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Old 11-22-2009, 08:57 AM   #21
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Several thoughts..

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Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Just curious...what do the panels look like once the clearcoat is removed? Sounds like they look good.... I am just trying to figure out why the clearcoat is put on the panels to start with, especially if it starts to wear off in about 5 years?
Good question~
It was, I believe, an attempt to keep the Airstream trailer looking nice long after the original purchased.
At one time, I saw where the cost was less than 100$ to do a clear coating job at the factory. This was before the EPA got into the act and, made it tough for the factory to complied with their crazy standards, regulations, etc.
Given that the cost was minimum, it wasn't that big of a deal to have it re-applied when needed.
Of course today, It's not that cost effective and, the main reason most owners will either forgo the process or will opt to polish.
On to the question of replacement of the panels cost.
Andy is right, as usual.
I think you'll find the total cost to be higher for that over all job.
Is it worth that much to you? There has to be any number of other units out there that are better choices for your dollars. Trust me, they do exist~
I would let someone else deal with this problem and continue my search.
How long ago was this damaged and, has water been coming in the patch, etc..
There could be all kinds of other issues that you would exposed to fixing.
Just my 2 cents..
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:13 AM   #22
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That's impressive. I'll have to remember that for the future. Hopefully I won't ever need it, but good to know...

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Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
Body Buddy Vacu-Dent Pneumatic Dent Puller

This tool does wonders for dent removal. I tried it on a dent like the one in the picture. We used a body hammer and tapped around the edge as we pulled and the dent was nearly invisable. It took about 5 minutes to do.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:17 AM   #23
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Thanks for the history lesson on the panels. Sounds like the way to go is to forego the clearcoat altogether to avoid the mess.

I agree...there are a number of units out there, so I will just wait for something better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 53flyingcloud View Post
Good question~
It was, I believe, an attempt to keep the Airstream trailer looking nice long after the original purchased.
At one time, I saw where the cost was less than 100$ to do a clear coating job at the factory. This was before the EPA got into the act and, made it tough for the factory to complied with their crazy standards, regulations, etc.
Given that the cost was minimum, it wasn't that big of a deal to have it re-applied when needed.
Of course today, It's not that cost effective and, the main reason most owners will either forgo the process or will opt to polish.
On to the question of replacement of the panels cost.
Andy is right, as usual.
I think you'll find the total cost to be higher for that over all job.
Is it worth that much to you? There has to be any number of other units out there that are better choices for your dollars. Trust me, they do exist~
I would let someone else deal with this problem and continue my search.
How long ago was this damaged and, has water been coming in the patch, etc..
There could be all kinds of other issues that you would exposed to fixing.
Just my 2 cents..
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:18 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Just curious...what do the panels look like once the clearcoat is removed? Sounds like they look good....
They can look good - I've seen several trailers that were stripped but never polished that look great! However, one thing that can happen with failing clearcoat that has been failing for twenty years or so is that the exposed aluminum will oxidize - at different rates. This will give a splotchy look to the aluminum - that which failed first will be more oxidized than that that failed more recently. Striping the clearcoat does not alleviate this problem - polishing does. If you happen to find one that the clearcoat has just begun to fail - but is still somewhat intact, stripping it without polishing can look great! Our '64 had failed clearcoat (which cost $19 as an option when new) and the oxidized effect remained once stripped - I think the splotchy oxidized aluminum kinda looked cool...with the lighting "just right"...



Before stripping:



Spray on stripper:



Wipe off stripper:



After stripping:



After polishing:


...Although it looks much better now that it's been polished. Another option is to polish it once and then allow it to oxidize evenly over time ~

Shari
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:05 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Just curious...what do the panels look like once the clearcoat is removed? Sounds like they look good.... I am just trying to figure out why the clearcoat is put on the panels to start with, especially if it starts to wear off in about 5 years?
When the clearcoat is removed, the metal almost looks as good as the day the trailer was built.

The clearcoat is a protective coating, so that the metal does not oxidize. However, the paint itself, does not wear off, but when aged out, it flakes off, which starts typically in 5 to 6 years.

The clearcoat does not have a UV guard in the formula. If it did, the clearcoat would not be clear. The UV guard, would prolong the clearcoats life.

Automotive clear is great stuff. But, it can only be applied to a paint. If a person applied it on their Airstream, in a couple of months you could peel it off, like a sheet of plastic, since it's not designed to adhere to metal.

Refinishing an Airstream today, using the older clearcoat, costs about $100.00 per foot, or more, depending on details. Not cheap, like the good ole days.

The newest clearcoat, seems to be holding it's own, in terms of life.

The newest clearcoat, "cannot" be applied in the field. Airstream, in fact, cannot apply it, even at the factory.

Andy
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:13 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
When the clearcoat is removed, the metal almost looks as good as the day the trailer was built.
Sorry Andy, I have to disagree with you on this with vintage trailers. When the clearcoat fails, the aluminum oxidizes, the longer the unprotected aluminum is exposed to the elements, the more it oxidizes. It does not "look as good as the day the trailer was built" unless you take the clearcoat off before the surface of it is compromised and the layered oxidation begins. Yes, the milkiness of old clearcoat is removed, but the splotchy oxidation that may have occurred will remain.

Shari
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Old 11-22-2009, 11:16 AM   #27
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Sorry Andy, I have to disagree with you on this with vintage trailers. When the clearcoat fails, the aluminum oxidizes, the longer the unprotected aluminum is exposed to the elements, the more it oxidizes. It does not "look as good as the day the trailer was built" unless you take the clearcoat off before the surface of it is compromised and the layered oxidation begins. Yes, the milkiness of old clearcoat is removed, but the splotchy oxidation that may have occurred will remain.

Shari
Shari.

Your correct.

I should have added that the metal looks great, "unless" part of the clearcoat has fallen off, and exposed the raw metal to the atmosphere, which then, slow but sure, oxidation sets in, which will discolor the metal.

Andy
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:34 PM   #28
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Thanks for including those pics and the link to stripping/polishing, Shari. The trailer looks great, especially after polishing. I'm also surprised at how much of a difference just stripping alone has.

Also, thanks Shari and Andy for the information about the clearcoat and oxidation. I guess when getting a 70's model there isn't much likelihood of finding one that has experienced oxidation at similar rates, but I am sure some will be better than others. Again, thanks for the help.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:34 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Thanks for including those pics and the link to stripping/polishing, Shari. The trailer looks great, especially after polishing. I'm also surprised at how much of a difference just stripping alone has.

Also, thanks Shari and Andy for the information about the clearcoat and oxidation. I guess when getting a 70's model there isn't much likelihood of finding one that has experienced oxidation at similar rates, but I am sure some will be better than others. Again, thanks for the help.

Your welcome.

When it comes to Airstream's, there is so much to learn.

Andy
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