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Old 04-23-2022, 11:36 AM   #1
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Contact Betwern Rock Guard and Aluminum Skin

I opened my drivers side rock guard on my 2020 Globetrotter and I have a black spot (corrosion) the size of 50 cent piece on the aluminum that lines up neatly with a similar spot on the stainless steel rock guard.

Clearly we have a case of dissimilar metals rubbing and associated corrosion.

To date Airstream has said this is a “me” problem.

Anyone else have this “me” problem? Any thoughts on fixing?
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Old 04-23-2022, 02:28 PM   #2
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I have the same on my 2018 Intl. I polished up well and sealed it with ceramic coating. Not gonna fix it, but hopefully will keep it under control. We need to buy new segment protectors (ours have done their job well) and when I install them, I will see if there is a method to match the curves.
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Old 04-23-2022, 02:39 PM   #3
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Black is Aluminum powder/ White crust is worse.

rGround fine aluminum is BLACK.

The fit of the gravel guard on our 2019 is almost as bad. But no contact to vibrate while traveling. Once they touch... the rock guard will grind through your aluminum skin. You caught it early enough to prevent any further wear. The aluminum skin is thin.

Our others had lots of clearance. If you rock guard is hard to swing away from the bolts... bad rock guard fit is your problem. Add a piece of tape to the skin and the rock guard to minimize damage.

Like Jeff. Wipe clean and I would use polishing compound in that area. If you get to solid aluminum, which the skin is very thin to begin with... then clean with lighter fluid or similar solvent... tape off around it, clear coat spray.

Let it cure. Put a large enough square of high quality tape between and also onto the rock guard panel that is abrading. (Gorilla Tape is my choice in this case).

Not dissimilar metals, but powdered aluminum. Stainless steel is not the issue.

When you have an interior or exterior rivet loose...it will also have Black. Again... fine aluminum. Corrosion... most likely WHITE crust.

Since we live in a dry climate, do not salted winter road touring... WHITE crust.

Geology / Mineralogy: Streak Test on white ceramic tile surface: Silver... black. Aluminum... black. Lead... black. When you polish aluminum... the buffer pad is black. Polish silver... black. (Added this so you will be confident this is not Filiform.)
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Old 04-24-2022, 07:35 AM   #4
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Jeff and Ray thanks for the counsel. I’ll give it a shot.

Can I do this by hand - which I always feel I can control better or is a polishing wheel required?
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Old 04-24-2022, 09:39 AM   #5
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Since this is behind the rock guard, I would take steel wool and work this area on the aluminum to a shine. Your 'mission' is to remove the black power residue and even clear finger nail polish will adhere. Wipe with lighter fluid or acetone, as when it evaporates there is no residue or film.

If it wears through the thin aluminum skin... then you would have a worse problem having to patch. You can get a roll of aluminum tape at Lowes, but it would be enough to do 1,000 Airstream blemishes. The Gorilla tape will last if doubled just the area and then check it for wear.

The sooner the better. Black is fixable. White crust filiform... a totally worse situation.
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Old 04-24-2022, 10:14 AM   #6
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I am installing my new segment protectors.

My trailer didn't have any so I ordered some. Yesterday, I was test fitting one of them and found that the curve was squished and touching the trailer.

Re-bending the protectors is quite easy with your hands. It seems that if a bit of care isn't done at the beginning, the covers may touch the trailer skin. The covers could also get bumped causing them to deform and touch the trailer skin.

The challenge is that if the covers are installed too close then re-bending them will move the mounting holes for the offset brackets.

I have seen this same corrosion on another Sport 22FB with optional protectors installed. Even with the 3M film installed, the stain on the aluminum was quite evident.
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Old 04-24-2022, 10:28 AM   #7
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Rock Guard/Skin Contact

Instead of clear tape, 3M makes a couple of 6-mil and 8-mil paint protection products with peel-off backing that's suitable for this kind of contact wear; ours was a 6" x 25" piece from Amazon. We used this on our equalizing hitch to frame bolts in order to minimize paint loss and after a couple of years, it's still doing the job.
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Old 04-24-2022, 11:05 AM   #8
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Probably through clear coat? Try aluminum polish. Might have to polish out with a product like Zephyr and air wheel as extreme last resort.
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Old 04-24-2022, 12:08 PM   #9
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The Sports and Bambi's don't come with segment protectors so Airstream has applied 3M film where the segment protectors would be. We have it on ours.

These are the part numbers from my parts book. Not too sure how thick it is but my guess is 6 mil.

203618-01 3M film body protector, RS
203618-02 3M film body protector, CS
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Old 04-24-2022, 12:24 PM   #10
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Never use steel wool on aluminum. It sets up dissimilar metal corrosion.
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Old 04-24-2022, 12:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slimpockets View Post
Never use steel wool on aluminum. It sets up dissimilar metal corrosion.
I have seen this remark before. It often includes mention of steel wool particles sticking to the aluminum and causing rust.

I have used steel wool on aluminum often over many years and have never had either of these "dangers" pop up. Of course, it makes good sense to wipe off the treated surface/spot to remove any traces of steel on the aluminum. If you get really paranoid, you can wipe, use a magnet, and then wipe again with solvent.

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Old 04-24-2022, 05:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobdaSlob View Post
I opened my drivers side rock guard on my 2020 Globetrotter and I have a black spot (corrosion) the size of 50 cent piece on the aluminum that lines up neatly with a similar spot on the stainless steel rock guard.

Clearly we have a case of dissimilar metals rubbing and associated corrosion.

To date Airstream has said this is a “me” problem.

Anyone else have this “me” problem? Any thoughts on fixing?
I had the exact problem on my 2018 on the driver side. THe shape of the protector was not done correctly. I had the skin cut out an replaced in combination with the front separation repair at JC. JC managed the rock guards were to clear the skin.
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Old 05-01-2022, 12:56 PM   #13
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Our 2012 Serenity 30 had the very same problem. Unfortunately the previous owner had no clue and so it ground away for 7 years before we bought the trailer. On our last trip to the mothership I had them rebend the rock guard so it did not make contact with the aluminum skin. Wirh The sticker shock of all of the repairs that we did, I didn't detail exactly how much it cost to do that.

I sanded down the corrosion with 4000 grip paper, sealed With clear code and then covered the spot with matching vinyl decal for apperances sake. Since nobody ever looks behind there it's just fine until I try to sell it.

Airstream's notion that this is Caused by the user is absolute b*******. They know perfectly well they're not bending these rock guards correctly. They are looking the other way and blaming it on the user. If I was a lawyer and could do it for free I'd Sue their butt.

CLASS ACTION ANYONE?
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Old 05-01-2022, 06:06 PM   #14
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Same problem also. I used a small buffing wheel on my Dremel to clean up the area. Then touch up spray with the Home Depot paint shown. Re-clear coat spray (I use the polymer “Nyalic “). Then like others suggest, protect with something. I just used a double layer of Gorilla tape.
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Old 05-02-2022, 04:04 PM   #15
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corrosion

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobdaSlob View Post
I opened my drivers side rock guard on my 2020 Globetrotter and I have a black spot (corrosion) the size of 50 cent piece on the aluminum that lines up neatly with a similar spot on the stainless steel rock guard.

Clearly we have a case of dissimilar metals rubbing and associated corrosion.

To date Airstream has said this is a “me” problem.

Anyone else have this “me” problem? Any thoughts on fixing?

Hi folks,
We have a 2013 FC 28. In 2015, among other problems, we discovered this exact situation.
Long story short, Airstream agreed that the issue was caused by an improperly formed rock guard which abraded the aluminum skin.
As the trailer was still under warranty, Airstream had our dealer replace it at no cost.
If that was the case then, it is also the case now. My opinion: you should be covered the same way.
Your GT is still under warranty, period.
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Old 05-02-2022, 04:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobdaSlob View Post
I opened my drivers side rock guard on my 2020 Globetrotter and I have a black spot (corrosion) the size of 50 cent piece on the aluminum that lines up neatly with a similar spot on the stainless steel rock guard.

Clearly we have a case of dissimilar metals rubbing and associated corrosion.

To date Airstream has said this is a “me” problem.

Anyone else have this “me” problem? Any thoughts on fixing?
Yes! The exact same rub! Mine was caused by long rivets attaching the strip to the bottom of the rock guard. They were so long they pushed against the rubber strip at the bottom of the quart panel. This warped the rock guard and made it contact the quarter panel.
Airstream replaced the quarter panel, rock guard and covered it under warranty. Mine is a 2019 27FB flying cloud.
Have your airstream shop check it out and see if airstream will repair under warranty!
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:32 PM   #17
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Use the Right Type of Steel Wool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slimpockets View Post
Never use steel wool on aluminum. It sets up dissimilar metal corrosion.
For those unaware, there are varieties of steel wool and what you want is the "Stainless Steel" variety which greatly reduces the oxidation factor and will leave less trace debris. Of course our chemists will still explain the microscopic events with the same degree of concern about choice as the tire experts do country of origin.

example source - https://www.amazon.com/✮CZ-Store✮-St.../dp/B09N9V9N9V
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Old 05-07-2022, 06:28 PM   #18
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I installed my protectors today. I made sure that the curve of the cover matched the curve of the trailer. It is pretty easy to shape them if they are too close to the trailer skin.
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Old 07-28-2022, 01:29 PM   #19
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Here’s where I ended up on this
1). Thank you for all the advise.
2). I used the steel wool to remove the black. Not unlike cleaning an aluminum pot. The lighter fluid is effective in cleaning the surface.
3). I then sprayed with some clear coat. It is not as pretty as it was when new but it is sealed.
4) I then covered it with a piece of 3M tape. This is because I have not had the door reformed to create the clearance and gives me some belts and suspenders to ensure it is sealed as best I could.
5) cleaned up the door and then covered with electrical tape.

Finally, as noted my trailer is under warranty so when I can get it in the dealer I will see how they want to address more permanently.

Disappointed that this is a poor fit issue with the build. If I ever buy a new airstream again, I will be looking at this fit more closely.

Thank you again everyone for the advice.

RobdaSlob
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