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Old 04-18-2006, 05:00 PM   #1
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Question Should I ground my airstream?

I have rusting on my tongue and rear bumper area. All my stabilizers are either up during storage or on non conductive blocks during use, as is the tongue jack. Someone once told me to rest one of the tow chains on the ground to ground the trailer and reduce rusting. I notice on my rear bumper what appears to be a small fitting to screw on a ground wire. Would it help to reduce rusting to connect a ground rod to this screw fitting?
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:31 PM   #2
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Rob,

There are too many variables to give you a single answer. A lot depends on the pH of the soil.

You might start by sinking a ground rod into earth nearby, get the soil wet, then check for a voltage between the airstream and the ground rod. Look for very slight millivolt reading.
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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Grounding your trailer is good for safety if you have it plugged into 110 volts. Sometimes the ground in the trailer is not good or there may be some leakage of voltage. A reversed ground in the campground box will cause you to get a full 110 volts if you grab the trailer handle and are standing on wet grass.
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Old 04-18-2006, 09:51 PM   #4
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ground your airstream?

has it been really bad?
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Old 04-18-2006, 10:00 PM   #5
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If it is plugged in the common and ground wire should go back through the electrical system. You could always put a sacrificial piece of metal under the jack and use that as a frame ground.
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Old 04-19-2006, 12:00 AM   #6
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Hello robkelly1

What is the weather like there ? Wet and rainy or ,never been there so i dont know.On the west coast here in santa barbara we have salt in the air ,about a few miles from the pacific ocean and its a problem.I dont think grounding it can stop it but it would be interesting if it had an effect on it.Use a piece of zinc for the ground under the jack post on the tongue.Boat shops have them for outdrives ,called a sacrificial anode ,it corrodes not the outdrive,worth a try.

scott of scottanlily
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:57 PM   #7
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There is a screw bracket in the area of my back bumper too but it had the ground wire from inside of the trailer connected to it. It could be that your trailer power system is not connected to your frame anywhere now if you don't have a bare copper wire attached to that fitting (and it should be).

Malcolm
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Old 04-20-2006, 09:40 AM   #8
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I am so glad to see a thread on this as I too am seeing some corrosion on the alum starting. A boater friend of mine had said he feels it has to do with the electrical system and grounding the rig while parked. Can anybody explain in detail on how to do this (besides the idea of staking into the ground? Kinda hard when you have it parked in a cemented storage lot). Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:32 AM   #9
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If you have the stabilizer or tongue jack(s), or safety chains on the ground, your Airstream is already grounded, perhaps not adequately for large AC currents, but more than enough for the small DC potentials that cause corrosion. In fact, it's the 120VAC ground connected to earth back at the power source panel that gives these small DC currents a complete path, so if you're concerned about corrosion, the best thing to do is totally insulate your Airstream from the earth, but that's hard to do with dirty parking blocks.

The solution in the boating world is either an expensive and very heavy isolation transformer that magnetically couples the AC power, establishing its own AC ground/neutral bonding at the secondary output, OR what's called a galvanic isolator placed in the ground line going back to the shorepower. The galvanic isolator blocks small DC currents while not opposing AC current, should a "fault" develop on board.

If you ground your Airstream, even with the jacks, and the hot and ground are swapped in the power box, you may not even get close enough to the trailer to get zapped by touching it, if the ground is wet. It can electrify the ground around it enough to paralyze you, but not enough to trip the breaker. I can't find the news article, but this happened in a campground not too long ago. IIRC others were able to drag the victim away before they were killed. That's why you should always use a circuit tester on a campground outlet.

As far as electrical code goes, you don't want more than one earth ground in a circuit.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:16 PM   #10
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the electrical tester that has 3 lights and connects to your electrical outlet is one of the best small investments you can make. It will quickly tell you the condition of your polarity, I use it everytime we hook up at a campground. A friend had an electrician come out and put in two 30 amp services for his Airstream, both were incorrectly wired as well as one outlet that he had also changed in the house.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarheel
the electrical tester that has 3 lights and connects to your electrical outlet is one of the best small investments you can make. It will quickly tell you the condition of your polarity, I use it everytime we hook up at a campground. A friend had an electrician come out and put in two 30 amp services for his Airstream, both were incorrectly wired as well as one outlet that he had also changed in the house.
Obviously he was not an electrician. Some places have no or weak standards for how tradesman promote themselves. Always ask to see their Lic, your life may depend on it...
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