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Old 05-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #1
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roller tube problem

Our new-to-us TT needs to have its awning fabric replaced due to it being in storage for "who knows how long" and it now has dry,brittle fabric on it at the top rail--the issue is the roller tube. We really can't afford to replace the whole awning and the arms and rafters are like new ,however, there is oxidation (?) on the roller tube that even has transferred white spots onto the old awning. I have to save the roller tube but need a "fix" for the white spots so they don't ruin the new awning fabric. I have tried steel wool soap pads and Mr. Clean Magic eraser, but they didn't do a thing. Is there something commercial to remove these white ,chalky looking spots on the tube, or have any of you successfully painted one? We are having it replaced by CW so we have to do our fix before they remove the fabric. I really need suggestions please!!! Janalee
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:49 AM   #2
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If you have a rotary wire brush that fits on an electric drill, that should clean that corrosion right up. Follow that with some wet sanding with #400 sandpaper. (You have to keep it wet or it will clog up the grit almost immediately.)

If the wire brush doesn't take that right off, try #220 sandpaper. Sand lightly, just enough to remove the white stuff and smooth the affected area. Then wire brush, then #400 sandpaper.

Whenever you sand or wire brush aluminum, use a <---> action, not circular, and not left/right and up/down. When you get to the #400 wet sanding, you should begin to see a nice even shine. It is possible to step up to finer grit, but on aluminum that is only productive up to around 800 to 1000 grit. Anything finer is for restoring scratched plastic or polishing up automotive finishes.

I am doing that to those 30# alumninum propane tanks that I found, and they clean right up. They are 38 years old and have a lot of accumulated oxidation and staining.

After you clean it, it is possible to coat or paint the alumninum to prevent further oxidation, but whatever you coat it with will eventually transfer to the awning fabric. Better to rub on a coat or two of automotive wax and buff it off.
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