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topic 19470

Protect Aluminum Airstream Trailer from Oxidation

Q. I am restoring a classic Airstream trailer with lots of aluminum and have been told that I need a "CYCLO MACHINE" [dual head orbital polisher] to do the buffing; however, no one can tell me where to find one or who makes it.

Any help out there? Thanks.

John W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
restoration business - Dallas, Texas

Cyclo dual-head polisher

June 17, 2008

A. Hi, John. Cyclo dual head buffers are made by Cycle Toolmakers and are available from Amazon. Used ones (and maybe new ones) can be found on Ebay.

You're not the only reader who inquired about polishing an Airstream. I think you'll find letter 5613 "Polishing an Airstream Trailer" helpful.

You may also find letter 1151 "Moonshine Aluminum Polish (Very Strong!)" interesting as it talks about formulations for Moonshine. Best of luck with it!


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

RV siding: To paint or not to paint?


Q. My husband and I have a RV with aluminium siding, the paint is rubbed off in spots. Due to years of washing the RV, because we keep getting the black streaks down the sides. We were told we could paint the siding. If so, what are the proper steps we need to take? What products do we buy? Where do we find the products to buy? Any help along these lines would be most appreciated.

Ellen M Radcliff
- Franklin, Georgia

October 24, 2010

A. Hi, Ellen. If you you are on the fence about repainting, you may find the application of Everbrite to be sufficient to get you by. It protects the aluminum while making the paint look less faded, and is easy to brush on. Basically, it makes the trailer look like it does when it's wet. If it looks good wet, this approach should help. If you don't like the look of your trailer even when it's wet, it won't improve the looks :-)

If you have decided to re-paint, and don't wish to go to a body shop or auto painting shop, you need to scrub the paint well with a scrub brush and detergent, spray on a primer, then spray on a color of your choice. An auto store will have suitable paint. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Best polish and sealer for vintage Airstream trailer


Q. I am in the process of polishing a vintage Airstream trailer to a mirror polish. Does anyone have a product (wax or sealer) that they could recommend to minimize the time between polishing, and reduce oxidation? It is a lot of hard work to get it shiny so I want to keep it that way. I have heard that WD-40 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] sprayed on the surface could work, glass wax, etc. Any ideas?

Michael Warren
- Los Angeles, California


A. I've seen good things mentioned about a product called ZoopSeal in reference to hot rod polished aluminum parts.

Stephen Berlinskys
- Enterprise, Alabama

Ed. note: According to a plausible posting on, ZoopSeal no longer exists, and its inventor replaced it with ShineSeal [link is to product info on Amazon].


A. Use Nu Finish [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] it lasts 12 months.

Keith Aikens
- Canada

Silver Streak trailer restoration


Q. I'm restoring a 1976 Silver Streak Trailer.
I have cleaned the years of crud off. The anodizing is gone accept in a couple of places. I'm having problems removing some of the water streaks from the walls.
I want to to have the original gray finish.
Some have suggested Transmission fluid. I tried it it looks great until the trailer gets wet then I have white streaks on the finish.
How can I remove the last of the anodizing?
What is the best way to remove the water streaks?
And how would be best to protect the Aluminum surface?

Donald E Chantrry
Owner Glass Company - Ogden, Utah


A. I don't know about the surface but take caution on any cleaner with Sulfuric acid in it. It will damage any chrome.
Also you can effectively remove any left over anodizing with EZ-off oven cleaner.

Jan F. Smith
- Ogden, Utah

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