Stripping the clear coat from an Airstream is one of those things you really don’t want to do, but must do if you want to polish it to a mirror shine. When we stripped the Overlander, we used the Aircraft Stripper you can buy at any auto parts or home improvement store. It works fine, but dries out quickly so you have to work fast and do it in sections. Once the water hits it, it wants to seize up, and whatever you do, don’t get the tiniest speck on you! We decided this time we would try a different product. As I mentioned in my last post, we chose to use PG Aerospace PR-5044 Peroxide-Activated Stripper from Vintage Trailer Supply. We weren’t certain how long to leave it on so we decided to do a test area first. This is after one hour and rinsed off with a water hose. It was about 90 degrees out and the trailer was parked in the shade. Woohoo! It doesn’t take much to get us excited! We were out the door and headed to Lowe’s to buy some covers for our paint rollers.
The directions say it can be sprayed, brushed or rolled on but, it’s so thick (bananna pudding) I don’t see how you could spray it. We put on some old clothes and chemical resistant gloves and rolled it on. It went fast and only took about 2 1/2 gallons to get a good thick coat on. We even put it on the bumper, step, tongue and wheels that had several coats of paint on them. After about an hour we pulled it out away from the building and used a pressure washer to rinse it off. Stripping a trailer is a messy job but this product made it much easier and no pain!
The new marker lights, window clips, gaskets, and door latch came today. It’s official, the restoration of our 1966 Safari has begun! We should be camping by Spring! 😉 Ha!
Polishing sucks…OK…It sucks! But…the results make it all worthwhile. We did a first cut with Nuvite last year to get the worst of the corrosion off but haven’t really had time to work on it since then. The Vintage Airstream Club Rally is this weekend so for the past few weeks we have been trying to get more done on the outside. Besides polishing, one priority was to repaint the badges and install the blue plastic trim insert. After driving ourselves crazy looking for automotive paint, in the right colors and in small quantities (don’t need a quart!) we decided to just go with what they had at Auto Zone. We used Rustoleum Enamel spray paint. The blue was really the only color that had to be perfect, and it was. I painted the “Airstream” letters on the front and back by spraying paint in a cup and brushing it on. You had to paint fast before it dried but it worked! To paint the red, white and blue “International” badges I taped each area off and sprayed them. On the white section I just painted right over the “International” then quickly used a rag and thinner to clean the paint off the chrome letters. It was much easier than trying to tape it off…I tried that. I used the same method on the ID plate on the front…just painted right over the whole thing then wiped it off with thinner. I put 3 coats of paint and then a clear coat over everything…hope it lasts! The blue trim snapped right in and matched perfectly. It was really warm the day I installed it so I tried to get it in there as tight as possible. It was cold that night and the next morning there was about an inch long gap next to the badge where it had shrunk. I was sick! But, after the sun hit it, it expanded and fit perfectly again. Oh well…it’s hot here most of the time anyway!
We are still a long way off on the polishing but with the paint and trim…she looks fantastic! We are off this weekend to The Lone Star Vintage Airstream Club Rally in Bend, Texas. We can’t wait to see all the vintage trailers but mostly to meet up with friends again. The theme is “The Shagadelic Airstream Gig” so…think hippie! We are camping at The Barefoot Camp and RV Park located right on the Colorado River. Hopefully there will be enough water to play with our kayaks!
I’m not sure if we will have cell service but if we do, I’ll be posting pictures on instagram. You can follow me @stephanieintexas or @danintexas. It’s going to be far out and groovy weekend!
They say it takes 200 hours to polish a trailer. I think that may be a little conservative! Our trailer has a lot of filiform corrosion that would not compound out with Nuvite F7 or F9, so we are wet sanding those areas first with 400/800/1000 grit paper then compounding over it with F7. That filiform is some bad stuff! If anyone has a better method, please share! The F7 is doing a great job of removing the normal corrosion and scratches. We plan on using a Cyclo with Grade C next, then Grade S. We might be done by Christmas! It will be worth it though…look at that Shiney Hiney 🙂