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Old 05-26-2006, 11:27 AM   #1
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'98 vs '99

I'm looking for a pre-vintage airstream and I have a clearcoat concern.

I understand the mid 1999's started the pre-coated aluminum from alcoa.

I'm considering driving about 3 hours tomorrow to look at a '98, which would have the older style clearcoat.

I am wondering if I should discount trailers older than '99 because of the clearcoat and save my time and gas looking at 1998's?
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Old 05-26-2006, 11:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
I'm looking for a pre-vintage airstream and I have a clearcoat concern.

I understand the mid 1999's started the pre-coated aluminum from alcoa.

I'm considering driving about 3 hours tomorrow to look at a '98, which would have the older style clearcoat.

I am wondering if I should discount trailers older than '99 because of the clearcoat and save my time and gas looking at 1998's?
Call the panel of pros at the VAP and ask them. The VAP just had a show on polishing, clearcoat and finish on various years of trailers.

Bill
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Old 05-26-2006, 11:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkerfoot
Call the panel of pros at the VAP and ask them. The VAP just had a show on polishing, clearcoat and finish on various years of trailers.

Bill
I don't know about those guys. They seem a little biased!
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:04 PM   #4
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Tim, keep in mind that the change to Alcoa finishing came out because what I was told during a Jackson Center tour, the high failure rate of the clear coat formula. Apparently emission guidelines led to multiple reformulations of the the clearcoat in the 90's with no good resolution. I have a friend whose '97 limited had severe problems and was finally polished and clearcoated by the P&S boy's. So far so good on his clear coat. So it's probably a forgone conclusion that your 90's units will have some issues. What I never heard is when in the 90's did the problem show up? We have one Moraine View attendee Big Al whose 90's trailer was painted by the dealer prior to it ever being sold new. I saw it last year and Al will be back at Moraine this year. The attendees should look closely at his trailer since the paint job was a beautiful piece of work.

The other answer to your question is to determine when in the run did the 99's get the new Alcoa finished panels. As far as the '98 unit, dependent upon its use, it might look good. Obviously if the peel has started, you will factor that into the price if you want to make an offer. If it was kept under cover and infrequently used it might look great, it will be hard though to convince the owner that the trailer clearcoat might be living on borrowed time.


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Old 05-26-2006, 12:15 PM   #5
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Thanks Jack,

That is what I was aware of and hence the question. A similar condition '98 and '99 (with newer style clearcoat) will probably be very close in price.

I was just wondering if the older clearcoat would/should be a deal breaker.
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:41 PM   #6
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Clearcoat and older trailers

Tim,

I think you are going to find problems with the clearcoat on most older/non polished trailers. The clearcoat on the upper half of my 97 was reapplied about 2 years ago and looks OK, not great. The original lower panels looks great. I have seen late 90s/early 00 Airstreams that look worse than my 97.
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Old 05-26-2006, 12:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Tim
Thanks Jack,

I was just wondering if the older clearcoat would/should be a deal breaker.
Well they are all going to peel sometime. Even I have a tiny pop on my 2004 (which seems to be under control at this point). Obviously I would have to take a lot of other considerations into the equation though. A lot also has to do with the difference that the seller is willing to take. All things equal, and I mean all things, I'd always go initially with a newer vehicle....but even that has to be factored by my budget and what a seller will take. If the '98 is the better deal, I sure would attempt to take that clear coat issue into account when making an offer, especially if I had plans to get it refinished.

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Old 05-26-2006, 03:34 PM   #8
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I always thought that Plasticoat was Plasticoat, but I spoke with Steve at P&S trailers today to schedule my appt to have panel work done, and he explained to me that the reason my clearcoat is still intact is because the formula in the early 70's was way different from the late 70's. Airstream also switched to a shinier aluminum in the later 70's.

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Old 05-26-2006, 06:12 PM   #9
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Tim,

I have a 99 with the old clearcoat as well as a newer trailer with the Alcoa finish. The bottom line is the older finish is easy to strip and reapply. I did just that on the 99. I have not tried or heard of anyone stripping the Alcoa finish yet, but it will happen. Then you are in the same boat with reapplying the AS finish. I wouldn't worry too much about it, two days of work will strip the old stuff off. The Alcoa finish may be a bear to get off if it needs to be replaced.

Scott
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