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Old 11-01-2010, 05:01 PM   #1
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What do you do with dents?

I've been looking to buy an Airstream and I've kind of been struggling. You see, even though I'm color-blind, I can tell I'm green. I've looked at alot of ads, and I've noticed many of the Airstreams have dents in their outside skin. My question is: can these dents be staightened out someway or does the panel have to be replaced? Also, if the dent, even though it maybe small, breaks a hole through the trailer's skin, what do you do? I'm sorry for silly questions, but I'm trying to educate myself. Thanks
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
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Go to search at the top blue bar. Then click the posts "radio button". Then type dents in the GOOGLE search line. A lot of info there. Short answer, from the outside you may be able to suction pull large shallow dents...not creases nor small deep dents. That can be done from the inside (spelled a lot of work), or you can replace panels. (spelled a lot of work and a lot of$$$$)
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:05 PM   #3
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Dents as Aesthetics v. Functional Problems

Answer above correct in that there are choices of suction cup pulls for large shallow dents, or open up interior skin and push out, or replace skins.. Airstream factory and some skilled dealers and shops are only ones qualified to replace skins..

Creases or holes in skin are different problem. Holes can be patched (small piece of aluminum, sealant and Cherry/Olympic rivets) and priority ! for any decisoin around skins in Airstream should be integrity and water-tightness.. Any water leak potential will be much more costly later, as floor replacement and interior problems multiply and attack your bank account!

Worthy of note is that small dents or creases that do not affect integrity nor cause water leakage are pretty much matter of personal taste.. Some use proudly for years with knwn "battle scars", others have to book an appointment with a shop as soon as the dent appears. If insurance is paying, this is even more common...

Good luck with your searching...
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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If the dent pierces the skin, aside from duct tape, replace the panel. You don't want water leaking through a hole; you'll get plenty of leaks from other places anyway. This is expensive in money if you have it done, in money and time and aggravation if you do it yourself.

It's not hard to get dents and scratches. A lot of used trailers will have them. It depends what you can stand. There are many things that can be wrong with a trailer, so it's a balancing act. If the interior is spotless, everything works perfectly, there a dent at one of the rear upper panels from a tree branch, but the rest of the exterior looks good, ask for a discount for the dent, and ask yourself what's important to you. Also make sure, if you can, the dent has not caused a leak at one of the panel seams. If so, all it may need is some sealant, but if it's been there a long time, water may have gotten to the subfloor, made the insulation nasty, so ask the seller how old the dent is, if the panel has been resealed. Get an inspector to help you decide what looks acceptable. If no dents and the fridge is fried, they are about the cost of that dented panel on the other one. And, at least you can see a dent, but a bad subfloor is another question.

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Old 11-03-2010, 07:29 PM   #5
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My 88 has some dents and scratches on the aft sections of the trailer that appear to have been inflicted during the backing into campsite process. None caused leaks and I view them as beauty marks, that has added seasoning to my coach. Of course I probably would feel different if my rig was an 05...

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Old 11-09-2010, 02:42 AM   #6
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I agree with Reganzo, dents add character. My AS has lots of battle scars, don't lose any sleep over them, as long as they don't leak life goes on, enjoy it!!
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:12 AM   #7
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Check out this thread - some before/after pictures of dent removal.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...res-64383.html

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Old 11-09-2010, 07:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reganzo View Post
My 88 has some dents and scratches on the aft sections of the trailer that appear to have been inflicted during the backing into campsite process. None caused leaks and I view them as beauty marks, that has added seasoning to my coach. Of course I probably would feel different if my rig was an 05...

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Ditto; they are beauty marks.

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Old 11-09-2010, 08:08 AM   #9
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Depending on how vain you are .Punctures in the skin as said before can be patched or the panel replaced. Ours had dents here and there from 34 yrs of use. They dont bother me as long as there are no leaks. Just all depends on what you can live with.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:15 AM   #10
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Hot glue??

I bought one of those things that you use when working with tile. It is a handle with a pad about 4x6 with rubber on it. I am thinking about putting hot glue on the dent then pull it out. Anyone tried anything like this. I know it won't pull creases but maybe the less severe will come on out.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:35 AM   #11
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How are you going to get the handle off your trailer then once it is glued on?
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reganzo View Post
My 88 has some dents and scratches on the aft sections of the trailer that appear to have been inflicted during the backing into campsite process. None caused leaks and I view them as beauty marks, that has added seasoning to my coach. Of course I probably would feel different if my rig was an 05...

Regards,

It's a matter of personal taste for sure, as long as mentioned by others - the integrity of the trailer is not jeopardized. My '51 has lived through a lot of years and shows that it was used as intended, and obviously used a lot . Yeah, I'd like maybe a dozen or so fewer but it is what it is and the cost to replace the panels, not counting the time the trailer would be down, is far too much for me to do.

On the other hand my friends also acquired a '51 twin to mine excepting it lived for many years in a barn, not being used, and other than one small tear at a wheel well it is virtually pristine. It is shinier just being washed than mine is after a major attempt to make it somewhat shiny. Our other friend picked up a '53 and it is also in far better shape than mine and I'd leave it the way it is if it were mine but I suspect he'll want to get aggressive with making it perfect, as is his way. Another buddy redid his '65 and it is gorgeous, like new actually, and I look at it with envy. He did the work himself, learning quickly what to and what not to do. It was a lot of work but man, it sure is pretty.

The problem is, if you use them, they get dents, scars of all kinds, and it is just a fact of life. So mine will continue to collect reminders of the trips it has enjoyed, and theirs will soon enough as well. So buying one with some dents, if they are not really ugly dents or causing concerns about the integrity of the trailer, or how it was used in the past, then the only concern I'd have is that the price reflects (couldn't not use that pun, sorry) that it is not a perfect trailer.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:27 AM   #13
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glue off

Hi cclarkego, i am going to put the minimum amount on the trailer kind of trial and error , hope not too much error. you know how hot glue can be pulled off since it doesn't penetrate the surface. will post how it works.
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