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Old 09-20-2016, 02:16 PM   #1
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Ouch, options for this new rear dent?

Just experienced my first major dent (backed into garage). After properly flogging myself, it is time to explore options to fix it. Unit is a 25 ft Safari (2005). Dent is located in area occupied by interior corner shower. Looks like no damage along the horizontal seam (a rib there I suppose), but the vertical seam is dent. Questions:

  1. Can this be pulled out from exterior (suction cups perhaps?)
  2. If not, can it be pushed out from inside? If so, how do you remove shower to access it?
I realize that there will probably be crinkles left with either option. It is insured, but I just received a check for a recent claim for axle damage (forced off the highway and hit a curb at full speed), so I hate to make another claim right now.

Thoughts from the AS think tank?
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:59 PM   #2
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I'd try paint less dent repair, if you google it and watch some of the YouTube videos you'll see that they can do some pretty amazing stuff.

That being said they are mostly working on steel and not aluminum, might find someone who's done work on one of the newer aluminum skinned vehicles.
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Old 09-20-2016, 03:25 PM   #3
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That's probably a $4k-$5k hit. Maybe $2k just in parts. You may be best off to contact your insurance and ask their advice.

Even if your policy increased $500 a year, you are still going to be ahead.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:44 PM   #4
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Yeah; that's not going to buff out unfortunately.

Aluminum, believe it or not, is actually harder to mold back into shape, once distorted, than steel, especially sharp dents or creases; so even pushing the dent out from the inside won't work. Suction cups work for a small deflection, or ding in the middle of a panel, but will not work in this case.

IMHO sorry to say, but panel replacement will be your only option.

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Old 09-20-2016, 05:09 PM   #5
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You need one of these stickers......at least till ya get it fixed.


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Old 09-20-2016, 05:36 PM   #6
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That's probably a $4k-$5k hit. Maybe $2k just in parts. You may be best off to contact your insurance and ask their advice.

Even if your policy increased $500 a year, you are still going to be ahead.
I suspect having had only a single panel replaced this spring the above estimate is on the extreme low side.

If the OP sends the photo to an Airstream dealer or directly to Airstream they will be able to obtain a realistic estimate.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:37 PM   #7
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Ouch, that looks like a sharp crinkle! My theory on things like this is that since it's already screwed up you can't really hurt it much by trying to fix it. You might be able to cut a slot at the bottom of the deep crinkle and then work the rest of the dent back into shape and put a decorative patch over the worst of the area. Make it look like it is supposed to be that way sort of as art project. In fact, don't you need a sky-lite there? Start by looking into paint-less repair and also a member here dreamed up an excellent technique using an inner tube and plywood. Think about it a lot and have a realistic plan before tearing into it.
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Old 09-20-2016, 06:59 PM   #8
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Suction cups don't work. The aluminum is too tough. Call Airstream service and send them a picture for a competitive estimate. They will give you a list of parts. A new curved quarter panel will be about $400. You can drill out a ton of rivets and replace the panel yourself but my experience says get the pros to do it.

Don't ask how I know all this.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:44 PM   #9
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I suspect having had only a single panel replaced this spring the above estimate is on the extreme low side.

If the OP sends the photo to an Airstream dealer or directly to Airstream they will be able to obtain a realistic estimate.

OK you called me out! Care to share your details on your one-panel repair and who did the work?
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:12 PM   #10
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How about that vacuum trick? There was a recent thread showing it. It would be a big custom made coupler, but it could be tried as is with no disassembly.
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Old 09-20-2016, 10:39 PM   #11
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Thanks for the input everyone. My thoughts:

- I don't trust my skills to attempt a true repair, but might be willing to at least try and push it out from the inside to at make it look better until I can get it to a professional this winter. Looks like the upper portion of the shower can be removed by taking out about 15 screws, and currying the caulk line. There are no plumbing fixtures in that section. Am I missing anything?

- I like the idea of getting airstream to provide a rough estimate from the photos. Will help me plan at least.

- surprised at the 4K plus number that was thrown out, and even more surprised that someone thought that was low

- the comment about the insurance going up 500, and being worth it, is a good point.

- there is an older gentleman in my area that does airstream work but he appears to be pretty much retired now. He answers the phone one out of every 10 attempts...will keep trying.

- should I be worried about water leaks along the vertical seam? I have several fall excursions coming up. Guess I could caulk it just in case.

- can anyone tell me why damage to my AS is so much more upsetting than damage to my vehicles or house? I usually do not fret over losses associated with material items, or my bone- headed mistakes, but for some reason AS damages get to me...

- the humorous comments were appreciated as well!

Thanks
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:07 PM   #12
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I was at the factory in June for some repairs. There were several in for similar damage to yours that were parked around me.

I think the $6-7K range may be more like it. (and that may be low)

One guy had pulled his trailer to close to a plastic windshield washer vessel on a post at a gas station and had damage to 4 panels down the side. His repair cost was upwards of $23K.

D
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Old 09-20-2016, 11:57 PM   #13
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It is expensive, but not to worry!!! Aluminum is recycled all the time!

That AS is worth proper repair. The rivets will need "bucking from inside, so, inner wall removal,,, if other panels have been deformed, there may be more panels compromised.

If you have good insurance, then this is what it is for.
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:55 AM   #14
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I was at Airstream last month their repair lot was full I would call them and get it in line for repair . Sorry for your damage I came close to doing the same thing.
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