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Old 05-27-2014, 06:29 AM   #1
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To cover or not to cover?

Hello,

My family and I recently moved to the northeast US with our 1959 Airstream Tradewind. The last few springs we lived in southern Alabama re-polish was pretty easy I suspect because of the hot and dry climate. Our new home, joust south of Washington DC requires me to store the trailer under a pavilion in a storage lot but very close to the Potomac River. The exterior oxidation was much thicker this year than previous.

My question...would covering the trailer with a all weather trailer cover that cinches up at the bottom be helpful or hurtful? My initial thoughts are that it would keep cut down on the moisture on the skin. However I have heard some people say never to cover an airstream because the friction of the cover will scratch the aluminum.

What do the experts say?

Steve
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:32 AM   #2
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Hot and dry in Alabama?. Anyway, covers are not recommended I think because they cause scratches. Jim
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:31 AM   #3
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I'm no expert so maybe I'm not supposed to reply... but I'll give my two-cents anyway.

I've never covered an Airstream. Like many will tell you on this forum covers are thought to contribute to scratching the surface. That may be true and I don't have anything to refute that premise as it pertains to Airstreams.

On the other hand, there are lots of very expensive cars with very expensive paint jobs and I don't hear anyone complaining of scratches. Keep in mind I don't follow the classic car market, or read their online forums, so maybe there are complaints and I don't know of them.

It seems to me that a cover, if properly used, would certainly keep sun, most dirt and some moisture from the Airstream. The cover would have to be secure so it does not flap or billow in the wind. The method of covering and uncovering the trailer would have to prevent or minimize the potential for for scratching - this may require two or more ladders and more than one person to cover and uncover.

You would want to ensure you only put a clean cover on a clean Airstream. Any dirt trapped between the skin and cover is a recipe for scratches.

Read the instructions for covering and uncovering a car - for example, removing the cover: You flip the sides of the cover up on top of the car and carefully roll the cover from one end of the vehicle to the other end. Similarly, when you cover the vehicle you unroll the cover from one end to the other, then flip the sides down. I think this would be difficult, but not impossible, on a trailer.

So my guess is a cover could be useful if used properly. Would it reduce the oxidation you experienced? Don't know.

I'm curious, as was another member in a previous post, about your description of Alabama being dry and hot. Hot yes, dry no. I'm also curious about the geography of your new location - is Virginia, south of D.C. in the northeast? I guess it depends on your perspective.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:02 AM   #4
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You are probably getting air pollution that is eating the skin. The only cover I would use would be one of those that is made out of a breathable soft paper fabric material. Something that has a hard surface like Nylon or plastic is not what you want. There is a possibility that would would have more issues with a cover. A good wax job every year will also help reduce oxidation. I always like the New Finish stuff which seems to hold up well and I think it is some sort of polymer coating that is better than wax.

Perry
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:55 AM   #5
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I'm not aware of any product to protect the vintage skin without clearcoat.
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Old 05-27-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
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Lucius makes some good points. There are many axiomatic beliefs on this forum, some based on actual experience, others that have just taken on a life of their own through constant repetition. I'm not sure which category covers fall into as I haven't tried to cover a trailer yet. I do have one observation though.

I was involved in the showing of concours Porsches for a number of years - and covers are in wide use on cars with world class finishes. It seems there is a suitable material for every situation.

It would be interesting to hear from those with actual experience in the use of covers on an Airstream.

Poppy
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Old 05-27-2014, 11:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmaestro View Post
Lucius makes some good points. There are many axiomatic beliefs on this forum, some based on actual experience, others that have just taken on a life of their own through constant repetition. I'm not sure which category covers fall into as I haven't tried to cover a trailer yet. I do have one observation though.

I was involved in the showing of concours Porsches for a number of years - and covers are in wide use on cars with world class finishes. It seems there is a suitable material for every situation. Poppy
While I totally agree with your first statement, the thing that has not been said in this thread is that covering a trailer outside in the weather over the winter is much different than a day or two or even a dust cover in on a car that is not being buffeted by rainy wind and other weather aspects.

My experiences so far have not been tested on my stream, but I know for a fact those white and gray trailer covers leave contact patches where moisture gets in and then it sticks to the side of the box trailers/motorhomes, and I can only imagine what that would do to an Airstream.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:14 PM   #8
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I can't imagine that a cover would help. I've used them on other stuff and they're a huge hassle and expense, that will at best provide some protection against dust and incidental contact with e.g. kids' bikes.

Waterproof tarps aren't. While I have heard that there are people who can attach tarps to odd-shaped objects in such a way that they will remain there through wind, rain, etc., I have never actually seen this in real life.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:14 PM   #9
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Anything that will contact and rub the aluminum skin of the trailer every time the wind blows can only hurt. You will end up with black streaks and scratches that will take a lot of time and effort to remove. That is not opinion, that is personal experience as well as professional observation.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:31 PM   #10
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Anybody try the shrink wrap that is so popular here in colorado for boats and rv's?


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