I moved the airstream/travel to vtbirder.com so if you have not signed up for updates, you might check out the new blog posts. I plan to cover our upcoming SW trip there, so why not sign up to tag along?
|The squiggles are reflections in the morning sun -- it looks ok with just the first pass of polishing.|
Between the weather, which has continued hot and humid with afternoon showers, and the persistent flecks and patches of clearcoat (which have to be removed with dabs of Strypeeze), the polishing is quite a project. As you can see, the top areas I have completed look pretty good. They will next get a pass with a finer polish which should remove most of the swirls and cloudy areas. Of course, I realized the other day that the two replaced panels in back did not have clearcoat, and seem to be a slightly different aluminum. They will polish up but not as shiny but who really cares?
|You can see the contrast between the polished and unpolished areas here on the panel just above the buffer.|
One thing this project has stimulated is my planning for this winter's trip. I'm reviewing the dozens of campground where we have stayed and lidting the good ones, with sites we like, and also have a "never again list by states.
We've had a cold front come through so polishing should be a bit more bearable. It's fun to chalk off one more section, but there's always more ahead. Fortunately, we are in no big hurry.
|Here's how the front looked at the start - lots of oxidation from the peeled clearcoat.|
|Building arm strength controlling polisher. It looks cooler out than it was - 80 degrees with high humidity.|
|The polished area looks very bright, with swirl marks from the coarse polish. So far, so good.|
I am using a new safer stripper that I bought from Vintage Trailer Supply. Here's part of whart they say about it:
For many years, vintage Airstream owners have relied on RemovAll 220 peroxid-activated paint stripper to remove the plasticoat from their trailers before polishing. RemovAll is no longer available in North America. Fortunately, PPG Aerospace makes a paint stripper based on the same principles as RemovAll. It is called Eldorado PR-5044.
PR-5044 is a peroxide-activated paint and primer remover. It works well because it is designed for removal of polyurethane and epoxy paint systems in the aerospace industry. PR-5044 is environmentally preferred and worker-friendly. It does contain petroleum distillates, so it does produce fumes. You will need to read all safety information before using. However, it is not a hazardous material and is much easier to use and safer than traditional aircraft strippers.
So, it looks like vanilla pudding and paints on rather easily. Here is the first panel I tried it on:
|That worked out pretty well so the next day, I applied it on the upper section.|
After a thundershower rinsed it, I spent some time with water and rags removing the coating which tended to come off like Saran wrap. At times, whole sections several square feet in size just peeled off -- other areas were more stubborn. Some will require more stripper.
|The removed coating looks like cellophane and will be easy to clean up later on.|
So, the upper right side is 95% done and after a break for the 4th, I'll start on the lower. It's slow going but I just realized, after talking with my brother, that the two new panels we had replaced are coating free. I figure I have about 14 hours in and another 20 to go - before beginning to polish.
|The upper right side is about done - now to start on the decals and lower section.|