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Old 09-29-2005, 11:55 AM   #21
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here is leemo touching up his 79 Motorhome that is stripped and HIGHLY polished.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:03 PM   #22
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Repainting

The first problem with painting aluminum is getting adhesion. You must use an acid etch vinyl primer or acid etch and alodine. Alodine has other environmental issues. When the factory coating is applied they have a 5 to 9 stage wash system with the final stage being a conversion coating to promote adhesion. This is done either by dipping or in the case of the coil coated aluminum that A.S. buys from Alcoa by an inline spray dip process. A large wound up coil is unwound, goes through the 5-9 stage preteat, coated baked and wound back up. This is all done in coil that is hundreds of feet long. Not unlike a newspaper. The problem with vinyl and alodine are they are not perfectly clear. Usually greenish or yellowish. So you would never end up with a perfectly clear-clear coat. If you would like to paint the AS a color thenn acid etch vinyl is not an issue. This is done all the time. AS far as prep goes for painting with a pigmented coating goes. Strip, sand, acid etch, sprayfil prime, sand, topcoat, clear coat.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:07 PM   #23
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sounds like reclearing is a major job.
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Old 09-29-2005, 12:21 PM   #24
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nglase

1. You cannot remove an oxidized appearance, and make it match the rem,ainder of the coach.

2. You can paint any part of the coach with silver or any other color paint that you wish to use.

You must use the following method, if you want the job to last.

1. Remove the plasticoat.
2. Sand into the sheetmetal with 120 to 150 grit sandpaper. Scuffing the surface will not do. IT MUST BE SANDED.Make sure "all" the gloss is gone.
3. Wash the sanded areas down with a high quality lacquer thinner.
4. Seal any and all seams with the proper sealers.
5. Use a high quality flexible primer, and apply at least two double wet coats.
6. Let the primer out gas for a day or two
7. Wipe the primer paint to remove any dust or dirt. No need to scuff it.
8. Spray at least 3 double wet coats of a "very high" quality automotive paint.
9. Before the colored paint sets up, spray paint at least 3 double wet coats of a "very high" quality clear on top of the colored paint. Do not use plasticoat.

The above process, "IF" strickly followed will give you a finished paint job that will last at least 20 years, if you wax it once a year.

Expensive.....Yes.

Time consuming.......Yes.

Worth it.......Only if you like quality.

Anything short of the above will provide a less than satisfactory paint job.

Keep in mind, aluminum must be painted very differently and with different primers, than steel.

And finally, DO NOT APPLY ANY ACID TO THE BARE METAL.

Why?

Because you cannot remove all traces of it, therefore it will eventually eat away at each and every rivet, creating hundreds of water leaks, guaranteed!!

And if you don't sand it, the primer will not proper adhere.

We have paint jobs out there that are over 20 years old, without any peeling, fading, or chipping. A few have been in hail storms, denting the metal, but not touching the paint.

As with anything that you want to do one time and be through with it, you must do it right. If not, leave it alone and save the time, effort and money.

And if you want the problem to go away, real cheap, just wear very dark sun glasses. You know, out of sight, out of mind.

Andy
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:37 PM   #25
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alansd,

thanks for the photographs of the coated and uncoated parts of your airstream. i still haven't tackled the exterior of my rig --and am undecided as to whether i should paint or clearcoat. is your rig completely uncoated on the bottom areas? if it could polish my lightly oxidized roof back to a satin finish and periodically refinish it, i'd consider that an option.

let me know how often you repolish, what you use, and how much work it takes (if that is indeed what you are doing).

thanks,

nick
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:21 PM   #26
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Painted vs Bare Aluminum Exterior

We are looking into buying an Airstream (1960-1980) trailer. We are looking at one right now that is a 1976 Sovereign 31' Center Bathroom unit. The concern we have is that it is painted (really well done) silver on the exterior instead of polished. Everything else about the trailer is original and in really good shape. Is a painted exterior a really bad no-no or is it just in the eyes of the beholder and not of concern? What do you think? Should we buy it since the price is right?
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:45 PM   #27
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Our Argosy was repainted silver. Of course Argosys were painted to begin with and need to be since the end caps are steel in stead of aluminum. I don't see a problem as long as it was well done. Getting paint to adhere to aluminum would require someone familiar with doing the job. They certainly do it with airplanes with great results.

One thing I'd find out is why it was painted. The first thing that comes to mind is that it's more difficult to repair/hide damage to the skin with bare aluminum. Of course now that it's painted you have the advantage of easier maintenance. But I'd want to make sure the paint wasn't hiding some previous major damage that was structural.

The painted Airstream is not stock and I think most people in the market for one at least partially are looking for that shiney aluminum. Therefore I suspect resale value will be diminished by the paint.

-Bernie
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:11 PM   #28
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Paint great

Hello.. We have both the shiney aluminum and the painted Argosys and the painted ones will always win with us. We know of a couple of mid 90's Airstreams that were painted by the factory because of problems with the clearcoat.. you would not know the difference.. it looked great and still does.. Polishing aluminum is not my idea of fun.. been there and done that.. would rather be camping..
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:24 PM   #29
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Welcome to the forums and good luck with your purchase. If you like the look of the painted aluminum and will be satisfied with it then go for the purchase. There is no official Airstream police that go about scouting out painted Airstreams.
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:24 PM   #30
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There was a Canadian fellow here at the Land Yacht Harbor before the International who had a painted Airstream. I couldn't tell until he told me. I believe he said it was a Porsche color. Very nice paint job ... the trailer looked great.
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:35 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryMurphy
Is a painted exterior a really bad no-no or is it just in the eyes of the beholder and not of concern? What do you think? Should we buy it since the price is right?
I can't find the thread right now, but according to Andy at Inland RV, Inc. painting enhances the value. If it is a professional job done well with the correct paint it will last much longer than clearcoat and never require polishing. I wish that I had known this a couple years ago when I ran away from a very good deal on a nice Airstream once I discovered it had been painted. I jumped to the conclusion that its value had been ruined.
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Old 07-17-2006, 03:51 PM   #32
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Here's A Quote From Inland Andy...

Not the one I was looking for but...
Quote:
In many circles, a "silver painted" Airstream sells for more money than a plasticoated coach.

Why? Properly done, the silver paint, waxed once a year, will last at least 20 years. We have documentation that bears that out.

That type paint job costs about 50 percent more than a plasticoat job, but out lasts the plasticoat by at least four to one, if not more. Therefore, it is by far more cost effective.


As with any paint job, the surface preparation and the quality of materials used, are the key to longevity.

We are not trying to be evasive, but our method and materials took many years and considerable money to develop, AND, have the custom mix approved by Dupont.

Perhaps it is time for us to make available the materials as well as the printed proven method available, as a package, for others to use.

Andy


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Old 07-17-2006, 03:51 PM   #33
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Our '95 Airstream has a painted panel that we cannot tell from the rest of the exterior, except that it is beautiful and free of clear coat problems. We wish that the whole exterior was the painted aluminum color--looks just like a well maintained Airsteam without the clear coat fading issues. I'd buy the painted one in a heartbeat!! Best wishes in making a good decision for your family. ~G
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Old 07-17-2006, 06:10 PM   #34
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I like things that shine, but I can make paint shine with a lot less work.. Airstream painted a lot of product over the years so
I wouldn't rule out what may be your best buy.
Good luck, and do let us see some photos if you jump in.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:35 PM   #35
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clear coat paint

I'm new as an airstream owner having recently purchased a 1981 excella 2. The skin doesn't look back, but the clear coat is gone in a few areas on the sides. I've searched for threads to look at my options on this. Some have said that painted surface last much longer then reapplying the plasticoat. If this is true, why wouldn't the same be true of applying a clear coat paint finish? It's just clear paint. Has anyone tried this? Would it offer the same shine and last as long as a colored painted finish?
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:59 PM   #36
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hi pacerized and welcome to the forums.....

i've wondered about this too....

if planning to 'paint' and airstream (not plasticoat it)
the surface needs a prep, mechanical or chemical....
this removes the shine...
so you'd be clearcoating etched aluminum....not so pretty.

as for durability.....
pigmented paints seem to last longer, even when clearcoated.
clearcoat alone isn't as durable....and needs a base coat/color coat to adhere well...
but it would likely last longer than plasticoat
but the surface wouldn't be shinny because of the metal prep needed for clearcoat, that isn't needed for plasticoat...

does that make sense?

so your options are...
-remove residual plasticoat and have new plasticoat applied professionally
-remove old plasticoat, polish the aluminum to a high shine....
-leave the polished surface bare or reapply plasticoat...this gets ya another 3-5 years of 'just polished look' , while bare will need repolishing...
-remove old, prep for paint, pick a color, paint....this does last the longest...
10-20 years is common and you can pick any color ya want.

-airstream had problems with the plasticoat one year, so ALL trailers were painted...a silver so close to bare aluminum that it looked like all the rest.
only up close can one see paint on the rivets....but these units look great.

i'll see if i can find a picture of a factory painted airstream....well here is a thread on painting an excella....or searcht the terms 'painted airstream' or other combos...much will appear to read...

http://www.airforums.com/forum...nted+airstream

several painting vendors claim to have matched this perfect color...

-last options is just leave it to age naturally as long as you are keeping seams sealed, windows sealed and roof holes sealed....nothing will be hurt by the aging process and some folks like that look.....

cheers
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:15 AM   #37
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Thanks for responding 2airsuman.
I also read a post about someone who painted without preping, but it didn't last as long as they expected. I wonder how long clear coat would last if you didn't sand first. If it's a few years, it still may be a decent option. The cost would be much lower then plastic coat, and the labor to remove, and recoat would be much less the second time.
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:27 AM   #38
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what is your budget?

good prep and professional plasticoat is cheap...but it does look great and should last 3-5 years depending on climate and storage..

a chemical etching can be done rather than sanding for a clearcoat...the clear coat needs to be an imron like product...one that will flex/stretch with the aluminum panels....this isn't cheap either...

so i'm not sure thinking a quick clearcoat without prep would look ok, might look bad real fast....

if you have paint ya wanna try....get a salvage wall section and paint it....then leave it outside for a few months....

the silver paint jobs look great and last very long...i had my moho painted in 88 and the pigmented areas still look really good, silver next and clear areas were shot long ago.... no sanding first...a chemical etching was used like on boeing jets...infact that's where it was done....

cheers
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Old 07-26-2006, 09:54 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacerized
I'm new as an airstream owner having recently purchased a 1981 excella 2. The skin doesn't look back, but the clear coat is gone in a few areas on the sides. I've searched for threads to look at my options on this. Some have said that painted surface last much longer then reapplying the plasticoat. If this is true, why wouldn't the same be true of applying a clear coat paint finish? It's just clear paint. Has anyone tried this? Would it offer the same shine and last as long as a colored painted finish?
Airstreams "clear coat" is not an automotive clear coat.

Automobile clear coat paint, "will not" adhere to aluminum. That type clear coat, is to be applied on top of a painted surface, only.

Previous posts will tell you how to paint your Airstream with "silver", if you wish.

Airstream dealers that sell parts, can help you with the new type clear coat that Airstream now uses, after market. It is a two part mixture at this time, that is designed to adhere to aluminum.

Any other clear coat, "WILL NOT" adhere properly, therefore in short order, it will peel off like a film.

Also, if you wish to etch the metal, you will do two things.

1. You will change the appearance of the metal.

2. You will cause long term water leaks, around the rivet heads.

Andy
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:45 AM   #40
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Andy - Why do you not sell the after market clear coat?
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