual, we are going t rough it), Furrion inlet and breakaway switch. I also delivered a melanine plate, aqua of course, so he can use it to color match the tub, he said that was a first for him!

The photos below are the excellent documentation he does for all his clients.

I actually got to watch them flip the chassis and torch off the old axles. Pretty cool

In the third picture there a shiny area on the endcap where Colin used his super secret polish. It still looks pretty good and it has to be at least three years ago he did that! We really need to get him to make the polish for production!

Take note of the sixth photo, this was the result of a tire blow out with the previous owner. Its going to require a ful panel replacement on the streetside . It's all good though because I can get rid of the openings where the furnace and water heater were.

Also in the ninth photo note the propane line and the fact they drilled a hole (actually three holes, I guess the first two were for practice lol) to pass the propane line into the furnace duct. I guess they thought the customer wanted their propane warmed!!!!! said that was the first time they'd seen that too.... I would hope so!

ENJOY! And for a "Where's Waldo" moment I brought Christmas cookies, can you spot them among all the damage?

Entering the shop


Drilling out perimeter rivets





Removing “school bus” taillights



Body removed





SS wheel well damage



Bumper trunk detail showing how water can rot out tear end



Flipping chassis over





Factory installed propane line for the furnace drilled through the heating duct…………….scary!



Damaged front outrigger



Axles being removed





Rear floor rot




SS wheel well damage


“C” channel removed showing extent of front floor rot.



Poorly scabbed in floor section near door. Note the rot just ahead & just behind

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