Double click here to add text.
The upper pic is a little hazy because it just rained a little and now it's so muggy it's fogging over my camera lens.
Every thing has an order, one step at a time. Step one build new garage/shop doors. It used to be a barn door that slid to the right on a track but when we build the dog trot it had no place to go. I took down the track over two years ago and the door has been locked from the inside and it could only be opened if I had a couple more guys to help slide it over and lean it against the house. so I've only had it opened a few times in two years.
Step two, start clearing the shop, and getting rid of a lot of stuff so I can wheel a few sheets of plywood in and cut out the cabinet Gale wants in the family room, under the TV. I'm not supposed to work on the trailer until that is done. Step three, clean and polish outside of trailer while it is here at the house. I'll move it to my storage soon. I need the driveway cleared.
I can't stand not doing anything to the trailer.
The front of the trailer has these little brackets and stuff that have rusted badly, so I removed them all and soaked them in rust remover, polished them up with the wire wheel and painted them with aluminum paint. You can see below them, the rust stains running down. Some places are worse then pictured. I asked on Silver Streak folks and was told a spray on rust stain remover might work, so I got some at the corner hardware.
I got both these products to start cleaning the anodized aluminum. The rust remover did indeed remove the stains, very well. It has Oxalic and Citric acid and I noticed that it was removing some of the that white oxidation from the aluminum too, without any damage to the anodizing. So I have been spray soaking a small area, about 4 sq ft and scrubbing it with a scotch bright pad, across the water streaks going down the sides, and it's getting brighter. Then I'm going over it with the Krud Kutter to just clean it all up some. It's not perfect, but much better. I will say here that my trailer skin was in fairly good shape. No tree stains and the oxidation was minimal, I think. The main problem was some white oxidation, the rust stains, and water streaks from rain running down the sides for 48 years. This treatment has helped but not entirely removed the rain streaks. Rust stains are gone, and the oxidation discoloration is much better.
The pictures are not all that good, but you can see where I cleaned the corner but not any of the side or the middle front.
The sunlight in the photos makes the uncleaned surfaces look better than they actually do. I may repeat the process and then naturalize it with my power washer. the plan is to wash with Dawn dish soap then wipe down with xylene and apply Everbright protective coating. I'll keep you posted as I go along.
I have new running lights to install soon, and I have new u trim for the wheel wells.I will finish the cleaning process then move the trailer to my storage unit. I'll remove the interior there so I can store as many pattern pieces as I want without putting them in my shop for now. I have enough problems out there as it is.
Double click here to add text.
Here is one side cleaned, there are still more steps to go, though. If one looks closely you can see some discoloration under the windows and the door is still pretty chalky. There are still a lot of water streaks showing on the lower panels too. But, this is still a lot better than it looked yesterday. This side was a lot better looking than the street side too. I'll take a picture of the street side tomorrow before I start. The sun is on it now and hides all the problems. Maybe I should just always park it in the sun. All I'm doing here is super cleaning the aluminum, I'm doing nothing yet to cover any of the problems, like wiping it down with WD-40. All that does is keep it wet looking longer than water. Water will make it look good for a few minutes.The Everbright is wipe on protective coating that may or may not help cover up some of the damage caused by weather over the years.
It's tomorrow Sept 5, 2015
This is the street side, as I bought it. You can see the discoloration and the water streaks. This side was a little worse than the curb side. So I decided to get just a little more aggressive. I own a low speed polisher for stone work. I went down to my tool place and found some gray pads like scotch brights that screw onto my polisher shaft. It says extra fine, but It's still a pretty aggressive pad so I'm using it lightly. It will cut the anodizing on those little ridges. I also was running low on the rust stain remover so I added some straight lemon juice I had in the ref, to boost the citric acid.
This is what this stuff should look like. A consistent color of light gray with a satin sheen. For some reason, on the lower panel, my pad started leaving black residue. That upper corner is where I rubbed it off with a scotch bright pad, by hand. I think I may need to wash it. (the pad on my machine)
I'm still having trouble with the water streaks but they are much less obvious. Maybe the Ever Bright will take care of that. I wanted to get over into the bad areas but I had to quit for a while because of a thunder storm. In all fairness these two panels weren't all that bad, so I'm still waiting on final results. but don't those two look good? The rain stopped and I got back to work even though it was like a sauna after the sun came back out. I only made it a little further when I caught the pad on the corner of a window and tore it off the base plate. Too late to go get more, Damn. This is labor day weekend and we have a pool party on Sunday so no working on the trailer. Monday, labor day, the store with the pads is closed, of course, so no work today either. Tuesday is my bowling day, but I will still get the pads today. I will start again on Wednesday but I have therapy on my shoulder in the afternoon. I tore the rotator cuff off my shoulder last August. It's now 10 months after the surgery and I'm almost fixed. Yea!
Maybe the Everbright will show up in the mail today.
Double click here to add text.
These are the disks I found at the tool supplier. I have no idea how readily available these are if you are not in a major city. The second pic is the polisher. I don't know the rpm rating but it's maybe about 1100 rpm, not slow but not fast enough to put a spit shine on your Airstream either. This machine has both a cord and a plastic tube, that hooks up to a garden hose, to provide water through the head if polishing stone or concrete counter tops. A bought it about 10 years ago and I think I paid a little over $200 for it. I was doing some concrete counter tops at the time. The switch is acting up so I hope it will get me through this project.
OK, next installment. It's Wednesday and I'm back at it again. Because the trailer is very close to the house right now, (my drive is just wide enough to park it), and I have to leave for shoulder therapy in a while, I didn't want to hook up and move the it, so I reworked the curb side again with the polisher. Working on the problem areas that were still there, I was able to get it a lot better with the machine.
A word of caution, the working area has to remain wet at all times or the pad starts leaving black residue on the surface. I really cooked that stuff onto that rear corner and had a hell of a time getting rid of that. I had to hit the worst of it with 400 wet or dry sandpaper used wet with the Kurd Kutter for solvent. In fact, I hit various problem areas with the paper wet with no damage to the anodizing. This helped remove occasional marks left by the polisher and stubborn rain streaks. This thing is really getting pretty clean. I might be able to use 400 paper wet and get this thing pretty close to new looking. Fingers crossed, of course.
The next day, Thursday, just about when I was going out to start work it started pouring again. We are in a weather pattern here, in Houston, that is giving us rain every day right now. It rained up until my daughter and law's mother arrived with her little Tag Along trailer. She and her friend Mattie bought this trailer and spent 9 months completely redoing it. They replaced rotten framing and flooring and repainted the outside. They completely rebuild the interior. It's all very cute now and they have joined the "Sisters on the fly" group and are leaving in the morning for their first camp out with the group. They are very excited about the trip but the kitchen drain started leaking and she came by for some help getting it stopped. So we fixed her problem and I got to work on my own trailer, even though it still rained off and on all day. I got a little more than half of the street side finished, the deep cleaning process that is. I should finish it all tomorrow.
Double click here to add text.
This is progress on the street side. This area looked pretty bad this morning. A lot of dirty streaking down the side. This was maybe a half hours work with the polisher and the rust remover spray. You can see that the color is just about what it should be. There is still a little streaking above the window, where the sun is hitting it, and next to the vent. I tried to get those out with 320 wet or dry sand paper doing it wet with soapy water. They didn't change much. 220 paper leaves scratches in the anodizing, but might remove the streaks better. The streaks are now ghosts of what they were though. Check the photo above of this side untouched.
You can see where I ground right through the anodizing on that electrical door. That door may have had the anodizing applied differently. I sanded through it too easily. That's the only place I've done that except a few times on the top those ridges.
This looks pretty good to me. If the Everbright does what it says it will, I'll be a happy camper.
I was going to do this yesterday but at about 5:00 am it started raining and finally stopped around 3:00 pm, so I got nothing done at all. Sun is back today, along with about 90% humidity.(I know, you think I'm joking, I'm not) I finished polishing out the street side, which was the worst side and then I washed the whole thing down with dawn dish soap and a green scotch bright pad, then toweled it dry.
I'm done in by the humidity and arm action, though, so I'll quit for the day. Tomorrow I'll check for spots I've missed and wipe the whole trailer with xylene just before I apply the Everbright.
Double click ere to add text.
Another shot, So far I love the way it looks. If I can get it a just little bit better............... and it will stay..........I will be really happy with it. It's a 50 year old trailer, I don't expect perfection exactly, although that is a good goal. I'd like it to be a surprise when one entered, and sees the interior. I'm amazed how much better this side looks by just removing those rusted TV aerial brackets. That did, however, leave 25 holes in the skin for me to fill somehow. Even my wife thinks this is a handsom trailer.
One more thing. A previous owner just went crazy with silicon sealer. I'm so tired of trying to get it all removed from the aluminum. Campers, if you have this stuff in your tool box, throw it away. It is NOT for trailers. Use something made for the job. Also if you are going to caulk windows and other stuff. use masking tape about an eight inch around the part. Apply the caulk, wipe it in with a finger and pull the tape. That way it is not smeared all over everything. Most people should stay away from caulk guns. Sorry, on my soap box again.
Well, another interesting day. The weather was in the 80's and really nice for Houston in the summer, and it is still summer here. Nice as it was though, I spent most of the day, after helping my son fix a broken gate, trying to clean silicon off from around all the windows and several other things on the trailer. What a drag, and still only about half way done.
I did get a little of the Everbright on the front section. I really wanted to know how it worked. I have to say that I'm a little disappointed. They seem, or maybe it was just me, to avoid coming out and saying that it was a clear coat. Somehow I thought it might be a chemical bonding liquid. In reality it is a viscus fluid like a varnish. It "is" very clear, I hope it will stay that way and not yellow over time. They sent me a pair of gloves and a round applicator pad. I have never really used a wiping pad before and it took some time for me to get my head around that and go ahead and start using the pad. It worked great, though. The gloves however fell apart by the time I had finished just the front section. They didn't like the solvent in the material. I will say that the front section looks really nice now. I think it will continue to look good for some time but I worry that it will start to get scratched, get water behind it, and flake off, like any sprayed on clear coat. Then it would have to be stripped. This material is supposed to desolve when hit by another coat. So maybe any chips can be touched up over time to keep it looking good. we'll see.
This is with the front finished, back to the seam. It really doesn't look all that different than it did yesterday, though. These two sections and the whole front looked good before I applied the Everbright.
It remains to be seen tomorrow if it will get rid of the white streaks on the sides or just incapacitate them forever. There wasn't much to hide on the front, but there was some, and it is invisible now. I didn't seem to have any problem where I removed the silicon from the skin, both above and below the curved window, and it was smeared out pretty far there. I did work very hard at removing it though.
I have to wonder why the pie shaped pieces in the corners are more shiny than the other pieces of aluminum.
The sun is directly on this side, and it hides the little bit of damage around the old badge location.
I am going to order new vinyl Silver Streak logos. I may put in a light in the center like some newer models too.
These shots are with the side completely cleaned, as far as I can get it, and wiped down with xylene. As you can see there are still some streaks and white oxidation. This does cover with the clear coat, though and looks almost perfect. I still have some ghosting of streaks, but so faint that I can live with them.
Here it is with the clear coat applied. Almost perfect looking. One can tell there is a clear coat, though. I'm not all that crazy about that, but this is the best look I think I can come up with that will last for some time.
Double click here to add text.
It turned out a quart isn't enough for a 20 foot box so I had to order another pint that will take a few days to get here. I wanted to finish this weekend but, Oh well. I can remount a bunch of things now and clean up the windows. I have parts arriving for a couple of them tomorrow. I can get all the silicon removed from the street side too.
Looks pretty good, right?
I thought I'd write out a short to tutorial on applying Everbright clear coat to my Silver Streak. So far that's just about all I have written about. I just really wanted to do something that would show results quickly, before I start the whole interior tear out and rebuild, a years work at best.
Like most of you reading this I was trying to restore the shell to a like new condition, after being neglected for a good number of years. I'm sure the salesmen who first brought the anodized aluminum sheet to SS said, this stuff is great, it will be easy to clean and keep this look "forever". Unfortunately after about 30 years, if one has not really kept up with the cleaning, and maybe, stored it inside, it has started to look a bit funky. UV, acid rain. tree branches, rust from the steel clips, screws, and stuff like that have all taken a toll. So much for "forever".
The first step in restoration is cleaning, and I'm talking deep cleaning. I found a rust remover that has some acid in it that was fairly good at removing rust, of course, and other discolorations. I found that it would remove some of the white oxidation and water streaks although not all of it. There has been a mention on an Airstream site about using a "buffered acid", although I have no idea what that is, or a product name, or where to obtain a product. So there there may be better stuff than what I used. I worked in the cleaner, by hand, with scotch bright pads and then, for better results easier on my arm, resorted to a low speed buffer and a similar pad for the machine. This was about a weeks work. No quick fix.
So I got the trailer as clean as I could, then I rewashed it with Dawn dish soap, which leaves no residue on the aluminum. Then I wiped it all down with xzlene as per the instructions from Everbright. Now I was ready to apply the Everbright.
Because of the large size of the trailer I chose to use a high density, 6" foam roller. After about 40 years of finish work I knew going in that this would leave the surface covered in tiny bubbles from the roller. So I used a paint pad to quickly smooth out the bubbles after the roller.
So I got the trailer as clean as I could, and I'm talking deep cleaning. I found a rust remover that has some acid in it that was fairly good at removing rust, of course, and other discolorations. I found that it would remove some of the white oxidation and water streaks although not all of it. there has been mention on an airstream se about using a "buffered acid", although I have no idea what that is or a product name, or where to obtain a product. So there there may be better stuff than what I used. I worked in the cleaner by hand with and other discolorations. I found that it would remove some of the white oxidation and water streaks although not all of it. there has been mention on an airstream site about using a "buffered acid", although I have no idea what that is or a product name, or where to obtain a product. So there tetter stuff than what I used. I worked in the cleaner by hand with scotch bright pads and then resorted to a low speed buffer and a similar pad for the machine. this was about a weeks work. No quick fix. bright pads and then resorted to a low speed buffer and a similar pad for the machine. this was about a weeks work. No quick fix.
I thought from their adds that the Everbright would be a very thin liquid product. It is a rather viscous liquid, similar the a freshly opened can of urathaine. It behaves more like a lacquer, as it is self dissolving and dries very quickly. It is "not" a lacquer though.
A applied the material with the roller working up and down between the ribs. I applied it across about 3 feet at a time then quickly smoothed out the bubbles with the pad working top to bottom. I extended over the rib down onto the next section to smooth out runs. There were lots of runs. In this picture the top section is wet. You can see the brush marks in it . They will smooth out as it dries all by them selves. Don't over work this stuff, as it starts to get tacky in just minutes. That's why I only worked about 3 feet across as a time. You can just barely see where I have drug out the runs going down on the lower section. that section is still dry except where I went past the rib. That streaking will go away. I used this method all the way down the trailer top to bottom from left to right 3 feet at a time, rolling on the material then smoothing the bubbles out. Working quickly, as this stuff dries quick. This material is fairly forgiving and it can be removed with the xzlene, easily.
Before, front quadrant is done, sides are just cleaned.
Whole side finished now. You can easily see the difference.
Over all, I'm very pleased with both the look of the trailer now, and the product. My only concern at this point is durability. I'm hoping it will continue to look good for at least 5 years, for the work and cost. I think it will. The success all depends on just how clean you get the trailer, I think.
Finished, except for the door which is a project of it's own. I'll do some work on the roof later too. That rusted vent can go and I want to do sealing tape on the seams. I might paint the top white too.I had to remove all the windows to get rid of all that silicone. It's strange that everything I removed was sealed to perfection, it looked like. I don't see why it was deemed necessary to go over everything with silicone. I doubt it was leaking. I see no evidence of leaking anyway. So now I still have another half day removing silicone from the window edges before I can reinstall them.
I'll mention here that the Everbright took three pints of product to cover the trailer one coat, at a cost of $150. I also discovered later that they have a more satin formula. I thought mine was a bit too glossy. It went on pretty heavy, so I'm thinking one coat will do for now.
This had taken me all of three weeks, working pretty hard at it.
Reading some stuff on a web site it was mentioned that some streaking might be removed with bathroom cleaners for the shower, also that vinegar might help with the white oxidation. I think it might be possible that using a high speed buffer and 3m heavy duty compound might help with the oxidation. The buffer will not polish the aluminum to a shine though. I have not tried these things I only mention them if one wanted to try something else. Good luck.
I put the trailer in storage today 9/28 so I'm about 2 1/2 months into the project now. I need to clean the shop for real now and finish a couple projects for the boss before I tear into the interior and start the rebuilding.
This is so cool, I replaced all the running lights and everything worked first try.
Phase I Cleaning the outside of the Streak
So, before the wife would let me do any further work on the trailer I was required to finish the last of the house remodel projects. I built the table for Thanksgiving and finished the cabinet and paneling in the family room in time for our annual Christmas party for extended family and a few friends. I also completed the last of the finish work in the kitchen where I had made a few changes. Now, I can start the trailer tearout.