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Old 10-01-2006, 09:08 AM   #1
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Frame Rust...AS Only?...or Other TTs?

HI All...after beating to death the AS 70's version frame rust question AND reading the continuing flow of "frame rust" threads...including some "newer" ASs (example 2000 model year)...I am wondering???

Is this frame rust an issue that is widespread throughout the TT industry? I have not seen any mention on other TT sites? (Ya I know...they are all in the junk yard by 30 years!).

Do ANY other TT manufacturers galvanize their frames...or otherwise protect them? What mfgs do so???

Do auto companies galvanize their frames?...and if so when did they start?

Is it VERY expensive for a manufacturer to galvanize a frame???

Any discussions that AS will begin to galvanize their frames?

This frame rust issue may be acceptable for those of you who can repair yourself...AND are willing to do so...but seems to me it is WAY too common of an issue in the "used" ASs...and even a bit in the "newer" ASs.

Thanks for your comments...Tom R in Two Harbors, MN

P.S. The answer is not to keep it away from the ocean and winter climates with salt on the road...auto mfgs seem to have taken care of this issue...why can't the TT mfgs? ...TMR
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:22 AM   #2
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Tom,
Yes there are some galvanized frames on the market but I can't remember the manufacturer. And yes other trailers do suffer from frame rust. I think the Airstream is a bit more prone due to the enclosed belly pan. The single biggest reason that they don't do more with frames will be cost vs profit margins. Face it Thor is only interested in the bottom line, not how long a trailer will last or whether the customer is ultimately satisfied with it. I rebuilt a couple of older Coleman popup campers that were built by Coleman. They were a well built unit, I tore down a newer version of the same camper built under the Fleecewood umbrella and the quality was very, very poor, again most decisions in the RV industry are profit driven.

Aaron
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Old 10-01-2006, 10:14 AM   #3
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Hi Aaron...seems like it would help justify the $$$$$ price of an Airstream if it had the standards equal to the "best of breed" in all areas. That would likely include whatever frame treatment is current best practice...galvanize?

Also, do they still have the moisture retention issue in the 2007 and recent ASs? Seems like the belly pan is part of the problem...when accompanied with the "sponge" insulation. Must be a reasonable way to keep the traditional belly pan feature but modify to be sure of drainage and no moisture retention. That sponge insulation effect is unreal!

I think the other TTs have a bit less of an issue because they do not wrap the belly and "hold" the moisture in?

I would hesitate to but an $80K new AS if they still build the frame/belly pan/insulation the same way ...Tom R in Two Harbors, MN

P.S. Anyone know of any TT brands that galvanize the frame?
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Old 10-01-2006, 10:51 AM   #4
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Tom,
Actually probably the best and most cost efective would be an epoxy paint of some type. Galvanizing brings in its own set of issues. There is also something called E-coat which is elctrocoating, where the paint is given one charge and the frame a different allowing the paint to really adhere and get into the cracks and crevices. I wouldn't know about the high prices of new Airstreams...I won't afford one I would rather do my own work, take my time and know stuff has or hasn't been done right

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Old 10-01-2006, 01:25 PM   #5
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Tom, I believe you have raised by far the most important issue in Airstream construction. In April 2004 we discussed ideas for improvement, including galvanising, at:
http://www.airforums.com/forum...eer-10909.html?

At post 5, I said:

"Is it likely that these changes will be made? That is up to the people that buy new Airstream trailers. Airstream has to make a profit, or it dies. Changes will be made if those changes are deemed to be priorities in the minds of potential purchasers. If potential purchasers walk into a trailer with a salesman, and indicate that their priorities are Corian counter tops, Moen faucets, slide-outs, and the fabrics used on the furnishings, then the company will respond to that. If enough potential purchasers ask the salesman about the sort of items I have listed above (frame corrosion, etc), then Airstream will respond. That is my understanding of the working of a market in a capitalist economy. Airstream makes a wonderful trailer. How it develops is up to the buyers of new trailers, which excludes me!"

Frame corrosion in our Airstreams is the elephant in the corner of the room that most of us are trying to pretend doesn't exist!
Nick.
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Old 10-01-2006, 04:23 PM   #6
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Nick/Aaron and others...Has AS done anything on new models to eliminate or at least improve the protection of the frame and undercarriage from moisture and rust?

The cost of a new AS is about double a comparable TT...ie; comparable features and quality. The "mystique" and unique design are certainly attractive and deserve a premium...but only if it is backed up with the very BEST quality and features.

Nick, I agree that the Airstrem "elephant in the room, that few want to recognize or discuss, is the frame/insulation/undercarriage and the rust/moisture vulnerability...even on a 2007 model.

Seems like Thor would want to fix this and not diminish the fine reputation the "legend" of Airstream has...won't last forever.

Current AS reminds me of Harley-Davidson BEFORE they fixed the legendary issues with their motorcycles. NOW a new Harley is every bit as reliable and quality built as any other motorcycle...just drive it and enjoy...as long as you have normal mantenance...no oil on the garage floor any more. Harley has prospered and can be owned by individuals that do not have to know how to "over haul" them.

Sure wish that were true of AS... Tom R in Two Harbors
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Old 10-01-2006, 05:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomR
Nick/Aaron and others...Has AS done anything on new models to eliminate or at least improve the protection of the frame and undercarriage from moisture and rust?
Tom, judging by the recent appalling photos of corrosion on a 2001 Bambi, I would guess that nothing has changed. (I would be pleased to be contradicted.)

Company CEOs are under pressure from institutional shareholders (who invest for our pension plans) to increase the share price in the short term. Short term profits are a sure way to increase the share price, so the customer will be given what the customer wants. The long term preservation of an American style icon is not a high priority in such a market. A thread 6 months ago on frame corrosion produced 10 posts besides mine. A thread on "LCD TV brackets" produced 83 posts. As I believe you say in the USA: "Go figure!" We are all complicit in this, and we get the Airstreams we deserve.
Meanwhile, I'll carry on spraying rust prevention fluid into and onto the frame of my beautiful trailer.
Nick.
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