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Old 07-02-2016, 08:42 PM   #1
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2014 AI has soft paint

My 2014 AI (silver) looks like it has been sand blasted after putting 40 k miles in the last 2.5 years. Has anyone else had this experience?
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Old 07-02-2016, 09:08 PM   #2
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My 2014 AI (silver) looks like it has been sand blasted after putting 40 k miles in the last 2.5 years. Has anyone else had this experience?

I haven't noticed this as a problem with over 70,000 miles on my silver 2013 Interstate. I do have some chipped paint on the rear trim parts added by Airstream. That was caused by trip to Alaska and driving on a lot of gravel roads.

Can you provide more details? Which parts of van are showing this problem. Do you drive a lot on gravel roads?


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Old 07-03-2016, 03:56 AM   #3
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Black and silver NCV3 Interstates are MB factory clear-coated, but for some unknown reason white Interstates are not.

It is possible that your clear coat is defective or has been damaged. Oddly enough, clear coat is more susceptible to UV damage than is the actual paint.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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my AI has soft paint

The blasting appears to be on the sides of the coach below the windows. Interestingly, the front of the coach doesn't seem to have the issue. We have driven on a lot of dirt roads. Now that you mention clearcoat Protag, it appears that the blasting effect is i. the clear coat. I'm going to talk to a body shop, perhaps they can buff it out. It looks like a lot of very fine scratches.
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:25 PM   #5
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2014 AI has soft paint

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Originally Posted by paullovern View Post
The blasting appears to be on the sides of the coach below the windows. Interestingly, the front of the coach doesn't seem to have the issue. We have driven on a lot of dirt roads. Now that you mention clearcoat Protag, it appears that the blasting effect is i. the clear coat. I'm going to talk to a body shop, perhaps they can buff it out. It looks like a lot of very fine scratches.

Is the damage on the Sprinter metal surfaces or the painted plastic trim pieces added by Airstream along the belt line below the side windows? Those plastic trim pieces on my Interstate certainly show a lot of fine scratches. Also the lower plastic trim pieces are dinged through the paint to reveal the black plastic underneath the paint. This damage on my van is mostly from driving on gravel roads - they do a lot of damage to the softer plastic trim pieces. I don't think the paint on those plastic trim pieces added by Airstream is as durable as the factory Sprinter paint on metal body panels. In fact I've wondered if it is even paint. To me it looks more like a plastic surface made to match the paint color.


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Old 07-04-2016, 09:28 PM   #6
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2014 AI has soft paint

Here are a couple of photos of the chip damage to rear trim parts from driving on gravel roads in Alaska and northern Minnesota. You can see that the adjacent Sprinter sheet metal doesn't even have a scratch.
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Old 07-04-2016, 10:37 PM   #7
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Different paint, and a more harsh exposure where the leading edge of the trim is a perpendicular affront to road debris kicked up by the vehicle wheels.


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Old 07-04-2016, 11:22 PM   #8
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My side trim (added by Airstream) has what appears to be sand scratched swelling showing. Not very attractive. Someone else mentioned this same thing some time back.

Don't know if clear-coat provides any UV protection but w/o it, the base coat will not last very long. Just look at the cars on the road built around the time the mfgs switched to water-borne paint systems and the clear-coat failed. The base coat soon fails and is not pretty.
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Old 07-09-2016, 06:11 PM   #9
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My silver 2013 AI had the same problem as 73shark, in that all the plastic lower body panels installed by Airstream, including front and rear bumper covers, turned hazy white with white streaks. Looked horrible. The Mercedes paint on the metal panels still looked great however. My dealer replaced all the affected parts for me and I'm hoping they stay looking nice. For reference, I bought my m/y 2013 (2012 chassis) AI in Apr 2013 and the panels were replaced in Jul 2015 with 21.7K mi.
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Old 07-14-2016, 10:55 PM   #10
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All panels installed to the Sprinter by Airstream are painted badly. If you try to clean rear bumper or anything lower than your side moldings with alchohol (which I do on any Mercedes paint on all my other cars) you will finish with deluted strikes on the Airstream paint. However, the Sprinter paint which is above body side moldings and on the front bumper, is normally durable.
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