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Old 03-22-2009, 10:50 PM   #771
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He just kept reassuring me that this product works to protect very expensive aircraft with clearcoat protection from corrosion.
Vinnie
Aircraft are either polished or painted... no clear coatings comparable to an Airstream. Aircraft have corrosion problems... salt air, unpainted aluminum, and magnesium are the worst.
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Old 03-22-2009, 10:55 PM   #772
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I'd love to see a late model AS without corrosion... I'm thinking that I could find filiform on all of them.

Even if AS can't find a full solution, I'd settle for a good repair procedure.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:23 AM   #773
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Does filiform corrosion take place on uncoated aluminum?

I've heard differing opinions of weather this is the case or not.

Dmac, are you sure that aircraft are not clearcoated? I don't know how Boeing and Other aircraft manufacturers deal with this issue, but I'm certain that they have been over this ground before. probably fifty years ago, when it first became an issue for them. It disturbs me to think that no one here can find the answer to this problem. The more I think about it , the more I think that the finish is the real problem here. Not the formula or application of the finish, but the fact that there is a finish applied at all. What was the reason for finishing Airstreams to begin with? It was the fact that people wanted a trailer that looked shiny for a longer period of time. Trailer shells were not rusting through, there was no discussion that I can find reference to about filiform corrosion in the trailers from the thirties, forties or fifties. There was dissatisfaction with the LOOK of the trailers after a few years of service. Forget the fact that the oxidation was a protectant. I have seen trailers from the forties and fifties that were a dark gray color. They were not clearcoated, and they aged to a uniform color. the oxidation that occured was protecting the aluminum from further corrosion. That's why we can polish a fifty or sixty year old trailer and have it look like a mirror again.

The original finish that AS used was only good for five to ten years of normal service before it needed attention also. It was no panacea by any means. It just slowed the natural process of oxidation a little, while causing other problems at the same time. The same problems being discussed here, now.

If this is the case, then AS is in a very difficult position, indeed. If the finish was the answer to the problem of dull aluminum, and at the same time, the cause of filiform corrosion, where does that leave them? They can tell prospective buyers that they can choose between dull aluminum, or filiform corrosion in the very near future. Not a great selling point, is it?

To admit that one or the other of these things is going to happen, to a prospective buyer, would be a turn-off to say the least. If the choice had to be made based on that criteria, a lot of people would look more closely at a POS SOB with a painted or fiberglass finish and a smaller price tag. I see 25 year old fiberglass rigs with a finish that looks better than similar aged Airstreams. For Airstream to sell against them with a built-in finish maintenance issue would be a difficult thing to overcome.

If you were told that you would either have to polish your trailer regularly, or that there was the possibility of advanced damage to the shell from deep corrosion, what would you do?

I would save the cost of the finishing, and polish to my hearts content, for as long as I wanted to. Then I would stop polishing and let nature take its course. To each, his own.

Now, as things stand, it appears as though you are buying a trailer that needs very little up-keep in the way of the finish, but we all know, that's not the case. The problem goes directly to the value of the trailer. If it needs constant attention, it is worth less, Period. (not worthless, as some have implied)


Every time I look at this thread, I thank goodness that I bought a vintage unit. At least I expected I would need to be working on these issues from the start. Not like those who bought new, expecting to bypass he whole issue of the finish. My heart goes out to you.
Best of luck to you, Rich
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:14 AM   #774
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Does anyone have any other references? I'd like to add to my library...

The "best" references are the photo's posted on this and other threads.

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Old 03-23-2009, 08:05 AM   #775
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If the choice had to be made based on that criteria, a lot of people would look more closely at a POS SOB with a painted or fiberglass finish and a smaller price tag. I see 25 year old fiberglass rigs with a finish that looks better than similar aged Airstreams.
Airstream did something similar to the SOBs...they called it Argosy. It had steel end caps (stronger than the current alum caps that dent fairly easily) and of course, they were painted, which in and of itself added costs in future maint, but I doubt very seriously that Argosy trailers and MoHos had any visible corrosion for the first few years after being built. I by no means advocate that Airstream paint the trailers, but in the absences of anything other than clear nail polish I can see no other alternative other than at my expense (and the expense of others still under warranty--for what ever that warranty is worth) taking the trailer and having 'em stripped and recoated, which if you are lucky, will get about 10 years out of it? Still 10 years is far better than 6 months or 1 year IMHO.

Again, photos, photos, photos. You got 'em, post 'em.
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Old 03-23-2009, 10:17 AM   #776
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Some of us monitoring this thread are looking for clues as to why some airstreams have it and why others don't. One because it could help understand what could be contributing, and two because with that knowledge we might be able to slow the progress or prevent it from happening. Do mind sharing where you've been over the two years/15K milles?
We've traveled from the Canadian to Mexican borders and California to Texas.
Trailer's kept at home inside a pole barn in Cheyenne WY. The only atmospheric condition we have not experienced is sea salt air.
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Old 03-23-2009, 11:36 AM   #777
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First result when googling filiform corrosion:

http://www.window.de/pdf/al01e.pdf

Quote:
In Germany, filiform corrosion occurs mainly along the coastline and on
offshore islands, in specific types of outdoor pool and the Hamburg area.
Coastline mainly affected
The following influencing parameters are know so far: Influencing parameters
Main criterion is the presence of chlorides, which, together with the adequate
amount of air humidity, produce electrolytes causing filiform corrosion
at the weak points mentioned in the following. Depending on location
and environment, filiform corrosion becomes apparent already after
a few months.
Chlorides
Current pre-treatment procedures based on chromizing according to DIN
50939 are not able to absolutely prevent filiform corrosion.
Chromizing
If yellow or green chrome films have been applied for pre-treatment or
chrome-free systems have been used, all commercially available paint
systems will exhibit filiform corrosion after exposure to weathering for a
specific period of time.
Inadequate pre-treatment
Filiform corrosion occurs mainly on machined areas, e.g. weeping holes,
edges of cut, and on layers of paint which have been damaged mechanically
(e.g. scratches, edge damage), less on pre-treatment and paint film
defects.
Machined areas and damaged layers
of paint.
Filiform corrosion can be slowed down if the object is properly cleaned
at regular intervals.
Cleaning
Filiform corrosion is likely to occur with all known architectural aluminium
alloys. According to latest research, the composition of the standard
aluminium alloys used is of no importance.
Resistance of coating to filiform corrosion can be verified by testing according
to EN 3665.
Durable systems do not exhibit any major paint layer defects when exposed
to the 1,000 hour cycle of the filiform corrosion test according to DIN 3665.
If demand warrants, I propose a "heavy duty package" from Airstream. This would include a primed and painted body using top quality finishes, a heavy duty galvanized frame, and a floor made of durable material (aluminum, composite, etc.). The painting allows priming which would be a big step in improving the situation. Additionally the painting would allow standard automotive repair techniques to damaged sections.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:20 PM   #778
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I would like to see those pics if you can find them. Am I right in thinking that they used a different aluminum at the time that trailer was built. I think you said it was a '90s model?
Thanks, Rich
Here's a link to the complete set of pictures. This also shows the interior work the owner did.
http://gallery.me.com/jcanavera#100040
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:01 PM   #779
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Thank you Jack. It doesn't look near as shiny as I thought it would. I wonder if it was intentionally brought to a dull shine, or if that is as much shine as it can get. Perhaps P&S can let us know more about this.
Thanks, Rich
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:02 PM   #780
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Couple more thoughts-

1. Light dose of corrosion inhibitor in a bucket of wash water? If chemical is not hard on environment and finish it could be beneficial. Wonder if any aircraft outlets supply such a product? Inhibitors are used in automotive coolant..are any suitable?

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=15932237

Quote:
Rsum / Abstract

Corrosion of military equipment remains a serious problem to all branches of the military, affecting both operational readiness and life cycle costs. Commercial additives have been proposed for inclusion in freshwater rinses used to inhibit corrosion of military vehicles exposed to marine environments. The performance data available for these products are generally qualitative and do not permit reliable assessments of their utility or the actual level of protection that can be anticipated. Manufacturers suggest ways the additives may work, but the active inhibiting agent and its concentration are usually protected as proprietary information. Investigation of the problem is further complicated by the fact that during operations, military vehicles usually experience a wide range of conditions that influence corrosion rates. Based on the premise that corrosion inhibition involves the association of a metal surface with an active inhibiting species, this work investigated the inherent properties of five rinse additives and their influence on the corrosion rates of steel and aluminum through separate experimental procedures. The properties examined were the intrinsic ability of additives to affect seawater corrosion processes, the level of inhibition observed as a function of seawater concentration, and the intrinsic attraction of the additive or a component to a metal surface. Correlations between the resultant test data and ongoing field data were examined in attempts to establish a firm basis for predicting and ranking wash additives relative to practical application.
Such products evidently exist.

2. Water softeners. According to some sources the output of a water softener is more corrosive than the input water.

Water softening - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quote:
Third, the presence of ions in an electrolyte, in this case, hard water, can also lead to galvanic corrosion, in which one metal will preferentially corrode when in contact with another type of metal, when both are in contact with an electrolyte. However the sodium (or potassium) ions released during conventional water softening are much more electrolytically active than the calcium or magnesium ions that they replace and galvanic corrosion would be expected to be substantially increased by water softening and not decreased. Similarly if any lead plumbing is in use, softened water is likely to be substantially more plumbo-solvent than hard water.
3. Use distilled water for washing?

4. Detergents. Why use them if the results are good without them?
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:01 PM   #781
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What should Airstream do?

1. Disclose. Indicate cosmetic corrosion is possible with current design and it is much more likely when trailer is used in corrosive evironments such as seaside or salted roads. Upfront about warranty coverage for corrosion issues.

2. Ensure trailers are not driven through corrosive conditions prior to delivery, or coat the trailer with protectant prior to delivery.

3. Get much more vigorous about preventive care schedule and effective products to reduce corrosion. If no appropriate off the shelf product exists, develop an anti corrosion rinse. Recommend monthly corrosion inspections, with application of product on corroded areas to halt or reduce the rate. Recommend 6 monthly applications of ACF 50 (or similar) to rivet lines in corrosive environments. Research cleaning products for corrosive potential, and have an approved list. Recommend immediate washing after seaside use or driving on salted roads.

4. Develop the best possible repair procedure for the corrosion and conduct dealer training. Ensure goodwill measures for those who purchased trailer before corrosion disclosure.

5. Offer heavy duty package (as in my post above) if sufficient demand.
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Old 03-23-2009, 03:57 PM   #782
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50 to 100k= heavy duty package. WAYK
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:03 PM   #783
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50 to 100k= heavy duty package. WAYK
Unfortunately we can't have it all..clear coated riveted aluminum bodies and best possible corrosion protection (in my opinion). Some people may not like painted trailers. Therefore a package.
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Old 03-23-2009, 04:08 PM   #784
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Unfortunately we can't have it all. Therefore a package.
You settle for it.............. a "package" isn't needed QC is.
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