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Old 08-07-2003, 08:15 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 112
Polish Preparation...

Clear coat removal for newer trailers- I know that the aircraft paint removers for aluminum are great- and work fast. I have used them and will from time to time- depending on where I am. In a boat yard or service area, they have special drains with filters to absorb harsh chemicals. In someones front yard, I don't want the responsibility of a child stepping in the residue and getting a reaction from it.

Whatever you choose- apply a small test spot to judge the reaction. Different climates and conditions affect results, and it'll give you an idea of what you're up against.

I prefer to use, in most cases, that Homo Depot Citri Strip. I put it on with a roller and pan- heap it on and let it sit for at least 45 minutes and hose it off with high pressure. You can do it at your house and then pull the trailer to a drive through D.I.Y. car wash- and all the mess goes down the drain there, plus they have higher pressure than your garden hose at home.

You're now ready to judge whether you can begin your initial polish, or if either a complete or spot wet sanding are in order.
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Old 08-07-2003, 08:27 AM   #2
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Polish Preparation


Thanks for the clear coat removal advise.

Now about wet sanding...

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Old 08-07-2003, 08:42 AM   #3
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Wet Sanding for deep scratches-

In the case I have some deep scratches- which most trailers do sooner or later, I know that I can make them disappear from view by wet sanding with the proper grit and procedure.

You have to be intelligent in your assessment of how deep and where to start in abrasion level to properly remove the scratch without causing more scratches than necessary.

Light scratches- I ALWAYS try a lighter grit than what I initially assume will work. If you have a light scratch, try 600 or 800 grit paper. If it looks like its working too quickly with 600, go to 800, or if you start with 800 and it seems to be taking forever, step up to 600. After you sand it down so its basically gone, step back to the next grit- or all the way down to 1200- which is as high as you should ever have to go- after that the SS and a coarse wool 3M pad will quickly smooth out the surface.
Remember to always scuff the scratch horizontally- I only go in one direction, and the buffer removes those horizontal scratches. If its a horizontal scratch- I go just slightly diagonally to it. And make longer passes- short intensely sanded areas will show- longer and softer strokes will blend in much better.

I'll post again for deeper scratches and general wet sanding for pitted or rough skin improvement.
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Old 08-07-2003, 12:30 PM   #4
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Wet Sanding


Thanks for the info.

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Old 08-08-2003, 02:43 AM   #5
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Going Deeper!

When you want to remove a deeper scratch, one that is not coming out easily with 600 or higher grit follow these steps-

After trying with 600, step up to 400 and test- the same way as from 800 to 600. Should your scratch be so deep as to have an appearance of a "gouge" where the aluminum is actually sheared in the scratching process, you may have to move to 220 grit. I've never used any stronger than that- so going with something stronger will be up to you- and the longer and softer strokes become more necessary to avoid leaving an indentation where you sand. After scuff, you must gradually sand back to the finer scratches. 220 to 400 to 800 to 1200 and then polish with a buffer.

I also use a block sometimes- but not a hard one- 3M makes a soft block with pins on each side that hold the paper steady. They also make a foam block which works pretty well. If you must use a wood block- cover it with foam or a piece of cloth to soften it.

The same process should be followed for pitted skin- test to see what the lightest grit is that will remove the damage and leave you with a smooth surface to start polishing. And always be weary that whatever scratches you put in- with whatever paper you use, you'll have to go through the steps of removing them with lighter paper.

Good luck and be careful- its a task that must be approached differently on a case by case basis, and you must trial and error it until you have a feel and a "sixth sense" as to what you'll need to use on the job you are undertaking.
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Old 08-12-2003, 09:42 AM   #6
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great info, my Overlander has a few scratches(one that I put on practicing my backing, where in the hell did that fence come from?) and having spent many years close to the gulf coast, it's got some significant pitting. I was always afraid of sanding, figured I'd do more harm than good. I'll try these techniques
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