polishing an Airstream


how do they do it?

Polishing Airstreams


 Airstreams originally have a matt aluminum plating. New Airstreams are made from a special plate made by Alcoa. An anodised and lacquered plate. Alclad used to be used. A soft type of aluminum that was also painted (clearcoat) in later years. That shiny what you see a lot is the result of polishing. A side effect of restoring an Airstream.


Blank aluminum reacts naturally with oxygen. That is why there is now an anodization layer on it. Where the sheets were painted in the past, a problem arises when the lacquer layer comes off. That happens after a year or 30. And at the places where the paint is gone, the aluminum reacts with oxygen and you get dull spots. The only way to get a nice caravan is to remove all paintwork and start polishing


Polishing Technique

Polishing an Airstream is considered a monks job. It is an incredable lot of work to do it right. Before you begin, you first have to determine which aloy of aluminum your Airstream is built of.

  • Years 40.50.60 -> no coating and direct polishing
    At the end of the sixties, seventies and early eighties -> remove clearcoat and then polish it
  • 80’s – today -> clearcoat removal, anodise layer sanding and then polishing
  • Motorhomes are always equipped with anodised aluminum

Polishing agents and a polishing instruction can be found on Perfect Polish (perfectpolish.com)


This is how I do it!

Ik heb al mijn Airstreams, Silverstreak an Spartan zelf gepolijst. De werkwijze is globaal volgens het Perfect Polish plan. Je hebt het volgende gereedschap nodig:

  • Compounder with woolen pad
  • Rakel voor verwijderen polijstresidu
  • Polijstpasta (ik gebruik Nuvite G, F7 en S)
  • Poetsdoeken flanel
  • Cyclo Polisher met zachte pads
  • Eerst polijsten (compounden) met Nuvite G tot hoogglans ontstaat
  • Cyclo polijsten met doek eromheen met F7
  • Napoetsen met S (op de cyclo en met de hand)

Polijstmiddelen en een instructie vindt u op Perfect Polish (perfectpolish.com)

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