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RV's---never again
Old 01-26-2014, 11:26 AM   #1
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RV's---never again

RV's are terribly built junk. I had a Lance camper parked under cover its entire life, and used for snowmobile trips in the winter. After 7 years, the camper's cheap aluminum siding started developing holes caused by galvanic corrosion. This camper led a very pampered life under cover, and always heated in the winter time. I thought i was doing everything right, but the piece of crap failed me.

I live in the NW were humidity is high, so probably not optimal for storage.

After doing some research on other RV's it seems that all constructions have their issues. RV's are definetely not in my future.

Have other RV'rs had galvanic corrosion issues?
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:36 AM   #2
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I don't know much about RV's, but I do know that some are built for recreational and occasional use (such as the Fleetwood Tioga that prolific blogger Tioga George bought and subsequently spent a great deal of his time on the road reparing), and others are built for full-time living.

I blow the horn for Lazy Daze quite a bit, partially because of my relative lack of knowledge of the other brands, but I do know that LD's have an aluminum skin and are solidly constructed. They have a reputation for being among the best-built Class C's out there. If it's a class B you're after, then Road Trek have a similar reputation.

Perhaps someone here has had experience with Lance Campers and can comment.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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My 5th wheel RV is fiberglass. No problems so far.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:38 AM   #4
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I've had pop ups, motorhomes & trailers and never had one that wasn't cheaply built. I was always fixing something that was falling apart and they ALL had leaks. When you start tearing these things apart you will be constantly amazed at the shoddy construction and cheap materials that they use. I'm sure there are exceptions and you probably get what you pay for.

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Old 01-26-2014, 11:48 AM   #5
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That's why I like molded fiberglass RVs. As long as the floor doesn't rot from an unattended leak, they last forever.
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Old 01-26-2014, 11:54 AM   #6
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We have apartments near the maker of some pretty neat little trailers. Of the applicants to our apartments who list that trailer maker as their place of employment there seems to be a very very strong correlation with drug use.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:05 PM   #7
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A lot of folks that buy inexpensive pop up or other camping trailers figure out in short order what a PIA camping can be and sell them quickly. Manufacturers probably build that strategy in their materials planning.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:53 PM   #8
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You would need to be more specific as to how the galvanic corrosion caused the failure.
My 9 year old, unpampered, aluminum sided, wood framed trailer of typical low-end construction shows no sign of that type of problem. I think the tarp might be part of your problem - by capturing and holding moisture.
My trailer did fail and leak badly at the corner seams. I had to pull all the edging off, remove the old butyl based caulk and reseal with GE silicone II sealant. Also any penetrations through the siding (lights, windows, vents etc..) will need the same do-over as most RV manufacturers do a poor job in this regard.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:54 PM   #9
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My 5th wheel RV is fiberglass. No problems so far.
I have what I think is considered a Class A. It is a very old (1985) Rockwood. Some of the fiberglass siding delaminated from the wood behind it on one side. It ruined the value of the motor home which was very high-end inside. It was given to me by a friend and works just fine as a temporary mountain cabin.
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:13 PM   #10
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RV's are terribly built junk.
Unfortunately this is all to true.

Unlike the auto industry where you have a limited number of manufacturers to choose from for a specific type of vehicle... there are dozens and dozens of RV manufacturers who come and go. And there apparently is no quality control.

Some models are much better than others but even within the same parent company quality can vary greatly from one division to another.

As an example... Forest River owned by Berkshire Hathaway. They have dozens of brands built at different plants managed and operated independently from each other.

Construction methods and materials vary from one model to another within the same brands. You have to really do your homework before deciding on a particular model to avoid buying an RV that will be falling apart it just a few years.
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:33 PM   #11
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Interesting problem with the corrosion. I'd like to know more. If you have pictures please post them.

DW and I have an Airstream travel trailer (made of aluminum). It is not without problems - some of them unique to Airstream, some prevalent in the RV industry as others have mentioned.

However, Airstreams in general stay on the road longer than other brands (or so I've heard). We love our trailer and will probably keep it a long time. It's 24 years old now and it's in relatively good mechanical condition although it has some cosmetic blemishes. We've owned it for about 12 years and my parents were the original owners so in a sense it's a one-owner rig.

Airstreams are not for everyone. They have many unique features and people fall into two categories - love 'em or hate 'em. Similar to where people fall in the Harley-Davidson and Jeep CJ/Wrangler camps.

After traveling in/with an RV I don't imagine we'll do much traveling without it. I can imagine we might switch from Airstream to another brand or class but I don't imagine my life (at this point) without an RV.
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:51 PM   #12
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........... Some of the fiberglass siding delaminated from the wood behind it on one side. It ruined the value of the motor home which was very high-end inside........
It is worth noting that the fiberglass laminate sheet construction is different from the molded fiberglass construction used on other RVs. Molded fiberglass manufacturer camper trailer names that you might have heard of would be Scamp, Casita, Big Foot, or Escape.
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:38 PM   #13
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Interesting problem with the corrosion. I'd like to know more. If you have pictures please post them.
Sorry I dont have any pictures and sold the monster a month ago, (with full disclosure to the buyer). The only thing I can figure out on the aluminum corrosion is that we used the camper mostly in the winter for snowmobiling. I think what happened is the moisture from our breath would condensate onto the inside of the alum sheeting and could not escape (even though we kept it vented per manufactures recommendations). The areas that corroded were in direct contact with somewhat pressure treated low end wood. These areas turned into white powderish dust. I'm pretty sure the pressure treated wood had some kind of chemical that reacted with tiny bits of moisture that corroded that aluminum siding. The aluminum siding does not have any type of protective coating on the inside. The siding corroded from the inside. There were no leaks and no rotten wood.

There was a post about a tarp. I never needed a tarp because it was stored in a covered carport.

I'm an engineer in the Aerospace industry and deal with corrosion protection. This problem could have been avoided if the manufacture used anodized, or clad alum sheeting, but really doubt theres any interest in making RV last. I'm pretty sure it is designed obsolesence.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:15 PM   #14
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I'm an engineer in the Aerospace industry and deal with corrosion protection. This problem could have been avoided if the manufacture used anodized, or clad alum sheeting, but really doubt theres any interest in making RV last. I'm pretty sure it is designed obsolescence.
Planned obsolescence would require that the manufacturer had some clue about the corrosive properties of aluminum and the treated wood behind it. IMHO more likely just clueless.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:23 PM   #15
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You should try surfing and see what your surfboard lifespan is.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:25 PM   #16
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The areas that corroded were in direct contact with somewhat pressure treated low end wood. These areas turned into white powderish dust. I'm pretty sure the pressure treated wood had some kind of chemical that reacted with tiny bits of moisture that corroded that aluminum siding.
The treated wood in your trailer probably contained chromium copper arsenate (CCA), which used to be the standard wood preservative. It, and almost every other newer wood preservative, contains copper of some type. That copper in contact with the aluminum was likely the source of your trouble.
Aluminum and copper are some distance apart on the galvanic corrosion table, indicating a good chance that corrosion will occur if conditions are right.
The issue with PT wood corroding aluminum is well known in the building trades: Aluminum nails and fittings aren't used with pressure treated wood and any aluminum flashing needs a barrier between the wood and the AL to prevent corrosion.
I guess the builder of the trailer just didn't care.
From what I've seen, builders of many RV's have great faith in the ability of caulk to keep water out. In my opinion, any design that depends on caulk as the primary/only water barrier between surfaces that are subject to vibration, exposure to UV light, and to large changes in temperature is a design for failure.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:30 PM   #17
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I think there is a wide range of build quality and price and you can pick what you like. In 2008 we bought a small, lightweight bunkhouse trailer for a modest amount of money. 2014 will be our 7th season. When it eventually falls apart I will shed more than a few tears from all the memories we made in it, and then go buy another one.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:52 PM   #18
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Lance has a good reputation as being one of the best in truck campers. FWIW
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:10 PM   #19
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The treated wood in your trailer probably contained chromium copper arsenate (CCA), which used to be the standard wood preservative. It, and almost every other newer wood preservative, contains copper of some type. That copper in contact with the aluminum was likely the source of your trouble.
Aluminum and copper are some distance apart on the galvanic corrosion table, indicating a good chance that corrosion will occur if conditions are right.
The issue with PT wood corroding aluminum is well known in the building trades: Aluminum nails and fittings aren't used with pressure treated wood and any aluminum flashing needs a barrier between the wood and the AL to prevent corrosion.
I guess the builder of the trailer just didn't care.
From what I've seen, builders of many RV's have great faith in the ability of caulk to keep water out. In my opinion, any design that depends on caulk as the primary/only water barrier between surfaces that are subject to vibration, exposure to UV light, and to large changes in temperature is a design for failure.
Yup, if pressure treating chemicals contains Copper, that most definitely was the problem. A little bit of moisture from our breath +copper+ aluminum=frickn battery! Thanks for the post.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:28 PM   #20
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"I'm an engineer in the Aerospace industry and deal with corrosion protection. This problem could have been avoided if the manufacture used anodized, or clad alum sheeting, but really doubt theres any interest in making RV last. I'm pretty sure it is designed obsolesence."

And this would also explain your heightened disappointment, justly so.
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