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Old 06-25-2009, 11:59 PM   #1
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Opinions wanted on this dent

The aluminum has been stretched a bit with a deep groove/scratch and the dent has a crease. Is there any hope to pop this dent out from the inside? And if the answer is "no" can I get by with replacing just the top panel only? The bottom panel has a slight deformation but I think it's minor and can be pressed out.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
The aluminum has been stretched a bit with a deep grove/scratch and the dent has a crease. Is there any hope to pop this dent out from the inside? And if the answer is "no" can I get by with replacing just the top panel only? The bottom panel has a slight deformation but I think it's minor and can be pressed out.

Where is the dent? All of the front and rear end cap segments are stretch formed.

Bill

Sorry, did not see the picture the first time. But that is a stretch formed panel, I have been told that they are still available.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:39 AM   #3
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Looks like a good spot for a bumper sticker. I talked to Airstream Service center about panels and they said about $1500 a section for new. but you could try and find a salvage unit for the panel, but will take some hunting.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:26 AM   #4
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You might be able to push it out some, but it will not go away and I'm sure a new panel isn't cheep...
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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Out-of-Doors mart shows that part on their website: Body Panel 1969 to 82 Segment Bright 104457-02 [104457-02] - $325.16 : ODMRV , Out-of-Doors Mart
The cost does not include shipping which will be a few bucks...
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Old 06-26-2009, 10:57 AM   #6
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Thanks, Richard. Looks like the consensus is to replace the panel.

Alright, dumb question. I've never replaced an outside panel like this with "rounded" rivet heads. No problem drilling interior rivets with the "holes" in them. How does one go about drilling out these rounded rivet heads without the drill bit slipping and scratching or denting the skin?
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:12 AM   #7
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The simple, but crude method would be to center punch each rivet and then drill.

Brad (flyfshr) removed a ton of rivets at the Restoration Rally earlier this year on one of Uwe's trailers. He was using a really neat tool that attached to the drill and kept is centered on the head.
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:24 AM   #8
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Thanks, Richard. I'll ask Brad where he got this special drill attachment. I own a rivet shaver for the Olympic Rivets, so I'm good to go there.
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Old 06-27-2009, 12:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Thanks, Richard. I'll ask Brad where he got this special drill attachment. I own a rivet shaver for the Olympic Rivets, so I'm good to go there.
I want to replace the side of my 310 MH that has had a minor skirmish during the trip over here from the 'States, and it is a daunting task to say the least!

Can you post the source for this tool?
I have seen the shaver/polishing tool somewhere but it was some ago, so that would be useful too.

What is the Aluminium Spec - size(thickness) and type/size rivet used?

Sorry about all the questions but here in the UK Body repairers of this ilk are few and far between so I am going to have a go! I am looking for a source of instruction - video/paper whatever. There are a few Airstream's here with dents!

Many thanks for any help
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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I want to replace the side of my 310 MH that has had a minor skirmish during the trip over here from the 'States, and it is a daunting task to say the least!

Can you post the source for this tool?
I have seen the shaver/polishing tool somewhere but it was some ago, so that would be useful too.

What is the Aluminium Spec - size(thickness) and type/size rivet used?

Sorry about all the questions but here in the UK Body repairers of this ilk are few and far between so I am going to have a go! I am looking for a source of instruction - video/paper whatever. There are a few Airstream's here with dents!

Many thanks for any help
Olympic rivet shavers are sold by a small number of Airstream parts sources.

What thickness aluminum to use depends on where it's used. Lower panels are thicker than the upper panels, generally speaking.

Olympic rivets are used fro exterior metal replacements. If however, you have the interior gutted, or want to gut it, you can use "buck" rivets. There is only one size Olympic used for Airstream metal repairs.

Using Olympic rivets requires one person to do the work. When using "buck" rivets, two people are required, one on the inside and one on the outside of the coach.

Andy
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:31 AM   #11
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Drill Guide
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:46 AM   #12
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Mike, because of the light reflections, it hard for me to see exactly what's scratched in the lower panel, but it looks like it could not be easily pushed out. To do that would mean removing some interior. It seems easier to just replace both the upper and lower panels while you're at it. If you do it yourself, you'll save a lot of money since this is labor intensive work, and hopefully you'll remain mellow.

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Old 06-27-2009, 12:17 PM   #13
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Before I replaced the panel, I would at least try to get it out.

A method I have used on old cars, is have one person outside and another inside. make sure you can easlily communicate. gently tap out the big dent, it may just pop out. then you have the crease to deal with.

This becomes a little tediouse but not unreasonabley.

The person out side needs a block of wood, the person inside needs either a wood hammer, for manipulting metal, or a flat steel one for the same. Tap the inside of the crease gently, while the outside guy has the wood pressed firmly against where you are tapping, If the crease isnt that bad. it will almost all come out.

Ideally would be to do this on a hot day in direct sunlight, so the alluminum is hot, I would not apply heat to the alluminum with a torch, When you start this process, you will get the idea and fine tune the tools and the tapping. Having wood on the out side is mandatory so you dont stretch the alluminum further.

Good Luck.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:37 PM   #14
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To take out a dent you have to shrink the metal. It's done with steel all the time on cars and trucks, but requires some expertise. Apparently aluminum has such different qualities it's very difficult to do, if possible at all.

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