What's the best way to prepare a travel trailer for paint?

I have a 1986 travel trailer that I'm rebuilding. It's been painted several times with "Rustolium" spray paint. Can I just sand down the surface, or rough up the surface with 120 grit sandpaper? Would "Steel Wool" be better? What surface preparation techniques would you suggest?

  4 answers
  • M. M.. M. M.. on Oct 02, 2017
    I always like a clean, fresh start, esp if this is something you want to use and have for a while. Yes, it's more work, and even more so, it's the kind of work that doesn't really show at the end, but after all those coats of quick fixes over the years, maybe your beauty needs the full makeover! Show us how it turns out!
  • V Smith V Smith on Oct 03, 2017
    Will your finish suffer if you just prime and paint over what is there? Does your finish need to be road worthy? If your answers are no then you dont have to sand it. If you answers are yes, then you do. Sand, strip and paint according to the material the trailer is made of.
    • See 1 previous
    • V Smith V Smith on Oct 04, 2017
      In my humble opinion, primer makes paint work better. I have never been disappointed by Rustolium, but I have never thinned it and sent it thru an airgun. I don't have any smarts about choosing an air gun. Before you start, you might want to look into automotive paint. It's just a guess but it might be formulated to work better with an airgun. I think most paints have thinning instructions on the can, so that should get you on the right path to a good finish. Good Luck, it sounds like you have a big job ahead of you.
  • Nancy Flemming Nancy Flemming on Oct 04, 2017
    You will need an etching primer on bare aluminum for paint to stick. If it is a small area you can get it in spray can size from automotive parts/supply stores.
    • Jeff Ellison Jeff Ellison on Oct 05, 2017
      Thanks, that’s a great point and I knew that (once upon a time). I don’t plan on going down to metal in most places, but where I do, ill absolutely use etch primer.
      where I just smooth and get a good “key” for the paint, would you use the same etch primer or a different primer?
      and thank you for taking the time to help me with this
      Thank you,
  • Nancy Flemming Nancy Flemming on Oct 11, 2017
    Best solution is to put etching primer on bare spots, then completly spray some type of high build or filler primer over the whole thing, then sand with 220 to 320 grit to get a better finish then put on your colour coat. Good luck.