Congratulations, Airstream, Inc! You did a wonderful job of adding a stripe that would never have an adhesive failure. The adhesive not only required painstaking effort to remove it, trying multiple chemicals, and an eraser wheel, but the glue also either chemically bonded to the aluminum or caused some type of oxidization. So, I had to resort to wet-sanding.
AHHHHHHH! I know, you Airstream owners out there are probably freaking out. You put sandpaper on an Airstream? Are you CRAZY? Yes, I am. And it worked. So calm down. Now, I will say if you have an older trailer (older than 1982 I’ve heard), the type of aluminum used had a thin layer of cladding you wouldn’t want to sand or polish off. So probably don’t use sandpaper on that.put
I tried starting with 600 grit. But even only a day later, the ghost stripe came back with a vengeance. So I took it down to 400 grit. With a 1/4 sheet power sander. That’s right. I killed that stripe dead. I saw mixed reviews when it came to putting sandpaper on your trailer. Prevailing wisdom is not to put sandpaper on your trailer. But there were some renegades out there. One guy even said he lightly sands his trailer before polishing every time. I’m not recommending that, by the way.
Obviously when you hear everyone saying not to sand your Airstream, you want to test an area before ruining 3 sides of your trailer. So I tested a panel. 400 grit power sanded –> 600 grit by hand –> 800 grit by hand –> 1000 grit by hand. Yeah, that’s a lot of steps… but after doing that, I took some 3M Super Duty Rubbing Compound to the surface… and…
Surprise! It shines! The area where I sanded showed no variation compared to the surrounding area that had not been sanded. But that’s rubbing compounded. We want a mirror finish here. So I went through the process. Nuvite F7 –> IIC –> IIS using the Cyclo. Yeah, in your face sandpaper naysayers! I’ll let you know if the structural integrity of the trailer gives out one day.
Here’s another shot of my two test areas.