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Old 03-08-2014, 05:49 PM   #1
BAB
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Filiform/Clearance Lights

My trailer is a '12 and my A/S dealer notified me that I was eligible for improved mountings for my clearance lights -- all 11 of them. The new mountings are cast aluminum and slip under the standard plastic mounts. The dealer would have done the install, but I decided to do it myself. Eight of the 11 clearance lights had a very small amount of filiform...anyplace the plastic mount had cut through the clear coat, the invasion had begun. I cleaned each spot carefully, sanded and resealed. I know this subject has thousands of posts, but BEWARE...if you have a newer trailer without the cast aluminum mounts for each of your clearance lights you need to act. BTW, my trailer does not sit in the open, it is in its own shed and only exposed to the rigors of rain, etc. when I am traveling. Over the lifespan of my trailer this is probably around 65 days. Replacing the mounts is not difficult, they slip underneath the old mount. Here are before-after photos.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:14 PM   #2
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My trailer already had those aluminum bases from the factory.
The dealer thought someone had added them- nope-
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:27 PM   #3
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I believe they changed these on the '13. I have a '12.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:36 PM   #4
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I think the aluminum bases are standard on the Classic.
It may have also sorted in '13.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:47 PM   #5
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Looks very good. I had mine done at the dealer as a warranty item. Airstream was great about it. And those castings really look a lot cooler than the original ones, don't they? More classic/deco looking and meatier.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:02 PM   #6
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Barry, at least you had an idea this might happen when we chatted the other day. A closed foam gasket between the light assembly and skin of the trailer will help minimize contact, and the potential for corrosion where the coating has been compromised.
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:32 PM   #7
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I wonder if there are retrofit kits available for older units? Err really inexpensive retrofit kits...
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Old 03-08-2014, 07:42 PM   #8
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Terry, I was prepared for the repair work, but just a bit surprised that I saw filiform in almost every one of the lights....the new bases cover the minor damage, and I've carefully resealed those spots where there was a compromise in the clear coat. All is well!
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:59 PM   #9
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We just had this done on our 2012 20 FC by our dealer in OC . They look great!
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:29 PM   #10
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The troublesome clearance lights are LEDs introduced in late 2010, all of 2011, and about the first half of 2012. After that they put a thicker gasket under the clearance lights to keep them from rubbing on the aluminum shell. All the Classics came with the aluminum base so they do not have the problem.

The fixture itself is a one-size-fits-all plastic assembly that has a curved bottom to universally fit all the clearance light positions. Goofy idea, but it is what it is. When installed the tips of the light digs into the shell breaking the clear coat and initiating corrosion.

Later in the 2012 model year they began putting a thicker gasket under the lights to keep the pointed tips from touching the shell. Still goofy, but it is what it is. And that's how they are made today.

The aluminum base discussed here is a retrofit from the Classic model line that is being installed to cover (hide) the hopefully repaired shell corrosion, only on the affected models.
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:56 AM   #11
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Another issue aside from filiform corrosion is moisture/condensation inside the clearance lights...
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m.hony View Post
Another issue aside from filiform corrosion is moisture/condensation inside the clearance lights...
Yes, the Classic aluminum base retrofit must be sealed, lens to chrome plastic fixture, chrome plastic fixture to aluminum base, and aluminum base to airstream shell. With a 1" to 3" opening at the bottom of the side clearance lights (not the roof lights) to allow drainage in case there is a tiny hole in the sealant.

That's how Airstream Service Center installed mine. I've still had two of them (one on the roof and one on the side) fill with moisture so I drilled a small hole in the bottom of the plastic lens and the aluminum base to drain and dry them out. So far they are all dry inside through several hard rains, but I haven't towed in the rain with the holes drilled.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:24 AM   #13
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The aluminum clearance light bases on my trailer are not a retrofit. It came with them from the factory. I have moisture in all my clearance lights on the curb side. I think when I go for my service appointment in Jackson Center they will just replace them.
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Old 03-10-2014, 06:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Another issue aside from filiform corrosion is moisture/condensation inside the clearance lights...
Moisture is a killer for LED lights as they don't generate heat to evaporate moisture as incandescent bulbs will. The original LED taillights on my 2009 were not sealed and they all died an early death and had to be replaced. The replacements were sealed and so this may no longer be a problem on new AS's. Based on my experience you should keep moisture as far away from LEDs as possible starting with sealing/caulking the exterior perimeter of light bases.
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