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Old 08-06-2012, 07:38 AM   #1
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Can this skin damage be repaired

I have been searching for my first AS (I've been researching and looking for almost a year but I have never owned one), and I've come across one that fits the bill. It's an early 80's twin model (light enough I can pull it and I can add bunk beds above the twins for our kids). It has some body damage, and since I'm new to AS I wasn't sure if this could be repaired or if the panels would have to be replaced??? I would love to have early 80's since it's about as new as I can go and still meet my requirements. However, I think there are plenty of AS's available that have good shells/skins.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:06 AM   #2
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The panels would have to be replaced. They are available, the issue is the cost of the panel and then the labor to get them installed unless you are a "do it yourselfer". I have no specific experience with this other than looking into it when I was considering buying a trailer that had significant hail damage.

Give the factory a call and they can tell you the cost to replace them there. I was told to expect $1800 per panel. By the way a little searching and you will find the panels are readily available and many have done the work themselves.

For most folks, they would let it ride as is and use it. The purchase price should reflect the damage, albeit not too significant, and therein is the tangle trying to figure out the actual value of a 30 year old Airstream with some scars. IMHO, it is quite subjective at best.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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In this case the damage could be significantly reduced. Simple dents can be popped out. Creases can be reduced by not completely eliminated. If you replaced the panel the the new panel would be more obvious than the dent. Another option would be to use auto body filler and then paint the trailer aluminum/silver.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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Just and Opinion NOW. I'd leave it alone. A few little marks like that does not affect the function. I have worst dents than that on my right side. Yours are not nearly as noticeable as mine. Just RUN IT ENJOY IT and Dont let it bother you. Lots of people leave hail damage,they say it gives the Airstream character.
I have no intention of repairing my damage,it also makes a good story around the campfire.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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Yeah, your character marks are kind of like a ding on your tooth. At first you can't keep your tongue out of it, then you forget. There are more important things to fix. I guarantee you the Airstream community will not be pointing shocked fingers as you cruise by.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:58 AM   #6
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Dings like the ones in your pictures are not uncommon. I spent two years looking for a trailer, and every one I looked at had some noticeable scar. I don't find these so unsightly, I've definitely seen worse. In fact the trailer I finally settled on after a two year quest is at least as bad.

One question is whether you intend to polish the trailer to a mirror finish. If so, then yes, these creases will just stand out that much more.

The second question is, does the asking price take into consideration that it is not pristine?
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:07 AM   #7
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Not sure if it's priced reasonably or not ($8k) since I haven't seen the AS in person yet. I'm trying to decide if it's worth the 5 hour drive each way to inspect. I've missed several (that were either too far away or I simply didn't act fast enough) that appeared to have very good shells. That is why I'm having a hard time deciding. I do like the fact that this is about as new as I can go and still get the 'twin' layout under 4,000lbs dry weight.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:16 AM   #8
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Agree with the other comments. Personaly not worth several thousand to repair or replace. The dings you show just add charactor to a fine trailer. If you don't want to make the initial trip to view the trailer maybe you can find someone here that can make the inspection for you. They can determine if the trip would be worthwhile for you. That is what I was able to do and it worked out just fine for me.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:25 PM   #9
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If you are willing to spend some time on them those dents and creases can be greatly minimized but not eliminated (you might just get lucky with the first pic-doesnt look creased). It will definitely involve removing the inner skin to access from the rear and some "precision micro-adjustment"
aka brute force with a roller but it can be done. Check out the threads by Kip (Aerowood here on the forums) He is the resident guru/genius when it comes to anything resembling aluminum skin. If you get the opportunity to meet him he's also a pretty nice guy
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:49 PM   #10
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For the purpose of making and offer on the trailer I woud assume it is either live with the dents or pay and Airstream dealer to replace the panels. When you add up the cost and trouble of going that route it is probably a big number. But that is sorta what you want when making a counter offer.
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:48 PM   #11
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I decided to make the trip. The skin damage really wasn't too bad. It looked much worse in the pictures. Unfortunately the rear bath floor was very spongy......I decided to pass.

Thanks for the comments and advice.
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