cleaning and polishing bellybands - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-27-2020, 09:01 AM   #1
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Name: jagbor
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British Columbia
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cleaning and polishing bellybands

Hi! Just in the process of having the body/paint done on our 1973 Trillium 1300. I have pulled off the bellybands and of course, the outsides are dirty/pitted and the insides are filthy and full of silicone. My questions are: 1/ best products to remove pitting and then polish bellybands? 2/ best products/tools to remove silicone and then clean inside of bellybands prior to reinstallation.

I have read some info on forums here about Flitz and Simichrome but I think these are polishes AFTER cleaning and would not remove any of the pitting? Could I use steel wool or would this scratch the heck out of the bellybands? Whatever I use, I will also use on the window frames.

Thanks and have a wonderful day?
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:36 PM   #2
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Removing pits from aluminum

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Originally Posted by JuliusB View Post
I have read some info on forums here about Flitz and Simichrome but I think these are polishes AFTER cleaning and would not remove any of the pitting? Could I use steel wool or would this scratch the heck out of the bellybands? Whatever I use, I will also use on the window frames.Thanks and have a wonderful day?
Have you considered new belly band? Removing pits is really removing (sanding) the aluminum around the pits until all is smooth. Then the polishing starts with several grades of abrasive and pads. The wheels pictured were HEAVLY pitted before I spent about a week sanding and polishing.
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Old 09-28-2020, 08:55 AM   #3
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Belly band cleaning

As weird as it seems, try a regular normal toothpaste with fine steel wool on the band. It doesnít help the pitting etc but it gets it nice and clean and shiny.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:45 AM   #4
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start at 600 grit wet and dry paper and work your way up tp 2000 grit paper then you use the metal polish of your choice, I prefer blue Magic myself then coat with shark hide aluminium protectant unless you want to polish every week.

https://www.bluemagicusa.com/500-06-metal-polish-jar/

Sharkhide
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:56 AM   #5
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You might try an SOS pad and slosh it around in a bucket of carwash soap and then squirt some Simichrome polish on the SOS pad and try polishing the belly band and see what happens. I came across that method once when washing my old Harley Panhead. The aluminum timing gear cover was kind of dull looking even after trying various brands of polish. Not sure why the SOS pad with Simichrome polish on it worked but it made a dramatic differance.
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:03 PM   #6
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Great care must be taken to remove fragments of SOS pads or steel wool or they will rust and discolour.
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Old 09-28-2020, 01:07 PM   #7
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Clean with mild abrasive, I used barkeepers friend because it was available.
Follow with a rinse and polish, I used NevR Dull.
Then Semichrome to buff to a shine and leave a protective coating behind.




Clean windows but they were never high gloss and the layer of oxidation prevents oxygen from getting to the metal and causing corrosion. Basically a layer of aluminum "rust" prevents the aluminum from rusting deeply. I cleaned mine with a small bristle brush and may have wiped the flat window portion with Semichrome but didn't try to achieve a high gloss polish.

You can buy belly band metal channel from Scamp but it is a you bend to shape proposition.

A small bead of caulk along the top of the belly band helps stop the dirt streak run down from road grime collecting in belly band then being washed down by the rain. On a Scamp the belly band is essentially cosmetic not a sealing band.

Although uncommon to leak at belly band I did have an honest to goodness leak at the belly band, the fiberglass used to join the top and bottom on the inside had a bubble in it that allowed a leak. I fixed the fiberglass, caulking the belly band wasn't the right fix. Or one that would work considering the amount of caulk applied by prev. owner hadn't done the job.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:34 PM   #8
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Polishing the band

Prism metal polish made the belly band on our Boler like new!!!
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:50 PM   #9
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And how do you plan to reattach the old band? The problem with the original design is that the plates that the band attaches to rust, rot out, create leaks and bulges in the fiberglass.

I'm definitely not drilling a bunch of holes into my trailer to reattach the old band.


If you repaired the band properly, then toss it and install a stick on body side molding that you can find on eBay, Amazon, and so on.

This is auto body side molding on my 1977 1300. Bought a 33 foot piece, used 32 feet of it. It would take more on a 4500. Measure carefully and allow for some waste.

The auto industry has used stick on body side molding with success for decades.

fullsizeoutput_ed3 by bill, on Flickr
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Old 09-28-2020, 11:15 PM   #10
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That is really nice looking the way you repaired it. Very nice.
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Old 09-30-2020, 09:14 AM   #11
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Name: jagbor
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Thanks everyone for the variety of replies. Will try a few options and see what works.

Now have to decide if I want to try and pull all the windows out (never tried this before) prior to painting or not.....body/paint guy says he can paint it with windows in it but I am not sure how it will turn out along window seams etc. I am wondering if there is a video on here as to how to do remove windows with minimal or no damage to ensolite?
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Old 10-03-2020, 11:11 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the variety of replies. Will try a few options and see what works.

Now have to decide if I want to try and pull all the windows out (never tried this before) prior to painting or not.....body/paint guy says he can paint it with windows in it but I am not sure how it will turn out along window seams etc. I am wondering if there is a video on here as to how to do remove windows with minimal or no damage to ensolite?
Yes pull the windows out for hull painting. You may find that the wood strip backing tge window frames might need replaced. On my 4500 the original marine plywood backing was still good, but one window gad solid wood and it was severely deteriorated.

As for the belly band - just toss it in the scap pile. The bolt backing plates for the belly band rust and need to be removed. Trillium glassed the top and bottom together and left a small channel for the steel inserts that the belly band bolted into. Next step , fill the gap with spay foam or body filler. Then sand it flat. Next take 4 inch fiberglass tape and glass the band all the way around two times. Feather sand , skimm with finishing filler, epoxy prime and paint the whole shell.
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