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Old 06-13-2012, 07:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by AtomicNo13 View Post
Anything zinc plated will certainly outlast something painted.
Especially if protected by a properly installed B-Pan.

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Old 06-13-2012, 08:05 AM   #16
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And this is why I am not a designer/builder of custom trailers. Apparently mine would fall apart or snap in half. Great insight.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:43 AM   #17
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mrgreen in europe somewhere just had his frame hot-dipped and they lost some bits of the frame as a bonus...
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:25 AM   #18
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aluminum trailers

I spent a deacde or so working on boats and engines in a saltwater area of Florida. Only two types of trailers held up: hot dipped galvanized and aluminum.

Float-On trailers are all aluminum, hold up extremely well in extreme salt environments, and have been around for 30 years. Looking at them, you can tell the are engineered differently than steel trailers and are used on some very large boats

Float-On Features
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:42 AM   #19
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Southwest Research, in San Antonio, Texas, tested an aluminum chassis in the late 1960's.

I saw it under test.

Bottom line results was an absolute "failure".

Andy
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:00 AM   #20
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here is photo of an actual Airstream frame IN OHIO.

Why are they not used in the US? Don't get me going.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:16 AM   #21
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The steel frame usually rusts out because of failure of other components. Most of the corrosion on my 30yr old trailer was a result of the bumper plate leak and the bumper compartment that funnels water under the belly skins. Combine this with the wet insulation and you have a corrosion nightmare. Aluminum floors, getting rid of the bumper plate, and anodizing the frame would get rid of 99% of the structural problems that Airstreams suffer from.

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Seems like if Airstream had made the frame out of aluminum as well, that a lot of the issues being dealt with (frame rusting out and causing many other problems) would have never happened. Has anyone replaced a rotting out frame with a newly built aluminum frame? Is there a place to get these from for specific models?
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:22 AM   #22
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If the typical new trailer buyer is a trade up often buyer, there'd be no need for a rustproof frame. If the typical new trailer buyer is a price shopper, there'd be no need for a rustproof frame. The cost/benefit analysis on a . . . say $30,000 upcharge for an all aluminum frame and a boat deck subfloor, takes me way past the typical original owner of a mid price travel trailer.

I notice many Model A Ford frames are still good. I wonder if those frames had been encased with a liner and wrapped up with stinky pink insulation so the frames stayed wet with water, if the Model A frames would have done so well.

I actually think the steel frames would last a LOT longer if they were open and not insulated. It looks to me like the Airstream design itself promotes and enables the floor rot and the frame rust.

So what's the real carefree useful life of a new Airstream? Me thinks it's "0", Zero. I still drive my Chevy pickup that I bought new in 1987 every day and I've had no interruptions of service at all. I changed sparkplugs once. The cab never has leaked. No frame rust damage. (I undercoated it when I bought it.) It's an open frame with a heated cab.

I noticed a difference in steel. Cars like the Model A's were made from all new steel. Later cars like the 70's Datsuns were made from steel made from new and used steel. I seem to remember reading that some new steel is made with a 20% recycled steel content. I'm not sure if the used steel content is an issue. I suspect it is. When rust pops on a car fender that sill has paint on two sides, where'd the rust come from?
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:29 AM   #23
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I agree with Splitrock it is a design issue not a materials issue.

Perry
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:27 PM   #24
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So is there a better insulation to use once a floor is replaced so moisture does not get trapped against the frame?
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:26 PM   #25
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I don't know the answer. Where I replaced the stinky pinky, I used reflective foil air bubble insulation held up from the bottom with aluminum screen. I added belly skin screened drained holes near the leak points (like the step release slot). In my opinion, the belly pan is most of the problem. With it on, it holds water, all but eliminates air flow, and rusts the steel parts.

With the belly skin removed, the raw plywood floor is exposed to water splash up, ice, and snow in winter tow. I'd rather see a powder coated exposed steel frame under a marine grade deck that's waterproof on both sides. That would be a design change but it shouldn't add $30,000 to the purchase cost.

Are they building a travel trailer or a 4 season park model? I think they're confused.
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:58 PM   #26
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Any design of any product is a compromise of many product properties and widely varied intended usages. Airstream is an American legend. An unique aerodynamically shaped aluminum travel trailer pulled by readily available tow vehicles for fun and adventure. The Airstream management occasionally surveys the marketplace to fine tune the product to meet the prospective customer needs and desires. They balance cost of production vs potential market profit. Most of the frequenters of this forum likely do not represent the average potential Airstream customer target. The class A motorhome business is another unique market that Airstream has decided they can not make a reasonable profit off of for the amount of work they must put forward. Its all business and all about making the most money off the resources you must invest.
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:22 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMSmith View Post
So is there a better insulation to use once a floor is replaced so moisture does not get trapped against the frame?
Don't know for sure how much of an improvement it is, haven't seen any of it yet, but this is what there using on the '13 models.

Bob
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:06 PM   #28
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Are cracks in aluminum frames repairable thru welding/doublers etc. in a practical manner?
NO. Many alloys of Aluminum are not weldable. That is why airplanes are riveted.
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