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Old 02-11-2009, 03:45 AM   #603
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CorrosionX Application

Our Airstream challange is that the corrosion is underneath the clearcoat... our options are:

AS Customer Support says, "you would scrape off the white corrosion with your finger nail or a plastic putty knife not to damage the coating and then follow directions on the label(CorrsionX)."

I think AS is saying not to damage surrounding coating. Obviously, the filiform can't be scraped off without effecting the coating nor can CorrosionX can't get to where it needs to be without opening the coating over the filiform.

Airstream certainly has given itself a black eye with this problem. Any prospective buyer looking at an AS with filiform is going to be less likely to purchase. My 10 year old Denali has alloy wheels that experience salt treated roads and they look far better than the AS wheels that don't.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:13 AM   #604
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Tell me, if you knew when you bought what you know now, would you still have bought AS?
Yes...but not new or kept our 63 Safari.

The attitude of the Mother-ship is what bothers me most, complete lack of concern for their very loyal customer base. We know they lurk here on the Forum's, we know they know and it's very frustrating that's nothing's being done.

ps, go to the a/s store web site, read the promo's for the anti-corrosion cr@p they are pushing. Nowhere does it say it will do ANYTHING for the corrosion on your Airstream.
What we have here is about 20 acres of denial.
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:00 AM   #605
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Yes...but not new or kept our 63 Safari.

The attitude of the Mother-ship is what bothers me most, complete lack of concern for their very loyal customer base. We know they lurk here on the Forum's, we know they know and it's very frustrating that's nothing's being done.

ps, go to the a/s store web site, read the promo's for the anti-corrosion cr@p they are pushing. Nowhere does it say it will do ANYTHING for the corrosion on your Airstream.
What we have here is about 20 acres of denial.

...and that my friends is the crux of it. You see, it really doesn't/didn't have to be this way. The company has let us all down, plain and simple. How this (and the QC issues) will effect their overall operations long term is open to debate. Like the Big Three, I'm sure they (Airstream) also have bean counters that weigh in the cost to do it right vs any repair or lawsuits that might come. In the end the mighty dollar makes the decision. Problem is, when the decision is the wrong one, you can see what happens long term by looking at other vehicle builders who took the same course of action (Harley, Ford, GM, Chrysler are but a few prime examples). The last three are in danger of not being in existence while Harley (similar type community to Airstream) turned it around, but they too were nearly gone as well pulling the same thing Airstream appears to be doing now.

Let's say for a moment it isn't Airstream's fault, and maybe it isn't. I still hold Airstream's foot to the fire because I pay them for engineering and working with their suppliers to deliver a product that in some cases won't show these issues six months after rolling off the factory floor. I also believe it is up to Airstream, given it's a premium product to support the heck out of it's customer base when things go south, not collectively stick their heads in the sand (I love the 20 acres of denial comment, cause it's true).

Love the idea, love the product, hate the execution.

As has been said, Airstream folks are a fairly tight community. If you start to tick off your community, most in it will know about it and then what do you have left? The answer is an icon with a tarnished image that no one wants be a part of anymore or, be a part of it in a limited way that does not benefit the overall .org in a meaningful way. In Airstream's case, my guess is that it will most likely start to turn into lost sales similar to WBCCI's continuing declining overall membership....and who knows, maybe the future is going to be all vintage someday as a result. I'd like to think not, but I can't think of a single person who knowingly would spend anywhere between $28k and $100k for new(er) units like the ones a significant number of us and growing have......
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:11 AM   #606
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This thread began with a discussion examining legal options for the group of airstream owners affected - I admit that at the time my problems weren't big enough for me to follow the thread except on an intermittent basis so I am playing a bit of catch-up (sorry about that) - but now - some 600 posts later it seems focused on thoughts and ideas on how best to deal with the problem ourselves and then doing a bit of additional grumbling to express our indignation.

My own goal here is to stop the growth - I just want to know how to deal with the problem - and if that can happen then I will be happy. If it can't happen (and it will not be because of lack of trying) then I will cut my losses - sell the unit and get something else. This is not something I (we) want to do - in fact it will be a very last and painful resort - like others we love our trailer, it has given us a lot of joy and served as our very comfortable "home-sweet-home" across a large and growing chunk of the continent. We fully intend it to keep serving us for many more years - but keeping it looking good has been part of the joy - if the threat of losing its visual appeal looks like it may become a reality then there is no question that we will part company.

Thanks,



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Old 02-11-2009, 09:04 AM   #607
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In reply to the question, would I have bought new if I knew of the problems with corrosion...
I started reading here before I bought, and because of the problems with new units, I bought a 1987, which is in almost pristine condition. I have a few minor things to do on it, after all, it's 22 years old! But no corrosion, and it's already depreciated.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:59 AM   #608
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Jay, about the only thing I know to significantly reduce or stop it dead in it's tracks from happening as it is now would be to strip the coating off and refinish the exterior with a clear coating or paint it silver/gray and maybe clear over that. Other fixes would be to replace panels or overlay them which Airstream did do up until a year of so ago when folks here started to report that Airstream now considers this issue a maint issue.

Bottom line, you might be able to slow it once it starts, but if you go to a dealer and see a new one or several new ones and this has already started to happen, it's like trying to diffuse a bomb once it's already gone off.

As for a class action lawsuit, after months of thinking about it, my whole thought is what would the point be? The current repair methods are as distasteful as the issue (overlaying panels, adding belt line trim, covering spots of it, or totally stripping the remainder of the good coating for a weaker clear coat). A credit for a new Airstream that very well could do the same thing, and/or have the same QC issues I have on top of the corrosion? The answers seem to keep coming back not worth it. I have choices as we all do and I'll let my wallet do my speaking for me. Mind you the factory did help me out when I was there, replacing my cast alum tail lights and all 4 rims, but it all came back, they tried though. Now from what I hear they won't even try, so, strip and clearcoat, paint and clearcoat, hide it with emblems, trim etc or live with it or trade it. I didn't get into this to be a full-time maintenance worker where thousands of dollars are spent keeping a 5 year old trailer or younger from issues. I wouldn't accept it from my automaker, my computer supplier, or nearly any other product I buy, so why would I do this for an Airstream and just as importantly, why should any of you?
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Old 02-11-2009, 01:33 PM   #609
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Why did I buy a new one?

When I first looked at Airstreams in the Fall of 2007, I found the Forum and spent a couple of months learning as much as I could. I found this thread in mid September when it was already well over 200 posts long. This is the beginning and end of one of my lengthy "thinking out loud" posts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
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?

This discussion certainly makes me look harder for an older Airstream, something I doubt Thor will like.
After much research in which I learned about all sorts of good and bad about this brand, many discussions with Barb about this, I decided I didn't want to restore a trailer, deal with someone else's problems, or just fix up a 10 year old one. I have remodeled the last two houses and I'm still not finished with this one. A house and a trailer to fix—too much work. Other people will have other reasons for what they do.

So we threw the dice and bought a new one. Corrosion and other quality control issues certainly concerned us. In fact there have been a number of QC issues, but no corrosion. Did Silvertwinkie, Bob Cross and others get the proverbial Friday afternoon trailers? Both of those two live in states around the Great Lakes where rock salt is a way of life in winter. Others live near the ocean, or in the direction of winds that blow salt laden salt air many miles from the coast. New trailers are brought to dealers at all times of the year and salt can be picked up along the way. Perhaps air pollution contributes—some areas have high ozone in the air and ozone corrodes lots of things, for example. Perhaps QC at Alcoa is a problem.

This thread has various parts to it:

1. I've got a problem (sometimes with photos).
2. What caused the problem? There are a multitude of possibilities, perhaps just about all of them a cause.
3. Airstream's response as reported by owners: they covered it up at the beltline or elsewhere with extrusions, decals or whatever; they replaced certain items such as tail lights; they won't do anything; they are in denial; or they are monsters in three piece suits who don't care about anything except squeezing as much loot out of us as possible and they may practice unspeakable acts that cannot be discussed here.
4. Let's sue the bastards: a product liability class action is difficult, expensive and not necessarily workable (also see Silvertwinkie's last post for why not to sue).
5. Start a PR campaign: if news gets out to the general public, Airstream will cave. Nothing has been done for a PR campaign except 600+ posts on this thread and other QC threads.
6. Let the company know through these threads owners are bad mouthing Airstream.
7. Encourage possible purchasers not to purchase a new one and hope the company gets the message: some possible purchasers have stated here and elsewhere they may not purchase because of a variety of QC issues; others have simply disappeared from the Forum. Someone with time on their hands could analyze all these QC threads and figure out how many haven't purchased a new one, but the stats would be difficult to collect.
7. Fix it ourselves. A lot of posts on this and nothing conclusively persuasive except wash the road dirt, film and salt off the trailers as much as possible.

I know at least some of management reads these things. I know there is concern about corrosion at the company and other issues such as QC, design failures, and improvements to the trailers. Because of various legal liability issues, all companies do not like to publicly discuss problems. That has PR consequences that may cost more than copping to a problem. While there is concern, I don't know how much is being done, but I do know I have had some success on my warranty issues. There are many ways to approach a company, depending on an individual situation, and that may account why some people have more or less success in getting what they want.

As for fixing it myself, I have used Griot's paint sealant. It's easy to apply and it seems to be holding up very well. Bob Cross recommended it, but he has had some corrosion and I haven't. Bob lives on Lake Erie where the weather makes for very strong individuals and the roads are regularly salted. I live in a very, very dry climate. We have 20% less oxygen here than at sea level—could that make a difference? I wash it as soon as I can get to it after a road trip. I plan to have an extrusion added to the beltline to protect the seam. It is the same extrusion with the silver colored insert that is used at the bottom of the aluminum panels. It will cost around $200. I think of it as insurance. We wanted the blue decal that was used on Excellas, but it won't work on a Safari. The extrusion will make ours distinctive, at least to us. If I get corrosion, then I'll have to figure out what to do next.

Would I have bought new knowing what I know now? I don't know. My wife, who got me into this, probably would make the decision.

Gene
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:16 PM   #610
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I don't know how a class action suit is started,but I would be more than willing to join in ....my 2004 25' Safari is a mess with corrosion----I can't believe Airstream is allowing this to happen---I would advise everyone to stay away from purchasing an Airstream until they remedy this problem..
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Old 02-12-2009, 06:05 PM   #611
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It seems that class action suits tend to give the 10,000 victims each a $50 coupon for Corrosion-X, while the lawyer gets $1,000,000 for filing paperwork. Although this would cost Airstream $1,500,000, it would get them off the liability hook forever - at least for the included trailers.

Many people, perhaps most people, research big purchases on the Internet these days. The top Google search result on "Airstream quality" brings up a thread in Airforums. From there it doesn't take a research scientist to find this thread. I suspect Airstream loses hundreds of propects each year because of what is written here. At $40,000 per trailer, each 100 lost customers represents $4,000,000 in sales! They are really missing the boat on this... and seriously need new leadership.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:13 AM   #612
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Smile Small Claims Court

[quote=dmac;666206]It seems that class action suits tend to give the 10,000 victims each a $50 coupon for Corrosion-X, while the lawyer gets $1,000,000 for filing paperwork.


Most states have Fit for Merchantability laws. If the amount of damages is small enough the claim can be filled is what is called small claims court. The filing fees are low and a lawyer often isn’t required. In Maryland the filing fee is $20 plus fees for summons. I successfully used this against General Motors for failing paint on a 1986 van.

If you purchased your AS new, this path may bring greater returns than class action.

I am not a lawyer.

Bruce
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:00 AM   #613
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My 10 year old Denali has alloy wheels that experience salt treated roads and they look far better than the AS wheels that don't.
If you check, you will probably find that your Denali wheels are painted silver, not clear coated. Clear coat on wheels does not live. No way to get enough UV screeners in a clear coating.

If I were to put new Aluminum wheels on anything, I would have them painted before installing the tires.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:53 PM   #614
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The payout for a class action might be minimal, but the impact it might have on the company actually doing something about be worth it. I think those of us that have the problem are more or less SOL, but maybe not. If we can get Airstream to own up to THEIR problem, it might save future buyers from the s**t-storm that is known as corrosion.

It is absolutly astounding there has been nothing out of Jackson Center about this issue. Count me in as one who would only buy a gently used two or three year old TT.

This thread has been going on since April 2007, almost two years!!! So what's it going to be folks?

Jonathan
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:03 PM   #615
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Class action suits at the federal level were made much more difficult several years ago by Congress as the behest of corporations who didn't like being sued for faulty products. Individuals have a difficult time coming up with the costs, mainly experts, to file such lawsuits, so aggregating many claims gave consumers some clout against large companies.

Class action suits with only the chance of winning relatively small amounts still cost a lot to bring and the costs eat up a lot of the awards. Some law firms have gotten too much; some not so. At least the companies with the bad products have had to pay something. A lot of time the only way to police companies with bad products is to sue them. It is difficult to do so and not a lot of fun. Remember the lawyers don't get paid at all if they lose, so they are contributing lots of time without knowing whether they will receive anything. A questionable case or one with a small potential for a big award will not find a good lawyer—can you blame them for wanting to get paid for their time?

Long ago on this thread I posted information about class actions. To make it simple, there has to be the possibility of a large enough award to pay for experts, compensate the attorneys fairly, and compensate the people who have been damaged. To aggregate enough Airstream owners with corrosion (and perhaps other problems) and then show the loss they have suffered, might be impossible. Can an economist (these are the experts on value; they get paid a lot) show a big number in losses? Would it be $1,000, $5,000, $10,000? If it were $5,000 and you could find 100 owners who made claims under the warranty period, that's only $500,000 in damages. I think it would be difficult to show a loss in market value more than that for the average trailer. You also have to prove Airstream and/or Alcoa (or even the manufacturer of the clear coat) knew what to do and that it could have been done to prevent corrosion. More experts—metalurgists and others, also expensive. The administration of the class is expensive—checking out trailers, building a file on each one of the named plaintiffs, sending experts to look at some of the trailers. Perhaps people out of the warranty period could be added as plaintiffs—this is more difficult, but not entirely impossible. The potential award would be eaten very fast. If you can show conscious or reckless conduct, maybe a goodly hit of punitive damages, also harder to do than in past years. Consumer litigation has become more and more difficult in the past 10 or more years because lobbyists have worked hard to weaken such protections and they have been successful. Federal judges are largely conservatives and not particularly on the consumers' side.

Don't think the company doesn't know this.

Another approach is a PR campaign to embarrass the company in the media. It's a lot cheaper and can be pretty effective. This Forum is a start, but much more can be done. It helps to have some expertise, but individuals can figure it out.

Gene
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:37 PM   #616
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I've read about half this thread, but there's one thing I'm not 100% clear on. Am I correct in assuming the aluminum of new trailers is different than the old ones, not only in the clear-coat but also in the underlying quality of the metal? In other words you cannot make one of the newer models finish look as good as all the old restored ones?
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