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Old 08-16-2007, 08:30 PM   #239
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Originally Posted by craftsman
Question :the screws that hold the rear tail light lenses rust right away, I've replaced mine with stainless steel but the original screw is a very course thread and even the course stainlees screws from Home Depot aren't course enouhg to hold in the tail light plastic housing.Anyone have a suggestion for a replacement in stainless??
I suspect you just need a larger screw. I assume these are sheet metal screws. If so, you probably need a size 8 if your Home Depot screws are size 6 or a size 10 if they are size 8. If Home Depot does not have various sizes (and by size, I do not mean length), try a couple of hardware stores or a marine supply store.
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Old 09-15-2007, 01:57 PM   #240
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After plowing through 18 pages on corrosion I am wondering if there was any resolution? I am interested in buying an Airstream, but wondering why I would expose myself to this grief?

It seems the problem began midway in 1999 and got worse in 2002. It also seems most of the complaints are from states with winter salted roads and near the ocean. I suspect ocean salt carries further inland than one would suspect. Maybe the problem can happen to anyone whose trailer was somewhere there was salt on the highways, perhaps being transported from the factory.

This can be a combination of causes—salts used on roads and ocean air can carry salts almost everywhere. Coatings have changed over the years.

I am reminded of the changes in interior paints. Paint changed significantly around 2000 as I found out when I painted some bare wood and the paint pealed. Now it is necessary—even with latex water based paint—to use a primer before painting. Are there similar problems with the clear coats used since 1999? Maybe they do not cover or protect well compared swith pre-1999? There is a lot of discussion is using water based vs. oil based polyurethane on furniture and house interiors, although I don't know who's right. I continue to use oil based polyurethane because it is so forgiving and lasts even though the offgassing is ugly for several days. I also just sprayed my log house yesterday with oil (not a lot of fun! Preparation takes about 12 hours, spraying 90 minutes) because I know it works.

Another thing that has changed is the massive amount of magnesium chloride on roads in wintry states since the late '90's. How does mag chloride react with aluminum or the specific clear and other coats used on it? Calcium chloride (and sometimes mag chloride) is also used on dirt and gravelled roads to keep dust down—you don't have to live in a wintry climate to experience that. Perhaps even the most minor exposure to these salts can penetrate the various sealers and show up weeks, months or years later. Perhaps there is enough salt deposited on roads in Ohio (where the factory is) that even in summer some gets on the units as they are transported across country. Perhaps a team of PhD metalurigists and chemists can answer this.

Other thoughts: I use a pressure washer full blast on my Toyotas without problems to the clear coat, but it may bond differently to the underlying paint. One can reduce the pressure considerably of course on a trailer.

Someone mentioned more corrosion on the curb side. That is probably because during rain the roadside is washed by cars coming the other way and tends to remove some of the grime and salts. Of course, you get more nicks on the roadside, so there is a cosmic balance in this. Towing the trailer backwards half the time would even out things, but unrecommended.

I read once that cars stored in a heated garage had more corrosion because of the rapid changes in heat vs. cold. Of course, this only applies in wintry climates and for people who take their Airstreams in and out frequently, but may be factor for some people.

And about class actions. Yes, there are bad lawyers who get all the money and poor remedies for clients. I'm a retired lawyer and enjoyed pursuing unethical lawyers who screwed their clients, partly because I get tired of being insulted because some colleagues are bad people. Class actions on the federal level have been made very difficult because large corporations got to Congress a couple of years ago. Yet, the threat of litigation can move a company like Thor to take action and there are good lawyers out there (I'm retired and glad of it, so I'm unavailable, but when I'm wronged by a corporation I know my letterhead gets a quick response, most of the time). Considering the value invested in an Airstream plus the grief in maintaining it, investing in an (ethical) lawyer seems well worth it.

Since some of the parts experiencing the most corrosion may be different metals, this may be a problem. Ask a plumber what happens when you connect copper pipes to steel pipes. It creates an electrical issue which results in leaky joints and a brass connection is used between the metals. I think I have various metals right, but the principal is correct. Some metals have to be isolated from each other with a nonconductive substance (rubber or plastic would work on tailights for example).

I think the root cause is more complex than most of us can grasp just because it takes years of education and experience in rather obscure sciences. People with airplane experience may have the best handle on this because concern about falling out of the sky tends to result in solutions. I doubt Thor has the right scientists on salary to figure this out and have circled the wagons and have acted irresponsibly out of uninformed defensiveness—always the most expensive way to deal with a problem, but also the most common one. Alcoa should know answers, but doesn't seem to want to. Thor is the primary responsible party and there may be remedies beyond warranty claims, especially if claims were made and recorded before the warranty ran out. A product liability lawyer may be able to help. If I had a $50,000 unit that looked like the ones in the pictures I would be enraged.

This discussion certainly makes me look harder for an older Airstream, something I doubt Thor will like.
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Old 09-15-2007, 05:36 PM   #241
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Interim test results........

........with CorrosionX-Aviation formula:

I received the CorrosionX-Aviation about 2 weeks ago and coated my corrosion spots with it. In a few days, the white started turning brown and after about 10 days, I noticed that the raised texture of the filliform had been knocked down by the CX-A.

Now the corrosion looks brown instead of white, but noticeably smoother. BTW, the application is simple: spray on....wipe off. The formula says that it leaves a thin film on the metal, even thought you can't see it.

My overall impression.....it seems to be working! I'll give it more time and keep you apprised of the results.
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:30 PM   #242
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My replaced wheels from April are corroding again. Can I just use bare metals polish on them?
Lew I would love to see pictures of before and after and the tools you used.
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Old 09-15-2007, 07:47 PM   #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel interested
My replaced wheels from April are corroding again. Can I just use bare metals polish on them?
Lew I would love to see pictures of before and after and the tools you used.
Hi Carol,

No tools required.....just wipe the stuff on and let it work. I have a bunch of shots that I sent to Jackson Center, but I'll have to find them and then take some after shots. Should be a few days....................
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Old 09-24-2007, 12:16 PM   #244
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I talked to a dealer the other day and he said they "burn off" the clearcoat that has caused problems, polish the aluminum and use Pledge (huh?) for a final coat of wax. Sounds risky near plastic parts. He admitted there were problems from 1999 to 2003, though this thread indicates it went on until at least 2004. I don't know what you would use to burn off the clearcoat, but I seem to recall house paint can be burned off with a special took. Has anyone heard of this approach?
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Old 09-24-2007, 01:18 PM   #245
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The problem has gone on through at least 2007 and since Airstream "claims" they don't know the cause it is probably going to be on the 2008's also. I have a 2007 20' that has it. Was treated with ACF50 by Airstream but didn't do any good. I'm desperately waiting for someone to find a cure.
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Old 09-24-2007, 01:39 PM   #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
I talked to a dealer the other day and he said they "burn off" the clearcoat that has caused problems, polish the aluminum and use Pledge (huh?) for a final coat of wax....
what was this clown smoking?

a/s does make some funny recommendations

like using pledge for the toilet bowl and gasket...

but run fast and far from that shop...

better yet ask him for a demo for the 'burn, polish and pledge' method.

on one of their trailers...

good grief.

i have more to post on the corrosion issue soon,

but it's a sunny day in idaho!

cheers
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:46 PM   #247
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
I talked to a dealer the other day and he said they "burn off" the clearcoat that has caused problems, polish the aluminum and use Pledge (huh?) for a final coat of wax.
This is crazy - aluminum will distort badly when heated, plus loose the heat treatment, melt things, ruin sealant... stay away from that dealer!
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Old 09-24-2007, 05:20 PM   #248
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Thumbs down A Dealer???

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
I talked to a dealer the other day and he said they "burn off" the clearcoat that has caused problems, polish the aluminum and use Pledge (huh?) for a final coat of wax.

WHAT.........A DRUG DEALER???
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Old 09-25-2007, 11:51 AM   #249
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We have plenty of drug dealers in western Colorado, so I wouldn't have to go to Colorado Springs (hint) for clearcoat advice if I thought our local dealers were worth quoting. The whole thing sounded weird to me and I thought I'd run it past the experts.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:57 PM   #250
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I got a PM asking me where I was with this, so I'll share where I am right now. 2 emails to Dave Schumann, no reply, corrosion still getting worse and as most folks know, this trailer has been totally pampered. It sits indoors when not in use and I've used all the suggested cleaning/waxing products. This past summer, I have also moved a dehumidifier into the indoor storage, just in case as some suggested, too much humidity was getting to the exposed places where the coating was disturbed in the construction process (since all corrosion on the body of my Airstream seems to be areas where rivets were installed or sheetmetal was routed or cut). On top of all this, the trailer is washed and Walbernized 1-2x a season given my average use listed below.

Sad to report, even with the humidity lowered even further (which it was not high to begin with), kept indoors except when used (about 4x this year, total of 15 days, most no rain or bad weather), the progression of the corrosion continues. At the rate this is growing, my Airstream could be white in color in 7-10 years, or at the very least have these spider veins all over it, looking like something Elvira might own. Not exactly what I had in mind when I forked over 2-3x what an SOB costs. I myself didn’t expect the finish to last forever, but I did expect it to last more than 3 years. No vehicle that I have ever owned has had anything remotely close to this happen all over the body and 2 sets of cast alum taillights and rims in such a short period of time. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. For those of you that have this, you most likely can mirror how I feel.

The suggestions I got from the factory (via general phone and email support) were to sand down and put clear nail polish on the finish...great idea, you know how my trailer would look with this all over? Still wondering what would look worse, clear nail polish all over or spider veins all over. I'd be a big hit at Haloween rallys though....

Other suggestions were to come in and on my dime, have them install the belt line trim over the center exposed rivet line. Good suggestion to mask the problem, but IMHO, then what do I do when it eventually grows beyond that cover piece?

Bottom line, it appears to me there is no known way to prevent this and you basically appear to get it randomly...some have it bad, some not as bad, some not at all. However, more and more of us seem to report this is becoming more and more common. I myself can't see spending more $$$ on a new unit when I upgrade to a larger RV. My plan was to upgrade to a 31' Dinette, but after this, that won't be happening until I have demonstrable evidence that there is a manufacturing process in place and some real world data to back it up that this has been addressed, so that after 2-3 years, this isn't an issue. 7-10 years, I'd have less gripe, but starting at 2 years (and some far sooner)? I don't think this is an unreasonable expectation given the price we've all paid for these hand crafted beauties....

I swear, I love my Airstream, and I've met a number of the folks that build them and/or work for the company, and those folks I hold in a high regard, but the company overall appears to have totally dropped the ball on this one and IMHO, it's not a small thing. I feel sometimes like Cinderella....it's midnight, the warranty is up and I've turned into a pumpkin, as most of us out of warranty folks have experienced. Even if you are in warranty though, the suggested masks and fixes aren't all that exciting either, after paying a hefty sum to have such a cool trailer, is it worth it? There are days I'm on one side of the conversation and others where I'm on the other side. Either way, not a great place to be, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even if beauty was a horse.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:09 PM   #251
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Corrosion-X extended report

Well, after about 6 weeks of exposure after I applied the Corrosion-X Aviation formula to the filliform, I have not seen any other white spidery growth around the affected areas.

That said, the C-X turned the fillifirm a light brown, and actually seemed to reduce the height of it, but it is not gone....just seems to be stopped in it's tracks.

My next trial is to remove the corrosion entirely and expose the bare aluminum, match the finish of the original surface, re-treat the area and see what happens......in essence, making the area tatally invisible. I fully expect the C-X formula to protect the newly renovated areas. The challenge will be to develop a methodology that is relatively simple to perform and let the C-X do the rest in the way of protection.

I don't mind applying it once or twice a year.......just like waxing.

Stay tuned for the next report (and pictures)....hopefully with-in a couple of weeks!
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:19 PM   #252
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Thumbs down Great Thread

By the time the Classic is as old as the Safari was when we sold it, it

should be down too bare metal......and your right, the fatory hasn't been any

help
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