Stripping paint from aluminum belly band - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-15-2015, 09:39 AM   #1
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Stripping paint from aluminum belly band

PO painted the Scamp belly band with black paint. (Also silicone caulked which has been removed. My guess is it is just house paint. I've read that steel wool shouldn't be used because it will leave little pieces embedded in the aluminum? Also chemical stripper shouldn't get on the fiberglass? I was thinking of using the "plastic" scrub pads that comes with the sander?
Any thoughts or past experiences?

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Old 03-15-2015, 10:16 AM   #2
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The easiest way to clean it up would be to remove the belly band, just drill out the rivets. Once off you can use chemical strippers or fine sandpaper. If you feel ambitious you can even polish it while it is off. Finally re-rivet through the same holes.

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Old 03-15-2015, 10:16 AM   #3
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If it's really house paint, it may be latex and that gives in to ammonia based cleaners and graffiti removers fairly easily with Scotch-Brite pads.

Real "Scotch Brite" pads come in a number of levels, white is the smoothest, green is next and there are 2-3 more aggressive levels above that. And off-brand or Dollar store pads just don't cut it.


if it's Oil base house paint I'd try to remove the band from the trailer all together and use conventional paint strippers. If it can't be removed, primer sealer and repainting may be the best answer. But get a zinc-chromate based primer for aluminum from a boating supply store.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:26 AM   #4
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Ian, love your camper! Was looking at a YouTube I think you posted, on polishing it this morning. It may come to removing it.
Bob, heading to HD for the pads. I did try the sander pad but don't think it was course enough. It did however put a nice shine on the aluminum. :-)



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Old 03-16-2015, 12:52 PM   #5
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Most of that type of trim is anodized. Sanding and scrapping it will scratch through the anodize then you will have to polish the trim and keep it polished for it to look good. If you want to preserve the original anodize coating if its still under the paint I would use a heat gun to soften the paint and push it off with a plastic putty knife or scraper and when cool and all heat removed from the area I would use acetone for final clean-up. Read and under stand the cautions for acetone. Acetone is extremely flammable and can damage plastic and paints so use extreme caution. Take a piece of card board about a foot long or so and cut a slit in it for the belly band to poke through. Wrap the card board in aluminium foil and fold it through the slit so the cardboard is completely wrapped. Now tape this in place over the belly band so just the belly band pokes through. Now use your heat gun to soften the paint with your heat shield protecting the fiberglass. Make sure your heat shield covers up plastic and vents so you don't blow heat into or on these surfaces. If your using cleaning fluids or solvents keep them well away from your heat gun. If your unsure of your ability to do this it is best to remove the trim from the trailer and strip it and put it back on.
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Old 03-16-2015, 01:19 PM   #6
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+1 for remove the belly band, strip and polish then replace. Uses a small standard size aluminum rivet.

Watch out for the belly band rivet in the door seam, on the hinge side, may be hidden behind weather strip. The band ends in a tab that is flat and the rivet through that is sort of hidden.

Simichrome polish rules! Good polish and leaves a bit of a silicon wax seal behind to help protect the shine.

Polishing aluminum yields a black residue that can be a bugger to get off of FG so that is another reason to do that original "gotta scrub rub it harder" polish off the trailer. After that I manage to use some masking tape and work in sections for the spring spruce up.
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Old 03-16-2015, 01:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Most of that type of trim is anodized. ...
The belly band on Boler's and Scamp's is not anodized, it is all mill finish, probably a 6063-T52 spec. Soft and easy to form.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:57 PM   #8
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Thanks y'all! Like the idea about the template and good to know about the band not being anodized.
This is what I did and work fairly good. I bought the 3M stripping pads and started sanding by hand. That got old so I put it on the vibration sander. That worked even better. It got all the black off but there was some patches of red left. I'll try the heat gun on those. I even had the gun out yesterday trying to get sticker residue off. (Which didn't work.)
I did buy the simichrome to polished the aluminum. Any tips for that?
Thanks again for all the suggestions!

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This photo just has the reg scotchbite pad on the sander. The screen frames are rough so I was trying the sander technique with them.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:25 PM   #9
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Simichrome, a little goes a long way. I worked in sections. And since mine was sort of rough I scrubbed with Barkeepers Friend. Followed with with some Nev R Dull polish cloth. Last but not least worked small sections applying simichrome and buffing it off.

Did I mention I am a bit shall we say "retentive" about polishing and cleaning.

3M Stripe Off wheel removes stickers and residue of stickers like a professional. Some local auto parts or auto paint stores will have them in stock. http://www.amazon.com/3M-Stripe-Whee.../dp/B00063VT0G

I had a professional sign and decal person replace my logo and stripes, got a discount on the quoted price when the saw how well the residue of the old ones was cleaned off. Not the cheapest but 10x faster than any other method.

Just keep it and the area being worked on clean, it erases the decal but if there is grit it can cause scratches.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:50 PM   #10
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Just to clarify Simichrome does not polishing the aluminum, what it does is removes the aluminum oxide oxidation chemically so it looks shinier. It will look great but it will also oxidize quickly so you will have to continue using the product regularly to maintain the finish. This is because microscopically the aluminum surface is quite rough, almost like hairs and all that surface area exposed to the elements will oxidize.

To truly polish aluminum you need to cut the surface with compounds so the surface is flat and reflective, this greatly reduces the surface area and maintenance is minimal.

Just don't expect the same results from a tube of cream that you get from a buffing wheel and diamond (white) polishing compound and hard work.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:58 PM   #11
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to get the gooey sticker glue off try WD-40 and a plastic scraper.
Goop make GOOGONE which works as well.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G. View Post
Just to clarify Simichrome does not polishing the aluminum, what it does is removes the aluminum oxide oxidation chemically so it looks shinier. It will look great but it will also oxidize quickly so you will have to continue using the product regularly to maintain the finish. This is because microscopically the aluminum surface is quite rough, almost like hairs and all that surface area exposed to the elements will oxidize.

To truly polish aluminum you need to cut the surface with compounds so the surface is flat and reflective, this greatly reduces the surface area and maintenance is minimal.

Just don't expect the same results from a tube of cream that you get from a buffing wheel and diamond (white) polishing compound and hard work.
While I agree with Ian about the need for a polished reflective surface and that being different than something that removes the oxidation. I don't agree on what simichrome is doing. Yes it does remove the oxidized metal (probably via chemical action hence the black residue) but it also leaves a coating that helps prevent future oxidation.

In my case I used Barkeepers Friend which is both a cleaner and very mild abrasive as my first step. And that was a lot of rubbing but it did provide the smooth reflective surface. In some spots I even used one of those scotch scrubbing pads. Mostly along the inside edge where the silly con caulk had been removed.

Been sitting out all winter and still has a shine, not as mirror like as Ian's picture but it will come back to that with a new application and stay that way until next spring.

Heck belly band is shiniest part of the whole thing on mine. That and the new chrome door handle. The windows, vent and over the door rain guard are so surface pitted it would take a belt sander to start getting that smooth. But then aluminum oxidizes and that protect the metal underneath so if we remove that oxide coating there needs to be some sort of sealer applied.
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Old 03-16-2015, 06:31 PM   #13
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No argument from me that the Simichrome also coats the surface with a protective coating which would help, same a using a mild abrasive by hand would also improve the shine. Polishing metal is accomplished by progressively honing the surface to a finer and smoother finish.

If you are into woodworking take rough lumber and progressively sand it down with finer and finer sandpaper, the grain becomes more defined, if after say 320 grit sanding you apply a varnish or lacquer finish it will look very nice, but if you keep sanding down to 400, 600 and finer, then sand in an oil finish to that wood the visual depth of the grain and the patinal becomes spectacular.

The same principle applies to polishing metal, nothing can compare to either the work required or the results from using a proper polishing process on an aluminum finish.
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Old 03-16-2015, 08:10 PM   #14
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Before you start getting complicated , try waterless hand cleaner with grit,
applied with just a rag, then move up to purple scotchbrite with the hand cleaner if needed. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results.
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