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Soyboy 07-27-2011 11:38 AM

Partial Stripping - Washing Off Removall - '99 Safari
My '99 is suffering from the typical AS pattern baldness along the end caps and the upper sides. I go back and forth on farming out the job to 1st Impressions up in Hanover, PA, and saving some bucks and doing it myself. Yes I know it's a lot of work etc. etc. BTW almost all of the clearcoat on the sides is in very good shape.

Anyway, I have thought about stripping the end caps first and giving polishing a whirl. I figure they are the hardest to get to and if I can do those then I can likely futz with the rest over the fall and early spring (even winter on "decent" days). In any event, I think I would try strip the clearcoat section by section (a section being maybe one side above the rub rail, then the side below the rub rail, continuing around the trailer). One of my purposes in doing it section by section is to keep the aluminum in good shape for as long as possible in order to save excess buffing. Yes I know this is a '99 and doesn't have Alclad, but they still shine up nicely.

Back to the end caps for now, I want to tape them off along the panel edges and try to keep a clean strip line (at least for the time I do the end caps) so the it will look better if I decide to bail on doing the whole trailer and wait til later to get the job done (yes I know i would have to maintain polished areas, no problem i have a PC random orbital buffer). The main question is, if I strip the end caps, when I go to wash off the Removall, do I have to cover the area below the end caps in order to protect it from the rinse water, or, will that we so diluted that it won't matter (assuming that I flush it with a lot of water). If not, I guess i could hang plastic (would that hold up to the diluted water) to protect the lower sections.

I guess too that you would want to prevent the Removall from getting on the white roof paint too.

I know this is a bit of extra work etc. etc., just humor me!

BTW, if you have stripped a '90s trailer feel free to throw in any tips.



Soyboy 07-27-2011 10:26 PM

One other question, will the Removall take off the Airstream decal on the end cap? Or will it be ok?


ksp2822 07-30-2011 09:36 AM

Partial Stripping - Washing Off Removall

I have the clearcoat coming off my door. What is Removall? I need to strip the door so I can reapply the clear coat.

Also what are some other ways to strip the door? I look forward to your reply.


NoMoSOBs 07-30-2011 10:09 AM

I have the same issue on my '98 but I have been apprehensive about applying a stripper, for fear that it will run down the sides and remove the good clearcoat below the beltline. I have several "bald" spots on the upper sides and endcaps that I would really like to get rid of.

Soyboy 07-31-2011 07:35 AM


Removall seems to be one of the more popular strippers that folks use on their Airstreams. Unlike some of the nastier strippers that we have used over the years, Removall is Biodegradable, water based, not toxic etc. You spread it on the area you want to strip, let it sit a bit and then wash it off. It is available at Vintage Trailer Supply. Other than using one of the more classic style products such as an aircraft stripper, going on what I have read over the years, I would give Removall a try on your door. Just bear in mind that once you strip your door, it will look "different" than the rest of the trailer that still has it's clearcoat intact.

NoMo: Hopefully someone will answer our questions about partial stripping. If not, I guess I will tape some thick plastic over the area that is under the end caps so that hopefully I will avoid getting stripper where I don't want it yet. Of course by asking my question, I was hoping to avoid that step. Maybe someone will still give us some info. I my also call up Vintage Trailer Supply and as them to see if they have any input.

raveson 07-31-2011 09:03 AM

My 89 has the same problem and I do not want to screw up awnigs and lower painted and clear coated areas. If someone is brave enough to try it do post the results! GOOD LUCK

barbara4rb 07-31-2011 10:54 AM

I'm partially stripped
2 Attachment(s)
I started stripping my 92 Sovereign with Removall last summer. I found where the clearcoat was peeling badly, the Removall worked great. Where the clearcoat was still intact, it had a hard time. (Read that many applications required.) I covered my blue decal with blue painter's tape, painted on Removall, and used a power washer. The power washer did more damage to the decals than the Removal. I will need to go back with a small paint brush and carefully strip along the decal.

Since the Removall doesn't "run" I don't think there would be any problem with lower panels when you rinse.

I've attached 2 pics here. Definitely has a different look between stripped/not stripped. (In this pic, the door-> hadn't been stripped yet.)

Once stripped, we need to polish if we want to remove the tarp marks (prev owner tarped this trailer and had it parked under pine trees)

HiHoAgRV 07-31-2011 11:15 AM

We stripped the top of our '91 and have been very pleased.

Then end caps do look different than the sides due to forming process.

Soyboy 09-10-2011 08:44 PM

Update: well I started stripping the end caps today. I tried some Citri-Strip. I thought it worked out very well. I don't think the Removall could do any better job. It was a mixed sun/clouds day, perhaps a bit sunnier than optimal, but things went well nevertheless, Temp in the low to mid 80's. The Citri-Strip worked quickly, it was ready to wash off in about 1/2 hour or so. I only had to to minimal touch up, mostly places I missed with the brush (I need to take my time when applying). The Citri-Strip didn't run at all. Since I was starting with the end caps, I just brushed it right along the seams. When I washed it off it didn't impact the unstripped panels, windows etc. I did flush the adjacent panels and windows first to get some water on them before I started to wash off the stripper. I used a concrete patio scrub brush to loosen up the few tough spots. Most of it just washed right off with a hose and a regular spray attachment. All in all I am very pleased with the Citri-Strip.

Now I need to get my polishing supplies together. I tried some Truck Box polish from Lowes, with some Lake Country foam buffing pads, less than optimal again, but I thought I would give it a whirl. I think the Truck Box polish would be ok for post polishing touch ups, but it doesn't have enough abrasives (if any) in it to really cut, even using a polishing pad. I did buff the rear bumper and bumper cover with it and it did a pretty good job. So this week I will figure out which polish I want to use, pick up some wool pads and a heavy duty polisher . I was using my Porter Cable D/A today. Just like the Truck Box polish, I think that the PC would be better for post polishing touch ups. I'll try to post with my further adventures. If I get tired of fooling with it, then it's up to 1st Impressions Truck Polishing in Hanover PA.!

crazeevw 09-11-2011 09:16 PM

I tried some Citri-Strip. I thought it worked out very well. I don't think the Removall could do any better job. It was a mixed sun/clouds day, perhaps a bit sunnier than optimal, but things went well nevertheless, Temp in the low to mid 80's. The Citri-Strip worked quickly, it was ready to wash off in about 1/2 hour or so.

Where did you find your Citri-Strip? Curious, as Vintage Trailer Supply has the Removall 220 on back order for now. Wondering though, my 345LE Classic Motorhome has had silver roofing paint applied to the upper areas. Would really like to strip it off and put Ceramiflex on the roof. Any thoughts if your Citri-Strip would remove the roofing paint? Just curious. Love to see some photos of your progress.
Thanks, Derek

Soyboy 09-12-2011 11:17 AM

I got my Citri Strip at Home Depot if I remember correctly. That's what's nice about it, you don't have to mail order it.

I don't see why it wouldn't remove the roof paint. Buy a small amount and give it a try.

One thing liked about it is that it didn't harm my skin in any way. I didn't wear gloves and unlike classic strippers I had no burning etc. The stuff actually smells good. I found it you brush it lightly before washing it off that it crumbles into very small pieces and doesn't make a mess. I would be careful about your eyes. But in reality, the stuff is not runny at all and you would really have to sling it around to get it on your face.

I just ordered some Nuvite F7 from VTS, I thought I would start with that and finish with the Truck Box Polish to see how that works out. Just doing the end caps for now.

I do plan on posting some before and after pics when I have time.

crazeevw 09-13-2011 05:12 AM

Good Morning
Heading to Home Depot after work today, along with stuff for the house without wheels, I'll look for the Citri-Strip. Like you, end caps are the worst looking on the '89. Thanks for the suggestion on Citri-Strip.

AIR-Quarius 09-13-2011 07:05 AM

Get a 18 or 14 ounce bottle of 3M abrasive compound (gravel in a bottle) from R&E paint supply. and some kerosene to use to wipe up the Black with tons of cut up tee shirts.

NoMoSOBs 09-13-2011 09:33 PM

I'm sold. I will be stopping by HD tomorrow to pick up some citristrip and testing later this week. Thanks for letting us know about it Soy!

Soyboy 09-13-2011 10:41 PM

Follow up: I ordered some lambswool pads along with terry cloth bonnets, but not for a larger polisher, instead, I thought I might as well see how the PC does first. If it doesn't have enough omph, then so be it, I will upgrade, I can always use the pads and bonnets for other vehicles. I don't really have a lot of oxidation much of the clear coat is still intact. Anyway, this weekend should be perfect weather to work on in, as we are expecting an early fall blast of cooler (65 or so) weather. I think even if I just do the end caps for now, the "two tone" look might be pretty cool until I start on the rest. Of course I am already looking at the peeling along the top of the two tone end cap look might not be around for too long.

NOMO, not sure if you are thinking about your older or newer trailer. If it's the newer on, then I think you will be ok, I don't know how it would do onthe older one, but it's worth a try. In any even, I would try a quart first before you purchase a larger size, and see how things work out. Please let us know. Note: You'll want a small pan to pour it in so you can dip the brush in it. Maybe a Walmart cheapo if you don't have anything around the house.

Soyboy 09-18-2011 05:07 PM

I got both of the end caps stripped and polished (at least a good beginning of a polish). I thought it went very well. I used my PC DA polisher and it did a good job. I think if I get serious about doing the whole trailer I am going to get a Dewalt 849X. They have them on Amazon for $185. I think it would go even faster with that, though I'm amazed at how well the "little" PC did.

I am definitely going to keep as much clear coat on the trailer as I can until I am ready to polish. With the Citri Strip it's an easy fairly low mess deal to partially strip it (the reason I started this thread!). The areas that still had clear coat on until I stripped it polished up much fast than the areas that had lost the coating and started to oxidize, as one might expect.

I took off the Airstream letter on the end caps. I don't know if I am going to replace them, I kind of like the clean look, plus any new lettering that I put on will get in the way when I do "touch up" polishing jobs.

I hope to post some before and after pics when I get a few minutes.

The round corners seem to be a slightly different material than the center of the end caps. The centers seem to polish up a lot more.

I still need to take off the rear lights and polish "under" them. I think will wait a bit as I am contemplating switching to LEDs. I also need to get up on the roof and polish the very tops of the end caps, you can see them from the ground so they weren't a priority. But I will do them. Perhaps in a couple of weeks, the next time I will be able to work on it, weather permitting.

All in all I am very happy with the look of the polished sections. It will likely take a while, but I may well fiinish this job myself rather than farm it out. I figure I am doing the hard part first (the front and rear end caps etc.) The sides are flat with much a ground level where I won't have to work off of a ladder.

Very happy with the Citri Strip, the Nuvite f7 seems to do a good job as does the Truck Box polish that I use to finish up. I tried using the lambswool pads and they did ok, but I switch to my trusting Lake Country foam pads and they seem to work very well. Perhaps the lambswool will work better on a straight polisher, such as the Dewalt, where I can work it on edge. We'll see. I found it a bit hard at times to get all of the black residue off. I usually wound up using a bit of the truck box polish on a cloth to wipe it down a bit after finishing the "power" polish. That seemed to take care of things.

Like I said, I will try to get some photo up soon if you are interested.

Soyboy 09-20-2011 11:21 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Here are some of the promised photos. You will see before, during stripping and after polishing photos. It still needs some more polishing work as I perfect my technique. I did order a Dewalt DWP849X from Amazon. I think that will help as I tackle more of the trailer going forward. I think I will stick with the Porter Cable DA for the finish work for now. Note that there were a lot of clouds when I took the photos, they might make the finish look a bit splotchy, actually the finish is pretty nice, but can still use a bit more work.

timmaah 09-20-2011 11:58 PM

Looking good. Thanks for posting the pictures. I was wondering how it would shine up.

After reading your initial posts, I tried some citri-strip on my 99 front end cap. Had even more pealing then yours. I am not sure I will go the full polishing route, but I need to do something to get it all one shade of grey. It appears the clear coat failed in sections over the years and each section has aged differently.

Soyboy 09-21-2011 07:35 AM

Tim, that's what happens as it peels off and oxidizes to different degrees. The only way to get it even is to polish to even it out. One can decide how much polishing they want to do. The hardest part is getting rid of the oxidation, the fine polishing is easier, but just takes time in order to perform a number of passes over the same area that then seems to bring it out more and more, at least to a point. These non Alclad trailers will never get that mirror finish, but you can get them looking pretty good!

As I had said before, since it is working well, I am only going to strip what I am ready to polish. That way the areas I am not ready to work on will stay protected as this may be a protracted project.

NoMoSOBs 09-21-2011 07:58 AM

good stuff
I picked up a quart of citristrip last week and did one endcap and one side above the beltline. I was very impressed with the product, especially at less than $20 on the shelf. My trailer had been peeling for quite some time, and came out splotchy, but that is what I expected. It still looks far better than before, and ultimately I will do some polishing. Perhaps a springtime project.

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