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Old 02-17-2009, 10:15 AM   #1
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removing filiform

I have read most of the threads on filiform, but can't find the best way to remove filiform, before applying ACF 50. I was considering some Dremel tool attachment with a fine brush or one of those pen tools that body shops use. Any suggestions ?

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Old 04-02-2010, 11:55 AM   #2
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Remove the crystals and gray discoloration with fine wet/dry sandpaper dipped in mineral spirits. Don't try to polish the aluminum; simply rub it until it's bright again.

Wipe down the metal with a clean rag and some mineral spirits to remove grime and debris left from the sandpaper.

Allow the aluminum to dry.

Apply a chromate primer and allow it to dry completely (ONLY if you are going to paint the aluminum)...
Apply a protective clear coat...
John "JFScheck" Scheck
2020 30’ Airstream Classic
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by searcher View Post
I have read most of the threads on filiform, but can't find the best way to remove filiform, before applying ACF 50. I was considering some Dremel tool attachment with a fine brush or one of those pen tools that body shops use. Any suggestions ?

I'm trying the dremel tool trick this weekend. I'll let you know how it works. I've got a spot or two on the back of my propane tank cover - it's the least visible spot - good for honing the technique. Using sandpaper as JFScheck suggested could work, but I've got lots of tiny squiggles. I think it would be easier to just hit the bad spots with the Dremel tool. I'm going to use blue painter's tape to shield the good spots so that I don't create a worse mess than I have already.

I actually salvaged a pair of the CCD tail light surrounds when I replaced mine which were severely filoformed... Those suckers are going to get stripped and clearcoated and put back on. (Maybe it will be like Church shoes and School shoes - I'll put on the pretty pair when I'm headed to a rally!)

If this doesn't make a near invisible repair, I'm going to get the Classic belly band - but use reflective tape as the insert.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:17 PM   #4
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PUT THE DREMEL down folks...

then think this through better....


the PROCESS for dealing with surface corrosion is slightly different based on the FINISH applied...

plasti-cote VERSUS clearcoat.

very different products and these distinctions are covered elsewhere...

are u SURE whats on your trailer?

next issue is WHAT ez that stuff U see, got any pix? post'em...

all white crud isn't Filo' or even corrosion...

so be SORTA sure what you are dealing with first and use the LEAST abrasive LEAST mechanical tool first...

and that's not tool spinning at 3-10,000 rpms with an abrasive attachment.

an often posted "factory/service center" approach posted for dealing with REAL FILO' or ALCOA clear coat is...

1. scrape OFF the raised finish with a soft plastic scraper (credit card like material)
2. clean any residual whitish powder with water/soap and a light solvent...
3. apply clear nail polish (or clear touch up auto paint) to the area...

for ABRADING/smoooooothing the exposed surface prior to the "touch up" use a common PENCIL eraser.

slightly MORE aggressive is an automotive touch up tool (with fiberglass filaments) used to SPOT abrade in tiny places...

a link to that tool as been posted elsewhere...

another MILD abrasive approach is to "hole punch" some 1000 or 2000 wet/dry paper and glue those tiny circles to the PENCIL eraser...

now u have a TINY abrasion tool, hand powered!

99% of the time for 99% of the people the eraser is PLENTY of abrasion and easy to use.

touch ups?

the factory NOW sells/offers a clearcoat/touch up fiber tipped PEN for applying STUFF over nicks...

it may or may NOT be better than nail polish, generic clearcoat pens or other hardened acrylic coatings...

i do NOT apply any paint/clearcoat or other permanent coating over the removed/cleaned spots...

it LOOKz fUGLY and will just peel again (unless u are willing to wet sand the DRY touchups)

instead just apply a good wax or POLY SEALANT over these posts (i have done this for years without PROBLEMS) ....

TRUE FILO' is UNDER clearcoat, so once the coating is REMOVED and cleaned...

FILO' ain't happening in that spot again, even if the metal is BARE...

there are other useful thread on these issues (also read the links inside) here....

including some info DIRECTLY from alcoa...

but that advice does NOT apply to the 3-4 versions/formulas of PLASTI-K/COTE used in prior years...

and it all starts with KNOWing what's on yer traylor and what the crud ez...

99/2000 is REPORTED to be the transition time,

but given the variability in a/s production, spillover, official YEAR designations and so on...

be sure about what's on the skin first!

almost anyone trying a POWER TOOL (even a tiny rotary thing) is going to OVER correct the problem...

thus creating MORE problems.

so go gently and with the LEAST abrasive approach first.

OR take the quick, simple, easy, cute and totally PERSONALIZED approach...

and apply fake bullet holes, flags, pirate heads, harley decals or other vinyl graphics over those spots!

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #5
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searcher : we've used the method described in post 4. We just have this one area of body corrosion. Removed blistering and oxidation with a sharpened plastic scraper, rubbed in Turtle wax paste with finger. No further creeping in 12 months.

Trailer is polished twice a year with Turtle wax paste.

John in the UK
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:26 AM   #6
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powder coating

I had this corrosion on the rear tail light housings. After rubbing, dremeling with a soft cloth and fine abrasive (concur that this is a bad idea), and generally wasting a few days, I sent them to the local powder coat shop. Had them sand blasted and finished in a satin aluminum color.

At $25 per housing, I thought the price was fair. Only works if you have parts that are removable. The corrosion did pit the aluminum slightly so the finish is not perfect, but far better than it was.

The attached picture shows the final look. This section of the housing had 4-5 bad "growths" on it.
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