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Old 11-14-2019, 09:10 PM   #1
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Filling deep roof dents

Hi all,
I'm in the last stages of repairing the roof my 22FB, which suffered some nasty roof damage.

The roof near the front is deeply dented. I would estimate the dents are about 1.5" deep at the worst parts, as measured from the 'expected' curve of the skin.

Amazingly, the seems between the skin panels seem tight. I know that because water pools up readily in them! Of course, I don't want water to be pooling there, so....

I'm wondering if there is some material I could use to just fill the dent up to the 'overflow' point. i.e. just so that water can't pool up there.

An autobody shop suggested (though had no experience) in multiple layers of FlexSeal, or maybe even silicone caulk. The FlexSeal idea is intriguing, though I've never used the stuff and I don't know how it would hold up over years. The silicone caulk idea is also interesting, but I'd want to somehow get it more fluid so that it would form a nice 'puddle' -- perhaps warming it would decrease its viscosity?

Note: I have tried a pneumatic dent puller, no luck (the same dent puller did help on several other large dents). I think that the underlying ribs are also bent, so short of unskinning the entire thing (interior and probably exterior too), I don't think that normal dent removal is going to be an option.

Another note: I plan on installing a large (200+ watt) solar panel over this area (angled to shed water past the dents) in order to keep the majority of the rain and sun off whatever repair job I end up doing.

Would love to hear your thoughts.
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Old 11-14-2019, 09:33 PM   #2
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You could make a large aluminum patch that has the correct curve and overlay the original.
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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Try a tire innertube big enough to span the dent. Then make a piece of 3/4 plywood big enough to cover the innertube with a hole in the middle of the plywood that you can connect to a shop vacuum. Put the innertube and plywood over the dent, suck a vacuum on the dent. It may pop out.

Worth a try. Any other method you mentioned short of a full replacement panel will not look good.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgschwend View Post
You could make a large aluminum patch that has the correct curve and overlay the original.
That would be my choice. Since a solar panel might hide most of this, The aluminum panel might be a good option if you can seal it to stop the water from pooling up there.
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Old 11-14-2019, 11:59 PM   #5
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Hi, Insurance and fix it right?
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:33 AM   #6
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I’m not too interested in how it looks....you can’t see it from the ground and the solar panel will cover it anyway.

It seems like it would be extremely challenging to get a piece of aluminum to make those compound bends.

I wonder what would happen if you warmed a bunch of trempro up and just flooded the dents....
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:44 AM   #7
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+1for the innertube idea, only use a very small innertube, like for a lawn tractor or heavy fork lift.
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Old 11-15-2019, 05:47 AM   #8
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Any thoughts about getting to the damaged from the inside? Removal of some interior skins may sound intimidating, but pushing out the dent and reinforcing any damaged frame might be the trick
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Old 11-15-2019, 06:03 AM   #9
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I'd try the dent puller again,

I've seen "Shacksman" here on the forums do great work with them on an Airstream trailer.

Enjoy,
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:53 AM   #10
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Id look into an epoxy auto body filler putty. I wouldnt use anything that relies on air contact to cure, like caulk, since you are filling such deep areas.

These come in all kinds of different forms and some are used with fiberglass sheets. You sand it down to the contour you want. 3Ms Bondo is a market leader and a place to start.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:12 AM   #11
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Roof dent repair

I had some damage on my roof and had good luck with a hot glue paintless dent removal system. I purchased it on Amazon and was skeptical initially, but was surprised how well it worked. For the $25 price its worth a try.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:12 AM   #12
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Might try a slide hammer dent puller that's screwed directly through the ribs with 3//16" machine screws and washer/nut on the bottom inside. Go slow and easy. Pull the ribs out and the sheet metal should follow pretty well then seal the holes/seams.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:22 AM   #13
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Go to Harbor Freight and buy a dent puller....the kind that has the sliding weight on it that you screw into the dented portion.
Rough it up with 80 grit sandpaper and apply a good grade of car bondo. Let dry and sand. (will take a few layers as you match the top contour) Then paint the entire top of the camper with a good automotive white paint (just brush on).
I believe the newer AS are painted white on top to help with heat dissipation.
If you go to a decent body shop they will tell you how to do all this.
Just an idea.....it worked for us!
Good luck.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:37 AM   #14
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Ok, you all have convinced me to give dent removal another go. I do have the harbor freight dent puller -- it helped out with another large dent and did a pretty dang good job.

The idea of somehow screwing the dent puller to the frame member and using the slide hammer to bend it back upwards is a good thought. I'll have to get 'clever' about how I attach the dent puller, but I like being clever (probably just need to find some kind of flange with a female thread to match the bottom of the dent puller, then mount that onto a piece of mild steel that I can screw to the frame member).

Whatever I end up doing, I'll post it here
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:08 PM   #15
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Use Bus Kote or similar for the roof paint.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doughpat View Post
I think that the underlying ribs are also bent, so short of unskinning the entire thing (interior and probably exterior too), I don't think that normal dent removal is going to be an option.
I'm more familiar with vintage Airstreams, but I don't think there are any ribs in this area, unless you're referring to the front edge where the end cap meets the rest of the roof.
What is on the inside of the end cap? I would be looking to see what would be involved in removing the interior end cap and pushing the dent out from inside before resealing, but maybe that's too involved on this model.
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:31 PM   #17
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Dents

I wish I could recommend a specific product. But not too many years ago we used self leveling epoxies and a self leveling resilient urethane like you might see on a gym floor. You might be able to dam around the perimeter and rough out the desired thickness. These products were extremely tenacious and monolithic. The rubber like urethane flooring was even flexible to a degree. Good luck
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Old 11-15-2019, 02:44 PM   #18
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Sorry this happened... but, there is no way a 'sealant' or 'epoxy' is going to replace the strength you have lost in the structure. You may 'make it better'... etc... but it will not be right.

I know that just dropped the value considerably unless it is properly repaired. I would not buy it unless repaired. If done by the Mothership or reputable repair folks, it will be documented...
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:07 PM   #19
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roof repair

Hello, just my opinion, but most of these suggestions will not work.
I'm an old guy now, but back in the day, as they say, I worked in auto body shops for over 20 yrs after H.S. We did not do much w/alum in those days, but I do know once the metal or alum is stretched, it's almost impossible to repair in the way that these posts suggest. I tried it on my own airstream, and alum is much harder when it has been dented, than auto body metal is.
I would suggest you find a shop that has done repairs on alum and ask them what they would do to repair. Also ck on you tube, there is a lot of good info there, and some that's not so good.
If it were me, and being on the roof, and you are going to install solar panels, why go through all the work and brain damage of trying to repair dents that are going to be covered? Think street rod shops or custom auto body builders, or A/S shops. They do a lot w/Alum these day.
Thanks. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:14 PM   #20
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roof repair

OPPS. just noticed the pic, wow thats quite a dent. The interior would have to come out so you could access it from the other side. you might be able to "rough it out" from the inside, but most shops will tell you it needs to be replaced. An experienced repair person that know alum might be able to repair, you will have to pay many $$$. for his experience.
Thanks again, Mike.
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