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-   -   Corrosion problems with new Airstreams (http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142/corrosion-problems-with-new-airstreams-31743.html)

Steve & Susan 06-02-2007 06:59 AM

We've got a 2005 CCD and my springtime W&W (Wash and Walbernize) showed this corrosion on the taillights and the entry door grab handle. After reading almost all of the posts in this thread, I got out my Dremel and wire wheel attachment and cleaned up the tail light. Then I put the polishing wheel on with a bit of polishing compound to finish the job. It doesn't look too bad, better than the corrosion and it only took about 10 minutes. I'll treat with WD-40 until my quart of ACF-50 arrives. I'm a little skittish about doing the same to the door handle as the corrosion goes right up next to the trailer skin and I son't want to accidentally break the clearcoat on the skin. I'll give it a week to build the requisite courage and then try it - mabye with some masking tape on the skin.

I'll keep reading this post to see if a permanent solution develops. I'll also have my dealer look at it when we take the AS in for refrigerator warranty work to see what they recommend or have heard from AS.

I do agree with one post that I read - as long as it doesn't get to be an all-over the trailer problem and I can keep up with it, I can live with it - the benefits of owning this baby so far, are by far outweighed by the minor inconveniences. As much as I'd like our baby to remain in 'just off the production line' shape, I understand that this is not possible. Some amount of work and attention will be required to keep her as close to that as possbile and I'm willing to do it.

5cats 06-02-2007 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS
:) Hi, 5cats. It will be a little drive, but have you tried C&G Trailer Service in Bellflower, Ca? Rod and Darlene are an authorized Airstream repair center and they do not sell new Airstreams; So their interests are in repairs. I don't think some of the dealers aren't willing as much as, maybe, not capable of doing these repairs. When you go to C&G Trailer Service and see 30 or 40 Airstreams of all ages, smashed, bashed, and broken being repaired, you will see some obvious experience in action that's impressive. I don't think you will find too many places like this in this whole country.

To date we have performed all fixes ourselves. so no, I haven't tried C&G, but have heard only Good Things about them. Southwest Coaches in Irvine, too. Another choice might be Inland RV (hi Andy!). So I must admit I do have choices.

I nearly bought from Troy at Southwest Coaches, but was enamored by a lower price and proximity (10 miles) with the in-town dealer...which turned out to be an unwise decision. (OK, gone off topic here!)

So thanks for the third option (C&G). I'll be making some calls.

Cheers,
-jd.

SafariSS 06-02-2007 08:58 AM

Wheel Well moldings...
 
I have found the wheel well mouldings have clear coat on them. I took laquer thinner, wiped them repeadedly to remove the clear coat. Then, I used Nu-Metal polish and polished them up like chhhhhhhrome. They look awesome, only need a maintenance polish and no more clear coat problems.

I guess you could re-clear them as well.

2airishuman 06-02-2007 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SafariSS
I have found the wheel well mouldings have clear coat on them....


that reads like a very nice owner mod 'ss got any photos?

but to clarify...

the wheels well moulding, classic window frames, main door frame...

and other aluminum bits that are not made from the alcoa skin sheet metal...

don't have clearcoat on them...

the DO have plasti-coat on them...

this layer is applied by a/s or the vendor for these moulded bits....

it is closer in formula to the old style plasti-coat NOT the alcoa applied clearcoat.

that is why it can be removed with common solvents....

the rivet heads are also uncoated....

so oxidation, corrosion and so on on ALL/most of the aluminum trim bits...

is and issue we need to deal with...now and later.

this info doesn't apply to the tail light housings, wheels and grab handles which are 'chromed' not aluminum.

of course some models have aluminum housings and wheels or different style grab handles....

for example the alcoa wheels on the classics up to 2005 are uncoated and can be polished up....

how long did it take to polish the wheel well trim and how long has the work lasted?

cheers
2air'

SafariSS 06-02-2007 08:45 PM

Wheel well trim...
 
2air...

I dont have any pics, however I will definately take some. The quality of the aluminium as well as the extrusion adds to the look on these. Polished up, you'd swear that they were chromed.

I have about 1 hour in stripping both of them, and no more than 2-2.5 to polish both.

If my Alcoas and molding are both clean, you need sunglasses!!

I will post some pics,

Silvertwinkie 06-06-2007 12:41 AM

Just as an update, I have had zero communication from Airstream Customer Support or Dave Schumann. I was out for about 10 days, and the path of this thread has gotten even more interesting.

Not covered under warranty?!

A few more units added to the list?!

A developed procedure to resolve the corrosion issue that may or may not have gone bust?

A battle to replace parts, but Lew gets a treasure chest sent his way? I for one may also have been one of the lucky ones where the factory, when at Jackson Center, replaced all 4 of my rims, and both cast alum tail lights.

I'm fairly concerned about what I've been reading here that has been posted over the last few weeks. I may try to contact Dave again and get some answers straight out of the horses mouth.

BTW, these past 10 days, I was out in the Safari and alas, the corrosion on my unit has gotten at least 2 to 3x worse than was in the orig pics taken about 5-6 months ago and mostly at the locations where Airstream placed rivets into the skin. Tell me how that warranty work could be denied if I were still under warranty?!:rolleyes:

At the rate my shell coating is decaying (at the rivets alone, not even getting into my second set of rims and second set of cast alum tail lights that also have the same thing happening again), and really that's what it looks like, I would estimate (and I'm not an expert), that in about 2-4 years time, my unit will be so bad in so many different areas of the outer skin with of this problem, that my unit's resale value will have been effected and it will really look like a POS.

I know and have met Jim P. Very nice guy and very level headed. I know that if Jim said what he said, it must now be company policy, but I am not sure he makes the calls on what is warranty and what is not, even if the coach is still under the factory warranty, but I won't speculate much beyond that. I found Jim in my interactions to be helpful and great to work with.

However, outside of Jim and a few other nice folks at Airstream, I have found that Airstream in general has TOTALLY dropped the ball on this single issue and to that end, it becomes totally pathetic given the high cost of these units that are touted as being built by artisans. Artisans my..... well, you know what I mean, one simply has to read the QC threads.

I have encountered dozens of folks at RV shows and on the road, and as they gleam and are interested in my Airstream, I am very quick to point out how my outer skins alone are corroding, and they cool very quickly to the idea of buying a new one after that. Eventually, and it may take some time, this issue will come back to haunt them.

Keep 'em coming folks....

Silvertwinkie 06-07-2007 10:09 AM

Ok, I washed the Safari yesterday, after my last 10 day trip down to southern Indiana. I found new areas that I previously hadn't seen before. On my rear curbside end cap, where there are no rivets, no seams, just plain old alum sheet, I have spider veins. UGH! :angry:

TIMEMACHINE 06-13-2007 09:44 PM

Updated
 
Question??

Has anyone out there who has an Airstream with the corrosion problem, and still under warranty, recently been to an Authorized Airstream Service Facility? And if yes, was anything offered or done to correct the defect?

John

SilverRanger 06-13-2007 11:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TIMEMACHINE
Question??

Has anyone out there who has an Airstream with the corrosion problem, and still under warranty, recently been to an Authorized Airstream Service Facility? And if yes, was anything offered or done to correct the defect?

John

As mentioned earlier in this thread, I noticed some corrosion on the tail light bezels and the grab handle by the door, and added it to a short list of warranty issues (which expired on June 10th) when I took it to the dealership two weeks ago for some routine maintenance. The service advisor called today and said they were done. He told me that they had tried the factory reccommended solution, which was to remove the parts, strip the clearcoat, polish the corrosion out and recoat, but were not satisfied with the results so they ordered new parts from Jackson Center and replaced them. Fortunately, I have not yet seen any corrosion on the skin or around the rivets like many others have. I will be picking the trailer up tomorrow afternoon, and will let you know how it turned out if you are interested.

SilverRanger 06-15-2007 10:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flyfisher
Do you mind telling where you're getting your service work done?

I'd like to know a reliable place to take my Airsteam for service. The 2 Airstream dealers I have dealt with in the past were horrible, and the management - Dave Schumann - at Jackson Center blackmailed me into taking my trailer all the way to the factory which is over a 1000 mile round trip from my home (at my expense) under the threat that they would not cover repairs to my trailer under warranty unless I brought it there. (And then he made me sign an agreement not to divulge this.)

John

John,
I don't mind at all, and sincerely apologize for taking so long to get back. I had sent you a PM, but discovered while clearing out some of my sent messages this morning that it apparently didn't get sent. I have the work done by Parkview RV in Smyrna, DE, where I bought the trailer. I sure hope they weren't one of the two dealers you've already tried. If so, I believe they have recently made some positive changes in their service department. As I indicated before, my experience wasn't always this good, especially when I first bought the trailer.

They completed almost everything on my list, and those items that weren't done was because they were waiting for parts, and I needed the the trailer to prep for the trip to the International Rally in Perry. They said they would contact me when the parts were in and would complete the repairs under warranty. They even repaired/replaced a couple of items that they found that were not on my list. If you would like more detail, I would be glad to PM you (or try to!).


For those interested in the corrosion issue, after trying the factory reccommended fix of stripping the off clearcoat and polishing out the corroded areas, the dealership wasn't satisfied with the results and replaced the grab handle, even though it meant peeling back some interior skin, and they replaced both tail light bezels, even though I had only noticed corrosion on the left one. On appearance, all work was equal to, or exceeded the original.

wheel interested 06-15-2007 11:42 AM

When I was at JC the end of April they sanded down the door handle and battery box frames (Classic) and clear coated. This was the way our 2005 issue was addressed. The handle job turned out well, the battery boxes well enough... I don't really like the idea of them removing the interior to replace the handle, especially when the issue will present itself again in the future. If I had that done at all I would want the acrylic handle installed. Keeping an eye on the hinges...as stated before, my wheels were replaced and watching them like a hawk. However the filament corrosion wasn't spotted by me until after that. I talked to Randy on the phone since and about ACF-50 that has been sent out to one member as posted here on the forums and he said that was experimental and did not proceed to offering to send some to me.

SilverCabin 06-15-2007 12:06 PM

I guess I'm that experiment.

I haven't been able to update everyone on this yet, but I did apply the ACF-50 according to Airstream's instructions. Scraping the area with a plastic scraper seemed to be of little effect. At the end of the worms, it didn't seem like anything came off to expose the ends to the ACF-50. Where I had some bubbles at the panel edge, the scraper did remove those, and the ACF-50 soaked in.

I took some before/after pictures, but they are on another computer at the moment; I'll post them later. In my close inspection under the magnifying headset, I did find a couple more very small spots on the beltline seam that weren't just on the end cap panels. Also the door grab bar had a small spot at the base. Nevertheless, everything got a scrape (marginal effect) and a good coating with the ACF-50.

Airstream did confirm with me that in October they will clean off the whole area and re-clearcoat before they apply the beltline trim. I'm glad they are going to apply the trim, because if buffing the handles didn't look good on another fix decribed here, I'm sure it wouldn't look good all the way around the beltline.

Randy

SilverRanger 06-15-2007 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wheel interested
... I don't really like the idea of them removing the interior to replace the handle, especially when the issue will present itself again in the future. If I had that done at all I would want the acrylic handle installed. Keeping an eye on the hinges...as stated before, my wheels were replaced and watching them like a hawk.


I was a bit concerned with the removal of the interior skin too, but from the inside, you can't tell it was ever done, probably because the fabric covering. I'm also resigned to the fact that it will likely happen again but I'll be watching, and hopefully I can catch it before it gets too bad.

wheel interested 06-15-2007 07:12 PM

If I have more work done I will be going to the dealers'. I think the service department is spread thin with the increased production without increased quality control. Techs are pulled from one unit to another and if it's busy your work order is processed more hastily than if it is slow. Perhaps it's the same everywhere but the work done in my case and experience could have been much better. I am no stranger there and its wearing thin on both sides. It's time for my dealers to put forth some effort next. I was of the opinion that the factory would be superior but the techs are not from production and some things may be quite foreign to them as evidenced in some of the fixes I have had. :huh:

Steve & Susan 06-18-2007 05:24 AM

I was washing the TV this past weekend and noticed that I have the same corrosion that is discussed in this thread on the aluminum wheels of our 2002 Chevy Silverado, so apparently it's not an AS only problem. My wife works for a large aluminum company and we sent pictures to their research department hoping for a 'cure'. If anything comes back, we'll let oyu all know.

Silvertwinkie 07-11-2007 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by szy8xj
I was washing the TV this past weekend and noticed that I have the same corrosion that is discussed in this thread on the aluminum wheels of our 2002 Chevy Silverado, so apparently it's not an AS only problem. My wife works for a large aluminum company and we sent pictures to their research department hoping for a 'cure'. If anything comes back, we'll let oyu all know.

Any updates?

Steve & Susan 07-11-2007 10:03 PM

No update yet - they've been bought by an Indian company and are going through re-organizing. I'll see if someone has some free time.

BigAl 07-11-2007 10:24 PM

I suspect you wouldn't get this filiform corrosion if the aluminum was not clear coated at all. It would just oxidize rather uniformly to a dull grey. Makes you wonder.
Al
And I do appreciate that you are all disappointed with a new trailer showing corrosion.
Gee I like the fact that mine is painted. And when I bought it that way I worried that it might affect it's value adversely.
Not!!!

wheel interested 07-12-2007 09:26 AM

I love the look of your Airstream Big Al! I did not even realize it was painted at first when I saw it amongst the other Airstreams at the M-D rally.

Annemac 07-19-2007 06:36 AM

...It's here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Annemac
Holy Cow! Thirteen pages on corrosion!!
I thought my leaky leaky unit would be okay once they stopped up all the leaks! I have owned my Safari for 10 months, taken it out four times, had new leaks every rainfall...and now I have this to look forward to!!!
I bought an Airstream because of its reputation for quality...

So, I don't have to "look forward to it" anymore. Yes, my unit is one of the many corroded cans out there. :( Our dealer winces everytime we enter the store. They are new to Airstream and we are moving through this whole business together. We are bringning it in next week so they can have a look at our scummy door handle and our pitted licence plate light cover.


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