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Old 07-09-2005, 06:37 PM   #1
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Information from Alcoa's Web Site

I clipped a page from Alcoa's web site. You might find this interesting.

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Jack

"Airstream Travel Trailers

They are legendary American icons - traveling silver bullets jetting around highways across the land in search of a carefree adventure. The instantly recognizable Airstream Trailer has been a favorite among trailer owners since the 1930s, and thousands continue to be drawn to the classic aluminum design.

So when Airstream needed an environmentally-friendly way to treat the aluminum bodies of its trailers ensuring durability and enhancing the sheen, Airstream turned to Alcoa - the largest aluminum maker in the world.

Airstream had been applying its own see-through protection to enhance the trademark aluminum finish of the trailer, but new environmental regulations restricted the company's use of paints and lacquers because of the chemicals that are typically released.

Alcoa engineers had already patented a product for automotive trim parts that could be adapted to meet Airstream's needs for appearance, durability and environmental compliance. Using the Alcoa Business System principles, Alcoa engineers, research and development staff, and technicians crossed organizational boundaries and leveraged their knowledge to develop a system to apply clear coating to mill-finished aluminum sheet that met the Airstream standards.

Test after test, the system withstood every possible element. Alcoa had developed a solution that would save the day for Airstream - aluminum sheet packaged in coils and pre-painted with a clear coating that was thermally cured so the sun's ultraviolet rays could not degrade the polymer. No fading. No peeling. No cracking. Environmentally sound. And environmentally safe.

To prove the durability of Alcoa's solution, we set out our treated aluminum to bake under the sun in South Florida. Today - many years later - our coated aluminum continues to look as beautiful as the day it was set out in the salty, hot air of South Florida, enabling Airstream to continue to maintain the image of quality and design that it has for the past 70 years."
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Old 07-09-2005, 06:57 PM   #2
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So, the answer to peeling clearcoat is to park the coach permanently in South Florida?

Mark
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Old 07-09-2005, 06:59 PM   #3
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May solve you peeling problem, but what about dents from flying hurricane debris?

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by j54mark
So, the answer to peeling clearcoat is to park the coach permanently in South Florida?

Mark
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Old 07-09-2005, 07:04 PM   #4
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Let me hasten to add that I do not mean to make a dig at Airstream - it is worth noting that for many years Wally produced coaches with no coating of any kind. Owners were just supposed to keep them waxed and polished.

But really, there is a lot of difference between a static sheet panel sitting out in a single season climate and one that is exposed to wide temperature ranges as well as the constant motion and jarring of trailering.

Mark
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Old 07-09-2005, 09:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j54mark
So, the answer to peeling clearcoat is to park the coach permanently in South Florida?

Mark
Well the interesting aspect is that based on this test coating is resistant to UV. Obviously once that surface is compromised, holes drilled, rivets, scratches etc., it's just a matter of time before the bad stuff gets underneath that coating and it's pop time....I pretty much think what I get from the story is that if the finish fails, its probably something that damaged it at build time rather than a bad application or batch.

Jack
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:14 AM   #6
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Excuse me if I have missed something but,what areas of your trailer are peeling? What year is your trailer?
Airstream built a complete trailer shell and it is sitting at Oasis in Tucson Arizona. The trailer shell has been sitting there since 1999 with no signs of coating problems.
Just curious.
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:20 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

I thought I had heard that there was a change in the coating, or aluminum used, just within the last 5 or 6 years. Is this true??
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:27 AM   #8
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Prior to 1999 the coating was sprayed on at the factory. Alcoa now applies the coating on the metal before Airstream receives it.
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:39 AM   #9
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Is it just me, or does it seem that many of the people having the problems with clear coat are the newer (3-4 year old) airstreams?
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynn
Excuse me if I have missed something but,what areas of your trailer are peeling? What year is your trailer?
Airstream built a complete trailer shell and it is sitting at Oasis in Tucson Arizona. The trailer shell has been sitting there since 1999 with no signs of coating problems.
Just curious.
Lynn, while not a common problem, we have had a few threads on the Alcoa finished trailers peeling. Here is one of them.

Alcoa finish peeling thread.

Tucson while being a high UV area and a good test of that aspect. Its also not a true picture of the real world of rain, snow, ice, various elements in the air, salt, etc. While a virgin sheet of Alcoa aluminum may stand the test of time, once it gets molded, drilled and rivet into, scratched or dinged, its a whole different story. How else do you explain to the owners in the linked thread above, why their finishes on their new trailers have failed?

Jack
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:46 AM   #11
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Clear coat has always been an area of concern ever since Airstream began coating trailers in the 60's. The new coating being used is far superior to what was applied in the past. While there still will be problems, they are not as frequent as in the past. I believe the terminology between peeling and corrosion is an issue, they both are bad but have different causes.
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FBC72
Is it just me, or does it seem that many of the people having the problems with clear coat are the newer (3-4 year old) airstreams?
There have been some reports, but its nowhere near the numbers that occured in the 90's where Airstream struggled with the clear coat formula to come up with something that would meet EPA standards at the factory.

The Airstream tour guide at Jackson Center talks about this problem when asked. He noted that during that period of time, owners of new trailers under warranty with failing clear coats would bring their units to Jackson Center, be recoated, and within a year have that clear coat fail also. It was a bad problem then.

Jack
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Old 07-10-2005, 07:56 AM   #13
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Now if I can only send my coach to Alcoa to have it "re-coated" when I'm done.
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Old 07-10-2005, 10:39 AM   #14
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On the newer models does applying a coat of wax on a regula basis help perserve the clearcoat finish at all?
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