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Old 10-05-2008, 01:12 PM   #533
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Mike, how much exposure to ocean camping are you getting? I've had a lot of Hawaii time and know the salt haze that blows hundreds of yards ashore in strong winds. Had a lot of aluminum on backpacking equipment corrode and never was the same. How far from the ocean are you?
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Old 10-05-2008, 01:23 PM   #534
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Why are some trailers showing corrosion and not others? I have some on my wheels but none that I can detect on the body panels ,hinges, door pull etc.
Good question craftsman. I guess that's one of the things we are trying to figure out here. I was wondering the same thing. Why do others have it, but not me? I only have it on the wheels. Well, three days ago I joined the club.... Yipeeeeee. I found filiform growing out from the pointed end of a curbside teardrop running light. Its not very big yet, but its there.

I immediately went inside and made a gin martini up with a couple of olives. It helped a little, but only a little. Oh no, I'm one of THEM now.
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Old 10-05-2008, 01:38 PM   #535
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The trailer is stored about four miles inland. We haven't been doing any ocean camping, so the only exposure it's gotten -- closer to the Pacific than where it's stored -- is when we've spent a little time motoring on the coastal highway on our way to inland destinations.

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Mike, how much exposure to ocean camping are you getting? I've had a lot of Hawaii time and know the salt haze that blows hundreds of yards ashore in strong winds. Had a lot of aluminum on backpacking equipment corrode and never was the same. How far from the ocean are you?
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Old 10-05-2008, 02:26 PM   #536
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I'm under the impression that ocean salt spray can be blown miles, maybe many miles inland. Do people who live near the Great Salt Lake have more problems than people further away? All over states where it snows or there are ice storms, various salts are placed on the roads, later dry and imbed in the pavement and berms and thus turn to dust and when it rains, a solution on the road. Trailers made in Ohio are shipped year 'round over such highways. Chlorine in drinking water may combine with sodium ions in the water to make NaCl, common table salt. Sodium is a common element and always ready to combine with others. Perhaps a little exposure doesn't do anything, but a lot does. It's impossible to know precisely how much exposure any one trailer has gotten, though people near salt water or where salt is put on the roads may have more incidents of corrosion. It's possible reasonable useful data can be found. There are plenty of other corrosive chemicals in the environment to be considered too.

One would expect exposure to corrosive salts and other chemicals to be different for every trailer and each part. Usually vehicles are cleaner on the streetside than the curbside where they are mainly on 2 lane roads—the water splashed by opposing vehicles washes off dirt, but maybe not salt. Which side of trailers has more corrosion? If there is enough data collected, some idea of where in the country the problem is worst would be helpful. This would include where the trailer has been and when—that includes the trip from the factory. Checking weather records would help and knowing the chemicals on the roads, but also in the air at various locations. To come up with useful data, a lot of specific information needs to be collected.

Subjecting the panels Airstream uses and the various other metal parts to tests with all types of salts and other chemicals in the air could tell a lot. Then test with various products to protect the metals.

This type of data would be very useful for owners trying to find a way to protect their trailers and to the company to prevent warranty claims and lawsuits. I expect the company is doing such tests but doesn't like to talk about it.

We have no corrosion except a little on the "chrome" strip around the base of the aluminum skin before we left for the Pacific coast a month ago. I used Griot's paint sealer on the trailer before we left—it was pretty easy to apply. I've been too busy to inspect it since or to do the most important thing, wash it. It did get naturally washed in Oregon after we headed east from the coast and it rained this morning, so I'm hoping it wasn't acid rain.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone. It's a lot of work and some money to collect data, do testing, and analyze it objectively. The testing is expensive unless you can find a university lab for free or there's a owner qualified to do it. Collecting data and analyzing is time consuming but can (initially) be done by owners. This data collection and analysis is not very sexy to do, but it has to be done at some time.

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Old 10-05-2008, 03:24 PM   #537
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Weighing in on Blaming salt

I am of the opinion that the reported tendency by Airstream to blame salt for corrosion on new trailers is a way of shifting the blame to customers and refusing to accept the responsibility to fix it. How can anyone prove that salt did or did not cause the corrosion?

Most of the roads in the State of California never have any salt on them because it doesn't snow except in the mountains and when it does snow most people are generally not camping in their Airstreams.

As far as the salt blowing inland---again that would be a hard one to prove. We live 4 blocks from the beach and we have rust forming on almost all the metal in our house (18 year old house)--from the door hinges to the window screens.....but it does not look like the filiform corrosion to me that I have seen on the newer trailers. When I lived 6 miles from the beach in the same city, I had no rusting metal hinges, etc.....so somewhere between 4 blocks and 6 miles may be the magic answer to where salt air is a problem.

And if salt is the culprit, our 40 year old vintage trailer should be covered with filiform corrosion and it is not....and if keeping the trailer washed and polished is important in avoiding filiform corrosion, then our trailer should be covered with it because I doubt it had been washed other than with rain for many years.

I am sorry that so many people are experiencing this problem and hope that a solution other than nail polish is forthcoming very soon. pj
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Old 10-05-2008, 03:35 PM   #538
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I am of the opinion that the reported tendency by Airstream to blame salt for corrosion on new trailers is...
actually the 'official' reason suggested by a/s is NOT salt, but exposure to OXYGEN...

this was covered earlier in this thread, and it's even MORE lame than brine....

yep, only the trailers built and used on the moon are gonna escape this blame game.

however IF you read ANY of the excellent filiform references mswartz has linked,

it is chlorides under the clearcoat, at the leading edge that cause filiform corrosion.

this has been covered in great detail many times in this thread but i suspect it's now too long for folks to read about.

as for old polished trailers, i've personally seen 2 that were UNharmed...

till about 4-5 years ago when the state road maintenance station started storing and using mag/cal road salts about 1/4 mile from their homes....

NOW both are totally covered with corrosion that looks like a giant crotched doily EATING these polished 60s units....

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Old 10-05-2008, 03:41 PM   #539
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For the record once again, my unit is used staring in April/May and gets put into hibernation in October. It has NEVER been in salt, salt dust, etc. The only salt it has EVER seen was salt in the shaker in the pantry.

I live in the great lakes area. Outside of winter time, there is not a hint of salt (and my unit never sees winter). The nearest saltwater body is several states away from Illinois. My unit is in a somewhat climate controlled environment. Rarely gets below 45 to 50 degrees in the dead of winter. I have a dehumidifier in the garage unit that really is there to take any moisture out, but frankly there is very little humidity in the garage to start with. The unit is not parked on direct concrete, but the electric jack is touching the concrete. The only outside time it does see is when in transit or when using it, which is between 10-15 days per year.

My Safari has seen maybe 9 rainstorms since newly built in late '03 as an '04 model. My Safari has been washed about 2x per year, Walbernized about 2x per year as well, sometime, 3x. Any bugs that splat on the front, get cleaned off as soon as I reach my destination and I am quick to re-apply Walberinze Super Seal to it after.

You can't tell me that it's a maint issue or that salt is the cause of my issue. Oddly enough, you all who have posted have the same issues I have, so it's most likely not the sea, it's most likely not salt..IMHO, it is most likely water getting in between the coating and raw alum. Clearly, if you've read the thread (I know it's long), you'll see that during the manufacturing process there are many areas where the coating is disturbed. I took the tour in 2003 and at least 4x in 2005 when I was at the factory for service. Not once did I witness any type of coating repair or replacement to disturbed areas.

Am I correct in my perception? Only an engineer could say for sure.

What I can say is that my unit is WELL cared for. Anyone who has seen my unit, knows how much time I put into keeping it beyond ship shape. The thought that water or air could do this, simply means that someone hasn't done their job in engineering. Everything outdoors gets exposed to water and air. If a finish can't be made to withstand it, it's about a worthless as a $3 bill.
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Old 10-05-2008, 03:49 PM   #540
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I rest my case...

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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
For the record once again, my unit is used staring in April/May and gets put into hibernation in October. It has NEVER been in salt, salt dust, etc. The only salt it has EVER seen was salt in the shaker in the pantry.

I live in the great lakes area. Outside of winter time, there is not a hint of salt (and my unit never sees winter). The nearest saltwater body is several states away from Illinois. My unit is in a somewhat climate controlled environment. Rarely gets below 45 to 50 degrees in the dead of winter. I have a dehumidifier in the garage unit that really is there to take any moisture out, but frankly there is very little humidity in the garage to start with. The unit is not parked on direct concrete, but the electric jack is touching the concrete.

My Safari has seen maybe 6 rainstorms since newly built in late '03 as an '04 model. My Safari has been washed about 2x per year, Walbernized about 2x per year as well, sometime, 3x. Any bugs that splat on the front, get cleaned off as soon as I reach my destination.

You can't tell me that it's a maint issue or that salt is the cause of my issue. Oddly enough, you all who have posted have the same issues I have, so it's most likely not the sea, it's most likely not salt..IMHO, it is most likely water getting in between the coating and raw alum. Clearly, if you've read the thread (I know it's long), you'll see that during the manufacturing process there are many areas where the coating is disturbed. I took the tour in 2003 and at least 4x in 2005 when I was at the factory for service. Not once did I witness any type of coating repair or replacment to disturbed areas.

Am I correct in my perception? Only an engineer could say for sure.

What I can say is that my unit is WELL cared for. Anyone who has seen my unit, knows how much time I put into keeping it beyond ship shape. The thought that water or air could do this, simply means that someone hasn't done their job in engineering. Everything outdoors gets exposed to water and air. If a finish can't be made to withstand it, it's about a worthless as a $3 bill.
I rest my case.......also, we plan to stay away from salty roads anyway......and store our new vintage trailer in a climate controlled indoor storage facility many miles from the ocean....just to be safe to cover our salt basis....can't avoid oxygen though or perhaps acid wash by acid rain..........pj
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Old 10-05-2008, 03:57 PM   #541
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Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie View Post
...you'll see that during the manufacturing process there are many areas where the coating is disturbed. I took the tour in 2003 and at least 4x in 2005 when I was at the factory for service. Not once did I witness any type of coating repair or replacement to disturbed areas.

Am I correct in my perception?...
YES, agree completely and again THIS was covered in great detail early in this thread.

they are essentially building houses with prepainted plywood, that is cut, nailed and hacked together...

withOUT applying any final sealer or top coat when done.

that's why MOST of this is seen along cut edges, rivet holes and places where crap is attached to the shell.

i think the factory GETS THIS now, but just will not acknowledging it...

what they are doing is applying acryl-r in places they didn't used to...

like along cut panel edges, and where the segment protectors are mounted and so on...

still EVEN if they sealed the entire assembly, during USEAGE the coating would get nicked during travel....

where i have known nicks and frequently wax/sealed, there is no corrosion....

wheels, tail lights and door handles and hinges are another rusty issue....

cheers
2air'

"climate controlled storage" is a misleading concept,

and there are MANY examples of classic cars stored in this manner that are ROTTINg...

so don't assume indoors is a good thing, since it depends on how that indoor setting is concocted...
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Old 10-05-2008, 06:53 PM   #542
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Climate controlled storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman View Post
"climate controlled storage" is a misleading concept,

and there are MANY examples of classic cars stored in this manner that are ROTTINg...

so don't assume indoors is a good thing, since it depends on how that indoor setting is concocted...
Okay, I'll bite. What gremlins in "climate controlled storage" do we need to beware of? Thanks, pj
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:49 PM   #543
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I feel lucky that our '04 Classic Limted does not have these issues. A friends '06 Safari SE does though, the wheels and the taillight lenses. Trailer lives in western MA, but does not go on the road in winter.
Wonder why some are bad and others remain fine? in similar climes?
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #544
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Unhappy Sign me up for the corrosion club

I took delivery of my 2008 27FB International in December of 2007. At that time I saw no sign of any of this corrosion. However, a couple of months ago, I started to notice the corrosion veins at the edges of a couple of panels, and on the tail light cast housing. I finally got a chance to contact the factory thinking that I would be covered under my warranty.(How foolish of me) I spoke to a Mr. Jim Parrett who is a Senior Customer Relations Representative. He told me that the corrosion issue is not covered by my warranty and sent me a repair procedure for the cast aluminum pieces which I am attaching for the info of this forum. In questioning him about the edge corrosion, he said that it was not feasible to repair those edges because the Alcoa finish did not lend itself to being sanded, blended and re applied like a standard automotive clear coat would be. He suggested that I spray those edges and any other places where it occurs with Corrosion X. Corrosion X is a corrosion inhibitor that comes in a spray can. It is sold in just about any boat store or marine supply house and I actually had a can in my garage. He said that the occasional application of the Corrosion X would stop and prevent the spread of the corrosion. Well, I went out and immediately sprayed my edges and corrosion spots with it. I will post the results of that as a little time passes. Mr. Parrett did say that even though he cannot warranty my problem, that if I take it in to the dealer and give them his name he would authorize them to refinish the cast aluminum tail lights as a "Good Will Gesture".

I live on the Texas Gulf Coast about 30 miles from the gulf and about 3 miles from Upper Galveston Bay. We do not get any salt spray where I live, and since we only get 3 or 4 days a year that are at freezing there is never any salt on our roads. My trailer has been washed monthly or after each outing whichever occurs first and it has already been waxed twice since I took delivery. There is no way that there is corrosion showing up this quick because of environmental issues or lack of care on my part. I am of the opinion that it is caused because they do not do anything to protect the cut edges or rivet holes after assembly, and it brings out the Texas Redneck in me for them to suggest otherwise. I may have fallen off the turnip truck, but it wasn't yesterday! If my tow truck (which is 4 years old and has no corrosion anywhere) had this problem during the warranty period, I would have sent it back to GMC and made them repaint it or give me a new one! I will attach some before pictures of my corrosion areas for you folks to see, and I will post some after pictures when I see how the Corrosion X works.

If there is going to be a class action, count me in. I think that for the money we pay for these trailers they should at least be covered for the 2 year warranty period!
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:39 PM   #545
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The handles on my 2008 27' FB has the same corrosion......Are we not still in 2008?
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:54 PM   #546
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Are Alcoa and Airstream using best available means to avoid corrosion?

In this discussion of corrosion problems, many owners find it difficult to believe that their unit has been exposed to sufficient salt to initiate corrosion.

Many trailers are not used or stored within a few miles of the ocean or near roads that have been treated with freeze-supression chemicals (MgCl, NaCl and similar), and so some find it difficult to believe they have ever exposed their unit to salt.

However, the atmosphere provides sufficient supply of chlorides to help initiate metal corrosion even away from sea- and road-spray.

Right now I'm in Saudi Arabia on a research project, and even many kilometers inland in this very dry location, research studies show significant available atmospheric chlorides to initiate several corrosion processes whenever moisture is available.

In much of the world, there is sufficient atmospheric pollution from industrial processes and fuel-burning sources, not to mention airborne dust carried up to several thousand kilometers, to provide atmospheric chlorides for corrosion to start.

This has been well-known for years and has been heavily studied. One often-cited journal article discusses how this happens: "The Influence and Importance of Daily Weather Conditions in the Supply of Chloride, Sulphate and Other Ions to Fresh Waters from Atmospheric Precipitation" by lead author E. Gorham, 1958, London ( citation: http://www.jstor.org/stable/92505 ).

Another study discussing aluminum corrosion from atmospheric chemicals, but not specifically discussing coated aluminum, provides some good background on the process chemistry and aluminum purity, along with other citations: "Studies of long-term weathering of aluminium in the atmosphere" ( ScienceDirect Login )

Try a Google search on "corrosion results of atmospheric chlorides" to find more references.

Note that it may take only one event of moisture with available chlorides to initiate a filiform process head on a susceptible surface.

I would venture that there are few places in the USA where there will be insufficient available atmospheric chlorides to prevent moisture (from dew, rain or washing) from initiating corrosion.

If exposure is unavoidable, what, if anything, can be done to reduce or eliminate filiform corrosion from starting, and what can be done to stop or slow initiation once it does?

Again, the aircraft industry has a substantial body of research, and in prior posts, I provided some references to these practices.

Therefore, I believe the main question (and the subject of a new thread may be) whether Alcoa and Airstream are using best available industry practices throughout their production cycle to avoid corrosion formation.

If Alcoa and Airstream ARE using best available practices, then it would be reasonable to conclude that there is nothing that they can be expected to do differently, and when we make the choice of buying these trailers we are implicitly acknowledging this.

And if they ARE using best practices given that some filiform corrosion may be inevitable, then a related issue is whether potential customers can reasonably be expected to understand the consequences.

However, if they are NOT using best practices, are they aware of what these best available practices may be, and are they attempting to improve these practices to avoid the problem in the future? As customers we may not know these answers, but they go to the heart of the issue.

From my research on the aluminum industry and Airstream, I believe that at the time my trailer was manufactured in 2000, Alcoa and Airstream used reasonable care in manufacturing and processing the materials that went into my trailer. I do not feel cheated by someone not doing a diligent job at material selection, processing or assembly.

Wishing that my trailer would not have filiform corrosion will not make it go away. I can only attempt to stop more from forming, and to try to understand the corrosion mechanisms.

That's where I've put the bulk of my mental Airstream efforts, along with trying to inform others on this forum about research and experience relevant to the issues.

Now, back to rebuilding the belly after two years.... but that's another story.
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