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Old 06-15-2015, 11:56 PM   #1
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Major dent advice - 1984 31' Excella

Hi everyone, I'm new here and this is my first post. Quick question about an airstream I'm in the process of acquiring from a good friend (1984 31' Excella). It has some pretty major dents as you can see in the pictures.

My question is... what options do I have to deal with this dent? Can I make it look any better with a low-cost fix? What will it take to have it repaired or replaced? I'm on a very limited budget so the cost is a big concern. Please let me know what you think my options are here and what it might cost.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:04 AM   #2
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Nothing will make that look or work better other than a complete replacement of all of the mashed and bashed panels. Those are not dents, they are completely destroyed panels, and the interior must be damaged also.

$8,000 to $10,000 will fix it, but it is not worth it.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:15 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick feedback! Do you think this trailer is worth getting and if so how much would be a fair market value? Everything is original and still works but it has this exterior damage.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:15 AM   #4
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Airstream + "I can fix it cheap" = terrible idea.

Get some quotes for the repair, looks like multiple panels need to be replaced, never mind whatever water damage may lurk inside...
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:16 AM   #5
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On further looking at the photos, I see the front is also trashed. My cost guess is then too low.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:17 AM   #6
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No, the trailer is not worth getting.
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Old 06-16-2015, 01:22 AM   #7
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I know someone in Texas who has replaced similar panels. It was not cheap. You need 'covered' area to perform repair... you need the skills for drill, Cleco's, buck riveting, etc.

Short story..
He ripped out the interior walls to gain access to the area.
When the new panel arrived, He then removed the damaged panel(s), then installed 'new' by drilling and riveting through the same holes which were on the original ribs and where they match other panels. EXTREME Care is needed as sloppy holes in metal structure is not good.

If you can get a great price... If , if, if, etc... and you have the space/time, and are willing to be patient, you may 'fix' this for less than $3000.

My bet, tho, is, not knowing the whole story, that there is water penetration which has damaged the floor... that's a whole other set of issues.

How 'cheap' will you be 'getting' this damaged AS for?
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:28 AM   #8
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Two years ago I backed into something that left a large crater dent in my left rear middle corner panel like where your damage is. I was able to use dent pullers to get out a lot of the crushed in damage making it look like crinkled foil but aluminum stretches unlike steel so I took my Airstream to highly recommended Airstream metalwork dealer (Airstream recommended them as a dealership with such knowledge). The corner panels are about $1800 each. I am not sure how they fix the other body issues.
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Old 06-16-2015, 05:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterlock View Post
Hi everyone, I'm new here and this is my first post. Quick question about an airstream I'm in the process of acquiring from a good friend (1984 31' Excella). It has some pretty major dents as you can see in the pictures.

My question is... what options do I have to deal with this dent? Can I make it look any better with a low-cost fix? What will it take to have it repaired or replaced? I'm on a very limited budget so the cost is a big concern. Please let me know what you think my options are here and what it might cost.

Thank you in advance!
rear and side alone is 15k plus, if there is no internal structural damage.
Free may be too expensive...
Enjoy as is or run
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:19 AM   #10
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If you took a few more detailed pictures, and emailed them to the service manager at the Airstream facility at Jackson Center, I think they would give you a ball park price, at least they did for me a couple years ago. They would need to see what specific panels need replaced, and how much internal damage was done. If you remove the interior where there is skin damage, the service folks could evaluate any rib damage, and...it would save you money, as they would not need to remove the interior, if they did the work for you.
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:41 AM   #11
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Might be better off finding a donor trailer to get parts off of. I know of one in this area but I am not sure if the guys would want to sell just those parts. I would like to get some windows off the same trailer. As far as buying new panels and fixing it that way would cost more than it is worth. That trailer is worth about $15k if it were near mint condition. You will put $10k into the structural repairs and another $10k at least to fix the rest up.

Perry
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Old 06-16-2015, 06:46 AM   #12
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The cost to repair with replacement panels will exceed the value of the trailer. This is a "Write Off" trailer IMO. What is the status of the title?
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:11 AM   #13
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Title is clean. I'm buying the trailer for $1,500. It does have the major damage plus a couple more smaller dents but honestly it doesn't bother me too much and I'd like to just make it look as decent as possible for the time being so I can use the trailer. Maybe look for a prettier solution for the future. Thanks for all the feedback so far! If anyone has any ideas about inexpensive "band-aid" solutions that would look better than it looks now please let me know. Maybe someday I'll have more of a budget to restore it better.
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Old 06-16-2015, 10:57 AM   #14
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This looks to be a mid-bath model which means accessing the inside of the skins is far easier than a rear bath model where everything needs to come out to gain access. You'll be surprised at how much better the major dent in the rear will look with some body massaging from the inside. It will still be wrinkled but the shape will be much improved.

It won't be a beauty queen but you can make it functional if you're willing to overlook cosmetics and there is no structural damage.

Best of luck,

Kevin
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