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Old 07-11-2009, 03:24 PM   #1
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Clear Coat Peeling

As you may have heard it is HOT and DRY here in Texas, however a coupke of weeks ago we did have a small rain shower. As I was walking the dog afterward I noticed BUBBLES on the upper portion of the trailer. Closer inspection revealed that the rain water had seeped between the clear coat and the trailer, now I have sheets of clear coat peeling like the after results of a sun burn. Has anyone else seen this

Thanks
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Old 07-11-2009, 04:28 PM   #2
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I saw it last week.

Sorry, Larry...just couldn't help myself.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:56 PM   #3
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I've seen this on many older AS trailers. Just a few questions. Did you wash and wax the trailer every six months? If you did, what product did you use?
I guess the trailer can be stripped and clear coated again. I'd sure like to hear from other Airstreamers that have already dealt with this.
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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For many, many years the Airstreams had to be recoated every few years. It was a maintenance issue we all knew about. It has become very expensive to do now because paint and restrictions have driven the price up.

The reason the aluminum is now precoated and expected to last indefinitely on the new Airstreams is to prevent us having to pay every few years to recoat. The old coating would start to peel off and if not recoated right away oxidation would set in and be there forever.

Some older trailers look so bad that they have to be painted silver with automotive paint. Sometimes the top shows corrosion so the owner can have only the top painted. Or of course they can be polished which has more maintenance than I can handle.

Too bad about the corrosion problems Airstream is having now with the precoated aluminum. It sounds like a good idea. I hope they get it straightened out.

From an old Airstreamer....
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Old 07-11-2009, 08:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lsmith View Post
As you may have heard it is HOT and DRY here in Texas, however a coupke of weeks ago we did have a small rain shower. As I was walking the dog afterward I noticed BUBBLES on the upper portion of the trailer. Closer inspection revealed that the rain water had seeped between the clear coat and the trailer, now I have sheets of clear coat peeling like the after results of a sun burn. Has anyone else seen this

Thanks
The original factory applied clearcoat, also called plasticote, has a life of about 5 to 6 years.

That can be extended a little, if Walbernize was used at least once a year or so.

The UV from the sun, breaks down the plasticote, since the paint does not have a UV protector in it, which cannot be added, as the plasticote would no longer be clear.

You can strip the remainder of the plasticote off, and reapply it. Or, you can strip the plasticote off and paint the trailer metallic silver, using a process that is correct for aluminum.

You can also strip the plasticote off, and then polish the metal. If you do that, you must wash and wax the raw metal, every month. If you live within 50 miles or so of salt water, you must wash and wax the raw metal, every week. If not, then the raw metal will start to oxidize, towards a blackish color.

Lastly, you can go to a store that sells things rather cheaply, and buy some very dark sunglasses for you and yours.

You know the old saying!!

Out of sight, out of mind.

Don't be sad, as many thousands of Airstream owners since 1963, have experienced the same thing you have.

The newest of Airstreams, have a clear coat that seems to have solved the problem, but it cannot be applied in the field, or even by Airstream.

Time will tell.

Andy
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:40 AM   #6
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I found this on the site:
P & S Travel Trailer Service, Helena, Ohio
Seems they are set up to strip and clear coat AS. It's not cheap and is a long way from you. I wonder if an aircraft service facility could do it?
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:38 PM   #7
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I just notcied my plasticoat on my 2007 Bambi is peeling and some mold/algae or whatever has made a home there. Located just on the corner up near the awning where the rivet is close to the corner. All other areas are fine. What should I do in this situation?

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Old 07-16-2009, 03:11 PM   #8
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I have a trailer re-coated by P&S. It was before when I purchased the trailer. To my knowledge, they offer various options. I believe the most basic option is to simply strip the remaining coating and then re-apply a new clear coat. Along with some new striping, that was what my trailer received. The next choice is some level of polishing and then a new clear coat. The polishing removes the oxidation, and the clear coat keeps it looking great, until it needs it all again.

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Old 07-17-2009, 02:37 AM   #9
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If an Airstream has been peeling over a period of time there will be series of different layers of oxidation. Each layer (kind of like rings in a tree) will have more oxidation the longer it is exposed. Simply stripping the Clear Kote will not remove these lines.

The aluminum has a "mill finish" texture to it. If you attempt to remove the uneven oxidation you will begin to polish the aluminum and loose the original texture. The mill finish is not a brushed finish and cannot easily be duplicated. It is a pattern of hundreds of thousands of tiny scratches each just a thousandth of an inch long.

We are finding that the fully polished trailer without a clear coat of any kind is really the easiest surface to maintain. Sounds completely counter to logic but here is how we look at it: During the polishing process the skin becomes evenly smooth and free from oxidation. As a final step in polishing a wax is applied to protect against oxidation. Yes, you will have to reapply the wax on a regular basis. This waxing schedule will be more or less frequent depending upon where you live. The less maintenance and expense comes in for repairs. Any clear coat is subject to scratching, chipping and peeling. If a segment or panel gets a scratch, chip or small peel it is not possible to blend in a new coat of clear as it might be possible on a painted surface. Because the clear is clear, any damage under the repair can be seen.Therefore, any minor problem becomes a major repair that requires stripping a segment or panel and recoating with clear. With a polished and waxed trailer, even significant scratches can be polished out and waxed. Only the area that is damaged requires polishing.

We have several trailers on the road on which we have performed this technique. These vehicles have thousands of miles and several years on them. None has required a complete repolishing.
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:32 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by campadk View Post
I just notcied my plasticoat on my 2007 Bambi is peeling and some mold/algae or whatever has made a home there. Located just on the corner up near the awning where the rivet is close to the corner. All other areas are fine. What should I do in this situation?


I just had service at the Airstream Factory Service Center in Jackson Center, Ohio two weeks ago. One of the several issues I had was this same peeling at the awning. This is not Plasticoat, it is a film they install before placing the awning. The solution was to cut it off. Make the cut at the point the peeling stops. The cause of this problem is the rivets.
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:11 PM   #11
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I believe the new technique by Airstream is, in fact, not something they do but the treating of the aluminum when created. The "treatment" is some sort of electrolysis and somehow changes the metal so that it doesn't oxidize...
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:21 PM   #12
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I don't think so. If you don't get a new A/S what are you going to get that would be better?

This is in response to your first #11 question.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:08 PM   #13
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Clearcoat

There is still a clearcoat on the new trailers.

But, it cannot be applied in the field, not even by Airstream.

The metal they use, is precoated with that new type material.

Andy
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:42 PM   #14
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This one is alclad, which I love man -- it like rich mercury to look at. There are remnants of the clearcoat around the edges of places (not bad) --we take it the rest of the way out with zip strip gel paint remover, it bubbles right up. Then we polish out those small areas whether it takes a finger or a q-tip. We have not waxed, but we are in an arid arid area, and dust settling on it is the worst it gets.
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