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Old 08-05-2004, 09:43 PM   #1
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Painting Airstream

I am considering painting my 65 Airstream in knowing it can be done. There is a specialized painter in my area (specializing in helicopters and aircraft) with 28 years experience in painting aluminum. It would be paint silver to look as natural as possible. I know Andy does this, however; I do not have the time to travel to California. Perhaps he would share some of his knowledge and or advice.
Thanks
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:00 AM   #2
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others have painted their trailers, and motorhomes. Your painter will probably know just what to do with the experience he has. From a few feet away you can't tell paint from skin.
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roswell
I am considering painting my 65 Airstream ... silver to look as natural as possible.
I don't get it. Why would you paint it silver to look "natural" (like aluminum?) when you could strip whatever's on there and leave it aluminum? Isn't that kind of like painting woodgrain all over a piece of mahogany furniture?
Sorry, maybe I'm not understanding.
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Old 08-06-2004, 07:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bredlo
I don't get it. Why would you paint it silver to look "natural" (like aluminum?) when you could strip whatever's on there and leave it aluminum? Isn't that kind of like painting woodgrain all over a piece of mahogany furniture?
Sorry, maybe I'm not understanding.
What it is all about; is not having extensive long term maintenance! From some examples I have seen, they look great.
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Old 08-06-2004, 09:07 AM   #5
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Hmm. Haven't seen one, but if you think it looks good, go for it! Still sounds crazy to me... maybe you'd better glance over some of the threads on waxing and keeping a shiny polish, before investing in a silver paint job.

If you could find something reasonably close in maintaining your bare aluminum, I'd consider it carefully. If the paint job looked bad in 5 or 10 years, you risk lowering the value of the whole trailer until it's all stripped off again!
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Old 08-06-2004, 09:48 AM   #6
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A properly painted (metallic silver) Airstream trailer or motorhome requires waxing once or twice a year.

Some of our paint jobs, at this point, are over 20 years old, and still going strong.

A good wax job, will increase it's life, just like the finish on a car.

Part of it is the process anf then the quality of material.

Cheap paint equals a short lived finish.

Expensive paint equals a long life finish.

You can see a painted 25 foot trailer on our web site. http://inlandrv.com

Andy
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Old 08-09-2004, 10:17 AM   #7
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Paint

Andy,
What do you recommend for preparation? Some of original clearcoat exists, of course a fair amount of "old dull grey" and a little filiform. Type/brand of undercoat, finish paint and clear coat. Do have these items for sale. I have someone wanting clean with soda blasting, what do you think? Thanks for all your help.
Darrell Lyons (customer of Inland RV).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
A properly painted (metallic silver) Airstream trailer or motorhome requires waxing once or twice a year.

Some of our paint jobs, at this point, are over 20 years old, and still going strong.

A good wax job, will increase it's life, just like the finish on a car.

Part of it is the process anf then the quality of material.

Cheap paint equals a short lived finish.

Expensive paint equals a long life finish.

You can see a painted 25 foot trailer on our web site. http://inlandrv.com

Andy
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Old 08-09-2004, 10:38 AM   #8
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Darryl.

Since the process and materials are proprietary, we will not post it.

However, if someone wants to purchase the materials, then we are happy to give them step by step information.

Andy
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Old 08-09-2004, 11:21 AM   #9
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Andy,
That is more than fair. Thanks. We will contact you for purchase info.
Darrell


Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Darryl.

Since the process and materials are proprietary, we will not post it.

However, if someone wants to purchase the materials, then we are happy to give them step by step information.

Andy
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Old 08-09-2004, 12:21 PM   #10
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Roswell:

Look at this thread. Very nice, very detailed.
http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=10522
Hope this helps!
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Old 08-31-2004, 07:03 AM   #11
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Greetings!
We recently bought a painted 73 23' Safari. The paint is quite dull and makes it look older than it would, had it not been painted. The inside was in such good shape that we couldn't pass it up. Has anyone ever stripped the paint off? I guess it would help to know why they painted it to begin with. We'd hate to remove the paint only to discover we need to paint it again. We'll try waxing it and see if that helps.

Newbie Happy Campers!
Marie & Randy
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Old 08-31-2004, 07:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRats52
...I guess it would help to know why they painted it to begin with. We'd hate to remove the paint only to discover we need to paint it again...
Ay! Therein lies the rub!

I always thought Argosys were the only thing painted at the factory. But one forum member has a '72 Overlander which he strongly believes was painted at the factory.

My guess on your situation is that you will probably find large amounts of Bondo somewhere on the body if you strip the paint off. Hopefully, another member can shed some light on whether or not the factory ever painted Airstreams.

Tom
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Old 08-31-2004, 09:44 AM   #13
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DesertRats52

Most paints today, will turn dull, unless it is protected with a good clear coat (not the Airstream clear coat).

The type of paint job that you have, looks nice, for a short period of time, then slowly, changes to dull. Of course, it costs less as well.

I would suggest that you "compound" a small area first. If a gloss returns, then make arrangements to have a "clear coat" applied to your trailer.

Then you can compound the complete trailer and have the clear coat applied, as soon as possible after completion of the compounding.

Time is of the essence, since the exterior surface of the paint will once again oxidize. Then you be through with the problem, as long as you wax the clear coat once a year or so.

A cheaper option would be to compound the paint, then wax it. That will solve the problem, but only if you routinely rewax the trailer, perhaps every 3 to 4 months, depending on where you live.

Removing the paint would not be a good idea, since you may uncover far more than you bargained for. If that was the case, another paint job would be in order.

A properly prepared and painted Airstream trailer, with top shelf materials, costs about $180.00 per foot.

Andy
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Old 09-01-2004, 05:36 AM   #14
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Thanks!
I really appreciate your expert advise. So do the natural aluminum ones require just as much care? I really love the look of the shiny ones, hard to tell how old they are. We love our new "old" house on wheels.

Heading to the desert this weekend!

Marie
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Old 09-01-2004, 12:04 PM   #15
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This article may also help explain the anomili of the unexpected white paint vs. bare (shiny) aluminum temperature difference.
Shiny Metals and Non-contact Infrared Temperature Measurements [top]By Joe DeMonte
ASNT/PdM Thermal Infrared Level 3
Senior Thermography Course Instructor
Infrared Training Center


Here is an article that I put together to show the untrained user of “spot radiometers” why there can be significant errors in measurements. Using infrared devices for non-contact temperature measurement may seem like an easy task. Just squeeze the trigger on the “laser pyrometer” and point it at the target for accurate temperatures, right? Wrong!! Different materials have different efficiencies at radiating. I will discuss briefly the important measures that must be taken to accurately measure temperatures with these devices.

Take a look at an aluminum block heated up on a hot plate. I am viewing this hot plate with an infrared camera that detects the same radiation as a typical spot radiometer such as a Raytek or 3M “laser Pyrometer”. It produces an infrared picture of the heat and allows me to obtain temperatures from thousands of points across the thermal map.

Al block heated on a hot plate Temperature of the Tape on the Al block
In the next image, I have placed a simple piece of 3M Super 88 black electrical tape on the surface of the aluminum block.

It is not possible for the tape to actually be hotter than the block. The source of heat is at the bottom of the block and needs to conduct upwards through the aluminum and then outward through the tape. What we are seeing is the difference in the efficiency of both the aluminum and tape to emit IR radiation. The actual value of this efficiency may range from 0.0 to 1.0 and is termed emissivity. The tape has an average emissivity of 0.95 for the wavelengths of my infrared camera. Take a look at the next image for another temperature measurement of the block with the tape still attached.

As you can see, the temperature of the block as read by an infrared device is nearly 100°F lower than that read on the tape! We would have the same results with a spot radiometer. Check out these pictures of the same block with a spot radiometer:


Temperature on the tape! Temperature on the block!
Next, I will correct for emissivity using my infrared camera by setting it to 0.95 and take the same measurement of the tape.


Temperature with Emissivity Correction
Proper compensation for emissivity results in another correct temperature rise. We can now adjust the infrared camera to give us a better understanding of the aluminum temperature now that we know the actual temperature is 203°F, not 191°F or 103°F as previously thought.

There is much more to this than meets the eye, and the basic course that I teach on infrared science/certification lasts for a full four days. We just have to remember that accurate temperatures on clean, unpainted, and uncoated metals are not easy with infrared devices. Take your temperature measurements from highly corroded metals, or from other higher emissivity targets and you will have less error in your reading. If you want accuracy from a chromed piece or other clean metal, just place a piece of electrical tape on it and you will be much better off than without. But remember that this kind of tape will melt at around 200°F!

IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN ACCURATE TEMPERATURE ON ONE OBJECT, YOU CANNOT GET AN ACCURATE DIFFERENCE IN TEMPERATURE BETWEEN TWO OBJECTS EVEN WHEN THE EMISSIVITY IS EQUAL BETWEEN THE TWO!!



Emphasis by me. This may suggest that the temperature of the bare aluminum is actually higher than what is read by the IR thermometer and closer to the reading from the white paint. The difference in emissivity may also explain the low temp of the black rubberized coating. Either way, I would suspect the underside of the white aluminum will be lower than the underside of the bare aluminum.
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