If you look closely at some of the aluminum panels on our Airstream, you can see these little white lines in various places just above the surface of the aluminum. These little wiggly worms are actually corrosion that has taken place on the metal. They are called filiform corrosion.
This type of metal corrosion has been a topic of many discussions on various Airstream Websites and as you would expect, some take it more seriously than others. One of the theories is that the clearcoat used by the Jackson Center factory is the cause of the corrosion and others believe it is the method that it is applied on the trailer.
As you can see in these pictures, they are hard to pick up unless you stand up there real close to look for them. But nevertheless, it is a problem that one day we will have to deal with. Some have suggested to lightly sand the white lines off of the panels and apply clear fingernail polish to seal the area but it might not come out cosmetically the way you would expect. The real solution to stop this from spreading once and for all is to strip off all of the factory clear coat and reapply. That obvious involves a lot of cost and effort which is not something we are willing to deal with on our own.
There have even been suggestions of a class-action law suit against Airstream about this issue which I am on the fence about it. The reality of a class action is that the participants will see very little benefit and the defendant will end up raising prices on all of their products, or worse yet, go out of business. I would hate to see that happen to our beloved Airstream.
The corrosion is not just effecting the aluminum panels but also some of the cast parts like this grab handle by the entry way. I contribute part of this to our proximity to the Pacific and the salt in the ocean breeze expediting the corrosion process. You would think since our Airstream is the ‘Ocean Breeze’ model, they would have taken this into consideration. Guess not.
So what is a real solution? Well, I don’t know. For now I am just keeping an eye on the effected areas to see how it progresses. Our trailer is a 2007 model and in the last 3 years it has developed in just a handful of areas. Should the problem accelerates its pace, I will surely have to take a more active approach to solving this issue.
over and out,