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Old 09-09-2015, 11:53 AM
704CH's Avatar
704CH 704CH is offline
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Sammamish, WA
Posts: 208
Default How clean is clean?

I am going to take a stab at polishing my RV. I have some of the equipment and have done some research on the subject via perfectpolish, but I have a couple specific questions:

How clean does it need to be? In particular, how do you get the belly as clean as it needs to be. I spent some time with mineral spirits on a creeper and got it pretty good, but still not pristine. Let me know what else I need to do.

How do you polish items like the wing root fairings, do you just leave them on, or take them off and polish separately? I would assume polish builds up under them if you aren't careful if you leave them on?

Thanks, I am a newbie on this subject, but looking to learn !

Sammamish, WA
RV-7 Standard Build - Tip UP
Flying ! As of 032913
Superior IO-375, WW200RV, Single Lightspeed, SkyView, GTN
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:28 PM
Flyfish Flyfish is offline
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 57

I don't take any fairings off to polish. Also, I try to get it relatively clean, but nog too much time there. I do a quick wipe to get dust off so it won't scratch and bell mildly clean, the start at it. But I'm not an expert either so I'm hopeing for some good responses.
I try to do a good job, but not become a slave to the process.
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:59 PM
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Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 2,156

I've heard 100LL is quite good at belly cleaning but you'll want to wear protective gear, for sure.
RV-7A - Slider - N495KL - First flt 27 Jan 17
O-360-A4M w/ AFP FM-150 FI, Dual PMags, Vetterman Trombone Exh, SkyTech starter, BandC Alt (PP failed after 226 hrs)
Catto 3 blade NLE, FlightLines Interior, James cowl, plenum & intake, Anti-Splat -14 seat mod and nose gear support
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:38 PM
Rupester Rupester is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Mahomet, Illinois
Posts: 2,195

The primary goal behind cleaning is to remove any and all dust or grit, so it doesn't mix with the polish and offset your efforts. I pre-clean to-be-polished surfaces with that in mind.
Terry Ruprecht
RV-9A Tip-up; IO-320 D2A
S. James cowl/plenum
(Dues paid thru Nov '18)
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Old 09-09-2015, 06:17 PM
jma jma is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: NYC
Posts: 10

100LL is extremely flammable; a significant fire hazard. As a concerned aviator and physician I would recommend against its use as a solvent under any conditions.

Best regards,
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:31 PM
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LettersFromFlyoverCountry LettersFromFlyoverCountry is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: St. Paul, MN.
Posts: 4,766

I use mineral spirits and that's fine. And just before you polish a surface, spray it down with a spray bottle and wipe dry with microfiber towels . Then you''re good to go.

Whether I take the fairings off to polish depends on how bored I am. Usually I'm not bored enough to take them off.
Bob Collins
St. Paul, MN.
Blog: Letters From Flyover Country
RV-12iS finishing kit (still). About 600 hours in. Mothballed until I get a flux capacitor.

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Old 09-10-2015, 09:18 AM
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Tony_T Tony_T is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Lacey, WA
Posts: 1,311
Default Aviation cleaner

I tried mineral spirits and other safe solvents and nothing works very well. Cleaning the bottom of the ship (white paint) is misery. Then I heard about Simple Green Aviation cleaner. Also available from Amazon, Aircraft Spruce and others. It is miraculous. A little goes a long ways. I mix it 50-50 with water and spray it on with a small spray bottle. I use a two section plastic bucket with a sponge to wipe the cleaner with and then a cleaner sponge to rinse. I can do the whole bottom of the plane in just a short time and it looks great.



Please use plastic gloves and a face mask to keep the stuff out of your eyes. It is a strong degreaser.

Of course, my plane is painted and the OP asked about a metal finish but I think this product works equally well on bare metal.
I hope someone doesn't log in and say how bad it is to use this product.
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Old 09-10-2015, 12:36 PM
schaplerrh schaplerrh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Alexandria VA
Posts: 303

Paint the bottom....
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:54 PM
Rupester Rupester is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Mahomet, Illinois
Posts: 2,195

Originally Posted by schaplerrh View Post
Paint the bottom....
Oh, man ... THAT'S for sure. The only thing less fun than using those heavy buffers upside down is stabbing yourself with an ice pick.

Point of info: I tried applying vinyl wrap to underside surfaces in lieu of painting. That job, with gravity working against you, is as bad as polishing the bottom.
Terry Ruprecht
RV-9A Tip-up; IO-320 D2A
S. James cowl/plenum
(Dues paid thru Nov '18)
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