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Old 01-08-2004, 03:14 PM   #21
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I would like to second what Silvertwinkie is saying regarding the New Alcoa finish. When I had the panels replaced on my '01 Bambi, AS briefly explanied the Alcoa process as they understood it. Alcoa does some sort of scrub process on the raw aluminum sheet and then puts their finish on it. It is done in a controlled environment that cannot be duplicated at AS. AS will make it right but I think you have to vocalize the issue in advance to insure what you would like accomplished. My two cents would be to have new sheets put on. Your picture of the emblem and the corrosion appears to be very much like what I experienced with my '01 Bambi.
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Old 01-08-2004, 04:11 PM   #22
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My '01 Safari had no problems with its finish. My gut feeling is that if the panels are defective, they probably came from a particular production run. I wouldn't be surprised if Airstream already knows about the problem and may even know which trailers were build in that run. You might post your build date and if other '03 owners have the same problem, we might be figure out when this bad run occurred.

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Old 01-08-2004, 05:40 PM   #23
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As a reference point, my '03 was built 8/2002 as an '03 model.
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Old 01-08-2004, 05:55 PM   #24
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Here is another photo - the outside light at the front, right, side of the trailer. Look at the corrosion on the casting itself.

I owned a 1948 Beechcraft Bonanza aluminum airplane that had far less corrosion after 50+ years than my trailer has in 1 year.
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Old 01-08-2004, 06:08 PM   #25
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Here is another cabinate door delaminating. Also note the hold-open prop has pulled out of the door (the screws are set back in the holes to keep from losing them). The screws are necessarily short, but the threads seem too fine for the doors balsa-wood-like core material, they pulled right out.
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Old 01-08-2004, 06:31 PM   #26
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You have to wonder........

Since it is evident that the casting is corroding (as well as the filliform on the wheels in a previous post), it does cast a shadow of doubt that the alcoa coating is the culprit.

Just throwing out possibilities -- since it seems that everything is being attacked, could it be that there are some stray electrical currents eddying around and causing the problem?

Not an expert here -- just seems strange that the problem is manifesting itself on multiple exposed surfaces on such new trailers.
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Old 01-08-2004, 09:19 PM   #27
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That's a good point Dennis.

Also Dan, I just noticed in the picture of your roof locker that the form seems to be older than a 2003. I have a 2002 sales brochure and those doors look like they did in the 2002 brochure. I had a 2003 and the interior panels did not look like that....was this unit bought pre-owned? Were there mods made or was this an early produced 2003. Can you share the build date on the street side label? If you take a look at www.silvertwinkie.org you'll see what I mean. The roof lockers on the '04 and at least models built from August of 03 on the '03 model year looked the way they do in the pictures-- curved looking where the ones you have have angles to them. The only difference is that in '04 they stopped using the "kickstand" door props.

Additionally on my '04 and my '03 I can't imagine the way the panels are made that the ones I've had would/could delaminate like that. Plus the colors are much darker than I have seen in an '03......so I am a bit puzzled.
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Old 01-08-2004, 10:14 PM   #28
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My unit was purchased new. It may be an early 2003 - although I don't have access to it right now to provide the build date. I noticed the corrosion problems shortly after I picked it up in December 2002. I have been communicating with Jim at Airstream since last summer - but getting it to Ohio has been a problem for me with my work schedule. If it is an early 2003 model, then it could have sat on the lot in Dover, FL for 6-7 months before I bought it - so perhaps it got a dose of salt air? Dover is about 10 miles inland from Tampa Bay, and 40 miles from the Gulf itself.

2 days after I bought it I winterized it... I pulled the black water dump valve (which should have been empty, as we had never used the toilet) and guess what came out... sh*t all over the ground! So clearly the dealer used it for something, an outlot outhouse? Perhaps their staff used it on the weekends, parking it in the surf (therefore the corrosion)! Anyway, I was far from the dealer on my way home at the time - and with the check handed over I figured the deal was done anyway. My point is I don't know what happened to this trailer before I bought it "new" - but I know something happened to it, it has corrosion problems, and since it was in the "care" of an authorized Airstream dealer prior to my purchasing it new it really should be Airstream's problem and not mine!

It seems like Tinsel Loaf and rcaldwel have had similar problems - so maybe it is just related to bad batches of materials.

I have not left the trailer plugged-in to power for any length of time, and I turn off the battery master and/or remove the battery during storage periods - so I don't know how stray electrical currents could be involved.

Now I am storing it in a pole barn about 25 miles from home to keep it dry and out of the sun as my feeble effort to prevent it from getting worse.
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:05 AM   #29
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That's very interesting. The new model year starts about Aprilish ('02). So I would think that the closer to that date it was built, could be why the inside is a bit different.

The fact that you had that exp is just the worst story I have ever heard. I can't believe that they would deliver you the coach with a soiled black tank. As for the humidity, it might have played a role, but I'm sure there are folks in similar areas that have not had that problem with the plasticoat. I tend to agree that it might have been an Alcoa production issue.

It's hard to believe that you have lam peeling on the interior surfaces that bad and that for an '03 you have different roof lockers. Perhaps a design change was implemented after yours was built.

At any rate, Jim is a great guy. I'm sure he'll take good care of you. He was key in getting to the bottom of the issue with my new coach. I was very happy he and Tim were there to help the dealer help me get the coach in the best possible shape. They really went the extra mile.

One thing to consider, is that if the coach has as many problems as it does, it is worth more at this age than it will be in a year or so. I needed a bigger coach and I too had nickel and dime issues with my Bambi (none near what you've had). In the end, I opted to crack two birds with one stone. I got a fair deal on a new coach with the quality improvements in place and traded in my Bambi to let the dealer deal with resolving the issues and worry about selling it. Contact me offline if you want to talk numbers. Perhaps you will tow the '03 to Ohio and leave with an '05 (since any orders placed now will most likely '05s).

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Old 01-09-2004, 07:58 AM   #30
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I think the problems can be fixed by the factory: 5-6 skin pieces in the front, 2-3 small exterior cast parts, repair a few minor interior problems, and replace 4 wheels - it should be as good as new (or in my case, better than new).

Upgrading to a new trailer is probably not an option - as I am unwilling to pay a significant sum, given we have spent a total of 14 nights in this one!
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Old 01-09-2004, 08:15 AM   #31
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I hear ya. I sent you a PM with some basic numbers to look at just for grins.

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Old 01-09-2004, 10:47 AM   #32
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All of this corrison also has peaked my interest. I was trying to figure out how all the different components were all showing signs. Especially the wheel since it obviously has no akinship to the panels. I was wondering if there was some kind of environmental conditions this unit was stored or towed in. Either ocean front camping or possibly it got towed down through a early spring snow storm and was never cleaned up for a lengthy period. Delamination from being stored in a high humidity area? Maybe this all has some common thread.

The fact that the trailer had contents in the holding tank obviously pretty much cements that this trailer has been somewhere. I don't know if you registered a complaint at that point but this is unacceptable.


The fact that you see 2002 components obviously makes this an early build 2003. I have seen the same component sharing on a 2002 Classic which carried 2001 striping and emblems.

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Old 01-09-2004, 11:15 AM   #33
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Salt corrosion...

dmac, living here in the rust belt, and knowing firsthand what road salt does to aluminum, I'd guess that you have a classic case of salt exposure. Whether from a stay by the sea, or from being towed on salt-covered roads... who knows. It could very well be road salt corrosion if the trailer was delivered from Jackson Center during the winter months, and not properly washed for a significant period of time after arriving at a dealer. It doesn't take long to get the corrosion going. I ruined a beautiful set of chrome over alloy wheels in just three months after moving to Iowa. It could just as easily be from storage in sea-salt laden air.

Good luck with your trailer. I hope you can get it all taken care of!

Roger
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Old 01-09-2004, 11:38 AM   #34
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The only exposure to salt during my ownership was during the drive from FL to WI at the end of December 2002. However, the roads were dry the entire way - and I rinsed off the trailer before parking it. In the early spring I washed and Walbernized it - and that's when I first noticed the problems.

As a 2003 model the earliest it could have been built was around April 2002 or so - so I don't think it was exposed to road salt on it's way down to FL. Clearly the dealer used it, so I'm starting to think they had it somewhere on or near the beach for a while. There is no way to prove this, and I guess it's irrelevant now.

I am confident, or perhaps "hopeful" is a better word, that Airstream will make it right.
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:04 PM   #35
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The corrosion issues aside, I am shocked that a dealer would deliver a "new" trailer that has a partrially filled black tank. It ticks me off just reading it. I would have blew my stack and freaked out if that s**t came out when opening the black valve the first time without ever using it. Sounds like fraud to me. Airstream should drop that dealer yesterday.

And with the other issues, what a bummer experience. Buying a new Airstream should never be a bummer...
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:08 PM   #36
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One other possibility, that it was parked near somewhere like a fuel plant, chemical plant, etc... That released something like sulfuric acid in the air. We had a problem in DE once, where a oil refinery released sulfuric in a small amount due to a fire... we had people come in from 100 miles from the plant, with clearcoat / paint issues on cars where it made contact (not to mention those of us with ponds tht days after the first rain - it killed thousands of koi and other fish).

I have had my AS literally on the beach, with no signs of corrosion on the wheels etc, and I have yet to walbernize it - only mildly wash it. Just a thought - you could check the local papers where it was purchased from and probably see if anything in those 6-7 months it sat - happened near that location.
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Old 01-09-2004, 12:50 PM   #37
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The Tampa FL dealer was an "experience". The lot looked terrible, the office is in a trashy old building, the "offices" are in portable units, their service is performed in shacks, they used bait-and-switch type tactics on me (posted previously), and the place has that trailer-trash look. But they had a large selection of new Airstreams, the largest I have ever seen. And their pricing was aggresive. I suspect they are a big seller, and Airstream could not afford to lose them.
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Old 01-09-2004, 01:09 PM   #38
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Have you lodged a complaint about the dealer with airstream? I'd also suggest writing a letter to the FL state Attorney Generals office and copy the dealer - you might be surprised .... they might be willing to make you whole to avoid hassle. Remember that they probably carry insurance to cover these kinds of situations. That they represented this as a new unit and it obviously wasn't should interst both Airstream and the FL Attorney Generals fraud unit.
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Old 01-09-2004, 01:23 PM   #39
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It would be difficult to prove fraud at this point. Also, although the toilet was used - the plastic was still on the carpet, and the stickers and tags were still on the thermostat, refrigerator, etc... I wouldn't call it used, just previously pooped-in!

Again, at this point I believe that Airstream will fix the known problems and we will be fine. I know that Jim reads the forum, so he will be aware of the dealer issue.
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Old 01-09-2004, 01:52 PM   #40
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Dan,
I just gotta say you have one great attitude! There is no way I could be so positive after dropping so much money and having such an experience. This just proves again that Airstreamers are the coolest!
If Airstream keeps this dealer, I will be very disappointed in them.
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