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Old 09-10-2012, 09:26 AM   #1
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Guy backed into my trailer - now what?!

So the one weekend all summer we decide to not take the trailer out camping, a guy backs into it with his 30' monster powerboat trailer and does this...




Here you see what did the damage:


Anyway, the guy left me all his contact and insurance information and I'll be contacting my insurance as soon as they open this morning but I have a whole bunch of concerns and questions about "what's next"?!

First off, I'm not sure the average insurance adjuster is even qualified to assess the damage to an airstream, but I hope I'm wrong. Any experts out there hazard to guess what this will cost to repair properly?

Secondly, in Calgary we have no AS dealers anymore and only one person apparently that's officially authorized by AS to do repairs - so we're likely not going to have a lot of options for repair or getting a second quote. Any thoughts on what it will take to fix this right? Will the whole centre panel need to be replaced? If so, does that mean then need to go through the interior walls to be able to rivet the external skin back in place correctly?

Anyway, feelin' pretty sick about this and the headache it will likely take to get it repaired. With winter coming on in a few weeks I suppose this will also be the end of our season, which sucks. :-(

As a side bar to this story, the only other airstream in our storage lot was backed into last week by another trailer. Must be open season on airstreams or something!!! Anyway, I'm going to contact that owner and see what they are doing about their repairs.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated - thanks!
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:33 AM   #2
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I'd make a call to Airstream and explain your situation. See if they can give you an estimate based on the photos. I'm sure it's pretty straight forward as to what it will take to R & R that panel for them.

Sorry about your damage....go camping while you can...
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:35 AM   #3
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Looks like Saskatoon, SK, Spokane, WA and Pentiction, BC are your closest AS dealers. What a pity, that guy has more than ruined your trip.

The AS site does not show ANYone in AB, by the way. If you decide to try him, I would make certain that he really does have the expertise to do that repair, otherwise, your problem could be compounded.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:51 AM   #4
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Here's the good news: Looks like f that it's the rear FLAT panel.Can be repaired with flat sheet material not formed panels.
In your location with no airstream dealer close by I would consider finding a General Aviation sheet metal mechanic(Airframe Mechanic) in Canada I believe they are called "Engineers".They will have all the equipment and know where to obtain the material.There shop labor rate is probably close to the same or less than Airstream and there at the local Airport
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:04 AM   #5
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The question is this,

Will they pay to have it fixed "correctly"?

The quick easy fix it to place another panel over it or to cut out the current panel and using Olympic Rivets put a new panel in place.

The "Correct" way to fix the problem would be to remove everything that's on the backside of that panel from the inside of the trailer and use buck-rivets to secure the new panel on. Pretty much doubles the price of the repair or more depending if you have a rear bath in place.

Enjoy,
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:20 AM   #6
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Ya, I was wondering that. Our unit has the small double bed on the right and shower on the left rear of the unit. To do it right, they would have to come from the interior to replace the panel with the same style of buck(?) rivets you suggest.

I've fired off emails to the AS dealerships in Spokane and Saskatoon (good advice) and will send one to Airstream HQ to get their take on things as well. Thanks everyone!
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:22 AM   #7
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I would check to see if you have the floor rot bumper leak issues that 90% of the trailers have. This might determine how far you go into the structure to repair that panel. I would say leave it alone if that is the only damage. Repairs many times lead to other problems down the road because they were not done right. If you already have floor rot might as well rip out the interior and do it all right. I am not a big Olympic rivet fan because I have seen a lot of bad repairs on this forum that were made with them. They can leak. That back panel has a lot of structure attached to it. It is the main attachment between the rear part of the shell and the frame. Repairs are usually made by professionals to get you far enough out on the time horizon that you won't come soon enough for it to be their problem. They have NO INTEREST in making your trailer last or fixing it right unless you stand over them and make them do it right. At least this is the case about 99% of the time.

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Old 09-10-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
I would check to see if you have the floor rot bumper leak issues that 90% of the trailers have. This might determine how far you go into the structure to repair that panel.
Yikes, any way to check for this without tearing open the back end?
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:44 AM   #9
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I sent pics to Rick March at AS Service center and had him do an estimate. My insurance company accepted the manufacturer estimate as the gospel. My adjuster was somewhat familiar with AS and knew it was different. It was Progressive.

I think you're fine with Olympic rivets. It is standard to use them. That's what the Mothership did on my 2 panels. It is fine after a year. No leaks, no nuttin'. I would actually prefer it over tearing out the interior. This is a pretty easy, straight forward flat panel repair.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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It looks like you may have an "open wound" in the aluminum panel. It might be a good idea to tape that up temporarily to prevent any water getting inside and creating more issues that you will have to address.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:00 AM   #11
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Thanks dznf0g! Much appreciated!

c_lewis77 - yup, I taped over it right away as there was a thunderstorm coming. Luckily it was a dry weekend up to that point. I will likely go back later today and put a better patch on just to be sure...
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:36 AM   #12
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Given that the panel is structural and the best way of attaching it is to remove the insides, I would consider a temporary fix until there are other reasons to remove the insides.

Find someone who can cut out a whimsical shaped patch (a boat? a dog?) and cover the cuts with Olympic rivets and plenty of vulkem (or whatever it's called now).

Put the insurance or repair money in the bank to go toward a panel replacement. This would buy time so that you do the panel replacement the right way, with buck rivets after removing the shower, at a time that makes more sense for you and the trailer.

My favorite patch so far is a palm tree on the outside rear of a trailer with a tropical interior theme. For ages I thought it was just part of the decorative theme and not a cover for hole.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
I think you're fine with Olympic rivets. It is standard to use them. That's what the Mothership did on my 2 panels. It is fine after a year. No leaks, no nuttin'. I would actually prefer it over tearing out the interior. This is a pretty easy, straight forward flat panel repair.
If you go with Olympic rivets, you could always replace them with buck rivets if you ever do extensive interior work on the rear that gives you access to the inside of that panel.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:41 AM   #14
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I hope Inland Andy chimes in here. I think it was he who stated that olympics are actuall STRONGER than the soft aluminum used in buck rivets.
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