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Project Builds (non Car) Here is an area where you can show / discuss other non car builds be they bikes, caravans, boats, BBQ's or whatever.

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Old 18-05-2020, 10:51 AM   #1
Warrenk
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Default Polishing a Vintage Caravan

Our 1968 Roadhaven caravan is in exceptional condition for its age as it has been under cover all of its life except when it was used for holidays. The exterior however did show it age with 52 years of oxidation build up on the aluminium cladding and the stainless steel roof so I decided it needed to be brightened up. With 2 buff/sanders, an electric drill, various types of polishing mops, microfibre clothes/rags, a couple of 1 kg tins of Autosol and a couple of bottles Purple Polish I was ready to start. On Good Friday I started the job thinking about 3 weeks should be enough time. How wrong could I be as of today I am about 2/3rds finished, but it is looking good. The amount of black residue that is created from the oxidation and polish is unbelievable.
A couple of photos with before and after you see the difference the polishing makes.





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File Type: jpg polishing1r.jpg (102.3 KB, 175 views)
File Type: jpg polishing2r.jpg (145.0 KB, 174 views)
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Last edited by PG2; 22-05-2020 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Imbeded the photos, if you want it changed back let me know
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Old 18-05-2020, 11:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

All those ribs to get around, not an easy job for you.
Looking at this I reckon an Airstream would be a snap.
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Old 19-05-2020, 09:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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All those ribs to get around, not an easy job for you.
Looking at this I reckon an Airstream would be a snap.
The ribs are OK, but the lines in the quilted pattern are the problem. As for an Airstream being a snap, I sort of agree with you there. They still would be a big job, but at least the metal is flat. The roof, which is stainless steel, is the job I thought would be harder, but is turning out easier because it is flat.
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Old 19-05-2020, 10:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

Good job.
Can you spray a clear on it at the end to preserve it?
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Old 19-05-2020, 11:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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Good job.
Can you spray a clear on it at the end to preserve it?
Or put a cover over it and never take it off....
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Old 20-05-2020, 12:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

Have you got one of these?
https://motherspolish.com.au/product/powerball/
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Old 20-05-2020, 07:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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Good job.
Can you spray a clear on it at the end to preserve it?
A popular polish I am going to use which I came across while looking on Airstream forums was Nu Shine a once a year polish. Although it won't stop the aluminium oxidizing, it will extend the shine a bit longer.
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Old 20-05-2020, 07:46 PM   #8
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I did try a polish mop similar to that ball, but it was to small for a job as big as the caravan. I used A polisher/sander with airflow metal polishing mop for the first pass and a loose calico mop for the second pass.
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Old 20-05-2020, 10:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

i have a similar van in a similar condition but a 27 footer .........
can ya do mine next

but seriously looks like its coming on good
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Old 20-05-2020, 10:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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A popular polish I am going to use which I came across while looking on Airstream forums was Nu Shine a once a year polish. Although it won't stop the aluminium oxidizing, it will extend the shine a bit longer.
I've used that on my daughters little Suzuki Swift. She was working in Broome and Shark Bay. Lots of red dirt.
6 months later she came home (no work, Corona).
I washed the car and it looked great. I reckon that polish is pretty good.
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Old 21-05-2020, 07:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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i have a similar van in a similar condition but a 27 footer .........
can ya do mine next

but seriously looks like its coming on good
Oh, I was trying to butter him up for my trucks diesel tanks.
Yeah, you certainly go through a few polishing cloths doing this.
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Old 21-05-2020, 01:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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i have a similar van in a similar condition but a 27 footer .........
can ya do mine next

but seriously looks like its coming on good
I have read that a 50% Ali Brite/ 50% water mixture applied with a spray bottle in sectionalised areas, then hosed off cleans the oxidation off. The aluminium is a lot brighter, but needs human intervention to make it shine.

I estimated something north of 150hrs (probably about 175hrs)for a 15 ft caravan. Double that for your 27ft van, plus about 6 - 700 dollars for polish, large stock pile of rags and microfibre cloths, an electric drill and a polisher/ sander and a range of polish mops which will almost get you ready to start.
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Old 21-05-2020, 02:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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I have read that a 50% Ali Brite/ 50% water mixture applied with a spray bottle in sectionalised areas, then hosed off cleans the oxidation off. The aluminium is a lot brighter, but needs human intervention to make it shine.

I estimated something north of 150hrs (probably about 175hrs)for a 15 ft caravan. Double that for your 27ft van, plus about 6 - 700 dollars for polish, large stock pile of rags and microfibre cloths, an electric drill and a polisher/ sander and a range of polish mops which will almost get you ready to start.
All those flash polisher's on the market and I still reckon you can't beat good old Silvo. Available in most supermarkets, so much cheaper and if its good enough to earn the royal warrant.
Use it everywhere, truck alloy stuff, bicycle bits, cars and deck hardware on the boat.
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Old 21-05-2020, 10:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

The trouble with polishes like Silvo and Brasso is they contain ammonia. From all the reading I have done on polishing aluminium it is not wise to use polishes with ammonia which can cause tarnishing of the aluminium in a short period of time.
A line taken from a US polishing forum "polishes contain ammonia which can cause aluminum to oxidize and tarnish a lot faster than it should. Products with ammonia seem to work really good but they do more damage in the long run. Be careful what you use!"
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Old 22-05-2020, 07:24 AM   #15
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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The trouble with polishes like Silvo and Brasso is they contain ammonia. From all the reading I have done on polishing aluminium it is not wise to use polishes with ammonia which can cause tarnishing of the aluminium in a short period of time.
A line taken from a US polishing forum "polishes contain ammonia which can cause aluminum to oxidize and tarnish a lot faster than it should. Products with ammonia seem to work really good but they do more damage in the long run. Be careful what you use!"
She looks great whatever you are using.

The idea of the Silvo type products is to knock off the dull surfaces first, then apply a car type polish (automotive application) over to protect finish.
Silvo itself recommends it for Aluminium. Says so on the can.

If I'm trying to use it on a really dull unrestored surface, I'll mix it with a little kerosene first to cut down the surface.
Some of those older fluted side caravans and buses had anodized finish which really slows down the process.
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Old 22-05-2020, 10:42 AM   #16
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

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She looks great whatever you are using.

The idea of the Silvo type products is to knock off the dull surfaces first, then apply a car type polish (automotive application) over to protect finish.
Silvo itself recommends it for Aluminium. Says so on the can.

If I'm trying to use it on a really dull unrestored surface, I'll mix it with a little kerosene first to cut down the surface.
Some of those older fluted side caravans and buses had anodized finish which really slows down the process.
Make up metal polish yourself. All ingredients available and will be cheaper. If I was to polish another caravan(at this stage I doubt it) this is what I would try.
https://www.finishing.com/111/51.shtml
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Old 22-05-2020, 01:52 PM   #17
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

A detailing mate helped me tidy up the Bullbar on my old XG and said that before any polishing it needs to be acid washed..............Possibly because otherwise you're only trying to polish dirt?

We used a product that's now almost impossible to get called 'HIPO', but California Custom's 'Original Purple Metal Polish' does almost as good a job.

I had to do the Ute bars by hand but as your Van is mostly flat it shouldn't be as difficult.

The Original.



After Acid Wash



After Polish

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Old 24-05-2020, 08:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

The polishing is moving along. Finished both sides, now ready to start on the rear. First of all was to polish the rear part of the roof. Being flat and stainless steel it is a bit more easy to polish and the shine, while not perfect, is acceptable. The best part of stainless steel is it will hold its shine for a long time.



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Old 24-05-2020, 09:17 PM   #19
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

dressed like that bet your glad its not summer weather. Impressed with your progress.

In my younger days I had a paid job bring 'vans from Hamilton to Christchurch every weekend. Great life fly up with car salesman dad on Thurs morning to Auck, grab the morn paper tick off interested cars, by Frid lunch he would have purchased 3-8 cars, then Id ph my mates...all balitile handsets in those days. and Friday 8pm would have a team of drivers in Auck airport all ready to drive to Hamilton.
Sat morning pick up 3-4 caravans (new) drive to Wellington, change the rego plates back to 'borrowed' plates rather than trade plates (cheaper rates on ferry) first crossing Sunday morn all on board to Picton, stop change back to trade plates and husstle back to Christchurch.
Most of my mates never got and money but wide variety of cars European & English. Have always loved the old 'vans except when on our roads farrting along at 70-80 kph.
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Old 25-05-2020, 08:45 AM   #20
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dressed like that bet your glad its not summer weather. Impressed with your progress.
That is why it is getting done now. Summer was never going to be an option.
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Old 26-07-2020, 07:28 PM   #21
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Default Re: Polishing a Vintage Caravan

Had a break for a month or so while we toured around western Qld while the borders were still closed. Took it out on the weekend to a vintage caravan outing where the caravan got rained on for the first time in over 20 years, and no leaks. Getting close now, just have to polish the hatch and finish polishing the front window stone guard and the bulk of the work is done, just a couple of spots to touch up.

,
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Old 26-07-2020, 08:42 PM   #22
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about time you showed up again, I love that 'van, not that model My Dad sold Clipper caravans in NZ
We lived in CHCH and every month he would fly up to Auckland on a Thursday morning, buy a number of cars, let me know how many he had and who he wanted as drivers. Id ring my cobbers friday lunchtime, by 6pm at airport fly to Auckland, pick our 'car' to drive down to Hamilton.
Sat morning hook up 3 or 4 caravans, the trundle down to Wellington. Take the trade plate off the 'vans onto the ferry (last sail Saturday) arrive in Picton put trade plates back on and Sunday drive back to CHCH.

You are bringing back so many good memories.
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