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Old 07-28-2003, 08:56 PM   #1
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Dry ice and dents....

Has anyone ever tried using dry ice to remove uncreased dents from their AS skin? Not that I need to, just curious!


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Old 07-29-2003, 05:59 AM   #2
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It could work, I have never tried it. I have heard the old wives tale that it could remove small dins in thin sheet metal.

If I ever get one on my Bambi (which I know I will at some point), I might try it on the roof area where it would not be noticed too much if it did more harm than good.

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Old 07-29-2003, 06:24 AM   #3
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Never tried it on my Airstream but had a branch fall on the hood of my 99 Ram and it left a dent about 6" long and 3" wide. On a hot summer day when the truck was in the sun and the hood was hot we placed regular ice on and around the dent and it did remove 95% of the dent. I could still see it but most people would not notice it.
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Old 07-29-2003, 08:46 AM   #4
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Removing "dents" in the aluminum that Airstream uses, can happen, provided that the dent does not have a crease.

During my tenure with Caravanner Insurance company, I did some dent removal experiments.

Dry ice rarely would remove a dent. It consistantly however, burned the plasticoat off the metal.

I also used Freon 22. Likewise, it rarely removed a dent, but also burned the plasticoat off.

Next, and last in line, was liquid nitrogen. It too, rarely removed a dent, but also burned the plasticoat off, right now.

An oil can dent, can simply be removed with a small amount of heat, usually the sun is enough.

Thousands of "hail dents" are removed by "mother nature." The sun in time, will remove most hail dents from the sides and roof. Segments are softer, therefore those dents rarely disappear.

Aluminum reacts very differently to heat and cold, from steel.

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Old 07-29-2003, 07:27 PM   #5
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No crease or on a seam? Good chance it can be sucked out.
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Old 07-29-2003, 09:18 PM   #6
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I saw small tool at Pep Boys that was endorsed by 'Billy ? -the Oxy-Clean/Orange Oil guy.It claims to give results like those achieved by the DentMaster paintless dent removal boys on small dents on vehicles.It was only about $20 and I was skeptical-anyone have any torture tests on this baby?
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Old 08-03-2003, 09:18 AM   #7
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Look at my dents !

So you were speaking about creased and uncreased dents, here are a couple of photos of mine. I have one of each, aren't I lucky !

What do you think the best way to deal with these ?

I've heard you work from the outside in, is this correct ?

Would you change the pannel, remember, I'm in France, just can't get a new panel just like that !

Any information on how to repair these, would be welcome.

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Old 08-03-2003, 09:21 AM   #8
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second foto

here is the second photo
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Old 08-03-2003, 09:29 AM   #9
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This may sound crazy, and I'm sure someone must have tried this, but what about pulling out the dent with some sort of suction cup thing. A toilet plunger or one of those contraptions that guys who haul sheets of glass around comes to mind. Or is there a way to make a small hole in the interior of the trailer directly behind the dent and carefully push it out. Just a thought.

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Old 08-03-2003, 09:37 AM   #10
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Another thought......

A friend just bought a conversion van used and told the dealer he would only take it if they repaired the dents. The dealer agreed and had my friend take the van with him to work. Some guy shows up at work and about an hour later, all the dents were removed. Granted, they were only dings, nothing major, but they were all on a painted surface. Looked great when done. I can find out the name of the service if need be.
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Old 08-03-2003, 09:46 AM   #11
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Dry ice and dents....

Most of the "paintless" dent removal systems require access to the rear of the panel to be repaired. Both my Suburban and my father's Tahoe sustained significant hail damage April 29/30, and had the "paintless" dent removal (two different shops and two different processes - - both requiring access to the back of the panel involved). For both vehicles, the entire headliner assembly had to be removed including all of the rear heat/air ductwork on the Suburban in order for the "paintless" system to work. The shop was unable to use the "paintless" technique on my Suburban due to the fact that the underhood insulator pad was steadfastly glued on rather than attached with clips as it should have been. It is also a far from inexpensive process - - total cost on my Suburban was in excess of $6,000.00 and it was in excess of $4,500.00 on my father's Tahoe (both vehicles were in the shop for more than a week - - Suburban 9 days and Tahoe 20 days).

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Old 08-03-2003, 09:55 AM   #12
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Here is a link to some information on dent removal:

Trying suction cups is not crazy. They have been known to work, but are unlikely to help in the situation pictured above. The cups need a nearly flat surface to make a seal, and a corner dent just doesn't provide one.

The following assumes that replacement is not an option.

Perry, your photos seem to picture an older coach with the polished aluminum. This makes ultimate success more probable as some of the stretch marks will polish out.

You will have to work from the back side, which means removing whatever is behind there. There is no alternative. You will also have to plan on many hours of tedius work. You must avoid using any tools with any kind of sharp edge - I know that if I was in your position I would use the head of a rubber mallet. And not one with the handle running all the way through the head, either. Nor one of those cheap ones with a nail for a fastener.

You must start at the outside edge, work around and around and around. You do not hit on the aluminum with any tool whatsoever. You push. You must make sure you push so gently that no movement of the metal can be seen from the outside. Yet, the corner aluminum harder than the side panels, so a good deal of pressure will be necessary.

It will take a lot of work before ANY improvement can be seen. 90% of the dent will come out only in the last 10% of the time.

At no time will the dent "pop" out. Aluminum seldom works that way.

You will end up with stretch marks along each of the creases. They will largely polish out, but probably not disappear entirely. However, you could end up with a panel that will pass the 10' rule.

You're in France, you say? Send a round trip ticket asap and I'll pack up the cordless drill, the rivets and gun, and my rubber mallets and fix it myself! I expect this will take, oh, about a month. You'll put me up for that long, right? I'm partial to Orangina.

Good luck,

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Old 08-03-2003, 09:57 AM   #13
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Aluminum vs steel

Unfortunately, aluminum stretches when dented and can never be fully restored to a flat sheet. Non-creased dents in a steel car are a different story, they usually can be popped out by a "paintless hail-removal" service.

That said, the Airstream of a friend was caught in a hail storm. A well meaning friend where it was stored got up on top to survey the damage and, unfortunately, got on the end caps. The friend dented the end caps with several fairly large non-creased dents. I watched my friend get on top with a vacuum puller and pop out the end caps. When he was done, the damage could not be seen from the ground. He said it was still obvious from on top, however.

My first brush with aluminum was on my Austin-Healey that a parking attendant had rammed into a post. The body was aluminum and there was no way to fully flatten it out. Fortunately, since the car would be painted, some body filler solved the problem.

Perry, my bet is that while you could probably reduce those dents some by working from the inside out, they will never disappear. Both dents appear to have way too much creasing to go away.
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Old 08-03-2003, 10:01 AM   #14
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Hi Perry. I had a dent something like your dent on the curb side where you see the step in the picture. It was on the curve & higher up, about head high. I put my open hands on each end of it horizonitly & gently pushed in right on the ends of the dent. The dent popped out. You can see where the small crease was, but some one would almost have to point it out for some one to notice it. The dent was about 8 to 10 inches long. It might be worth a try. I also see different size small suction cups in auto supply stores that you could try. Good luck.

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