Painting Aluminum - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-30-2010, 09:41 AM   #1
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Painting Aluminum

I finally have my 1975 Boler 13 restoration underway and have a question for those who have experience painting aluminum. Due to the exterior colors I have chosen I think that a gloss black belly band would look much better than polished aluminum. My understanding is that paint won't adhere well to aluminum without special preparations. Does anyone have experience with how well paint holds up on a belly band? I was thinking of a tsp wash followed by Tremclad primer and paint.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:26 PM   #2
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On aircraft, we prep it with an etching solution then paint it with zink oxide then apply the final paint.
Go to your local airport where the small planes are and ask the mechanic.
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Old 12-30-2010, 04:44 PM   #3
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Here's a thought: Clean the band off with rubbing alcohol and apply a colored tape. You can get vehicle molding tape at your local auto/boat supply dealer.

I use rubbing alcohol to clean off any surface that I apply decals or tape to. It's cheep and it gets all the body oil off that is left when U touch it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Here's a thought: Clean the band off with rubbing alcohol and apply a colored tape.
I remember a photograph of a Casita at dusk that had a blue Reflective Tape applied to the belly band. I liked that look.
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:28 AM   #5
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I remember a photograph of a Casita at dusk that had a blue Reflective Tape applied to the belly band. I liked that look.
This one? Casita with blue reflective tape on the belly band

I finally found the nightime pic, it was Lindy's trailer. Lindy is now gone, but his famous mods, etc. will live on forever.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:05 AM   #6
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If you use reflective tape, you might want to check to see if only certain colors are legal. Lights are limited to white, red and amber and there are limits on the direction that they face. White can not face rear and red can not face front. I am not sure about reflectors but there may be regulations. The cops pull people over just for little blue dots on their tail lights.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:59 AM   #7
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Andy B good point on reflective tape; when the pull someone over they tend to inspect more.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:18 PM   #8
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In construction painting aluminum house flashing we wash and etch with cleaning or pickle vinegar or other compound. No oxide on the metal and use a spray paint.
Not a fan of Tremclad primer and paint for items that need to stay looking good.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:39 PM   #9
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The tractor trailers on the highway use a Red and White reflective tape on each side (Full Length) and the back (Full Width) of the vehicle. School Buses outline escape routes on both sides and the rear of the vehicle in yellow reflective tape.

I have used the trucker reflective red/white tape on the back for years. They sell that tape at Camping Stores, Harbor Freight, auto parts stores and truck stops. It is somewhat expensive if meets the Department of Transportation (DOT) specifications.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:46 PM   #10
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The cops pull people over just for little blue dots on their tail lights.
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Andy, you sound like a cranky hot rodder. I've written tickets for blue dots and also own a vehicle with them (removable for show use only) ... so, I cover both sides of the fence! Truth be told, red lights to the rear doesn't mean purple is okay... But, you made a good point.. check your state vehicle code for regulations. I can remove the lenses out off my truck, it would be a BIG inconvenience to remove tape.

BTW: Austin Healey's have full aluminum bodies and are painted.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:11 PM   #11
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Andy,
BTW: Austin Healey's have full aluminum bodies and are painted.
My Lotus Super 7 1500 Twin Weber Cosworth (1965) came to me from the factory with bare aluminum body. As I recall, I quickly cleaned it up as others have mentioned, and then sprayed it first with Zinc Chromate primer before giving it several coats of 1965 Corvette Yellow. (The exhaust note was loud, but the paint job was a lot louder ;-).

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Old 01-01-2011, 08:38 AM   #12
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Andy, you sound like a cranky hot rodder. I've written tickets for blue dots and also own a vehicle with them (removable for show use only) ... so, I cover both sides of the fence! Truth be told, red lights to the rear doesn't mean purple is okay...
Donna, While I will admit to being cranky, I have never owned a hot rod or even looked at one up close. ;-) I have seen the blue dot tail lights on cars and thought that they looked nice, only to learn that they are not allowed. I agree with your point on purple tail lights, but a small blue dot that is maybe 5% or less of the large red tail light does not cause any kind of safety issue or even a significant distraction. I think that enforcement should lighten up on that issue, after all they allow blue tone or yellow tone headlights and never stop people who leave their driving lights or fog lights on when passing oncoming traffic. (See some of that crankyness is showing)
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy B View Post
If you use reflective tape, you might want to check to see if only certain colors are legal. Lights are limited to white, red and amber and there are limits on the direction that they face. White can not face rear and red can not face front. I am not sure about reflectors but there may be regulations. The cops pull people over just for little blue dots on their tail lights.
Andy
Brinks Armored Truck body logos are done with Blue reflective decals on the back and sides of their trucks. I think a body feature that is distinct from the required lighting would be permissible... but I don't know the applicable vehicle code.
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:33 PM   #14
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I've written tickets for blue dots and also own a vehicle with them (removable for show use only) ... so, I cover both sides of the fence!
What's the purpose for the Blue dots?
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