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Old 09-26-2003, 08:47 AM   #1
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Exterior Panel Replacment -- photos anyone?

I'm in the midst of replacing rear endcap panels on '61. All is well thus far, just curious to know if anyone else has documented this type of repair. I looked through the Exterior forum last night to see if anyone had posted any photos or comments related to this kind of work but no luck. Perhaps there is a thread somewhere else related to this kind of repair?

Word of advice -- don't bring home a vintage Airstream that needs compound curve panels replaced! Those panels cost a fortune. This was my first Airstream and I had no idea what I was getting into...
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Old 09-26-2003, 11:00 AM   #2
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Peter has replaced the whole side of his motor home to fix hail damage. There are some pictures in the Motor home section.
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:00 PM   #3
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Unhappy Tree falls on my "77 land yacht

Hoping I might get advice about fixing the dent on my trailer. I,m a new A/S and want to fix it right. First estimate from Ohio is $2000 but insurance will pay. I want to make the trip but Laura wants to explore other options perhaps doing it myself. She loves me but doesn't Know all my limitations yet. Any one been down this road before? Wayne
p.s. I have Photos of my damage but file must be too big.
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:15 PM   #4
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Re: Tree falls on my "77 land yacht

Quote:
Originally posted by laurandwayne
Hoping I might get advice about fixing the dent on my trailer. I,m a new A/S and want to fix it right. First estimate from Ohio is $2000 but insurance will pay. I want to make the trip but Laura wants to explore other options perhaps doing it myself. She loves me but doesn't Know all my limitations yet. Any one been down this road before? Wayne
p.s. I have Photos of my damage but file must be too big.
Is it on a flat pannel or curved? If it's a flat pannel it's not hard. Just need to get the material and cut it to size and rivet it on. Curved area is a little mre difficult bit if you have the correct peice from Airstream it's just a matter of drilling out the old rivets and remove damaged pannel. Install new pannel and rivet away.
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:18 PM   #5
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Photos

I am attaching Photo of the dent hoping someone might suggest alternate option of fixing it besides going to Ohio
Thanks Wayne
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:29 PM   #6
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Thanks Toaster

So it is possible to get panels from A/S factory? Also rivets and I assume some sort of water sealant between panels? You make it sound easy; any info on locating nearest factory?
Wayne
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Old 10-23-2003, 11:43 PM   #7
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The nearest (only) factory is in Jackson Center Ohio...not bad for you in Indiana!

Airstream Inc.:
419 West Pike Street
P.O. Box 629
Jackson Center, Oh 45334-0629

Phone: 937-596-6111
Fax: 937-596-7939

Good luck on your repairs ~

Shari
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Old 10-24-2003, 12:09 AM   #8
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Suction

Wayne,
I removed a very similar dent with a suction puller.
Mine was on one of the rear curved segments above the window line. About basketball size, and pretty nasty looking.
Ok, you'll need to borrow or rent a professional suction puller, basically a suction cup with a lever to apply full suction to the dent. A slide hammer or handle attaches to the suction cup.
Now, apply steady and gentle outward force to the suction cup and dent, and use a soft mallet to work the aluminum around the creases a bit. Take your time and pull gently, more tapping than hammering.
My dent came out completely, but it took about 45 min.
In certain light conditions, I can imagine the old outline of the dent, but in my case it is caused by the dent having been there from the previous owner for many years, and the clearcoat has discolored, favoring the outline of the dent.
Anyways, maybe this will help you get the dent out without disturbing the integrity of the existing body shell.
Good Luck!
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:12 AM   #9
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The othe thing to do is wait until a blistering hot day to pull the dent.

The heat will softeten the skin and make it easier to pull as well as minimize the possible remnants of the dent.
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:37 AM   #10
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That dent is high enough, above the obvious line of sight that I would first try to work it back out. You would probably need to pull the inner dome to get to it but in the end probably less work and $$ than trying to replace the segment. Just use the right tools, sounds crazy but maybe a bowling ball or similar round and firm object, to push it out without stressing and stretching the skin any more than it already is.
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:53 AM   #11
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Well 2 schools of thought. Insurance is paying for it, why break a sweat. Let Airstream replace it. Fact of the matteri is it doesn't appear to have effected the rib or any of the internal braces unless I can't see some rivets in that location.

Folks at Airstream that are use to this sort of work could proably replace that pannel in 2-3 hours if they don't have to pull the window. My bet is they don't. Since that piece is past the corner of the window they can proably work it in.

The Con is the pannel will look different then the rest.


Poping the dent out: Pro is if the dent does pop out with minimal rippling then overall it will be less noticable then a new pannel.

Con is if you do get into having to remove inner body pannels you may have to remove a WHOLE lot more then you were bargining for.
May still not get desired results. May develope a leak in the seams particularly where that keystone peice is bent.

Personnaly I would give it a try.
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Old 10-24-2003, 09:31 AM   #12
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Personally I would give it a try as well. Pull the inner skins, have someone on the outside use a heat gun to soften the aluminum and use a fully inflated basketball. It matches the curvature pretty well and has a little give. Besides, less heavy as a bowling ball. If all of this just does give the desired results, then have the factory fix it, knowing you did your best.

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Old 10-24-2003, 09:37 AM   #13
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SEGMENT REPLACEMENT

A word of "CAUTION" to the DIY that may want to replace a segment.

If you don't know where the blind (hidden) rivets are, you will never get the segment off, let alone slide a replacement into position.

Simply drilling out "ALL" the rivets you see, will not allow that panel to move, let alone be removed.

Side sheets are a different story.

Andy
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Old 10-24-2003, 09:42 AM   #14
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Toaster,

The thing is the window will have to be pulled. On the 70's vintage the segment with the dent is acutually touching both the center window and the RS wing window. That has to be why the estimate is 2K.

There are NO ribs in the curved section where the dent is the rivet seams are what give the strength here. The toughest part about pulling the inside is that the ineer liner is ABS plastic. As it ages it gets brittle. It could crack or tear if you are not super careful pulling it.

The curved sections are normally made of a thinner sheet, so if you take your time with the proper suction tools you may be suprised how well it comes out. then you can use the insurance check for other doo dads
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