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Old 05-16-2019, 06:41 PM   #1
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1991 34' Excella
Colleyville , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 48
Talk about DUMB! Allowed HVAC coil cleaner to run down side of newly polished A.S.!

Here goes; Almost too embarrassed to ask members for advise but here goes!! Just got through paying a $ton to get the 34' 1990 tri axle polished out. My AC HVAC ceased to cool and my airstream repair guy (who works on side from a major airstream shop) and works for me on side; said the AC was clogged up. He failed to bring out any coil cleaner so i let him use what I had (which was Nu-brite coil cleaner). mixed it good and strong and my sprayer was also not working good. OF COURSE NEVER READ THE LABEL THAT WAS ON THE BOTTLE! I mean i got 6 yrs of college degree. I don't have to read labels!! Long story short got bunch of the coil cleaner mix sprayed all over both sides of my baby!! Found out immediately after trying to wash it off that that stuff DON'T WASH OFF!! .. Lesson learned; didn't teach me in all that training (i want mention the colleges for obvious reasons). Big problem is we just got through paying for a great polish job!! wife ain't happy. I am on sofa for who knows how long. I got a major problem because of a Dumb mistake by me and my A S helper friend. I can tell you i used #7 from Vintage Trailer supply and that etching is still mostly there; also use the gray block from Jestco products. It helped but not enough... Will try to attach a photo or two. This old boy made a dumb mistake and I am just hoping somebody with the Forum will have some suggestions about what i can do. My Airstream polish guy is even buffaloed. Need feed back..... Thanks. Jim
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:29 PM   #2
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Ouch! Thanks for sharing as it may remind others of the hazards of sprays that . . . ummm . . . get where they shouldn't be.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:38 PM   #3
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2009 34' Panamerica
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You'll be polishing again, possibly after sanding out the damage!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:51 AM   #4
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It happens...I have a motorcycle that I disassembled and machine polished the aluminum parts. One day I decided to wash it with some kinda all purpose spray cleaner. As soon as it hit, the metal turned white.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:36 AM   #5
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That is a major bummer for sure. Hope you have a comfy sofa and a deep wallet to help you get through this.

Thanks for taking the time to remind us to read all labels and to be extra careful before using any cleaners/chemicals on or around our Airstreams.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:49 AM   #6
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griffithj.....Even if you don't read instructions your friendly Airstream dealer's mechanic should have had the sense not to spray that stuff on your trailer. Here are some of the precautions from the product Safety Data Sheet.

Manufacturer information NU-BRITE (4291-01, 4291-05, 4291-08, 4891-08)
Coil Cleaner
Corrosive to metals
Skin corrosion/irritation
Serious eye damage/eye irritation
May be corrosive to metals.
Causes severe skin burns and eye damage.
Do not breathe mist or vapor. Wash thoroughly after handling. Wear protective gloves/protective clothing/eye protection/face protection.
IF ON SKIN (or hair): Take off immediately all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water or shower. Wash contaminated clothing before reuse. IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several
minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.
General information Ensure that medical personnel are aware of the material(s) involved and take precautions to
protect themselves. If you feel unwell, seek medical advice (show the label where possible).
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:56 AM   #7
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Don't wait. Wet sand with 1500 or 2000 until uniform finish then polish and buff again. Hope that works.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:35 AM   #8
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almena , Wisconsin
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I do not believe it’s as bad as it looks. The coil cleaner is just some sort of acid which is used to CLEAN aluminum, copper or most any non-ferrous metals. Before you do any WET SANDING, use some standard polishing or rubbing compound on a small cotton rag and try rubbing as hard as you can on a few spots. There is one product called FLITZ which would work the best on a fresh polish like you have. IF you decide to have anyone do this except the original person that polished it, MAKE SURE they use a LOW SPEED polisher!!! Anything else will heat the skin and warp it!!!
Good Luck!!!
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:50 AM   #9
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If it is any consolation, I would done the same thing. RTFM? What's that?
"No job is so simple that it cannot be done wrong."
"Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."
"Either I will find a way, or I will make one."
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:00 AM   #10
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Talk about DUMB! Allowed HVAC coil cleaner to run down side of newly polished A.S.!

Read The Flippin’ Manual**, (RTFM).

Old military admonition directed at folks about to do something the first time. Or what the senior Noncom yells at the boot when the boot screws something up royally.

** Exact verbiage changed to maintain the forum’s family-friendly “G” rating. All you ex-military folks know the real words.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:19 PM   #11
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If it's any consolation - while camped at a CoE site in Iowa last night, I noticed the screw-on lid of the long sewage hose storage tube underneath the trailer was hanging open. Based on an Airstream-sponsored video, I had stored my hiking poles inside it. ("How clever!" I thought). Well, they were gone, gone and gone and I'm still so upset about the loss. Why? They were much beloved as I had walked the Camino de Santiago with those poles 1.5 years ago. I KNEW the lid of the tube tends to come unfastened, especially on bumpy roads. I even thought about duct taping the lid to the tube to make sure it didn't unfasten. I had plenty of room inside my trailer to store them (folded down). I just cannot believe I didn't take any of that into account - I COULD JUST SCREAM!!! Oh yeah, I did scream. So, while this is not as bad as your situation, I hope it provides some small comfort - we're human, we mess up, we share our stories, we learn. Take care.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:25 PM   #12
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Having polished a 31ft AS I think this will be similar to removing scratches.

To remove scratches I used a 1500 and 2500 grit wet sand paper once scratches are removed you will have to polish over the area.

If you are going to try to fix this yourself do not use a high speed buffer.
An orbital buffer is required Harbor freight has one on sale from time to time for $29.
Do a search there are several kind of polishes people have used.

Don't beat yourself up to bad I always look at my goofs as this is nothing money won't fix.
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Old 05-18-2019, 01:19 PM   #13
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1991 34' Excella
Colleyville , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2010
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To all who have consoled me with words of wisdom and advice, i thank you!! RTFM I now totally understand and a new one my wife laid on me FUBB!! I understand the last two letters stand for “beyond belief”. I’m still researching the first two letters but based on what i now know i don,t need to put it on the forum??

Anyway i figured this forum would have some valuable feedback and as always I am not dissappointed. . So far it appears i may have no option but 1500-2500 grit sand paper and repolissh those areas. Tried the FLITZ in small area and doesn’t appear to remove the etching so far. But still working small area.unfortunately this was done about 3 weeks ago had just got back few days ago when i posted my delema on the forum. the coil cleaner has had plenty time to do it’s damage. Guy with vintage trailer said they had a grade 10 and a 9 but would have to go through polish sequence in those areas again. Have not tried that yet. Any thanks again. Any other sugggestion are appreciated. Thanks. Jim.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:29 PM   #14
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I shed a tear for you! Just curious, now that we all know this was not the right decision, how could you clean the coil and prevent this fiasco in the future? Thanks for sharing! It's a great lesson!
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Old 05-18-2019, 03:17 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
Read The Flippin’ Manual**, (RTFM).

Old military admonition directed at folks about to do something the first time. Or what the senior Noncom yells at the boot when the boot screws something up royally.

** Exact verbiage changed to maintain the forum’s family-friendly “G” rating. All you ex-military folks know the real words.
RTFM is also in the lexicon of technical support engineers.....
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:41 AM   #16
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1991 34' Excella
Colleyville , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Good question Mansderm161; and worth researching for future;

All I can tell you is if you are going to clean coil on Roof AC better be darn sure that the stuff does not interact with Aluminum... I grabbed a bottle of Nu-brite (that clearly says it is not to be used on Aluminum!). Curiously the after hours Airstream repairman I had helping me suggested using coil cleaner. He has been working on airstreams several years. He comes by my place after work and generally brings his tools. I was getting ready to leave next morning and AC was not cooling. Said he wished he had brought his coil cleaner. Told him I had some and went and grabbed a bottle of stuff my normal AC guy uses to clean house HVAC units. -- without reading the label.

Two possibilities -- there is a different type cleaner that would not react to aluminum or maybe the airstreams with the coating on them are protected from the aluminum. Maybe Airstream has more than one reason for putting the protective coatings on their units... Less shine but... Frankly; nothing but water will ever be used to clean my roof mount AC again!! EVER.... Jim
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:20 PM   #17
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1976 25' Tradewind
clarkson , Nebraska
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This last winter I purchased a Buff Pro buffer. Kind of pricey but it really works well. I had one of the double headed buffers and it was pricey, but it is getting weak. Maybe just new brushes would help, anyway.... the rest of the short story. The BPRO came with three different grades of wool buffing rolls (pads). I did the first application, then the second, and then the third. This is not the first time I have polished this AS, and I will do it again. Lots of work but it sure looks nice. I started noticing in some places on the AS that there were some goofy looking marks. I think I used the correct "pad" the first time, but the 2nd and 3rd I mixed up. You can tell that I used the wrong pad from the very minor but noticeable marks left by the wrong grade of wool the roll, or pad is made of. NEXT year when I do this again you can bet your buffer that I will use the correct pad last..... I will put a word in for the Buff PRO. It is variable speed and works really well. If you want to take this job on yourself, this is a pretty cool machine. Good luck with your new etching....
We all need to pay better attention sometimes.....
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Old 05-23-2019, 05:57 PM   #18
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1991 34' Excella
Colleyville , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Tim C thanks for the Buff Pro buffer. I have a cyclo and the right angle polishers (A Dewalt and a Harbor Freight version which is getting weak). It appears little things can make big differences in the finished look with an aluminum polish job. I plan to check out the Buff pro. It may go little faster due to the size once I figure out which way to go or what to use for the initial removal paste. Thanks. Jim
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