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Old 08-16-2015, 12:16 AM   #1
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This is going to require a pretty big bandage

We took delivery of our Airstream three weeks ago.

Unfortunately, a couple of days ago the folks at the facility where our trailer is stored had a little accident while moving it. A side view mirror on a big Class A motorhome met the rear curb side panel just above the belt line, and the Class A won.

The owner had already contacted the local Airstream service facility before calling me. Accidents happen-- at least no one was hurt, they are taking full responsibility and they have insurance.

I have no idea at this point when the repair can be scheduled (they apparently have several other trailers in for panel replacements right now), but hope to find out early next week. The Airstream is still usable and we do have a couple of trips planned in the near future. I hope that the panel replacement can be done beforehand, but if the trips should occur before the panel replacement, I'd like some ideas for covering up the damage with a "Band-Aid."

Since the panel will be replaced, I don't guess it matters if I draw on it or use painters tape to create a design or stick something else on there, although I suppose it may need to be something that can be completely washed off or removed. Any ideas for designs or materials I could use? There are three dents, and they are spaced such that I can cover them with just one bandage or several smaller ones. It can look cartoonish or photorealistic.

I'm trying to maintain a sense of humor about this. Am I disappointed? Sure. Am I angry? No, not at all-- accidents happen and they are taking care of the damage. Am I relieved that I'm not the one who dented the trailer? Yes. It's a brand new trailer and I'm sure most of us are slightly paranoid about damaging our Airstreams in the beginning. It's now received a few dandy dents, I'm not the one who dented it (bonus), it's going to be repaired, and I can hopefully relax a bit more and just enjoy our upcoming trips.
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:27 AM   #2
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I sure am sorry to hear about the dings on your brand new Airstream, but as you said, stuff happens.

Hopefully, they will be able to fix it just like new. In the mean time, enjoy your Airstream.

Since the panel is being replaced, it shouldn't make any difference how you decorate it.

Brian
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:01 PM   #3
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Sorry this happened...
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Old 08-16-2015, 03:24 PM   #4
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A sign printed or painted on cling film should do the trick, allowing complete removal if such proves necessary.

In fact, after the panel is repaired/replaced, you could put the film back on the new panel to show where the accident happened. Should make for an interesting conversation piece every time you pull into a new campground.

And here's a design I found on the Internet…

You might want to remove the periods after the O and U, though.
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:27 PM   #5
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A suggestion to you having gone through a similar experience. Call a couple of other dealers including the one that may do your repair. Ask them what impact the repair, no matter how good, will affect the value of your trailer should you want to trade it in. You may be surprised the 'hit' the value of your trailer will take even with a repair. My 25FC which was 90 days old at the time got numbers in the $6-8K range in a reduction in value even with JC doing the repairs. Any damage these days needs to be reported to future buyers. So think about factoring that into any negotiations you do with the folks that did the damage.
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:05 PM   #6
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INSIST that the repair be done with BUCKED rivets - which means removing part of the interior, bucking the rivets and replacing the interior parts and pieces. I had a hit below the beltline on my Eddie Bauer - and the difference was a bit more than $500. If there's an overhead cabinet that has to be removed the cost might be a bit higher.

The other way to do it is with an Overlay panel and olympic rivets (sort of like pop rivets). Some people say they always leak sooner or later.

Bucking means using an air hammer to put a solid rivet in, with someone on the inside with a tool (bucking bar) that causes the inside end to spread and locks the rivet front and back - two seams and a rib lock together.

There are quite a few good places to get repairs, ask around this forum. After September the back up in work generally slackens.

Whatever you cover the ding with, make sure you cover any seams as they will probably leak. Aluminum tape is good for a temporary seam fix. You can buy it at any big box hardware store. It's normally used for Air vents in heating and air conditioning work.

Paula
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Old 08-16-2015, 09:39 PM   #7
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So far....fingers crossed. ...my Olympic rivet panel replacement, done in fall of 2010, has not leaked or preformed in any way differently than the OE bucked rivets. Repair was done at JC.
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Old 08-16-2015, 10:16 PM   #8
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"I'm trying to maintain a sense of humor about this. Am I disappointed? Sure. Am I angry? No, not at all-- accidents happen and they are taking care of the damage."

Excellent!
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
A sign printed or painted on cling film should do the trick, allowing complete removal if such proves necessary.

And here's a design I found on the Internet…
I really LIKE that one!
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaynes755 View Post
A suggestion to you having gone through a similar experience. Call a couple of other dealers including the one that may do your repair. Ask them what impact the repair, no matter how good, will affect the value of your trailer should you want to trade it in. You may be surprised the 'hit' the value of your trailer will take even with a repair. My 25FC which was 90 days old at the time got numbers in the $6-8K range in a reduction in value even with JC doing the repairs. Any damage these days needs to be reported to future buyers. So think about factoring that into any negotiations you do with the folks that did the damage.
Thanks for bringing that up-- I sent an inquiry to the sales manager to get a rough idea of the potential lost value. We don't anticipate selling or trading in the trailer any time soon. However, none of us knows what the future brings, and it's always possible that unexpected health or other issues could mean having to trade in or sell an RV. A diminished value insurance claim might need to be considered if the decrease in value is severe enough.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:16 PM   #11
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As it turns out, bandages meant for vehicles are readily available, and each design comes in several sizes. I don't know why the notion of putting one on my poor, dented Airstream makes it a little easier-- but it does.

https://www.carstickers.com/Band_Aid...and_Decals.php

I think I'm getting a regular one and then the two crossed bandages. Odd numbers and asymmetry-- pleasing to the eye. Or at least more pleasing to my eye than the dents!
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
INSIST that the repair be done with BUCKED rivets - which means removing part of the interior, bucking the rivets and replacing the interior parts and pieces. I had a hit below the beltline on my Eddie Bauer - and the difference was a bit more than $500. If there's an overhead cabinet that has to be removed the cost might be a bit higher.

The other way to do it is with an Overlay panel and olympic rivets (sort of like pop rivets). Some people say they always leak sooner or later.

Paula
I'd thought about this and I'll confess I'm a bit worried about it. The damage is at the back, which bounces around a lot more going down the road (there is also a window frame involved and attachment points for the main and rear awnings). Our local facility will use the olympic rivets. I do wonder if this means a compromise in structural integrity over the long haul.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:47 PM   #13
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Which panels? Pic? the upper curved panels (where mine were repaired) carry less structural load. There are no bows ,ribs, and no inner skin (if overhead lockers and wardrobes are there) They only attach to the center rib at the bottom, last bow at the top and window frame. Their only structural need/integrity is to hold them in place. I preferred Olympics, in this case. Quite frankly, I didn't want the entire upper bedroom torn out. Like I said upthread, 5 years and no leaks. (at least not there....can't say as much for the rest of the bucked panels!)

I wonder if there are different quality Olympic style rivets? The dimples at the rivet holes seem identical to the bucked ones, indicating, at least, initial equal clamping force. Repiar was done at JC, so I believe the tech skill was as good as any.

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Old 08-17-2015, 05:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Which panels? Pic? the upper curved panels (where mine were repaired) carry less structural load. There are no bows ,ribs, and no inner skin (if overhead lockers and wardrobes are there) They only attach to the center rib at the bottom, last bow at the top and window frame. Their only structural need/integrity is to hold them in place. I preferred Olympics, in this case. Quite frankly, I didn't want the entire upper bedroom torn out. Like I said upthread, 5 years and no leaks. (at least not there....can't say as much for the rest of the bucked panels!)

I wonder if there are different quality Olympic style rivets? The dimples at the rivet holes seem identical to the bucked ones, indicating, at least, initial equal clamping force. Repiar was done at JC, so I believe the tech skill was as good as any.
Sorry-- I tried to upload the photos earlier but kept getting error messages. They attached without issue this time.

I thought the main awning attached to that panel, but I was wrong. It's only the rear awning.

I don't mind if the rear bedroom has to be disassembled IF it assures the best results over the long term. Unfortunately, there seem to be very mixed opinions and that leaves me rather confused and highly concerned.

I'm reasonably confident in the workmanship of our local service facility, however someone there told me that olympic rivets are the ONLY option for repairs, and obviously I know that isn't the case (the same person tried to convince me that reading the forums was a waste of time but failed at that mission). I can certainly see why olympic rivets would be preferable to many who do panel replacements, because removing cabinetry and the interior aluminum panels and then putting it all back together is undoubtedly a pain in the rear and a lot of work.

I'm less worried about leaks over the long term (because we have some responsibility for the maintenance to help prevent those), than I am about strength, since that is the part of the trailer that bounces the most going down the road. We anticipate owning this trailer for a very long time. If the olympic rivets are thoroughly up to the job for (hopefully the next two or three decades), then I'm fine with going that way. If they aren't, I definitely want to know.

*SIGH* Maybe our poor dented Airstream should just get a "tattoo" riveted on that panel and we should rename her "Lydia." On second thought, maybe not... John's mother's name was Lydia and I don't know how she felt about tattoos (I think my father-in-law used to tease her with that song periodically). She certainly did love RVing, though!
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