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Old 06-05-2007, 03:54 AM   #1
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Which airstreams can you get a mirror finish

Which airstreams can you get a mirror finish on. Can you get the same finish with ones that have the clear coat on.
I am from the UK so I don't get to see many airstreams to compare them. I would eventually like to purchase one of the older models to renovate and try to achieve a mirror finish. I need to know which models I can achieve this on.
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:19 AM   #2
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Early Airstreams used the Alclad laminated Aircraft Aluminum. They achieve the best mirror finish. I think the lastest was 1969. The later models used a straight aluminum with a brush finish before they were clearcoated in the flat at the Alcoa rolling mill.
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi
Early Airstreams used the Alclad laminated Aircraft Aluminum. They achieve the best mirror finish. I think the lastest was 1969. The later models used a straight aluminum with a brush finish before they were clearcoated in the flat at the Alcoa rolling mill.
Close, 1979 was the last year I am sure used the "good" aluminum, although I have seen several even later model units polished to a glossy finish. You do have to be more careful witht he newer ones, as the aluminum is slightly thinner, and can be more easily distorted by the heat generted from polishing.
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Old 06-05-2007, 08:52 AM   #4
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Terry can the new ones be shiny? Does anyone have a picture of a model that was done on? Just thinking of my future living with filiment corrosion...

Once Inland Andy said any AS could be polished. I had pmed or e-mailed him at the time but got no response.

Is it possible?
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
Terry can the new ones be shiny? Does anyone have a picture of a model that was done on? Just thinking of my future living with filiment corrosion...

Once Inland Andy said any AS could be polished. I had pmed or e-mailed him at the time but got no response.

Is it possible?
Carol.

Never got a PM.

"Any" Airstream can be polished to a mirror bright finish, from 2007 on down, be it "alclad" or "dull" metal.

Getting the clear coat off the newer models, is the more difficult task.

Andy
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:01 AM   #6
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Thanks Andy. I wish you were closer to Michigan, I'd have gone to see you already! NO, actually I wish I was closer to YOU! I was just looking at your site with the articles and pictures last night. Very cool.

Thank you for the definitive answer. I thought that is what I had read long ago and was surprised to have learned that.

Getting the clear coat off may be a process that will take care of itself given enough time... Just teasing but seriously I am wondering just what we will do down the road if we have exterior skin problems that we need to address. I found my first filiment corrosion just a few days ago.

Would painting grey/silver and clearcoat be a good remedy? Or do you have faith in the ACF 50 treatment?

Pictures of my filiment corrosion and also the skin damage in surrounding area after factory "fixed" corroison on the battery box...looks like abrasion but not sure about the tape mark and I need to have that taken care of.
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
Thanks Andy. I wish you were closer to Michigan, I'd have gone to see you already! NO, actually I wish I was closer to YOU! I was just looking at your site with the articles and pictures last night. Very cool.

Thank you for the definitive answer. I thought that is what I had read long ago and was surprised to have learned that.

Getting the clear coat off may be a process that will take care of itself given enough time... Just teasing but seriously I am wondering just what we will do down the road if we have exterior skin problems that we need to address. I found my first filiment corrosion just a few days ago.

Would painting grey/silver and clearcoat be a good remedy? Or do you have faith in the ACF 50 treatment?

Pictures of my filiment corrosion and also the skin damage in surrounding area after factory "fixed" corroison on the battery box...looks like abrasion but not sure about the tape mark and I need to have that taken care of.
Carol.

The metallic silver paint job, without a doubt, lasts the longest and is the most cost effective based on cost per year.

Twenty years is a minimum life, provided that it is waxed once a year, and that proper high quality paint materials were used.

Supposedly, the new clear coat has an indefinite life. However, recent postings by several owners are indicating otherwise, especially around the rivet heads.

The sheets are precoated. Perhaps the pressure of the rivet heads are causing the clearcoat to fail. The rivets are not coated.

Time will tell.

Andy
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:49 AM   #8
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Is painting one of the things that you do? As you say we shall see about the new precoated longeviety as the worm turns. You may get a line of AS owners seeking less stressful and easier maintanence and repair to serious exterior failing surfaces.

Who said time was on our side? Mick must have been a teenager then.

Thanks Andy.
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
Is painting one of the things that you do? As you say we shall see about the new precoated longeviety as the worm turns. You may get a line of AS owners seeking less stressful and easier maintanence and repair to serious exterior failing surfaces.

Who said time was on our side? Mick must have been a teenager then.

Thanks Andy.
Carol.

Yes, we do the metallic silver, on a limited basis.

We also do the clear coating.

Andy
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:28 PM   #10
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1965's can be mirror finished.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maggi1972
Which airstreams can you get a mirror finish on. Can you get the same finish with ones that have the clear coat on.
I am from the UK so I don't get to see many airstreams to compare them. I would eventually like to purchase one of the older models to renovate and try to achieve a mirror finish. I need to know which models I can achieve this on.
I'm not an authority on all model years, but 1965's can certainly be polished to a mirror. Be prepared to spend numerous hours and $$$ for the polish and equipment. The results are well worth it. --dave
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Old 06-05-2007, 03:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamin 65
I'm not an authority on all model years, but 1965's can certainly be polished to a mirror. Be prepared to spend numerous hours and $$$ for the polish and equipment. The results are well worth it. --dave

Keeping a polished Airstream shiny, depends on the environment that it's exposed to.

If it's clear coated, then waxing it a couple of times a year is usually ok.

If it's raw metal, to keep it shiny requires a wax job about every month or so, provided it's kept at least 50 miles away from salt water.

If it's near salt water, then waxing it every "week" is the usual, instead of the exception.

A highly polished Airstream is "very high" maintenance, again depending on it's location.

Andy
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Keeping a polished Airstream shiny, depends on the environment that it's exposed to.

A highly polished Airstream is "very high" maintenance, again depending on it's location.

Andy
Geez, I forgot to mention that, but Andy is right on here. Keeping our Airstream polished requires more commitment than our marriage I think. I do know for sure it's more maintenance than my better half (although she may feel different about that with regards to me ). But the shiny will stay. It keeps getting easier to maintain.--dave
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:55 PM   #13
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I polished my trailer last month for the first time. I read through the forums, and it seems that liquid glass is recommended by several people, so I took this advise. I put on 2 coats of liquid glass, the first with the white pads on the cylco, then a coat by hand, and followed this with a coat of polymer wax. Has anyone found liquid glass to last much longer then waxing? A coat of wax doesn't take that long, but I don't know if I'm up for doing it every month.
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Old 11-02-2007, 12:35 PM   #14
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So this may be the wrong group...but just curios can you strip and then shine an Argosy? Is the metal different, has it been chemical etched or some other process to allow paint to adhere, that would prohibit polishing
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Old 11-02-2007, 02:04 PM   #15
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You can strip and polish an Argosy. However, the front & back top end caps are steel, not aluminum so those have to be painted.

Some claim that the aluminum panels used on Argosy's were different amluminum or 'seconds', but they do still polish.

Check this out: The Polishing Guru Past Projects - first two pictures

BTW...welcome to the Forums!

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Old 05-07-2008, 03:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streamin 65
I'm not an authority on all model years, but 1965's can certainly be polished to a mirror. Be prepared to spend numerous hours and $$$ for the polish and equipment. The results are well worth it. --dave
awesome polish job. this is ours after about a month and half. Still have a ways to go.Click image for larger version

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Old 05-07-2008, 05:49 PM   #17
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Once a year polish

I live 3 or 4 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and a block from the bayou. I only polish once a year in the the Spring. I have used Nufinish car wax for years after I complete the Nuvite polishing but I'm not sure it helps. I wash and dry the Airstream after each trip before putting it up. And I have been seen drying it after a rain at a CG.

The Airstream is still shiny and would be so for at least 3 or 4 years w/o any polishing. I polish each year because it becomes an addiction to get the perfect mirror shine. And every time I polish it gets better.

All of this is to say polishing is not that large of a burden, especially if you don't become obsessed with perfection.

Below is our unpolished (since last Spring) Airstream at The Mystic Springs Vintage Rally in mid April.
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Keeping a polished Airstream shiny, depends on the environment that it's exposed to.

If it's near salt water, then waxing it every "week" is the usual, instead of the exception.

A highly polished Airstream is "very high" maintenance, again depending on it's location.

Andy
I have kept our '65 Caravel polished for about six years now. We have a home near Sacramento in the Delta town of Walnut Grove, and a condo in Laguna Woods, Orange County. When kept at our northern home, where we are over 60 miles from the ocean and the air is nice, the Caravel retains it's mirror finish very well. Polishing once a year works. When at our condo in Laguna Woods, we are 6.5 miles from the ocean and up the hill from a sewage treatment plant. Keeping a shine is on-going like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Between outings, I pick the panel that looks the worst and polish it up.
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