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Old 06-03-2008, 02:28 PM   #381
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al - K4GLU
A number of people with vintage trailers have posted on here and they all seem to think that their units are immune to the filiform problem.

Don't you believe it!

At Airstream there is a 13 panel trailer sitting out back of the repair shops - I'm not sure what the exact vintage on this is. It has a badge on it saying it is a custom job by David Winnick. I was in Jackson Center several weeks ago and looked this trailer over closely. It has at least 4 places where there is filiform and one of the spots is quarter size if not larger. So while your units might not be as prone as the ones using the new precoated aluminum they can still develop the same problems.

Sorry to bring this bad news but it seems that's all I'm running into lately.
It's bad news, but old news. All three of my trailers have corrosion issues in one way or other. I'd venture to say that 90% of the late 60's early 70's trailers that were clearcoated have filiform to one degree or other. But I am not sure that that is the debate here. It seems that very late modl trailers have corrosion issues in the first year or two of their lives...which seems to be a sore issue with the owners that have spent around $ 50k for one of those darlings.
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Old 06-03-2008, 02:43 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by Area63
It's bad news, but old news...
yep, i agree and mentioned this back in post 295?

it does seems to be worse now,

even on older units with any exposure to mag/cal chlorides which are becoming ubiquitous ...

and u r right the issue HERE is with newer units that show this almost from day one....

apart from the actual CRUD, is the frustration that the panels canNOT be refinished to like new....

spot repair isn't that great looking on these newer alcoa panels...

at least the old birds can be skinned naked and redone.

filliform is still just a cosmetic issue ugly as it may be...

and it isn't just an a/s-alcoa problem,

as most of the clearcoated wheels

EVERY rv maker uses have filiform around the lug nuts, valve stems and near any nick...

there are other types of corrosion that weaken the structural aspects of a 'stream...

cheers
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:17 PM   #383
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Factory visit

We toured the fractory today and the official word on the tour is everything is wonderful.

The tour guy, Don, said no one had every mentioned corrosion or filiform on any tours. He'd never heard of anything like that happening.

If there are half moons around the rivets or nicks in the rivets, it happens sometimes, but doesn't mean anything and doesn't pierce the clear coat.

I asked if they corrected the problem with the jack hot wire and umbilical under the propane tank cover, and he didn't know. The wires did look a little looser on the '09's, but there were no covers on them, so I don't know exactly how it works out.

Production is down from 50 a week to 32—a 36% drop, a little less than Winnebago has reported. He admitted the Basecamp is not selling well. The 25's are still the No. 1 seller.

One of the guys on the tour—from BC—said he'd heard the rimless windows blow out a lot. We can attest to that.

All in all it's not a very informative tour, but a necessary pilgrimage, even though they lie to you. When a representative of the company lies to my face, it's hard for me to have any respect for the company.

We couldn't resist buying the Xmas tree lights—all little A/S trailers.

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Old 06-03-2008, 06:22 PM   #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene

Production is down from 50 a week to 32—a 36% drop, a little less than Winnebago has reported. He admitted the Basecamp is not selling well.
Gene
Well given the economy, fuel costs and the QC issues, let alone this issue, it's not shocking that production has tapered off. Since it's not going as quickly or churning out as many per week, maybe the QC will get back into it. If fuel doesn't go down and the econ pick up, they may see more than a 36% drop before it gets any better. I also heard that they had a week off recently. I don't know how true that statement was, but it seems reasonable since other RV builders have done similar.

One thing I will take exception to is that Don said he never heard of it. Now I know Don is no spring chicken and I like the guy, but I did have a short conversation with him about it and he acted just as shocked when I told him back in 2005 while I was there for services under warranty, including corrosion issues. Now I would not call Don's comments a lie, cause the guy has done his bit for God and Country, and heck, I might not recall everything either, but I am fairly certain others also have mentioned this to Don during the tours too, so it's hard to tell if it's the company line, or if he just really and truly forgot......you decide.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:35 PM   #385
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The company gets a lot of complaints about corrosion and being a fairly small factory, everyone knows each other and what's going on. It's nearly impossible for me to believe an old timer doesn't know about this issue, or that others who have taken the tour haven't asked about it over the past few years. Thousands of people take the tours annually and most today had an Airstream.

I agree Don's a nice guy, but he's a company man and if he wants to keep leading tours, something he surely enjoys, he has to follow the company line. That leads to some difficult decisions and I think he's made his, regardless of whatever background he has doing his bit for God and Country.

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Old 06-03-2008, 06:36 PM   #386
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Hummm... metal will corrode, eventually. So a manufacturer must look at costs. Coro$ion. Is there a more cost effective way to cover the new Airstream skins so that this is not an issue? Until then this business, at this time, will not invest in the added costs despite the reputation Airstream is reputed to have... Seems it's all about marketing now, at least until than runs out.

Then they'll have to invest in the product once again. Or buy some "designer" series Airstream arTist to paint a pretty picture...

harrumph... let's put the engineers back in charge vs. the marketing wimps...
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:02 PM   #387
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Well Don at Airstream is not telling the truth when he says they have not heard about filiform - he has heard about it from me and so have a lot of others at the factory. And it is possible that I will be at Jackson Center again next week and I'll make sure he and a few others hear it yet again - and I'll even invite them out to see it if they claim they've never seen it before. There are usually potential new customers on the tour and of course they don't want to hear anything negative said about their products. But all they really have to do is go out and examine the units sitting around the factory and they'll find plenty of it to look at.

On another topic I visited yet another AS dealer today - Safford RV which is on I-95 just a few miles south of Fredericksburg, VA. He has 8 Airstreams on his lot and 7 of them have filiform on some or all of the front and back curved panels at the belly line. The other unit was a Classic so it had the belly band which was likely covering up the problems on it. Whoops, I forgot, according to Airstream the filiform is caused by air and the belly band eliminates the problem - presumably it creates a vacuum when it is installed. Sorry I mis-spoke.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:13 PM   #388
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You know what would be helpful?

All these Airstreams we see, that are new, on the dealer lots, we should grab the VIN, month/year of build, and report another one that has it here on this thread. If we had pics, we could post them here too along with the VIN and the month/year of build info that is located on the sticker on the street side.

Next time I go to a dealer lot, I going to bring a camera and do just that and would suggest anyone going to a dealer do the same.

Same thing holds true for RV shows, etc......
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:22 PM   #389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene

Production is down from 50 a week to 32—a 36% drop, a little less than Winnebago has reported. He admitted the Basecamp is not selling well. The 25's are still the No. 1 seller.


Gene
We took the tour in July 2001. Production at that time was 28 trailers a week, 6 motor homes. Top seller at that time, 25' Safari.

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Old 06-04-2008, 08:27 AM   #390
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
blah blah blah

The tour guy, Don, said no one had every mentioned corrosion or filiform on any tours. He'd never heard of anything like that happening.

blah blah blah

That my friend is BS. I pulled Don aside back in November (Here) so I wouldn't alarm any of his prospective buyers. I asked him the same question about filiform corrosion. He replied, “I have not heard of it or any instances of it”. He is either following orders well, or he is totally out of touch with reality. I have done both myself.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:13 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
We toured the fractory today and the official word on the tour is everything is wonderful...
and what else would u expect?

imagine going on a white house tour and asking to see where monica and bill played with cigars...

it's a tour like no other factory offers....good or bad.

compare it to the hermetically sealed offerings from honda or bmw or other manufacturers...

and with enough misplaced and irrelevant commentary it could GO AWAY!

that would be a sad change imo and isn't beyond happening.

don is a retired lifetime company worker who lives nearby...

he is basically a volunteer and does this duty daily and with better attendance that many paid workers...

he's been there through illness and family crisis and foul weather and other tough times...

and he doesn't read or CARE about these forums, like the employeed flunkies do...

he's not on the board, in any product planning meetings and has very little communication with the top dogs.

asking him hard, controversial or baited questions is really a cheap shot.

IF YOU WANNA CONVEY AN OPTION ABOUT THE PRODUCT, build issues, corrosion or otherwise tell them about your a/s experience...

skip the tour and MAKE AN APPT with wheeler, one of the veepee-z or the new marketing director....

i've found that asking EARLY in the day about a face2face with one of the honchos usually works...

often they are available, although after seeing these posts that may change...

last time i was there they all seemed to run for cover...

write a letter including ALL of your issues and suggestions.

then HAND DELIVER IT to the pres or one of the veepee-z...

IF a meeting can't happen, ask that the letter be taken to him.

they will do that...

picking on don is NOT gonna help with corrosion or other crappy build issues...

he's an icon and a great link to history (he's got the real story on inlandandy) AND he holds our hands...

whlle we get to walk around inside the sausage factory during the slaughter...

where else does THAT happen in the modern "will sue for food" world where everyone is a lawyer...

cheers
2air'
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:32 PM   #392
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I do agree, Don isn't going to solve any of the problems.......and like I said, how can you not like the guy.

I sent and email to Schumann, actually called and asked a support rep to have him call me. I never got a reply,and you know what? What would they say?

Sorry? We'll remove or overlay panels? Strip the unit and re-coat it? Offer me a swap for a new one...that in all fairness might also have the issue too? None of the options are great IMHO, so though I had initiated the request, I don't see how they would have helped. I guess what I was really looking for was a "We understand the issue and are working to solve it or have solved it" making me feel better about any future upgrades, which at this point are totally out of the question. Anyone looking to buy, they are welcome to see this thread and see my unit if they wish before buying one. It's a lot of money to put out for something that clearly has what I consider a significant flaw that has the ability to effect resale value.

I think it's a total travesty that there are no build or engineering fixes to this. As I said earlier, I didn't expect my exterior to last 10 years flawlessly, but I did expect more than 1 year and some that have the issue have it appear 6 months after the build. Were my expectations too unrealistic?
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Old 06-04-2008, 05:49 PM   #393
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Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post

..............don is a retired lifetime company worker who lives nearby...
2air, I don't care if the guy is Santa Clause. If he really doesn't remember being asked by several people about the corrosion, then so be it. If he tells lies, then shame on him, and shame on anyone that told him to lie. I’m sorry, but I am so sick of the mess corporate and political liars have gotten this country into, I could puke. I know, it’s just a meaningless little white lie, but it’s the principle. If Don truly doesn’t remember being asked several times, then my apologies. I just find it hard to believe.

Ahhh, that feels better
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:13 PM   #394
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Filiform corrosion

Well, it was slow to emerge and develop, but there’s no denying that our Safari also has this affliction, which I suspect is, or will be the affliction of every new or newer trailer until a remedy is found.

Silvertwinkie—Thank you for starting and maintaining this important thread.
SilverCabin—Thank you for documenting your issue with photos and telling us about your experience with ACF-50 and Airstream’s installation of the Beltline Trim.
2air’—Thank you for your detailed input regarding the importance of using quality waxes, and anti-corrosion sprays.
5cats – Thanks for your photos documenting your filiform. You were the first to see my filiform!
And all others who contributed, thank you!

See photos of our filiform and the rest of the story, Filiform corrosion, in my column, History Safari Express, on the Airstream Life Online Community web-page.

(I tried to up-load photos here, but there seems to be some problem with the new Airforums' software, which says that I am over my allotted attachment space, even though I am a supporting member).
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:29 PM   #395
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SilverGate, was this an actual article on Airstream Life? How did this get on their website? You are an author for ASL?

I'm totally floored (in a very shocked and positive way) that this thread is linked off the Airstream Life website. I am sure it will get some attention. It's just a shame it's gone this far that it has to.......

At least we are all in good company. Thanks for the post.
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Old 06-04-2008, 09:23 PM   #396
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Silvertwinkie—Yes, I am one of seven authors that have been maintaining a column on the Airstream Life Online Community for half a year now. We cover many varied topics such as traveling, camping, restoring trailers, food, humor, rallies and much more.

Each of us writes about what interests us. We do so in a positive and supportive way. Our content is our responsibility, and is not necessarily the opinion of Airstream Life Magazine.

In my latest article, “Filiform corrosion”, I am writing about one of my current concerns and how I am dealing with it. I thought that this indeed is an important Airstream concern and by doing an overview of this issue, along with ways of dealing with it, could benefit others.

I also thought that it would be a good opportunity to gather some of the highlights of the issue and possible remedies, gleamed from 29 pages of your thread.
I invite comments to my column, but they need to be framed in a positive, non-political way. Your thread is the best place to keep this important dialogue going.

Thank you for your compliments and good work here!

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Old 06-04-2008, 09:38 PM   #397
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...anyway, I think I might have a solution to this problem. I was speaking to the marine tech guys where I rent my office space and was describing my corrosion problem. One looked at the other and the BOTH said.......ANODES!

They thought that by adding a sacrificial anode that went thru the skin into the steel frame, that it might stop the corrosion......same as it does on boats.

I'm going to try one on the bottom of the trailer in a couple of weeks after I clear up and re-polish any areas I find, and we'll see what happens. Worth a shot anyway!
That could a new fashion trend, we'll all bolt sacrificial zinc anode blocks on our Airstreams!
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:42 AM   #398
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I was born in 1946 and my dream for retirement is to travel the USA in a RV. I was going to purchase an Airstream but now I'm not sure. Maybe I'll revisit Bigfoot.
As a former business owner I believe that Airstream is mistaken in not addressing this issue up front. Perhaps, as someone already mentioned, the Japanese will do to AS what they have done to the US auto industry.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:25 PM   #399
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Here is a sample of my filiform corrosion that relates to my post #394 above:
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:54 PM   #400
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Here is a sample of my filiform corrosion
Looks exactly like what I have. Mine, at least, hasn't really become must worse, and isn't really all that noticeable unless you're looking for it

Shortly after I first reported on this thread (@ 6 months ownership) I exercised the same regimen you noted in your article: wash, acf-50, followup with boeshield; particularly along the exposed cut edge of the panels midway up running all around the body.

A little over a year later, I really haven't seen any dramatic increase in the corrosion on the body panels. The AL wheels are deteriorating, however. These I treated the same way, at the same time, but have more spidering now. *sigh*

I'll see about some follow-up photos for comparison to last year's shots.

Hey, thanks for getting this out to a difference audience with your article, Bill. Always Good Stuff, and well written. I think this one will prove to be helpful. (Maybe we'll see you at some local campground this year and I'll thank you in person...!)

Cheers,
-jd.

[Edit] Forgot to mention: to date I have seen zero corrosion issues on the inside skin of our SE. -jd.
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