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Silvertwinkie 04-19-2007 07:45 AM

With 5Cats, I think we're now at 16 units.

Keep 'em coming.......

SilverCottage 04-19-2007 08:25 AM

Ok, it seems we have some consensus that it would be a good idea to apply one of the treatments mentioned above to the seams and rivets. Can anyone provide a suggestion on which one to use of:

Aviation CorrosionX (CorrosionX Aviation)

ACF50 (ACF-50)

Boeshield (Boeshield T-9)

Each of these seems to be the best according to their web pages. I am looking for first hand experience. My thoughts are a waxy product would be more effective than a thinner product. I also wonder if one of these might damage or dissolve the existing sealants used during manufacturing.

Any thoughts?

2airishuman 04-19-2007 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by TIMEMACHINE
Should I be using one the the previously mentioned products to slow this process down? John

hi john...

it's hard to imagine a trek from ohio to cali in feb/march
that wouldn't hit some snow, rain or road salts...

i hope that was your case.

i heard about a few units shipped during that time with tank sensor failures.

the sensors were all corroded and travel through a 'spring' snow storm was blamed.

YES i would be experimenting with one of the cpc for aluminum...

corrosion of exposed aluminum is a characteristic well known...

what isn't well known is the overall success of the alcoa applied finish.

airstream and airstreams have 75 years of finish issues...

and the truly painted units (argosy and 1 year of a/s trailers) have held up best over all other finishes...


i agree with the notion that some waxy residue is better than none....

perhaps even better would be a product that dries to a HARD finish,

except for the inevitable breaches.

fair comparisons or 'proof of the best product' is tricky...

the 2nd link in a previous post does include an apparently neutral comparison of some of the products...

here again

clearly folks need to experiment some...

i like t-9 and even use it to coat the exposed iron under the ford 2-3 times/year...
but plan to try some acf 50 soon too...

marshall reports no negative effects on the sealants using acf...
i've not seen any issues from t-9 either, but i don't intentionally use it on rubber/plastics/acrylics


for those that have watched a/s construction; seen how the finished panels are stored and handled...

it should be 'clear' why the alcoa finish is breached at many regular locations...

imagine a stack of plywood palets delivered; then each piece cut, drilled, nailed with very few finished edges or trim pieces...

now imagine no additional surface finished applied to the boards....

that is the exterior of our newer units...:lol:

2airishuman 04-19-2007 12:23 PM

wheel care....
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we've not covered this issue...


alcoa made mine so here's the dope...

the a/s store carries these alcoa branded products.

they are hard to find elsewhere.

some trucker truck stops have 'em

but alcoa has more than one wheel finish.

so sort this out yer self .

it's a leap of faith assuming the a/s store has the right stuff...

took the leap but forgot these products were in my kit...

i do have them...
but only use 'step 1 and 3'

basically a 3 part system.
1. clean
2. polish
3. seal

so i'm wondering now IF the sealant product (which dries hard) might be useful on the skin....

i have not tired this (danger danger will robinson):bb:


markdoane 04-19-2007 01:21 PM

The best thing you can do before using any of the selant type products is get the seam really clean. Then rinse it with de-ionized or distilled water and let it dry.

Filiform corrosion starts as a little microscopic bit of material that is cathodic to aluminum. With a little bit of moisture, it forms a tiny concentration cell. It invariably happens under a coating, otherwise the environment is too dry for the corrosion to proceed.

I don't have any filiform corrosion on my uncoated '59.

If you wash your pride and joy with water that is just the slightest bit hard, the calcium salts will form a hard water spot on the unprotected edge of the seam. That hard water spot is enough to cause a corrosion cell. Imagine if you live close to the ocean?

Everything else said above about seams and rivet holes makes alot of sense. I would just make sure the last step before you use the corrosion preventer is a DI water rinse.

ref: MIL-C-5541

Silvertwinkie 04-19-2007 02:20 PM

Andy from Inland posted Dave Schumann's email address. I decided to give the company another try and I have emailed him the situation and perhaps he may have some solutions that the support folks didn't or couldn't suggest.

Here is the content that was sent:

Dear Mr. Schumann,

Andy of Inland RV posted your email to the airforums today and I felt that having worked with ********** on this issue, that it may be time to get answers from someplace else.

I bought a new 2004 Airstream Safari and took delivery in December of 2003. I've had some issue with this unit, but all issues have been small compared to the corrosion my unit is showing (you can see a few photos of the issue at Airstream Issue) Randy's suggestion to me was that I apply nail polish to the effected areas. The only problem with that is the corrosion is everywhere now and this does not seem like a good solution, nor does it address the root cause. Additionally, Randy said that adding the belt line trim and overlaying panels may also be solutions, of course, now at my cost.

Back in spring of 2005, I drove out to Jackson Center and had some warranty work done. In that list of items were all four rims and both cast aluminum tail lights that were replaced due to what is being described as form fill corrosion.

I understand the unit is out of warranty and I do expect that some level of wear and tear is normal for finishes exposed to the elements, but 30% or more of my body panels are now showing this corrosion (and growing), even though my Safari spends most of it's time indoors in storage when not in use. It has never been used in the winter, nor has it been abused in any way. The unit is kept clean and Walbernize RV Super Seal is applied about 2x per year based on the factories suggestion when I bought my 2003 Bambi.

I'm not satisfied with the fact that I spent about $**k on this trailer to have the body finish totally fail at such a young age. You can imagine my shock to find that many Airstream owners are having the same problem. You can read more about it here:

I'd like to know what Airstream is prepared to do about this issue, and clearly there is an issue. I don't personally feel that we owners should bear the entire cost of any of Airstream's suggested solutions.

I look forward to hearing from you and thanks in advance for you help in this matter.

Silvertwinkie 04-19-2007 02:52 PM

Andy from Inland visted Airstream recently and offered to take any questions we had to the folks there. Of course, my question had to do with the corrosion issue. This was the answer that Andy posted. As you can tell, it's an answer, but not a very good one if you ask me (not directed toward Andy of Inland RV).

This means that EVERY Airstream since mid 1999 through today can have this issue. That is a VERY EXPENSIVE gamble that your Airstream won't go through what 16 of us so far are going through.

How would you like to spend $90k on a nice 34' Classic and find that the exterior is corroding like the pics you've seen on this thread? I can tell you I spent less than half that amount and I'm still very troubled by this problem.


Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
Airstream advises that the new style clear coat can "crack."

That being the case, corrosion can take place.


tpi 04-19-2007 09:29 PM

Does anyone have a recommendation for a very small polishing wheel to locally polish through the clear-coat and corrosion? Something which will work on a very small area such as visible in some of the photos-maybe something like a dental tool. Then the small polished area can be touched up with some clear-coat. Mine ish't to that point now but thinking ahead.

Eric: Spent a while googling filiform corrosion aluminum. One point which often recurred was humidity (less than 50% will slow the process). Is there a way to check humidity in your enclosed garage, and run a dehumidifier effectively?

2airishuman 04-19-2007 10:16 PM

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Originally Posted by markdoane
I don't have any filiform corrosion on my uncoated '59.

thanks for helping to clarify this...

my post regarding all airstreams having "finish issues" was incomplete.

i was lumping glavanic events AND oxidation into the topic of corrosion...

galvanic activity is the most distructive (right?)

and the normal expected surface oxidation is mostly cosmetic until the pits get deep...

filiform corrosion is exactly as mark has described but not usually a threat to the structure...

filiform looks ugly, contributes to decline of the topcoat, and these are big concerns for us...

also it leaves an oxide behind (right?) similar to the basic oxides of surface oxidation on most aluminum alloys...

so i may be incorrectly lumping ugly filiform corrosion with the universe of oxidation...

but my point is that airstreams have had 'finish issues' across the decades...

surely mark you've had to deal with surface oxidation occasionally?

isn't that partly why folks buff, compound, polish and so on,

along with the 'pretty' factor?

here is a big site with LOTS of corrosion AND oxidation resources... - The One-Stop Materials and Corrosion Information Resource

for those that still hunger...



Originally Posted by tpi
Does anyone have a recommendation for a very small polishing wheel to locally polish through the clear-coat and corrosion?

check some of the auto detailing forums, websites or auto paint shops in your local...

i've used small pen-brushes for prep that might work...

typically these are fiberglass and some are very precise...

and like all tools require some practice to master...

so don't sand through the skin..:huh:

Goin camping 04-22-2007 12:40 PM

Our trailer was built in July '06. So far we don't have this issue.

How many of the affected Units have T.V.'s or upgraded/modified stereo's?

Being Ludites we have niether and rarely use the factory radio.

Just wondering if thats a factor as improperly grounded electronics were
listed as a cause.

Silvertwinkie 04-22-2007 01:58 PM

I added a sub, but I used the factory provided wiring. I have no TV.

The garage my unit sits in is shared and connected to a warehouse type structure that is somewhat climate controlled. In summer, the heat usually never gets beyond 78 degrees. Humidity rarely beyond 20%. Winter, mostly zero humidity and temps not much less than say 38 degrees.

I'm concerned about this for several reasons, particularly given the short response I've been able to get from support, Andy from Inland, and so far no response from Mr. Schumann. It would seem to me that Airstream does know there are issues, knows that the coatings are failing, yet it appears to me they are just throwing they're collective hands up saying, you are out of warranty, what do you want us to do about it? This may or may not be what they are doing, but it is the perception. For folks that are still under warranty, they are overlaying panels on top of existing ones, adding trim and/or replacing parts, but the problem is the issue comes back, so any work you have done is NOT a long term fix from what I have seen both first hand and and from folks that have had panels overlayed and/or parts replaced.

Now, with 16 units reporting on this forum (which in my mind would represent a small cross section of ownership), leads me to believe that this issue is far more serious that I ever could have imagined. In a year or two, the value of my Airstream will have taken a substantial hit as it will look like something out of an Elvira movie. :rolleyes:

TIMEMACHINE 04-22-2007 02:53 PM


Originally Posted by Goin camping
Our trailer was built in July '06. So far we don't have this issue.

How many of the affected Units have T.V.'s or upgraded/modified stereo's?

Being Ludites we have niether and rarely use the factory radio.

Just wondering if thats a factor as improperly grounded electronics were
listed as a cause.


Not a bad guess, however, most of our "electronics" as well as our refer and heater are on the street side of our 25FB, interestingly, our curb side has more corrosion on the middle seam than any other area. The door grab handle looks like it was dipped in corrosion. I will try to get a picture uploaded today.


minifan 04-22-2007 03:59 PM

could be contaminated recycled aluminiun bars used for manufacturing

Silvertwinkie 04-22-2007 04:17 PM

I'm of the thinking that since the bulk of the issue appears to be on the edges and where the rivets are, it seems to me the issue is less of a bad ground, than it might be just as simple as the coating being disturbed, but keep in mind I'm no expert, just an upset and disappointed customer.

wasafari 04-22-2007 04:23 PM

more ammo
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nice tailight bezel eh? and the wheels seems to have got the disease too...

wasafari 04-22-2007 04:51 PM

the cancer spreads
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well, I haven't washed the winter off but there are a few new spots. FWIW, the ACF-50 seems to have stopped the corrosion cells I treated last fall.

TIMEMACHINE 04-22-2007 07:55 PM

Corrosion picture
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Here is a picture of my door grab handle, the other end is even worse.

Silvertwinkie 04-22-2007 09:03 PM

These are just gut wrenching......

SilverCottage 04-22-2007 09:31 PM

I just ordered ACF50 and Boeshield in hopes of preventing any corrosion on my month old Safari 27FB.

I don't know what it says but when we got it home EVERY exterior running light was full of moisture. :huh: What the heck is going on at the factory?

I can't figure out how to remove the small clear light lens just left of the bottom of the door. Does anyone know how to remove the lens so I can "drain" it. It says "LIFT" on it but it doesn't seem to want to move.


2airishuman 04-22-2007 09:47 PM

the leprosy thread...
pains me to see these images...

gives me pruritus too!

but twink, IF the humidity REALLY is that low...

therein lies the cause...

you've cracked the ol' girl's skin from dryness!

your indoor spot is drier than az...

Relative humidity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

most likely your unit lives in 30-70% relative humidity year round...

Relative Humidity Test Applet

like the rest of us indoors.

and the notion that improperly grounded electronics might be the cause...

is spooky; thank goodness it's not likely.

lets go to malaki!


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