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Old 08-06-2008, 07:42 AM   #481
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While I too would love some real solid reasons, to be honest, and it should come as no surprise, why exactly are we the ones that have to diagnose and find a solution to Airstream's issue anyway?

Oh right, I forgot, they don't have any solid game plan for this other than clear nail polish and some alleged treatment at the factory which also is not proven yet IMHO, which continues to suggest masking the issue rather than finding the root cause at the manufacturer level. Lets not also forget that warranty claims are being refused on this as has been suggested here on this thread and forum.

I find it interesting that anyone can accept the idea that the outside could/should be able to do this level of damage (and yes, in my mind this is damage to the finish) in such a short period of time. Is it me? Am I nuts? Would all of you accept a car, house, boat or anything else you pay top dollar for to reveal this kind of issue or some sort of defect that the company that built it simply walks away and leaves you to find these solutions on your own. What if in some cases you saw things happen to a different product at only 6 months old, or even before you bought the item? You really would still buy the product or accept the warranty answer like some here have said they have received (or in reality didn't receive)? Even the alum rims on my GM truck corroded and GM gladly,without question replaced them. The one place where they put the wheel weights, it showed up again on one rim. They replaced all the rims nearly 3 full years after I bought it. The truck had been in mud, snow, salt, ice, etc. No questions asked, new rims, in and out in one day. Before you say, yea, well that's GM, they dwarf Airstream. Remember, Airstream is part of Thor, and Thor is one of the biggest, if not the biggest RV builders in America. No owner of a Thor product, let alone their flagship/signature product should receive this kind of lackluster QC or attention IMHO.

I really hope this thread opens a few eyes, both at the consumer level and at Airstream. At about 480 posts and slight over 28,000 hits/views, it would give me pause. This is just a travesty and outright wrong. But it can only continue if folks out there keep accepting what is being turned out.

If sales start to slip and this is a noticeable contributor to any sales slide, I promise you, it'll get the attention is deserves, but it won't if we keep accepting the status quo.

I have made several attempts to get the factory to respond and to date, have heard nothing from Dave Schumann whom I tried to contact a few times via a few different methods. I know the factory folks are on this forum and have read this thread, yet again, communication? Nope.

Love the product. Dislike the quality and for my money, would still own/buy another Airstream, but I can say, without question, any Airstream I may buy in the future, will be a pre-owned one. I can't see spending money that will evaporate over the first three years for something new with this level of possibility of having this single issue, let alone the barrage of QC issues. You've seen the pics, you've read the stories. The decision, in the end, is yours.

Soapbox off.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:20 AM   #482
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatdoc View Post
At times it is difficult for smelting establishments to separate impurities such as "zinc" known as white metal. When aluminum contains any impurities, the problem will start in that specific area of contamination as a galvanic reaction.
Boatdoc, very interesting post. If some of the aluminum is contaminated and some isn't, and Alcoa and Airstream don't know one from another, that could contribute to the reason some trailers have corrosion and some don't. Would you agree?

While the tires isolate the trailer from the ground, the body is the ground for the 12 volt system. Auto electrics have always been somewhat mysterious to me, but they all use the body of the vehicle as a ground. That would seem to me to create the potential (electrical pun intended) for electrolysis. Another factor would be minor shorts in the system. With all the wiring in the trailer, much not protected well causing insulation wearing away, shorts could contribute (auto wiring seems better protected than Airstream's) from what I can see. I had a short in the battery disconnect system on a pretty new trailer. The jack may not be a particularly great contact with the ground, certainly not as good as a 1/2" thick copper rod driven 5' into the ground as you may see outside your house under the service entrance, but it is a contact. I have no expertise in this, but wonder if all these things plus some salt and water can cook up corrosion.

And, just to look at this thing a bit differently, what if Airstream is concerned and does read this thread (I have reason to believe they do), but is as confused as all of us are? There may be a conflict within the corporation between suits who want to circle the wagons and those who want to solve the problem. The politics within may be as complex as any other corporation. The corporation is no more monolithic than the Forum.

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Old 08-06-2008, 11:10 AM   #483
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Boatdoc,

Great post and thanks for your concerns! I never did get around to 'anodizing' my CCD, so no worries there. I am looking into different methods to relieve existing filliform now present on the trailer....specifically how to remove it, blend it with the rest of the finish, and re-coat it so it dissapears, drawing on my 35+years of metal refinishing and polishing from the jewelry business.

I'll re-post when I hit a home run!
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:23 AM   #484
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post

And, just to look at this thing a bit differently, what if Airstream is concerned and does read this thread (I have reason to believe they do), but is as confused as all of us are? There may be a conflict within the corporation between suits who want to circle the wagons and those who want to solve the problem. The politics within may be as complex as any other corporation. The corporation is no more monolithic than the Forum.

Gene
If I hadn't started the QC threads and clearly seen trends where things like caulk in the bathroom showers that leak and the issue traverses many model years, I'd agree with you, but it would appear to be more of the same old routine back in Jackson Center.

My take is if they can't solve it or significantly limit it's effect, they should not be in the business. My concern is with my purchase as are other owners. I could care less about their internal political structure. As a cash paying customer, I expect a quality product for the price paid. I pay them to work out these issues in advance. Unfortunately it would seem to me that many of us work out the issues as we go along, thus perpetuating the dysfunctional product we see today.

My whole point is that we have options. If we collectively read this and say, it won't happen to me if I buy a new one, you may be right, but you could also be wrong and it's a hefty price tag if yer wrong and moreover unless we read these things and still jump in, we are in fact ourselves part of the problem for letting them get away with it for so long, as well as the industry at large.

PS- This issue has been around for at least 5 model years. I think that is more than enough time to collectively pull their heads out of the sand.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:10 PM   #485
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If you want to get results from someone you perceive as an adversary, it is best to understand how they do things and how they think. That's the best way to get them to do what you want. The threat of litigation sometimes is necessary to get action, but it's not an option to be put out there unless it is meant as a possibility. I find that usually talking things over with the potential adversary solves the problem. If that doesn't work, a letter to the president can help. Since I don't have to hire a lawyer, I admit I have something of an advantage when I send a letter since my letterhead says I'm a lawyer. When I have an issue with a company, it never has to go further than that. Before retirement, working for a client, hardly anything had to go to litigation. I realize some people hired me because I knew how to solve problems and they could not—maybe because they were too emotionally involved to act in the best manner (proving, never be your own lawyer is wise advice, even if I don't follow it myself), or they just didn't know how to negotiate with others. That is, I think, not that common a skill.

To understand how to have the company respond, one has to understand what's going on in the company. As American Indians would say, to hunt the bear, you have to be the bear. A lot of well informed people who have commented here can't figure this out definitively; maybe Airstream can't either. That doesn't mean they should not have. Maybe they've tried a lot of things in good faith and none have worked. Maybe they have been after Alcoa and Alcoa keeps telling them they've solved it. If it's Alcoa's fault, Airstream is a victim too. Maybe it's in the recycled aluminum as suggested as a possibility by Boatdoc, then Alcoa, Airstream and many of us are all victims. Some people get a lot of bad panels, others get a few, some get none. I'm not sure anyone fully understands the effects of Mag Chloride—it's being used more and more in recent years and maybe it has some special nastiness to aluminum, or the clearcoat used, or in zinc contaminated aluminum, or whatever. I'm not defending the company, but until you know what's going on, it's hard to solve it.

It is possible that Thor's general counsel has advised the company not to admit anything. A lot of company lawyers do that. I don't agree that is the best policy because it tends to come back and bite—companies which publicly say, "we are aware of the problem, we are doing all 'these things' [fill in the blanks] to solve it, we have fixed many trailers, we are doing everything". They would have to work hard at that since they haven't been entirely forthcoming to date. Unfortunately no one gets to see the internal documents unless they sue the company and request them in discovery. If anyone has contacted a product liability lawyer and the lawyer has refused to take the case, I guess they were told it wasn't a good case, or the Airstream owner doesn't have the money to pay for the expenses such as testing the aluminum and whatever scientific data needs to be gathered. In some cases the lawyer will front the expenses, but there has to be a lot of money in the case to do so. In this kind of situation, I think litigation would only be cost effective for a group of owners, but apparently no lawyer has been found who believes that to be a good alternative. But, maybe something is going on in the background. Once the company believes there may be litigation, they are more likely to say nothing and only fix things very quietly—that may or may not be good legal strategy, but it is a common human response.

I too expect a quality product. It is possible their heads are not in the sand, but no one knows what to do. I think it's best to be aware this is not a simple situation.

If I had corrosion on the aluminum, I'd be pretty torqued. I'm sure this situation has been very frustrating for many owners. If I get filiform on the body I would contact the company and see what they would do. Would I eventually sue?—I can't say unless I am at the point where I would have to decide. In fact, I did have filiform on the chrome strip at the bottom of the aluminum part of the body. I told the dealer and it was replaced without question. That seems to be a lot different than others' experience, but I don't know that anyone else has reported filiform on the chrome.

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Old 08-06-2008, 09:14 PM   #486
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I do have the corrosion and I am torqued.

Bottom line once again, I don't care who's fault it is. I wrote a check to Airstream through one of their dealers. Their folks made the unit, have been making these RVs with this issue for long enough where either Airstream either hasn't done a good job with their alum supplier or they have just been plain unable to get their arms around it....either answer after 5 model years (or more) is unacceptable. Again, Airstream has even begun to stop "servicing the heck out of their customers" as they said they would on their own forum, when they had one.

To me, what you say has merit, but frankly it makes zero difference to me and perhaps the many others that have this issue with their units. Five model years or more is long enough. Politics, understanding their corp culture, etc is moot to me. It's Airstream's product, their name is on it and we pay them to build RVs. In my mind this includes solving engineering issues related to the build.

I hold Airstream fully responsible. It's up to them to work any issues out with their suppliers if in fact there are any. They have the weight of Thor behind them. There are zero excuses at this point. They can either fix it and keep happy customers or not. So far it would appear they have chosen to simply walk away from their existing customer base (be it with legal council or not--makes no difference).

At this point, there is little hope of any acceptable fix for my unit. I will own this unit until it falls apart (which it could happen sooner than later based on the construction quality I've exp) or I will trade it in on a good pre-owned. Until there is a known fix to significantly reduce or eliminate the issue, I will never buy a new Airstream again. This is my second new Airstream. Fool me once, shame on you....fool me twice, shame on me.
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:26 AM   #487
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Airstream, "Made in China"

Hi, maybe these newer Airstreams were made in China. [new Marathons "Made in China"] My plastic tail light bezels are made in Taiwan [China] and I took two of my wheels off the other day and cast right on to the inside of the wheels it says: "Made in China". Is Alcoa getting it's sheet aluminum from China?
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Old 08-08-2008, 09:47 AM   #488
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, maybe these newer Airstreams were made in China. [new Marathons "Made in China"] My plastic tail light bezels are made in Taiwan [China] and I took two of my wheels off the other day and cast right on to the inside of the wheels it says: "Made in China". Is Alcoa getting it's sheet aluminum from China?
It would be interesting to see the true "origin of content" of our "Made in the USA" Airstreams. Of course they make it here, but how much of what they make it with is imported? Good point Bob! And just to confirm, I don't have a problem with foreign content, as long as the quality is equal to Airstream's represented "Best in the World" standards. Let me state it another way, I am OK with it as long as I get what I paid for and it does the job.

The Tipping Point is getting really close.
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:42 PM   #489
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Door hinge corrosion...what works for us


I can only guess how many others have this problem and how many different solutions there must be out there.

This is how we decided to address it.
I didn't want to do any damage to the panel coating so trying to buff out just the hinges didn't seem like the way to go. Plus the Dremmel tool just wasn't cutting it. Decided that the old brush-on Rustoleum method would be worth a try.
Getting off the old clear-coat, paint remover? What to use? After much experimentation decided on Mostenbocker's Lift off 4 water-based Paint Remover. After masking, brush on, let set, scrape off with razor blade scraper. It did scratch the hinges. Starting with 400 wet sandpaper,then 600 and finally 1500, scratches gone. Brush-on four coats zinc-chromate primer, sanding each with 1500, using plenty of water.
Spend the bucks, go to art supply house and get several 1/2" artists brush's.
Another four coats of Rustoleum aluminum paint, again sanding each with
1500. Seal with Griot's Paint Sealer, and this is what you get.
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:10 PM   #490
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Looks GREAT Bob!!!!!

NICE WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-22-2008, 10:21 PM   #491
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Now I know were to go for hinge resurfacing. It's not even 2,000 miles to your house, Bob.

And…is Fado Portuguese and does he sing?

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Old 08-22-2008, 10:38 PM   #492
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Thumbs up Our fate....

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene

And…is Fado Portuguese and does he sing?

Gene
My goodness, someone who knows Fado.

Yes, he is Portuguese, and we all love the music. It's great to listen to around the campfire on a starry Summer evening. You might even say it's our destiny.
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:52 PM   #493
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Thumbs up Battery door corrosion



Used a little different method on this project today.

Painting the door hinges took over 10 days, what with letting each of the 8 coats dry a day between sanding and painting. Plus I wanted to get the finished look a little closer to the rest of the trailer.
The preparation was the same but instead of paint I just used the wet sandpaper. Again starting with the 400,600,then the final dressing with the 1500 grit. Can't stress enough how important the water is, you just can't use too much. It was much more labor intensive, a lot of elbow grease for sure.(the Honey Brown helped a lot). Started about 10 this morning and finished 5:30 this afternoon. It would have gone quicker had I been able to find a coarser paper.
I'm considering using the same method on the filiform, got a spot all picked out, just have to get up the nerve to do it.
I do think it turned out well.
What think ya'all?
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:59 PM   #494
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Those look super! What a difference, what an improvement.
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:04 PM   #495
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ˇMuito bem! That's about it for my Portuguese. Are you going to clear coat or use some other sealer?

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Old 08-23-2008, 08:21 PM   #496
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Thumbs up Fine

Quote:
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ˇMuito bem! That's about it for my Portuguese. Are you going to clear coat or use some other sealer?

Gene
http://www.griotsgarage.com/product/11479.do

I've used this on "Bertha", our 53 Ford Victoria and the Airstream, lasts a good long while. Ck our gallery.
The doors got there first coating this afternoon. Seems to work a bit better than the Walberstuff.
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Old 08-23-2008, 08:26 PM   #497
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'Been using Griot's Paint Sealant since it came out. I've been using their products for almost 20 years. I did a half trailer Walbernize and half PS when I first got the CCD. the PS wins hands down. Much easier to apply and lasts about a year on the trailer. I use it on avarything else I own also.........don't forget to clay before if you want that super smooth finish!
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Old 08-24-2008, 07:41 AM   #498
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Thumbs up Griot's

The Lewster is right on.

Griot's sells first rate products that perform as advertised.

There customer service is outstanding, had a bent wheel on a creeper I ordered, the replacement was on my doorstep in three days, no questions asked.
Some of there products may seem a little pricey but remember, you get what you pay for, value is in the quality and performance of the product.

<< JC are you listening>>

My only complaint....you seem to get a new catalog every two weeks.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:04 AM   #499
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Looks great Bob...nice work. Too bad you had to take the initiative on your own and do this to a trailer being about 5 years or less old.
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Old 08-24-2008, 08:36 AM   #500
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Thumbs down Lotta hard work for dis O.F.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
Looks great Bob...nice work. Too bad you had to take the initiative on your own and do this to a trailer being about 5 years or less old.

Damn straight Silver...

We first noticed the corrosion the second season,2004. Didn't know exactly how to address the problem then.
Was thinking of asking CrawfordGene to draft a tongue-in-cheek bill on his letterhead I could send to JC.

just kidd'n......but then again
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