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Old 06-03-2002, 10:21 AM   #1
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Replacing Skins

I have an '84 31' Excella with some pretty severe hail/limb damage to the top three skins on the nose. No rush, but contemplating replacing these skins. Can someone point me to the "skin replacement for idiots" area? I want to have a firm idea of what I'm getting into before I make a decision on this. Currently polishing w/Rolite & Cyclo and have my hands full right now, so this is a "maybe someday" thing.
Thanks,
Neal
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Old 06-03-2002, 01:43 PM   #2
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Can someone point me to the "skin replacement for idiots" area?
I am sorry, but you automatically no longer qualify as an "Idiot" as you had the good sense to buy an Airstream.


Below is a link on the AirstreamForums to a photo series that our number one poster, "PeterH-79MH", did to his 1979 Excella 28' Motor Home.


http://www.airforums.com/forum...ighlight=panel

Installation would be basically the same to all Airstreams.

The best tips come from someone who has done it and Peter is the Man.

-BobbyWright
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Old 06-03-2002, 08:22 PM   #3
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Neal, I am responding to your post in the picture series here, due to faster loading time.
There is no practical reason to install new panels over old, since all the rivets have to be removed anyway. Installing pre-formed corner panels over existing would make the installation even more difficult or even impossible, due to thickness of the old panels.
To test your skills with panel replacement, the pre-formed corner panels would be a challenging place to start.
Consider paying someone with experience you could assist in doing the work. It may save you at the bottom line.
The window below the panels would have to be removed and reinstalled in the exact same location. Besides the sealer under the window frame, you may find large amounts of vulkem smeared against the frame from the inside, making removal difficult not having access to the inside of the skin.
Alignment of the new pre-formed panels is critical and difficult. Wedge locks should be used for the first layout.
Masking tape (like 3M blue tape for minimal adhesive transer) should be applied next to the seems, to prevent the vulkem from getting all over the skin.
The curved seams should be riveted starting from the center or else you may not achieve a tight fit.

Below another link to riveting techniques and tools:
http://www.airforums.com/forum...s=&threadid=23
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Old 06-04-2002, 09:40 AM   #4
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I understand what you're saying. May be something I'm not up for - my dents are looking prettier all the time!
Neal
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Old 06-04-2002, 10:35 AM   #5
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I understand what you're saying. May be something I'm not up for - my dents are looking prettier all the time!
"Beauty Marks"

or

"What Dents? I don't see no stinking Dents"

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Old 06-04-2002, 11:18 AM   #6
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I had some success heating dents with a hair dryer and pulling them out a bit, however you would have to get behind them to do that. I got a baseball sized dent down to a golf ball , and a small crease smoothed. However not perfect. Also I saw a panel replacement where curved panels at the rear where done over the original, it looked awful.
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:03 PM   #7
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I can get behind some of these dents by pulling the control panel. Have pounded out several - it helps but they'll always be there. Other folks have told me about dry ice on hail dents and suction cups. Anyone have any success stories with these methods?
Neal
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Old 06-04-2002, 12:43 PM   #8
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My understanding is that the dry ice method will not work beacuse when the aluminum is dented it streches and there is no way to undo the strech. The hairdryer method Alan mentions works well and I have seen his work, the results were so good that I had not really noticed the dents until he pointed them out.

I have heard that some have hd good luck with the suction cup method. I would assume that it was used on large dents not golf ball sized. You could also call a company that does paintless dent removal and see what they would want to fix the ones that bother you the most. They have some special tools and techniques that might save you from the panel replacement.
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Old 06-04-2002, 04:02 PM   #9
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Neal,
you are using the same phrases I used to utter.
"skin replacement for idiots"
"maybe someday"
"my dents are looking prettier all the time!"
Inquiring about dry ice tells me that you are reeaaall close to jumping in the pond.
Are you going to do it now in summer or wait til it gets cooler?
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