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

AtomicNo13 05-11-2019 10:01 PM

Can anyone certify the aluminum Airstream uses to build these trailers is actually Alcoa aluminum? A factory tour once gave me reason to think not. Alcoa is very proud of their name and appears on their product, in this case the protective film.
Banding on a new shipment I saw did not reveal their name, rather a tag of foreign origin sans the Alcoa name, branding or logo. The cheapest source wins as new owners know. As far as I know, Airstream does not publish country of origin info on any sales lists...

Zybane 05-12-2019 01:33 AM

(Asked about the effects of President Trump's recently imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, Hansen deflected, saying: "It's too soon to tell." Officials at Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, which supplies aluminum to Airstream, have been critical of the tariffs, arguing for a more global approach to unfair trade from the Chinese.)

https://www.cleveland.com/travel/201..._factor_1.html

wulfraat 05-12-2019 12:01 PM

Corrosion problems with new Airstreams
 
As of 2016 Alcoa Inc. is Arconic Inc.

According to their site they still supply aluminum to airstream.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arconic

https://www.arconic.com/global/en/wh.../airstream.asp

For what it is worth my 2017 has spent 2 years of its life so far living in Colorado and there are zero signs of filiform.

Countryboy59 05-12-2019 03:42 PM

I’ve been wiping down the edges of the aluminum on our 2018 with Corrosionex and Fluid Film since new. No issues in 2 years in Michigan.

The plated tail light housings are very lightly pitted. I should’ve sprayed them too. Have since sprayed with corrosionex.

Michigan is a unique environment. Making stuff last here is an art.

Howard L. 05-12-2019 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wulfraat (Post 2240770)
As of 2016 Alcoa Inc. is Arconic Inc.

According to their site they still supply aluminum to airstream.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arconic

https://www.arconic.com/global/en/wh.../airstream.asp

For what it is worth my 2017 has spent 2 years of its life so far living in Colorado and there are zero signs of filiform.

The heat treated polymer coating, that is now applied to the AL surface—see www.acronic.com above, is why the coating is holding up so well. “Polymer." It is not quite clear however. There is a pigment mixed in also. Our present day Airstreams (since the AlClad days prior to 1982) are grey alloy. You could polish them shiny and then clear coat, but they would be shiny grey not silver.

Gene 05-13-2019 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 66Overlander (Post 2240543)
Lots or errors in the previous post to correct . . . in no particular order.

Wally Byam died in 1962.

Airstream was then owned by the Board of Directors.

In mid 1966 Airstream became a publically traded company.

Airstream was sold to Beatrice in December 1967.

Airstream was sold to Thor on August 29, 1980.

All Airstreams have been clear coated since 1964.

In the late 1980s (I am thinking about 1988), the clear coat was changed to a more environmentally friendly, but less durable water based formula due to government regulations.

In the very late 1990s or very early 2000s(?) Airstream stopped spraying on the clear coat themselves and transitioned to precoated aluminum and the clear coat durability dramatically improved.

Overall there were both plusses and minuses for Airstream during their periods of Beatrice and Thor ownership. Too big a topic for this post.

Thanks for the corrections on the dates. A board of directors cannot own a company as directors, but may own it as individuals owning stock. Most likely the board had to approve the sale to Beatrice. I think Wally's heirs owned the stock until the sale and was under the impression they did not have the financial resources to keep the company going plus didn't have the marketing skills Wally had. Wally had skills as both an innovator and marketing expert and not a lot of individuals could pull off what he did. I thought the clear coat came later may be confusing that with the change in the late 1980's to the clear coat that pealed over time. I think the earlier clear coats were shinier than the one used for about 20 years. And the aluminum was even shinier without clear coat I thought. A thorough analysis of Airstream's ownership issues would take a book or books.

66Overlander 05-13-2019 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gene (Post 2241131)
Thanks for the corrections on the dates. A board of directors cannot own a company as directors, but may own it as individuals owning stock. Most likely the board had to approve the sale to Beatrice. I think Wally's heirs owned the stock until the sale and was under the impression they did not have the financial resources to keep the company going plus didn't have the marketing skills Wally had. Wally had skills as both an innovator and marketing expert and not a lot of individuals could pull off what he did. I thought the clear coat came later may be confusing that with the change in the late 1980's to the clear coat that pealed over time. I think the earlier clear coats were shinier than the one used for about 20 years. And the aluminum was even shinier without clear coat I thought. A thorough analysis of Airstream's ownership issues would take a book or books.

Stella Byam sold her shares of Airstream that she inherited from Wally in January 1963 about six months after Wally's death. At that time the newly reformed Airstream was owned by six members of the Board of Directors via stock shares. There were other Directors that did not own stock.

Dale Schwamborn belives the company went public to attract a corporate buyer that ultimately was Beatrice. Beatrice did dump quite a bit of money into Airstream in the early years helping to build new plants, etc. Everything I have heard suggests Beatrice for the most part stayed out of product decisions, like the lightening of frames in the mid-70s as attempts were made to make the trailers easier to tow due to the gas crisis.

Silvertwinkie 05-13-2019 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gene (Post 2240471)

Silvertwinkie, there are active threads now complaining about the same quality issues that you and I and many others were reporting about 10 and 15 years ago. The same complaints started when this Forum was created and apparently there were similar problems before 2004 (isn't that when this started?) But, it does seem corrosion is less of a problem, perhaps thanks to this thread and the suggestions made here. For those seeing this thread for the first time, look for posts made by Bob Cross of Buffalo—he has done well with his solutions to corrosion. And, Silvertwinkie, isn't it time to change that quote from the Times?


I've seen the multiple threads on the quality issues. Just wondering really if owners of the last 5 or so years are still seeing this. I was at an RV show a couple of years ago, and they had a brand new unit at the show and I saw a few spots on it, but my guess is that it may be reduced as I think the factory started to do something about it....just don't know how successful they've been as I've not had my finger on the corrosion pulse for a while.


Yea, I thought about changing it, but it's cute and still kinda works (for me). :wally:

perryg114 05-13-2019 01:48 PM

Why can't the seems be sealed with clearcoat with something like a touch up brush? If you can cover the exposed edges then the problem should go away.



Perry

Silvertwinkie 05-13-2019 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by perryg114 (Post 2241172)
Why can't the seems be sealed with clearcoat with something like a touch up brush? If you can cover the exposed edges then the problem should go away.



Perry


When I was at the factory many moons ago, they got out of clearing due to EPA issues and effectiveness. I do as you suggest with my Safari when I get the occasional small spider leg pop up, but it's not pretty. Luckily for me, it's not too big or noticeable since I nip it in the bud.



Given the issues described over the years here on this forum, some transcending over a decade and even things as simple as forgetting to caulk sometimes, I can't see them coating all the cuts properly, but that's just my opinion....and by the time you realize it got missed, you are either out of warranty or you get the dreaded "it's a maint issue, warranty claim denied." Pretty big gamble with a $100k trailer IMHO.

Howard L. 05-14-2019 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by perryg114 (Post 2241172)
Why can't the seems be sealed with clearcoat with something like a touch up brush? If you can cover the exposed edges then the problem should go away.



Perry

Perry, somewhere back in this thread, I posted to do just that (for the polymer coated Airstreams of the last 20 years). In short, I recommend using the clear polymer coating "Nyalic". Apply to all bare edges with a small artist touch up brush. The edges and rivet holes are the bare metal caused by Airstream construction after the Alcoa Polymer coated sheets arrive. You can’t get to the rivet holes, but a coating of Corrosion X on the edges and rivets from time to time will help also.
Be aware, that even though the edges and rivets are the main filiform demon, it can show up on the sheets also. It’s usually on the end caps. It’s my guess that when the pre coated end caps are formed, the polymer gets stretched and to some degree compromised. A highly corrosive environment can get to those panels also. Polish and corrosion X on those areas will protect also.


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