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Old 10-26-2009, 10:11 PM   #15
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2004 Bambi excessive frame corrosion

I too as disappointed about the accelerated frame rust and belly pan issues. Bought this camper just a few days ago for a good price, but realize now that I have to deal with the belly pans and quick. Mine has the belly pans turned to dust around the rivets. The previous owner kept the trailer on an island campground in GA and I can only think that the frame rust and belly pan corrosion is due to the salt water and mixture of the two metals.

Has anyone used an alternate belly pan material on a restoration? Galvanize sheet metal like that used in duct work or plastic? Alternate insulation?
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:47 AM   #16
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I too as disappointed about the accelerated frame rust and belly pan issues. Bought this camper just a few days ago for a good price, but realize now that I have to deal with the belly pans and quick. Mine has the belly pans turned to dust around the rivets. The previous owner kept the trailer on an island campground in GA and I can only think that the frame rust and belly pan corrosion is due to the salt water and mixture of the two metals.

Has anyone used an alternate belly pan material on a restoration? Galvanize sheet metal like that used in duct work or plastic? Alternate insulation?
Hi bren Vt2002;
I fully undersatand your frustration which does not afflict only you, but everyone else who owns a Airstream as well. Some are lucky to live and camp in dry climate and are not aflicted by such problems. Some store in climate controlled wearhouses and use them two weeks out of the year. Some do not complain because they are not aware of ongoing problem, because it is out of sight. The head in the sand attitude maintained by the manufacturer does not resolve the issue. Your options are; One, buy an SOB in which the floor is open which eliminates condensation.
Two, buy an Airstrem and keep your head in the sand until frame sag becomes obvious. Three, buy an Airstream and spend a lot more money and work to correct the problem. Those are your three choices unless the manufacturer corrects the problem during the manufacturing process. Since you already own your Airstream the manufacturer will not help you. Therefore, if you like to keep your Airstream from any further damage by the elements to which it is exposed to, get to work. This is where the problem begins. Many, may not have the know how, tools or facility to preform such a task. Others cannot afford to farm out this work either, because it can be very expensive. Complaints will not correct the issues with units already in the field, so your options are very limited.

All of my previous articles in reference to frame rust were not aimed to excuse the manufacturing responsibility. They were to make everyone understand that even a million articles on the Forums will not resolve the issues. A class action law suit may help to some extend if won, althought it may be too late for many. Until then it is up to us to make the choice.
Not many are fortunate as I am, having the know how, tools and facility to preform such tasks, but nontheless your complains will not help.
Understanding why the damage occurs is primary step, in order to attempt to correct the problem. None of the materials you mentioned will eliviate your problem unless temp barriers are in place to stop the condensation.
Thanks "Boatdoc"
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:54 PM   #17
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Fix up plan, sound good?

boatdoc, condensation as a cause for the frame rust is real and I agree, but what I have I think is more related to the salt and the dissimilar metals. The aluminum belly pans are literally dust around the rivets indicating some kind of galvanic corrosion. The pans are sagged and now washing, splashing of rain or traveling in the rain launch water into the fiberglass, holds near frame and rusts... I don't think the salt helped at all either.

I'm going to store on grass or platform with vapor barrier between ground and AS for storage in the winter to prevent corrosion via condensation.

For the fix, I'm going to remove the aluminum skins, insulation, wire brush and paint frame with POR 15 or equiv. Insulation will be aluminum backed foam board. Then get some replacement skins, likely factory equiv, lay some caulk down to provide a barrier between the dissimilar metals, rivet and be done. If rust is apparent, I'm undercoating with bar chain oil.

If we drag it back to Michigan in the early or late winter and salt is an issue, going to use a product called "salt away" to clean it off. The wash is used to get rid of salt in marine motors.

This thing is a 2004 so i don't think the frame should be compromised yet? Right? Are there tell tale signs. This is only a 16ft and 3500 GVWR.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bren_vt2002 View Post
...Bought this camper just a few days ago for a good price... The previous owner kept the trailer on an island campground in GA and I can only think that the frame rust and belly pan corrosion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bren_vt2002 View Post
...This thing is a 2004 so i don't think the frame should be compromised yet? Right? Are there tell tale signs. This is only a 16ft and 3500 GVWR.
is THIS, by chance the TRAILER u purchased?

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...elp-44269.html

OUCH! if it is...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-30-2009, 10:51 AM   #19
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Rut Ro

Looks like it, and from reading the previous thread, nothing had been fixed yet. I got it for less than ericwarren paid ultimately with the floor and a bunch of other issues fixed, supposedly around 7K from the dealer. Working through some finishing touches with the local dealer on trim etc. The only thing that remains is the pans and insulation. Inspection of the plywood looks good.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:54 PM   #20
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GOOD DEAL!

glad 2 read it's been fixed some.

the flooring isn't plywood, unless they've replace the factory OSB used 4 the 16s.

i would NOT use an alternate metal for the belly pan USE aluminum.

any direct contact with steel frame can be buffered with sealant or gaskets or teh double sided butyl tape a/s uses...

for FLOOR insulation, a/s now uses bubble/foil.

i'm not suggesting THAT is better than fiberglass batting, but it is what they use now.

teh belly pan area NEEDS to breath/ventilate some,

to deal with the condensation and water that WILL get in there occasionally.

best of luck and POST SOME PHOTOS of this unit, so we can see yer baby and how she's been fixed up...

maybe start a NEW THREAD just on your trailer, to get the stuff OUT of this old thread...

cheers
2air'
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:18 PM   #21
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I live in Miami. Lots of salt in the air. Lots of humidity. The frame on my trailer is pretty much lightly rusted (got a pretty good look while replacing the front half of the sub-floor three years ago). Basically, I do what the Coast Guard does. I buy a gallon of Corrossion X, hook up my venturi gun and pretty much fog the belly and the inside of the rails (where I have access). I do this bi-annually. Not only does most everything below the floor get coated, the drip pattern will show you any serious leaks. I don't try to make it water tight because any moisture that gets in needs a path out.

Then I go camping and don't worry very much about it.

Beer. Good.

Mike
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Old 10-30-2009, 02:54 PM   #22
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So, tell me the bad news. My 04 has been towed in the winter over 20k miles, all in Salty roads and mag chloride and camped extensively along the west coast. The pan has never been off. should I now expect it to start sagging or even worse just cave in? I see no cracks anywhere. No leaks. I mean just when I get some confidence in my Chinese made marathons, accepted the corrosion, this thread now has me wondering if the basic foundation of the damn thing is ready to crumble. I think Airstream has a cruel intention to kill its customers by a slow and painful death. Its called owner stress.
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:51 PM   #23
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Safari 28,

1. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

2. If you read all of the posts here and take each to heart, you will run naked into the desert and eschew aluminum forever. Everything negative that has ever happened in, or around an Airstream has been written about extensively here, dissected, re-dissected, analyzed.........

3. The consensus seems to be that Airstreams are absolutely horrible, poorly built, overpriced death traps. Except for the tens of thousands that aren't.

4. Yours sounds fine. Enjoy.

5. Repeat item #1.


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Old 10-31-2009, 12:17 AM   #24
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You are indeed a saint.
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