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Old 05-14-2011, 06:07 AM   #15
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2012 30' Classic
Bigfork , Montana
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 31
Towing through MT

I've also towed through my home state, Montana, in the winter, in fact, on dozens of different occasions and this is the first time I've ever had a problem. I'm included to think I hit an unusually thick patch of chloride, a substance that has also, I now learn, created problems for some of my friends, who curse the stuff!

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Old 05-14-2011, 06:25 AM   #16
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2012 30' Classic
Bigfork , Montana
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 31
Airstream usage

For the record Janie and I use our Airstream for the business of writing and photography and for lots of pleasure. Airstream, And Our 100,000 Miles On the Road | Bert Gildart: Writer and Photographer

Right now I'm absolutely sick about the filiform corrosion shown on photos above. We have hail insurance and am hoping our insurance will also cover corrosion. In the meantime I appreciate everyone's response, which has even reacquainted me with friends in the Airstream community.

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Old 05-14-2011, 07:07 AM   #17
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1960 28' Ambassador
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1998 25' Safari
Avonton , Ontario
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Seems very unlikely that insurance would cover corrosion. That's like asking them to fix your rusty car. The filiform doesn't do much damage to the aluminum, it just looks bad. My 67 was totaly white with it and I was able to strip the clearcoat and polish it all off. But I don't know how easy it would be to remove the clear coat on a 2005 trailer.
Doug & Terry
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1950 Spartan
1966 Globetrotter
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:16 AM   #18
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1957 30' Sovereign of the Road
1959 28' Ambassador
1949 24' Limited
Peru , New York
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Posts: 740
Hi Bert,
Sorry to see that "stuff" on your trailer. I'm afraid, as everyone has pointed out, it's filiform corrosion. It's a result of minute chips in your clearcoat due to rock chips etc along with salt on the roads & lack of washing & sealing. I believe Rich Luhr has determined that it will also happen in higher humidity environments & not necessarily only from salt. He doesn't get any in Tucson, however it starts to grow when he arrives in Vermont for the summer.

I have had a few jobs come in with clearcoat peeling off along with the associated oxidation. I typically strip the remaining clearcoat off the panel, then use scotch brite pads & water to remove the oxidation & to bring the "mill" finish look back, that is similar to the other panels. Re clearcoating will also be necessary, unless you do the complete trailer & allow all of it to oxidize at the same rate. Polishing & clearcoating is also an option, but significantly more work & cost.
Replacing panels will be significantly more expensive than the previous options, plus they will will likely be installed with olympic rivets which over time will create their own issues.
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:38 AM   #19
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2005 28' International CCD
Maple Plain , Minnesota
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Bert & Janie: I bet you're sick over this. I feel your pain and experienced it ourselves after we returned from a long trip and were then hit with hail. Large settlement, but not near enough to actually cover the real cost to do a good repair job.

Colin has the right idea. Clean the panel(s) and strip clear-cote from that area. Use Scotch Pad (medium) lightly rubbing in direction of grain. This should blend the mill finish and match pretty closely. Don't polish or you'll have a shiny spot.

Protect the restored surface with wax until you talk to an auto body shop about spraying your panel with clear-cote (most do this on a regular basis). You might delay this step for a while until the metals finish starts to "blend" or "weather" to the finish appearance of rest of the trailer.

I have come to the conclusion that as beautiful as an unblemished A/S is, the patina of road use begins to make them more handsome. That's my only consolation any more when I look into the mirror to shave! Why shouldn't that also be true of our favorite wagon?

At least that is what my wife tells me!

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Old 05-14-2011, 10:39 AM   #20
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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With these newer Alcoa coated panels, the ultimate solution may be a good auto body shop who can clean it up and paint it silver, with a clear coat over that to give it depth. I've seen a late model painted Airstream here on the forum and it looks really good, but can't remember who owned it.


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