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glh101282 02-22-2011 03:34 PM

Coated Aluminum
I am looking for a newer Airstream. Having had to pay for painting an Airstream already I am not looking forward to doing it again. I have heard and read a lot of positive comments in the Forum about the new coated aluminum from the aluminum supplier. Since I am looking for a 31 foot Excella/Classic around 10-15 years old, I understand that I am boarderline for getting an Airstream with the newer skin. Anyone know exactly what year Airstream began using the supplier coated aluminum for the skin?

2airishuman 02-22-2011 03:44 PM

it would appear that 1999-2000 was the change over year...

with trailer serial numbers (last 6 of the vin) AFTER 512600 having the new stuff.

and i find these 2 older threads especially funny given the C problems of recent years...

(post #5 above)

((posts #6 and #8 and #11 above))


glh101282 02-22-2011 10:17 PM

Thanks for your reply. The info really nails down when the changeover happened. Now I just need to find a trailer.

Frank's Trailer Works 02-23-2011 03:02 AM


Originally Posted by glh101282 (Post 955329)
I am looking for a newer Airstream. Having had to pay for painting an Airstream already I am not looking forward to doing it again.

What Airstream did you paint? Airstreams are not painted and doing so kills the value in most cases. Did you paint an Argosy?

The finish on the newer aluminum is not a forever finish. There are people with newer rigs than the years you are looking at with clear coat failure already. Just know it is not the end all system.

glh101282 02-24-2011 08:01 PM

I painted a 1980 Excella 31'. I live in New Mexico and the sun/ultraviolet rays shortens paint/coating/aluminum life a lot. The trailer is stored outside, thus the reason for the short 10 year life of the paint that was put on the Excella that I am replacing. C&G trailer in Bellflower CA did the paint job. The aluminum panels on the 1980 trailer were judged to be too blackened/pitted/oxidized to re-apply the clear coat and have it look good. The color used was reported to be 2000 Corvette silver.
I have seen other posting in the Forum that detail the problem that owners are having with the <10 year old Airstreams. I was thinking of getting a 2000 or newer Airstream because of the newer floorplan, wider body, and "trouble free" exterior. I guess that idea has been blown apart and I may just settle on a less expensive 1995 to 2000 wide body and figure on recoating every few years with the money that I saved.
I have owned Airstreams for more than 30 years so do not think that I would feel "right" in something else. Being 6'4" I have gotten used to ducking, taking showers in the tucked position, and dodging open overhead cabinet doors. More than fixing the aluminum I wish Airstream would bring back the troubadour doors.

2airishuman 02-24-2011 08:44 PM


a/s HAS painted trailers and mohos made from aluminum.

bigAl has a 94 that's painted and it looks fantastic.

my 70s moho was painted and looked BETTER than new.

perhaps u've seen these threads...

while the older (and current) plastiKote has a shorter life, the newer alcoa finish is NOT replaceable...

so pick your poison.

another option is stripping a new unit and polishing.

the newer/harder alloy skin will polish fine

and corrode more slowly than traditional older skins (and without filiform corrosion)

so depending on exposure, wax/sealant and so on, applying plastiKote may not be needed...

for ease of use, simple care and camping without the hassle of maintaining...

silver paint (or other colors) is a reasonable option.


4RXLA 02-24-2011 10:38 PM

My 77 was painted in 1990 for the same reasons glh's was and it has held up pretty good. A little touch up every 5 years or so helps.

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