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Alcoa Dura Brite 22.5 inch Wheels On Class A Gas


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#1 greybeard101

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:10 PM

First of all, hello.

I am a new member of the FMCA. I purchased a 2012 Holiday Rambler Vacationer 36SBT on March 17th. This is my first RV of any kind.

Aside from the incredible number of faults that this coach has had ( I have owned it for 201 days of which it has been in the shop under repair or waiting for warranty authorization for approximately 175 of those days....in other words most of the Spring and ALL of the Summer), I have a question about the wheels on the unit.

When I first got it home back in March, I washed it and in doing so I noticed that half of each of the 4 wheels had some sort of spray on them that was impossible to get off. It covered, not only the Alcoa portion of the wheels but also the center axle covers. I asked the dealership about it and they had no idea what it was. The unit had been in the body shop at some point so it was thought that perhaps it was overspray of clearcoat. The wheels were basically shiny on half and dull...like aluminum ingot,... on the other half. The dealership tried as best they could do get it off and most of it is gone, but the wheels are somewhat milky in appearance in direct sunlight.

I thought this was just another oddball defect of this coach that I was saddled with ( we don't have lemon laws in Canada) but last weekend I was at a local RV show and found another unit from a different RV manufacturer ( Fleetwood ) with exactly the same phenomenon. My coach was built in Nov. 2011 and the Fleetwood was Feb. 2012.

I am concerned now that the attempts that the dealership made to remove the errant coating may have voided the warranty from Alcoa.

My question here is whether anyone else has suffered the same experience on their class A gas with the Ford F53 Chassis? Given that the sprayed material covered the center caps it would appear that whatever happened to them, happened after the wheels were mounted on the F53 chassis at Ford and before they arrived at the various RV manufactures in the Midwest. Obviously the spray was applied while the wheels were stationary so it can't be from the delivery of the vehicles to the dealership by the factory contracted driver, ( in my case roughly 2,500 miles) nor can it be from any error on the part of the RV manufacturer, since it involves more than one RV company. ( except perhaps the fact that they should have rejected the wheels upon delivery from Ford) It is as if perhaps the chassis's were exposed to something while the basic chassis was covered except for the lower part of each wheel.......either on the Ford plant holding lot or on whatever they used to transport the chassis's to the various RV companies ( I'm guessing by train). or by ? ( any ideas?)

Noting that I have found 2 here in this neck of the woods I can confidently conclude that there must be many more out there in various corners of North America....perhaps all on one train load back in the winter.

I have contacted Alcoa and Ford and have been advised to take mine to a Ford dealer for warranty consideration, but I thought that first I would ask here if anyone else has had this on their Class A gas and what they did to resolve it. If the dealerships, in good faith, used an abrasive or solvent not authorized by Alcoa and have damaged the wheels trying to correct damage done by some other party, it would seem that the customer should not have to put up with that damage and the responsible party should replace the wheels.

I am hoping that FMCA, as an influential group with some commercial members could add some credibility to my quest that I, as a single individual, may not be able to garner.

Sorry for the long-winded first post to the forums, but I'd appreciate any help I can get from others who have noticed the same issue.

Thanks,
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#2 hermanmullins

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:17 PM

graybeard 101,

Welcome to the FMCA and the Forum.

I would contact Alcoa to have a look at the wheels. You have coated wheels and if you use a solvent to remove the film you may indeed void the warranty.

You could use a solvent on the center caps. They are Stainless Steel. But don't let the dealer just say Duh.

Good Luck

Herman
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#3 greybeard101

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:38 AM

Thank you sir for your warm welcome and advice.

I did speak to a very helpful young lady at Alcoa who has asked me to send her some pictures. Unfortunately I didn't photograph my wheels close up before they were worked on. If I had, the problem would have been very clearly shown. However I told her I would seek out the unit I saw at the RV show and see if I can find any others on rv lots in this area to photograph. I do have some pictures of mine but taken at a distance so the delineating effect of the dull coating is not demonstrated clearly.

The fact that they are Dura-Brite wheels and the very clear instructions Alcoa publish about using only mild detergent and water..and no polishes.... is the crux of my concern because without any corroborating accounts of similar examples of the same peculiar, half-wheel coating, I could be left without any recourse but to accept the wheels in their current condition or replace them at my cost.

So if anyone has encountered the same phenomenon on their wheels or on wheels they may have seen or worked on in the business, I would appreciate hearing from them.

While the detailing departments of various dealerships work hard to produce sparkling RV's for their customers I do think that without a published account of problems like this they are left to their own devices in these situations and unwittingly put warranty items at risk. Another point I have made with my dealership and one other dealer is that in the case of applying wheel dressing to blacken the tires for display on the lots, if they use a petroleum based tire dressing, it completely voids the tire warranty on all Michelin tires as per the Michelin info provided with the unit I have as well as on my private automobile......something no one I have talked to so far had any idea about.

Thanks again.
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#4 campcop

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:14 PM

I don't know what your relationship is with your dealer but if they used an abrasive to "fix" your wheels......I think they are on the hook for any warranty issues if Alcoa says their warranty was voided. As far as tire coating, our MH came with that junk on them, that was the first thing I washed off....
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#5 desertdeals69

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:52 PM

If worst comes to worst you can strip the wheels and buff to a shine just like the older wheels were done. I have the older wheels with the buff shine and they last a year or two before I have to polish them again.
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#6 greybeard101

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:09 PM

My relationship with the dealer has been very good. They have been placed in the unfortunate position of having to spend hundreds of man hours fixing problems that came with an extremely poorly constructed RV from Monaco. When Monaco refused warranty coverage for a slide out that was binding so badly while the coach was in motion that it was hard to carry on a conversation, the dealer's service department took a video of the completely unacceptable noise and sent it to Monaco and it was only then that the manufacturer decided to offer some advice........advice by the way that was worthless. Before that, Monaco's response was to the effect...hey slide outs creak...if the customer doesn't like it let him buy slide locks. The dealership supplied a slide lock out of courtesy. The tech went to Lippert to get support and was somewhat successful in minimizing the noise.

The coach went in originally because the passenger side slide leaked like no tomorrow ( along with a host of other problems that a coach new from the factory should not have ). After my coach was in the shop for 5 and a half months, Monaco's only offer of support was to advise me they would re-start the 1 yr warranty when I signed off on the repairs. I had the unit home for 14 days, during which time it went nowhere while we stocked it up. We took it 4.6 miles to meet relatives who were on the way through town to visit further down the road and after opening all 3 slides up, the passenger side slide stuck half way in when retracting it and I had to wait for a dealer tech to arrive on a Sunday to try and get it back in..which he did,...noting that one of the slide out motors had failed.......this after drivng only 4.6 miles since receiving it back from the dealer where it had been for almost 6 months. The unit has only a few hundred miles on it above the mileage incurred from driving it from Indiana. ( so all-in-all less than 3,000 miles) That few hundred miles has been the result of driving it back and forth to the dealer. We have not slept in it, cooked in it, used the facilities..or anything at this point. The dealer..not Monaco.... has supplied some compensation for our loss of use and depreciation...although not nearly enough. My sympathies are with the poor tech guys who have had to work on this Holiday Rambler from ****. It is still in the shop at this point...October 4th. We were left with no alternative other than either suing or accepting the offer of compensation so we concluded that given all the work they had done to it they have probably built one better than it would have come from the factory so at this point it is having the slide out motor replaced and solar panels and an inverter installed. We hope to get it back next week.

I hate like **** to blame the dealership for wheel damage when the damage was actually the spray that someone else negligently put on....I mean it was like paint..almost like rough clearcoat and even mildly applying a cleaner wax on a small spot didn't have any impact on the crud.
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#7 greybeard101

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:18 PM

If worst comes to worst you can strip the wheels and buff to a shine just like the older wheels were done. I have the older wheels with the buff shine and they last a year or two before I have to polish them again.

I would be quite happy if they didn't have the dura brite finish on them and be able to take care of them myself. I have a '49 Chev pickup street rod with 20 year old aluminum wheels and polishing them before every show season is a pleasure not a chore. My understanding is that the dura brite finish is more than just a coating....I believe it is infused in the alloy like anodizing...but may be wrong.
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#8 desertdeals69

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:12 PM

I thought it was a clear coat sprayed on. I may be wrong but thats what I was told.
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#9 greybeard101

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:59 AM

I though it was a clear coat sprayed on. I may be wrong but thats what I was told.

Their website says the "Dura Brite production process penetrates the aluminum"....whatever that means.
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#10 DickandLois

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:14 AM

Yap, Greybeard ! penetrate or adhere ???
The Aluminum wheels on my Suburban are clear coated and when the tires where balanced, the wheel weights removed the coating. Result was very dull areas on the rims. I now have the wheels balanced with adhesive weights that are attached to the inner surface of the rim.
There is a product called Nevr-Dull that will polish the areas, But it needs to be repeated to keep them looking good and it is a messy(meaning a black residue) and time consuming process. I'm thinking of spot cleaning the areas and prepping the the rims for a clear coat application.

Link.http://www.nevrdull.com/

If you are interested. Rich.
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#11 hermanmullins

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

Rich,
I have polished many square feet of aircraft with nevrdull. I tryed it on my non coated, oxidizes 22.5 wheels and it was even more work then I remembered. Here is what I have done. 0000 steelwool and polishing compound. It will break the oxidization and I then use Mothers wheel polish.

After I get all 6 wheels done I plan to get the required coating and spray on a clear coat. It is not quite the same amount of work as nevrdull but is a lot less costly (and yes it get black also).

Herman
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"Fair winds and Following Seas"

Herman & Bobbie Mullins, F302225
Whitewright, TEXAS
'02 Monaco Dynasty, 40-foot 400 HP ISL
Chevrolet Silverado (M & G air brakes)
U.S. Navy PR-3 1956 to 1964

Southern Region Vice President for Six-State Rally Association
Lone Star Chapter FMCA Past President
South Central Lucky Rollers
Rally in The Pasture


#12 campcop

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 03:02 PM

I don't know what state you are from but after reading the troubles you have had and the response from the manufacturer.... "lemon law" comes to mind...
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#13 greybeard101

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 05:03 PM

The phrase "Lemon Law" has been rattling around in my brain also...for a long time :angry: ...............except that here in Canada there is no such legislation. Automobile purchasers have an arbitration process available, but it excludes RV's for some reason.

In my case the dealer's staff have saved Navistar/Monaco from finding this case blasted across YouTube or on the evening news. They have been stellar in their dedication to me as a customer.....so far.
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#14 dhviegut

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:28 PM

I am understanding that you have a Ford 2012 gasser. If that is the case then you probably so NOT have Alcoa wheels. They are Ford Motor Company wheels made in Taiwan. Take a close look at your wheel(s) and you will see the Ford ID. Of course you still have the milky finish condition for which I have no answer. The best I know is that the wheels are clear coated and should only need a mild soap wash to keep them looking good.
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#15 campcop

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:19 PM

I am understanding that you have a Ford 2012 gasser. If that is the case then you probably so NOT have Alcoa wheels. They are Ford Motor Company wheels made in Taiwan. Take a close look at your wheel(s) and you will see the Ford ID. Of course you still have the milky finish condition for which I have no answer. The best I know is that the wheels are clear coated and should only need a mild soap wash to keep them looking good.


Agree, mine are clearly stamped FORD and made in Taiwan.......The rear wheels will be easier to find the stamp. If its a Ford wheel then you will need to go through Ford......good luck with that..
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#16 greybeard101

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 02:06 PM

Agreed.......
I haven't looked in on this forum for a few weeks. I found out about the wheel manufacturer shortly after my last post. I was speaking to a rep for Alcoa ( a very pleasant and helpful lady ) and she confirmed that Alcoa hasn't supplied Ford with wheels for some time. On her suggestion I searched for the stamping on the wheels and found "Made in Taiwan" on the rear wheel. After that I kind of dropped the matter as the issue of whether an Alcoa "Dura Brite" warranty had been voided by dealership attempts to get the unusual coating off half of each wheel was no longer a concern. The Ford ad I had found on line mentioning the F53 chassis having dura brite wheels was a very old ad, so that corresponds to what the Alcoa rep was saying. A Ford rep suggested I take it to a Ford dealer and make a warranty claim. During this time the RV has been in the shop again and I let the matter slide. I was watching a video for the Rand McNally GPS and a split second frame showed a wheel in motion on a pusher that had the same milky appearance when it was in direct sunlight so I figured it is not an uncommon occurrence. I took some Meguires Scratch X and lightly applied some to a front wheel. It reduced the effect of the light scratches in the clearcoated wheel and when followed by an application of Turtle Wax ICE the reflection on the wheel deepened. It didn't eliminate that milky appearance in direct sunlight but has made a positive impact on the overall appearance of the wheel finish. So I feel a bit better about the issue and will leave it at that. Thanks for everyone's input.
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