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Old 03-04-2009, 08:43 AM   #1
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Why aluminum ?

What with all the concern the last few years about the exterior breakdown of the Alcoa product now being used, could anyone with more expertise than I in the manufacturing process and other alternatives available explain why
Alcoa is still being used.

Is it Heritage, cost, or the fact that silver is just cool.

How about a "plastic" Airstream with one of the new high tech coatings colored silver. Lighter, stronger, less potential for leaks.

Do you think stainless is an option?

What do think Wally would do, considering all the manufacturing options available today?
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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I believe it is, and always has been weight and strength.

Plastic would not be as strong. Think about what a rivit would do in plastic when stress was put on it....the hole would wollow (sp?) out and then the stressed skin strength would be gone. Also, to get plastic as ridgid as aluminum, it would have to be much thicker, and then also much heavier.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:25 AM   #3
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Alcoa is an aluminum manufacturer, It produces all variety of different aluminum alloys. Who's at fault with the corrosion issues is for the lawyers to decide. Why don't we use newer plastics or composites? Most likely production costs and durability. Composite curved panels produced in a controlled environment or autoclave would drive production costs through the roof and repair cost would be astronomical. Plastic and composite materials are incredibly strong but you do give up alot of the durability that is achived using aluminum. Aliminum will bend but you still maintain the security and integrety of the trailer for continued use but with cosmetic issues. Plastic and composite will just shatter and delaminate and structural integrety is lost along with moisture intrusion. Look at the life span of all of the SOB's out there made with composite flat panel construction, its not going to be nearly as long as a Airstream. IMHO Airstream needs to scrape the current plastic coated alloy that they are currently using and return to the 2024-T3 of times past. I guess that would be very close to an adminision that they had a problem to begain with.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #4
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Stainless would be WAY too heavy and defeat one of the 'pluses' of AS - economical towing. You'd need a BEAST of a TV to pull a stainless trailer!

A 12" by 12" by .10" thickness of stainless steel is about 4 lbs, aluminum is about 1.4 lbs.

It IS fascinating though how many people out there think that AS is a stainless trailer. We must tell 10-15 people every year in various campgrounds that they are aluminum and not stainless.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:12 PM   #5
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Silver is just cool.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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Why, Oh Why!!!

Can you say.... "Have you ever seen a 60 year old fiberglas TT?" I knew you could! But! Have you ever seen one that was brought back to life? I bet very few if any. Ed
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:13 PM   #7
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Titanium would make a great shell if we had budgets like the space program.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:17 AM   #8
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Points well taken.

But is there a better aluminum alloy that could be used?
Iv'e been told that Alcoa has a product that is more durable, would not add the extra weight and is much more corrosion resistant.
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Points well taken.

But is there a better aluminum alloy that could be used?
Iv'e been told that Alcoa has a product that is more durable, would not add the extra weight and is much more corrosion resistant.
Don't know, but I'd bet it has to do with cost????
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:32 AM   #10
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True

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGED52 View Post
Can you say.... "Have you ever seen a 60 year old fiberglas TT?" I knew you could! But! Have you ever seen one that was brought back to life? I bet very few if any. Ed
While it was not 60 years old...
The very first plastic trailer (from the 60's?) was just mention on this forum??
Somewhere on the West Coast??
The wealthy owner had it completely restored recently..
Why aluminum indeed..
Titanium rules~
Oh, forget that.. you could not have a mirror finish..
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert cross View Post
points well taken.

But is there a better aluminum alloy that could be used?
Iv'e been told that alcoa has a product that is more durable, would not add the extra weight and is much more corrosion resistant.
2024-t3, 6061-t6
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:07 AM   #12
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2024-T3 is what vintage trailers are made with...if you go that route you could then polish!

Then you can really be "Lost in the Sixties" ~

Shari
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:07 AM   #13
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The way I see it..You have several options..One of which is.
If everyone that owns a "problem trailer" towed it back to J C and, left it there, with a polite demand that, it be fixed..
The sheer numbers alone would be overwhelming and, I suspect..
would soon get National attention..Least of all, CNN?
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut;673534
Then you can [I
really[/I] be "Lost in the Sixties" ~
Shari

Kind'a like this I suppose....If I knew then what I know now.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:58 AM   #15
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Just my non-technical expertise.

Granted I don't know much about engineering but I have been the end user of "plastic" (fiberglass and carbon) in both sailing and bike racing.

These are both very sophisticated products designed to have very high strength to weight ratios. In both cases Aluminum was only a fad. All high end boats very quickly went to fiberglass and now kevlar/carbon. And as far as bikes you would never catch me on an aluminum bike. I went from Steel to Ti to Carbon and skipped aluminum due to fatigue issues while racing. Granted a good bike will cost you $4,000+ the difference between a good aluminum and carbon bike is not that much different.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Titanium would make a great shell if we had budgets like the space program.
A Ti Airstream would be very cool. And very, very expensive. But my Ti mountain bike still looks brand new even though it's 16 years old with about 50,000 miles on it. Well the Ti frame looks brand new, every other part has been replaced several times.
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:22 AM   #17
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Yea, I have an 8 year ti mountain bike, but far less miles. That bike looks great (to me a little retro for others) and was well worth the investment. Light, flexible and strong!

But my road bikes are carbon allowing a 18 bike to go to 15 lbs. Big % change.
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