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Old 04-27-2011, 01:42 PM   #1
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Rust spots already on rock guards - 2011 Airstream

Hi all!

Just gave the baby her first bath... She's a 28 foot International Serenity that Nick and I brought home to Minnesota from Eugene. Just gave her her first wash with a Meguiar Wash and Wax product which worked fine. She is really CLEAN!

Question: During the washing, I noticed THERE ARE SUDDENLY lots of rust-colored spots on our rock guards that I didn't see when we left Oregon, but must have happened in the trip home. But is that rust, or something else? I am wondering if I should do something to remove these rust-colored spots before putting on the Meguiar wax.

Your expertise is soooo appreciated! Thanks Wendy
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:20 PM   #2
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The rock guards should be stainless steel. I would try some baking soda to remov the stain, then apply wax.
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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I've found Barkeepers Friend to be very effective at easily removing the rust stains from the stone guards. It's a powder, much like Comet. Just mix up a little paste and gently apply on the rust. Let it sit a little bit and gently rub the spot or area. Wash it off and the rust is gone. In case you didn't know, the stone guards are made of stainless steel versus the aluminum of the trailer skin. Barkeepers Friend is available at WalMart and lots of other places. It's cheap too. I also use the stainless steel BBQ grill cleaner or stainless steel kitchen wipes to keep the guards looking good.
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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You would think Airstream would use the the good stainless steel alloy. It probably has a mill or two of the good alloy on the surface and that with less chrome and nickle behind it. I would rather pay more for something that will last ans look good for more than two years. Sounds like a materials and workmanship issue.

Yes you have to take a magnet with you to buy a Stainless BBQ now. The stainless steel on most appliances has steel in it.

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Old 04-27-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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OOps The stainless steel on most appliances has steel in it.

Correction.. The stainless steel on most appliances has a low quality of stainless steel in it.
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Old 04-27-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendywoods View Post
Hi all!

Just gave the baby her first bath... She's a 28 foot International Serenity that Nick and I brought home to Minnesota from Eugene. Just gave her her first wash with a Meguiar Wash and Wax product which worked fine. She is really CLEAN!

Question: During the washing, I noticed THERE ARE SUDDENLY lots of rust-colored spots on our rock guards that I didn't see when we left Oregon, but must have happened in the trip home. But is that rust, or something else? I am wondering if I should do something to remove these rust-colored spots before putting on the Meguiar wax.

Your expertise is soooo appreciated! Thanks Wendy
Wendy, one sugguestion I'd add, use cleaners in the direction of the grain, not up and down. Good luck, John
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:19 PM   #7
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All stainless steel contains iron in varying amounts up to 85%.

It is the 11.5 to 20% chromium and 8.0 to 10.5% nickel that give it its varying properties and make it suitable for various applications requiring corrosion and heat resistance.

The magnet test helps only to identify those stainless alloys that are magnetic because of the percentage of constituents not their quality or iron content. Some 400 alloy stainless steels are magnetic and are also superior for cooking utensils because of their high temperature corrosion resistance and strength.

Residue of chemicals present in paving materials and snow / ice melting compounds can stain and corrode stainless steel. In addition, iron bearing materials can adhere to stainless and then itself rust.

Micro-abrasive cleaners would be best to use on the stone guards to preserve the texture as pointed out earlier. These are readily available as automotive metal polishes.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:25 PM   #8
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I know absolutely nothing about Airstream rock guards. I do know a little bit about appliances and plumbing components. I test stainless steel sinks for quality nickle stainless with a strong magnet. A magnet won't stick to good grade nickle stainless steel. The magnet hangs right on the low grade stainless. I've found low grade stainless to rust pit, no problem.
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Old 04-27-2011, 05:37 PM   #9
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Three years after building a home overlooking the ocean and facing into the tradewinds, I think I have the shade-tree equivalent of an associates degree in metallurgy. The different stainless steels have their different uses. 316 won't rust, but it's softer than the (probably, I don't know) 304 stainless. We've cut our teeth here on stainless appliances, hinges, and brass, and aluminium, and steel in any form....arggghhhhhhHHH!!!!!




and when nickel went up several hundred percent in price a while back, the Chinese substituted manganese and we now have 200 series stainless.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:18 PM   #10
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It's possible you picked up some metal fillings or grindings on the road home. When you washed your trailer the metal bits rusted. In other words it might be that it is something on the rock guards and not the stainless. I have seen small rust spots on my white TV on close inspection it turned out to be something on the surface, came off with a little elbow grease.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:11 PM   #11
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Hi wendywoods. You made it!? Thank you for the report of your trip home -- I missed that.

The segment protectors (as these are called) are stainless steel. They have no coating on them. This subject has seen some very good metallurgical descriptions by dwightdi.
Posts #24 & 28 at Segment Protector Corrosion
Problems with the stainless steel sinks
Between this issue & bugs & tar, I have found some brass wool that I've used infrequently to take it back to the original surface. A bit of mineral spirits on a small rag helped remove some tar film in that process. Be sure to rub only in line with the grain of the surface. No circles, okay? Take care. The trim along the edge is only plastic molding. This applies to the segment protectors only. Do not treat your aluminum skin this way.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:20 PM   #12
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It's possible you picked up some metal fillings or grindings on the road home. When you washed your trailer the metal bits rusted. In other words it might be that it is something on the rock guards and not the stainless. I have seen small rust spots on my white TV on close inspection it turned out to be something on the surface, came off with a little elbow grease.
This is what I was thinking. In the auto industry, it's call rail dust. It can show up car's paint, especially those which are transported by rail. Steel wheels on steel rails create steel dust. It gets on the car's surface and bleeds rust.

It can also happen on the road occasionally. Your TV brake pads may be semi-metallic with some iron in them...could be other iron or steel dust on the road close to iron mines or steel mills, etc.
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:56 PM   #13
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My wife can use her stainless steel appliances as magnet boards:-) Maytag refrigerator and Jenn Air range . . . both phony.
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Old 04-27-2011, 11:17 PM   #14
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I am guessing low grade stainless is the problem. If a magnet sticks to your rock guards then its low grade and will rust.
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