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Old 06-03-2020, 04:44 PM   #1
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1971 31' Sovereign
Temple , Texas
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The futility of polishing

I have reached the conclusion that polishing a vintage Airstream is an exercise in futility and basically a form of insanity. I can spend hours and hours working on my polish job only to go out the next morning and find my shiny trailer covered in bird poop. Its so frustrating.

We're facing our first 100+ degree temps here in central Texas next week, so I'm not willing to give up my beautiful shady spot.

Is there some kind of coating to prevent the stains the bird dropping leave?

I think the birds are actually laughing at me.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:14 PM   #2
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Not sure about anti-bird poop coatings but regarding futility I have a friend who evidently feels the same about bathing.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:29 PM   #3
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Your 1971 Airstream will always be a polishing-hog unless you’re willing to polish it, clean it/wipe it down with acetone, then clear-coat it. (Ask your local auto painter ...he/she might have a short-cut to clear-coat.).

Modern Airstreams are clear coated and should not be polished. Any clear coat scratches will have to be quickly addressed and re-coated with touch-up clear coat (they sell it in fingernail polish size bottles at AutoZone, NAPA, WalMart) or corrosion might set-in.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:30 PM   #4
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It's a form of insanity called narcissism.

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Old 06-03-2020, 05:38 PM   #5
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Hey! Don't be hatin'! I never said it was futile, I just said maybe you can have too much of a good thing!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
Not sure about anti-bird poop coatings but regarding futility I have a friend who evidently feels the same about bathing.
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:48 AM   #6
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want some cheese w/ that wine.........lol
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:17 AM   #7
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1959 24' Tradewind
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Get one of the temp parking garage things, either soft sided or metal, provided you have the space to put it.

https://carportsandmore.com/garage-kits.html
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Old 06-04-2020, 12:37 PM   #8
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1967 26' Overlander
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Polished trailers are beautiful but they do require a lot of time and effort to keep them shining. That's why I've chosen to cultivate and maintain the beautiful oxidized aluminum patina on my '67 Overlander for that post-apocalyptic look that only comes with time.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:21 PM   #9
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Mount Juliet , Tennessee
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About to polish our 69 Caravel

My wife and I took the plunge and recently bought a 69 caravel. Overall it looks great but could use some polishing to make it look fresh. I don’t want a mirror finish but was this little AS coated from the factory? What products does everyone recommend to freshen up the finish (clean, shiny, dull aluminum look)?
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Old 06-05-2020, 04:08 AM   #10
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I have a 1991 Airstream that every year I polish since the old clear coat was flaking off.

Last year after polishing I tested a spot using "NuFinish", and it worked so well that I did the entire trailer. Kept the trailer brighter with less oxidation. Maybe this year only wash and use NuFinish to keep it shiny.

In the past, I tried a few other products but they clouded the metal but NuFinish did not seem to do that.
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Old 06-05-2020, 07:04 AM   #11
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Just leave it alone, keep it clean and it ends up looking pretty good...patina rules.

Bob
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Our '63 Safari after 18 Seasons of fun...
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Old 06-10-2020, 09:40 AM   #12
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1969 18' Caravel
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When we went to restore our 69 Caravel we chose not to polish the thing on the advise of the guy we had helping us. We were able to put the time and money into what we felt was more important, the interior comfort and 12 volt power system for boon-docking.


That said, we us a critic soap to clean the exterior a couple of times a year. It seems to brighten up the finish.



Goodness knows, there is enough upkeep on these things without spending a couple of weekends buffing the thing out.


Good Luck and Happy Trails...
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:05 AM   #13
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Oakland , California
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I just finished polishing our '67 Caravel. The only reason that I did it was that it sits under our deck at our home. The decks are redwood and I had to reseal them. Even thou I covered the AS it still leaked thru, hence a re-polish. The most difficult and frustrating part about polishing is that it's most difficult to get it right. I have milky areas which drive me nuts. Once you start you can't quit
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:07 AM   #14
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Slave to the shine

I hear yeah. I had my '61 Spaceliner looking pretty good, then my kids started ski racing and we started snow camping every weekend. Super fun but the harsh winter weather plus salty roads DESTROYED countless hours of work. I think all the hours with the sisal wheel and buffer lead to my herniated disc 2 years ago and I've had to have 2 cortisone shots in my cervical since.
I've tried to hire it out but anyone else who tries is painfully awful at it and it's more work to clean up after them.

On the advice from this forum I am now applying Corrosion X to a panel when I finish it and I will keep the whole thing washed and waxed. I also got some Salt Away to apply after trips to the beach and mountains. I also plan to avoid stormy snow camping.

I can't let it patina, I'm a slave to the shine.

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Old 06-10-2020, 10:32 AM   #15
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1987 34.5' Airstream 345
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Mineral Spirits

IF your Airstream is truly “polished” then the clear coat has been removed. Bird dropping and water spots can be removed using mineral spirits and a micro fiber cloth. DON’T use mineral spirits on clear coat.
Yes, it’s a futile effort but a polished airstream does make one smile. 😊
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:34 AM   #16
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This is the closest thread to a situation I am facing. I appreciate all of your comments.

I bought my 2005 International CCD a few years ago, and frankly it isn't really pretty on the outside. The clear coat just started peeling off- about an 8 inch strip. I do not want to strip it and even try to keep it polished- I've worked a fair amount with metals all my life- especially aluminum and steel. It lives outside and probably did mostly before I bought it.

How can I avoid the look of "pieces stripping off" AHD avoid the constant upkeep of maintaining a high polish? I am ok with it taking on the look of a crazy artists airplane fuselage, as long as it isn't offensive looking. BTW, I live in Switzerland and don't have the luxury of ordering from Amazon (anything). Also hardware / DIY stores are a good drive away, and of course they don't stock all the products most of you have in the US, so I am looking at generic ideas about how to do this. Thanks
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:38 AM   #17
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Ha ! that's funny .... I made a decision not to bother with the time or expense.. in fact I quite like the old weathered look now. 30' of shine would be over the top ... I think the smaller bambies look cute all polished up but really, is it worth it for larger vintage units?
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:40 AM   #18
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1971 18' Caravel
Palm Harbor , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxDave View Post
I have reached the conclusion that polishing a vintage Airstream is an exercise in futility and basically a form of insanity. I can spend hours and hours working on my polish job only to go out the next morning and find my shiny trailer covered in bird poop. Its so frustrating.

We're facing our first 100+ degree temps here in central Texas next week, so I'm not willing to give up my beautiful shady spot.

Is there some kind of coating to prevent the stains the bird dropping leave?

I think the birds are actually laughing at me.
Just wax it right after polishing. Makes it easier to clean. Doesn’t making it anymore or less shiny. Use some natural wax like mothers carnauba
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxDave View Post
I have reached the conclusion that polishing a vintage Airstream is an exercise in futility and basically a form of insanity. I can spend hours and hours working on my polish job only to go out the next morning and find my shiny trailer covered in bird poop. Its so frustrating.

We're facing our first 100+ degree temps here in central Texas next week, so I'm not willing to give up my beautiful shady spot.

Is there some kind of coating to prevent the stains the bird dropping leave?

I think the birds are actually laughing at me.
It’s not just the birds
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:49 AM   #20
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2003 25' Classic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John P View Post
IF your Airstream is truly “polished” then the clear coat has been removed. Bird dropping and water spots can be removed using mineral spirits and a micro fiber cloth. DON’T use mineral spirits on clear coat.
Yes, it’s a futile effort but a polished airstream does make one smile. 😊
Mineral spirits will NOT damage the Alcoa applied clear coat.

Bob
🇺🇸

Proof..We have been using MS since new to remove bird & water spots along with the white roof chalking. SFSG
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