Welcome to the forums, BaroloRed.
There is a whole section on "Cleaning, Stripping and Polishing" on the forum. If you click on Forums, then Airstream Restoration, Repair & Parts Forums then Exterior Restoration Forum, you will see the section. There, you will find a number of different methods for polishing -- most use Nuvite products or various bars with compound. You could also try the Advanced Search, searching for "Cyclo" in Keywords and choosing "Search Titles Only" in the drop down.
I prefer the Nuvite Products, which are available through Vintage Trailer Supply (VTS) or PerfectPolish.com. Both websites have good information, See Vintage Trailer Supply's writeup
or the video on Perfect Polish's site
The Nuvite Products have a strange set of labels. F9 is very course, F7 is course, C is fine and S is very fine. The products are used with a compounder or a Cyclo Polisher, depending on the stage of polish.
F9 is only necessary for very oxidized aluminum. F7 is typically used for the last stage of compounding. This work is typically done with a heavier polisher like the DeWalt Variable Speed Polisher DWP849. At the end of this stage, you will have removed oxidation, but have visible swirls in the aluminum. Unless you let your Caravel
oxidize for a couple of years, you won't need this tool.
To maintain a shiny trailer, you'll want a Cyclo Model 5, configured like the one at VTS (click here)
. See the Perfect Polish video, linked above, for an example of its use. The Cyclo portion starts at the 3:25 mark. Note that the text near the video recommends much less compound than used on film. It's surprising how little compound you need.
You'll need to buy sweatshirt cotton like this
or pick some up at the local fabric store.
I would recommend that you have a 1/4 pound container of F7 on hand for the more stubborn spots and at least 1/2 pound of C for maintaining the shine. If you want to bring it up to a mirror finish, get some S as well. I got a pound of it included in the Cyclo package. I have never used S, so I don't know how much to recommend.
Polishing is time consuming -- I consider a good set of headphones and an mp3 player to be essential equipment.