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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers

 > aluminum siding vs. gelcoat

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mwebber78

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Posted: 01/23/13 01:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

SuwanneeDave wrote:

In general, aluminum siding is found on lower quality units, called "stick and tin" construction in the industry.


I hope you meant "lower price" not "lower quality" for stick & tin towables. The outside siding has nothing to do with the actual quality of the unit you select. There are plenty of POS fiberglassed and Filon towables out there. In fact, in the most expensive of 5th wheels the framing is wood - wood is a durable building material and has a much better R-value then alum. framing.


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Disclaimer for the daft: Don't confuse my opinion with facts.


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Posted: 01/23/13 06:26pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having owned both I can honestly say I will never own another aluminum sided trailer. They are harder to take care of and I dont think they ever look as clean. My parents trailer has now been hit twice with pieces of rubber that have flown up off the interstate and they have two nice dents to show for it. Mine got hit by a baseball and luckily had no damage. I can also wax my whole TT in an afternoon opposed to the whole day and a half event my other trailer required.


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jmtandem

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Posted: 01/23/13 06:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Having owned both I can honestly say I will never own another aluminum sided trailer. They are harder to take care of and I dont think they ever look as clean. My parents trailer has now been hit twice with pieces of rubber that have flown up off the interstate and they have two nice dents to show for it. Mine got hit by a baseball and luckily had no damage. I can also wax my whole TT in an afternoon opposed to the whole day and a half event my other trailer required.



* This post was edited 07/04/13 07:08pm by jmtandem *


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LVJJJ

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Posted: 01/23/13 07:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

had both, much prefer aluminum, lighter, easier to take care of, no worries about delam. Got an 85 Wilderness, still shiney after all these years. I think gelcoat looks dirtier quicker than alum. (Funny how we all look at things so differently, we're probably not helping the OP at all).


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nitrohorse

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Posted: 01/24/13 03:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jmtandem wrote:

Quote:

Having owned both I can honestly say I will never own another aluminum sided trailer. They are harder to take care of and I dont think they ever look as clean. My parents trailer has now been hit twice with pieces of rubber that have flown up off the interstate and they have two nice dents to show for it. Mine got hit by a baseball and luckily had no damage. I can also wax my whole TT in an afternoon opposed to the whole day and a half event my other trailer required.



Salt, like that used by Dept. of Transportations for winter highways, is corrosive to aluminum. Another thing I would think about for an aluminum trailer.


Excellent point, since many of us consistently tow our aluminum skinned tts on snow covered interstates. Just curious, how does salt affect a steel frame, cross members, or axles? Really makes you wonder how Airstream stayed in business this long....

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Posted: 01/24/13 03:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In reality, it's personal preference. I prefer aluminum. There's pros and cons to each, pick your poison...

jmtandem

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Posted: 01/24/13 08:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Excellent point, since many of us consistently tow our aluminum skinned tts on snow covered interstates. Just curious, how does salt affect a steel frame, cross members, or axles? Really makes you wonder how Airstream stayed in business this long....



Nitro,

Salt is bad for steel as well. However this comparison on this thread is between siding that was aluminum or gelcoat. Both would presumably have steel axles and frames since almost all trailers do not use aluminum frames.

As far as Airstream staying in business all these 80 years with 75 percent of all Airstreams still on the road, I guess they make a timeless coach, no rubber roof, no delam on the sides, excellent towing characteristics, iconic trailers that many associate with the ultimate in a towed trailer and for some it is the pinnacle of RV ownership. Sort of like the Harley Davidson fraternity following. Either a person rides Harley or they ride brand X. With Airstream it is an Airstream or a 'standard box trailer'. Very similar.

After a tow on a road with winter salt, wash it off with a hose underneath the coach. That should address the salt issue for those that tow in winter. Not really a big deal. We do that all the time in our area especially when crossing the Sierras in winter.

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Posted: 01/24/13 09:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'll second the above poster, if I were worried about salt on the road I'd be done from October till May. Even in May, many roads still have a salt layer that doesn't wash clean until a long rainy week. A hose or power wash and diligence to touch up surface rust is good care in Maine or California

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Posted: 01/25/13 04:31am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Jmtandem,
I would venture to guess that Airstream would have changed their construction material many years ago if corrosion was an issue. I think you wanted to make the OP aware of every possible adverse scenario involving an aluminum tt, but corrosion is really a non-factor with them.

* This post was edited 01/25/13 04:43am by nitrohorse *

jmtandem

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Posted: 01/25/13 09:23am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

Jmtandem,
I would venture to guess that Airstream would have changed their construction material many years ago if corrosion was an issue. I think you wanted to make the OP aware of every possible adverse scenario involving an aluminum tt, but corrosion is really a non-factor with them.



Thanks. Here corrosion can be a huge problem for cars, trucks and RV's if not washed off after each exposure. Salt is never used on runways since aircraft are aluminum. I think the Airstream issue may be due to protective coverings over the aluminum or something else similar to applied protection for aircraft frames. One other thing with aluminum and this can be/has been an Airstream issue from time to time is corrosion/cavitation from small electrical currents.

However, if the OP wants aluminum then go for it. There is also a downside to filon or gel and that has been already identified. I prefer gel over aluminum but if I wanted an Airstream I would get one regardless of the roof, siding, salt, or electrolosis.

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