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Old 12-24-2004, 05:52 PM   #1
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Question Exterior finish paint vs clearcoat and more..

What is the new Airstream coating made of and where can I find some.
I must clean the existing new style coating off a panel and do a re-spray. What is the best chemical to remove the new type of coating and do I use a airless spray unit to reapply the coating.
Oh by the way don’t leave your keys in the dead bolt lock and have the wind catch the door and slam it open. It leaves a dent ( beauty mark ) in the panel.
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Old 12-25-2004, 08:14 AM   #2
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Since, I believe, late 1999 the clearcoat finish has been applied to the sheet alumium by Alcoa in their plant. The finish cannot be duplicated even by Airstream at the factory.

I hope someone on these forums knows how to strip off the original clearcoat, or at least knows if it is possible to remove chemically. If not, your only recourse is mechanical - sanding, polishing, etc.

Mark
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Old 12-25-2004, 08:27 AM   #3
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The stuff is called Plasticoat, I have tried several methods for stripping, with mixed results. Laquer thinner, Acetone, brake fluid, and oven cleaner. The oven cleaner basically softened the coating so it could be more easily removed manually. Just make sure you rinse it off well. The same product comes in spray cans marketed as paint and gasket remover. The brake fluid does to the Plasticoat the same thing it does to automotive paint, leave it on a long time, and the coat will pucker up and peel off. It is alcohol based, so it will rinse off with plain water. Laquer thinner and Acetone are petroleum distillates, and cannot easily be rinsed off. They also tend to evaporate quickly.

There is also a product called Aircraft Stripper, it is supposed to remove paint from aluminum, but I have only 2nd hand experience with it, and can't personally vouch for its effectiveness.
Terry
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Old 12-25-2004, 02:34 PM   #4
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The new type clear coat, is not available to anyone, not even Airstream.

The best stripper to use for the old plasticoat is "Aircraft Stripper." It costs a little more, but does a fast supurb job.

A word of caution. Any stripper will attack plastics. Therefore all the plastic exterior components must be removed.

We have used it for over 15 years.

Andy
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Old 01-25-2005, 07:03 PM   #5
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New "Alcoa" finish started...

The new Alcoa finish started about 144 units before 15 December 1998 -that's the DOB of my 99 Safari SN 512756.

Per the 1999 Safari parts manual, page I-3 - all trailers after SN 512612 have the Alcoa finish. My understanding is that the SN's are not model specific but issued to each unit (whatever it is) as they are produced, #613 could have been a 34' Classic or whatever.

Since that time there have been customers with experiences similar to the
previous Plastic Coat. Reportedly, the process was fully debugged around 2002.

Prior to that - some were good and some were not so good. Mine seems to be one of the good ones, or better ones - a little peeling above the front window - 1" perhaps in places - so far. I have seen some with rather severe peeling on the sides - exposure to the sun while stored may be a significant factor.

My understanding is that it "is" Plastic Coat - applied at the Alcoa plant, under better controlled conditions. It is a 2 part mix and apparently relative humidity is a critical factor with mixing and application.

I would think that the process of stripping and re-applying is the same - regardless of which 'type' of finish it is.

The key difference is that the rivets, window, door frames, etc., are not coated.

Now - Andy is the expert - only an insane (or incredibly stoopid) person would challenge his knowledge & resources. He may find fault in some of my assumptions & I gladly accept any critique Andy has. That's how we learn the truth in this forum.

& @#$% I just noticed Andy's last post on this thread was on Christmas day - We really appreciate your dedication Andy- but get a life
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:06 PM   #6
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doh.

You have the new style plasticoat, or clear finish, down perfect.

Long term will tell us about the uncovered surfaces.

We have a 2005 in the shop, and I checked it out, and it's as you pointed out. No protective paint on the window frames, door frames or rivets.

Originally they used anodized rivets, but it appears thats a thing of the past.

Hey guys, I do have a life. It's just a different kind.

I get mucho work done on weekends etc, when we are closed.

But when your working, at least as often as I can, I am enjoying the beach, the swaying palm trees, the people and their culture, in ........................... Hawaii, in particular, Oahu.

Ah yes, what a beautiful place to goof off. And the best part is that my wife enjoys it too.

Sure beats southern California, at least where we live.

At last count, there are 3 Airstreams there. But I never tell them when I will be visiting.

Andy
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Old 01-26-2005, 12:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
........ Hawaii, in particular, Oahu.

At last count, there are 3 Airstreams there. But I never tell them when I will be visiting.
Curiously enough, Airstream Life magazine also has three subscribers in Hawaii. I always wondered if they were owners, or just admirers.
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Old 01-26-2005, 03:54 PM   #8
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Arrow Old finish removal

Our '71 Safari has an panel beside the entry door under the window that has the remains of several old decals and stickers. I would like to refinish that panel. How best to remove the old finish and what to respray with?
Dan
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:11 PM   #9
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Dan.

Very carefully remove the remains of the old decals, etc.

You can use Aircraft stripper or lacquer thinner.

Rub with the grain, only.

You can refinish that small area with a spray can of plasticoat.

Some Airstream dealers carry that paint.

Andy
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:58 PM   #10
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Andy,
Thanks for the info. If I decide to do a larger area, like the door, can I buy Plasticoat in a larger size than a spray can? Is Glisten PC coating something that you would recommend?
Dan
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brawner
Our '71 Safari has an panel beside the entry door under the window that has the remains of several old decals and stickers.

I would first try scraping off the decals with gentle heat (hair dryer, not heat gun) and wooden scrapers. You can make them by beveling the end of craft sticks. Then I'd clean up the residue with xylol. But beware - read the warnings on the can. It is nasty, dangerous stuff.

This should leave any remaining original coating still intact.

Mark
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Old 01-26-2005, 05:56 PM   #12
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Dan.

The only clear finish that we recommend is the plasticoat that Airstream uses either in spray cans, or by the gallons.

Andy
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Old 01-26-2005, 07:18 PM   #13
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Unhappy where to buy the touch up airstream spray

Be careful where you buy the touch up. We pd. $18. for shipping two regular size spray cans (not told about this high shipping cost ahead of time), plus the $17. each can, a total of over $50 for two cans.
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Old 01-28-2005, 10:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Dan.

The only clear finish that we recommend is the plasticoat that Airstream uses either in spray cans, or by the gallons.

Andy
Andy,

I haven't been reading these forums very long, but long enough to echo what others have said - your help is greatly appreciated.

I have used an Airstream spray can product called RV CLEAR ACRYLIC, Part No. 28174W to touch-up the clearcoat on our 98 Safari. Is this the plasticoat that you are referring to?

Earl
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Old 01-29-2005, 11:14 AM   #15
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EKBrace.

That is the correct clear coat paint that Airstream has packaged.

Andy
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Old 01-29-2005, 11:35 AM   #16
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What would a Airstream look like if you polished it and then used the "plasticoat that Airstream uses" over the coach??
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Old 01-29-2005, 02:17 PM   #17
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till.

Airstream no longer applies plasticoat during production.

The new style clear coat is applied to the metal at the time the metal is processed. There is no Airstream factory or after market method of applying the new material.

Therefore you must use the old style, plasticoat.

It's advantage is that it would keep the polished trailer looking very good for about one year, depending on location.

After that, the plasticoat slowly but surely starts to become opaque.

In 3 to 4 years, again depending on location, it will start to peel, since it will be aged out.

The peeling usually starts at the roof, since it gets the hottest.

As the peeling begins, you must strip the coach and start all over again.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:23 PM   #18
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how to buff out oxidization & more

i'm about to re clearcoat my airstream motorhome and am appreciative of this discussion. i have a couple questions:

the 1st question is how do i remove oxidization on the aluminum (i.e. bring it back to the machine finish, without over polishing it)? i have air polishers and electric buffers, but i want to get it right before i commit to all 35 feet.

my 2nd question involves paint and may take me down a more involved path. i have some sections on the roof that have hail pocks and a rear corner panel with a dent from a street sign. i'm wondering how it might look if i decided to paint these panels silver and go after the rest with clearcoat. fortunately, i found some other posts that gave a detailed account of the painting process --i'm hoping to not paint the whole thing at this juncture.

thanks for your help,

nick glase
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:52 AM   #19
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If your plasticoat or clearcoat is in good shape you can polish it and it will shine nicely. My 82 is that way. To compare the lower areas were painted, then stripped of the paint and polished, but not to a high shine as the upper areas are still coated and I did not want too much difference in them.
Using Mothers mag and aluminum polish i cleaned up the lower sections in a short time, then sealed them with Liquid Glass sealalnt, after first using mineral spirits to wash it down, and then soapy water.
My roof is the only clearcoated area that is starting to show fading or opaque spots. I intend to strip the roof front and rear domes, and polish them like the lower sections. Then i would like to recoat with clearcoat, but not sure if i will do so yet.
Check the next post for the comparison photo.
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Old 09-29-2005, 11:53 AM   #20
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compare the lower uncoated and lightly polished with the coated uppers. I polished the upper clearcoated area twice a year with Liquid Glass sealant. The white pole from the canopy is reflected in the side. Not mirror finsih but looks good and shiny.
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