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Old 04-16-2007, 07:04 PM   #1
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Corrosion problems with new Airstreams

Who out there has a newer Airstream (say from 2001 through the current model year) that has the dreaded white spider veins AKA: form fill corrosion?

I know that Dmac had this and I do recall others saying they their shells had issues. I'm wondering now how widespread this issue may be. IMHO, this issue started on my trailer back in spring of 2005. The factory replaced all 4 of my rims and both cast alum tail lights. Not only has the corrosion come back on all 4 rims and both cast alum tail lights, but it now appears to be all over the body on both the exterior alum skins and the outside door trims.

A conversation with support in Jackson Center suggested that I lightly sand down the spots and apply clear fingernail polish to it. Do you know how bad my Safari would look after that given all the locations where this is??!!?? Asked what they felt was causing this because others also have seen this and I got no response.

You can view pictures here:

Airstream Issue

If there are a number of us out there, perhaps it's time we grouped together. I can't believe a $50k RV (and in some cases, a heck of a lot more) is doing this at only 1.5 years old and is 10x worse now a 3.5 years old. Anyone know how to start a class action if there are enough of us??
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:09 PM   #2
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BTW, my unit is stored indoors in a somewhat climate controlled garage (barely gets colder than 38 degrees). It is outside maybe 3-4 weeks a season. It is washed and Walbernized 2x a year and all bug and bird droppings are quickly washed off. The Safari does not sit on bare concrete and has not been abused in any way FWIW.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:21 PM   #3
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I feel your pain, Eric. It's bad when I feel it is inevitable with my unit. It's got to be daunting to apply clearcoat to complex shapes with seams, rivets, pebble dings, etc. I know Jack Canavera has mentioned his solution several times: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f4/c...tml#post263493

Proved it to myself by using the search -- There are many hits if you search on the word filiform.

The question is open folks...
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:27 PM   #4
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I think you're doomed anyway

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
BTW, my unit is stored indoors in a somewhat climate controlled garage (barely gets colder than 38 degrees). It is outside maybe 3-4 weeks a season. It is washed and Walbernized 2x a year and all bug and bird droppings are quickly washed off. The Safari does not sit on bare concrete and has not been abused in any way ...
With what you have outlined, the only thing left to do is to vacuu-seal your Airstream in a giant seal-a-meal bag between trips.

FWIW, filliform corrosion, in my opinion, starts from assembly stresses at the factory. Once ALCOA's clearcoat is breached, the clock is ticking. Unless oxygen can be kept away from the affected areas, corrosion will result.

The vintage way of spraying clearcoat on everything after assembly appears to last longer. In all fairness, this method had its drawbacks though.

Tom
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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It is a bummer...

I had the filiform corrosion on my taillights and door hinges, entry handle as well as many areas of the "beltline" area. The dealer has a procedure for the recoating of the cast pieces (and they look fantastic might I add). As far as the miscellaneous rivets pieces and beltline areas the warranty fix was to add the classic lines extruded aluminum beltline trim to my Safari. It looks better than I thought.

I have a new "white worm" coming out from under the ventline vent cover that I am going to try to use the clear coat touch up on.

How far will the corrosion go, that is my concern.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:40 PM   #6
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The exp with my unit suggests that it will become more and more widespread all over the unit. I too have it on the beltline as you do. Problem is adding that trim piece only masks the issue. Eventually you may find that the white lines grow beyond that cover up piece.

I owned a 03 Bambi and it didn't have this issue, but this '04 is now everywhere...started small like yours and it's clearly expanded.

I really am serious about a class action lawsuit thing if there are enough of us. If it's just a handful of us, I suppose I'd caulk it up to hey, it happens, but if there are dozens upon dozens, upon dozens of us out there with the same problem, we shouldn't be silent and we should just take this on the chin because then, clearly there is a problem with either the manufac process or, a problem with the finish. I don't know, but since Airstream built the thing, it would seem like they own the problem.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:41 PM   #7
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classic belt line and acryl-r for the majority of your photos...

perhaps your dealer will do this as a jesture of good will

i can well imagine the nicks that happened at assembly and along the alcoa panel edge...

but wheels AND tail lights x 2 ?

so that's alloy products from 3 separate vendors AND the factory?

well that suggests to me more than an inherent airstream issue....

there are several threads here on the belt line corrosion and repair.

'dozens upon dozens upon dozens'... that isn't my impression, at least on the forums.

you aren't ocean coastal....

so i'd wonder about user care, acid exposure, salts...

water, soaps, toppings and other things we do in the name of love...

sorry

2air'

and i still feel the basic warranty (shell, frame, floor, running gear, windows) should be 5 years at least.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:47 PM   #8
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Everywhere my Safari has been, one of 2 cars have been there with it. Acid rain, etc would have shown up on either tow vehicle. No salt. Trailer was even delivered before it snowed here, though it did see snow after it was built and delvered to the dealer in Ohio. After that, the unit has not seen snow and has been kept indoors all winter, only coming out long after the salt is gone.

Cleaning consists of Armor All Car Wash and Walbernize 2x a year. The same stuff I used on my 03 Bambi for about a year.

If it is just a handful of luck folks like me, then there isn't much of a case, but if enough folks come out and say, yea, I have that, then maybe, just maybe there is a case here.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:51 PM   #9
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What I am thinking if this is not as widespread, then I may either trade this unit for another brand (being my second POS Airstream, I think I won't go for a 3rd-- unless it's preowned) or, I may just have the Safari sanded down and cleared by that place in Ohio (the two brothers). I know it won't be shiney like the vintage units, but it will correct the skin issues I'm seeing.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:58 PM   #10
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I've got it too, on my '06 19CCD. I noticed it at delivery, but the dealer said they couldn't do anything about it. It was just one more reason that the CCD never saw the dealer after delivery.

I have replaced BOTH tali light bezels, and have a noticeable white area on the entry door grab handle.

When I spoke to Airstream tech support, they said that the handle is mounted to the outer skin from the inside and can't be removed for polishing unless you remove an inner panel.......AIN'T HAPPNIN'!!!

Anyway, I think I might have a solution to this problem. I was speaking to the marine tech guys where I rent my office space and was describing my corrosion problem. One looked at the other and the BOTH said.......ANODES!

They thought that by adding a sacrificial anode that went thru the skin into the steel frame, that it might stop the corrosion......same as it does on boats.

I'm going to try one on the bottom of the trailer in a couple of weeks after I clear up and re-polish any areas I find, and we'll see what happens. Worth a shot anyway!
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:06 PM   #11
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well plastic-coating to replace the acrylic clear coat will be...

6 grand $ plus....

and guaranteed to peel in 3-5 years...

IF you're gonna paint it,

paint it with a/s silver ala big al's trailer.

this is a very durable paint and very aluminum looking...

have you talked with the dealer about beltline trim? that would make a huge difference for way less coin...

i would not sand anything, but use an appropriate eraser and then wipe with one of the many aluminium anticorrosives.

then apply a better wax, like a poly sealant many of us swear by!

no this isn't permanent but the anti corrosion aluminum sprays are effective with each application....

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:11 PM   #12
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Good info. I have yet to fully investigate all the options. I did talk about the beltline trim, but in the end, it's most likely a bit better band aid and won't solve the remaining issues on the rest of the outside body panels.

We'll see. Right now, after 2 Airstreams, both with issues, I've just about had it and to be honest, I am thinking about just trading in this POS for something else. I'm not thinking about another Airstream either, but cooler heads will prevail when it comes time to make the final call, after all the avenues have been fully explored. I was at one point thinking of trading this for a 31' Dinette (a 2006) that hopefully would be showing any issue by now, but then I said to myself, $55k to risk this again? Who knows. Lots of variables right now to mull over......
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:33 PM   #13
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The corrosion is rampant on our unit. It appears to be a faulty product and nothing is being done about it except Airstream continues producing the same product. A class action may bring an end to this. When people ask what it is I tell them and it is a problem with Airstream and their skin. Don't buy one.
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:01 PM   #14
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I'll check mine and post the results. Off the top of my head, the corrossion issues I've seen are the license plate light (requires frequent waxing), the Safari emblems seem to need frequent applications of WD40 to slow corrosion, the top of the rear bumper displays some deterioration, the wheel well mouldings have some crazing or checking, the clearance light screws are rusty. I have not noticed the corrosion lines starting at the rivets or edges of the aluminum panels. My trailer has been parked outside for over two years about 14 miles from ocean. I have only used this trailer for 2 nights of on the beach camping. The only wax product I've used on it is Meguiar's Quick Detail (except for rubbing out scuff marks).

Speaking of anodes, etc. the trailer is powered off electrically when not in use.

If I start to see this issue on mine, my first thought will be to try some kind of penetrating oil such as the aerospace protectant or WD40 on the nearby rivet. Not to improve the damage but to attempt to stop the progress of the corrosion.
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Old 04-16-2007, 11:01 PM   #15
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Ok, so we have 4 possibly 5 so far. I know Dmac has the issue too, so we then have 5, possibly 6. Anyone else, please add your name to the list.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:34 AM   #16
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Lewster, I'm not sure where these little tidbits come from but I seem to remember from my marine days that multiple smaller anodes will do a better job than one big one. Again this is coming from memory and mine is good...just short for the most part.
Twinkie, shutting off the electric will not stop galvanic corrosion. This is caused by dissimilar metal contact.
I like the idea of a couple of sacrificial anodes in out of the way spots.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:56 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpi
I'll check mine and post the results. Off the top of my head, the corrossion issues I've seen are the license plate light (requires frequent waxing), the Safari emblems seem to need frequent applications of WD40 to slow corrosion, the top of the rear bumper displays some deterioration, the wheel well mouldings have some crazing or checking, the clearance light screws are rusty. I have not noticed the corrosion lines starting at the rivets or edges of the aluminum panels. My trailer has been parked outside for over two years about 14 miles from ocean. I have only used this trailer for 2 nights of on the beach camping. The only wax product I've used on it is Meguiar's Quick Detail (except for rubbing out scuff marks).

Speaking of anodes, etc. the trailer is powered off electrically when not in use.

If I start to see this issue on mine, my first thought will be to try some kind of penetrating oil such as the aerospace protectant or WD40 on the nearby rivet. Not to improve the damage but to attempt to stop the progress of the corrosion.
I have a 'fix' for your rusty marker lights, and it is NOT expensive either!!
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:25 AM   #18
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These posts pretty much describe the filiform corrosion on our 2002 CCD. Door handle and hinges.... light bezels, wheels, and spots of filiform around various rivits. I've tried ACF-50, which does slow the corrosion temporarily, and plan to try spot treatment with either clear nail polish or automotive clear coat, after thoroughly cleaning the areas before application.
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Old 04-17-2007, 09:28 AM   #19
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corrosion

Hey Eric,
throw my name in the hat, my tail light bezels look like they have been bolted on the side of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, wheels look two toned, and the beltline looks like it has grey measles. hard to accept on a 3 year old unit, it actually started right after we picked it up in Yakima.So I guess it's Sierra Tango Bravo time eh?

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Old 04-17-2007, 10:35 AM   #20
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Corrosion

If you search the archives you will find my story of corrosion within a year of purchasing my then-new 2003 Safari. The factory replaced a number of items, including wheels and some skins. Trim items don't bother me, it's the skin that I am concerned about. Now I have significant filiform skin corrosion below my tail lights (either I didn't notice it before I had the work done by Airstream, or it is "new", I don't know which). So far the problem is cosmetic, and the trailer will probably functionally last a lifetime (stored indoors). But it is very bothersome to spend so much on a product and have it look so ugly!

I have a question... does anyone have a trailer that is 2-6 years old that does NOT have filiform corrosion of the skin itself? See my photo below for a filiform skin corrosion example...
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