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Old 11-14-2012, 05:39 PM   #1
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She took one right in the forehead!

Thanks to an uncovered gravel truck, I now have a nice dent in the front middle panel of our AS. Talked to our dealer who recommended placing a rivet there, which may be OK. Am not sure if Dent Eliminators, which we've used successfully for our cars, would work on aluminum. Don't really want to replace the middle panel because of the $cost so I'm am asking for any other solutions from this Forum. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks in advance.

John S.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #2
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I once had a tree limb fall on the back end of my trailer's top center panel. It also did some damage to the adjacent rear quarter panel. In my case, I replaced the heavily damaged center panel and, while the center panel was removed, had the dealer carefully attempt to pound out the damage on that rear quarter panel. So, in a case like yours, you could consider having the dealer remove most of the rivets for that center panel, to a point that would allow the front edge of the panel to be lifted out enough to reach behind it. Then place a steel backing plate over the exterior of that ding while reaching behind it with a hammer to pound the dent out.

In this option, you'd still pay a fair amount to replace the rivets, but would save on the cost of the panel. On the downside, you would not expect to have the ding perfectly pounded out. But since the ding is relatively confined, you should be able to have it pounded out such that it would be barely observable.

When I had my problems, I first hired a Dent Eliminator type company with the understanding of "no acceptable results, no money". They couldn't come close to achieving results and I had a much easier problem with my quarter panel that you have with that steep, but small dent. Without trying to sound like a professional, but only as a trailer owner who has been down this path, I'd bet a substantial amount of money that no dent elimination technique would work. I think you're stuck with the rivet idea (terrible!), a partial pullback of the skin as described here or a simply a full panel replacement.

Frankly, I don't like the idea of sticking an arbitrary rivet where the ding is. That seems to only highlight the issue even more.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:34 PM   #3
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Have someone make a tasteful silver and blue or two tone silver stick on graphic of a world globe. That would match the international theme of your trailer.

Ken
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:40 PM   #4
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I have seen the dent removal people do some amazing things. After a recent hail storm I had1500 dents removed and a stone dent in the hood that looked more like a gun shot. Aluminum is not an issue.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:44 PM   #5
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I have the same exact "beauty mark" in almost the same place. I look at mine as part of her history and intend to leave it there. I do agree with MR M though, don't put a random rivet in it's place.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Dang, that is bad luck!

If this happened to my 64 Safari - I would add three amber clearance lights using the dent as location for the center light.....or maybe a Wally caravan club sticker.

Given your rig is a 2011 - I think I would give Dent Wizzard a shot.

Good luck
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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That kind of stuff is really a bummer. The only way I know to avoid such mishaps is to never take the Airstream out on the road. The damage could easily be totally covered by a set of WBCCI big red numbers.

Brian
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:12 PM   #8
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A Wbcci sticker would look good there!
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:16 PM   #9
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I second that. A Wally Meat Ball would cover that right up.

Perry

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A Wbcci sticker would look good there!
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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I definitely would not do the rivet thing - the last thing you want to do is put more holes in it. (The headliner in ours is falling down, and the method we tried to keep it in place was screws with plastic caps on them. It basically worked, but now that we've decided to remove the headliner entirely, we have to do something with the screw holes we put in. I'm regretting that choice. You can always put a rivet in later if you decide that's what you want to do, but you can't remove the hole once it's drilled.)
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:06 PM   #11
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Add a little drama with some bullet holes...

We have a similar beauty mark. Just shows you use your trailer for its intended purpose - on the road!
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:21 PM   #12
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I definitely would not do the rivet thing - the last thing you want to do is put more holes in it. (The headliner in ours is falling down, and the method we tried to keep it in place was screws with plastic caps on them. It basically worked, but now that we've decided to remove the headliner entirely, we have to do something with the screw holes we put in. I'm regretting that choice. You can always put a rivet in later if you decide that's what you want to do, but you can't remove the hole once it's drilled.)
Yes, I would second this at the top of my lungs. A sticker, bullet hole, etc would be better. Never drill a hole! Below is a picture from one of our rally attendees back in 2007. Nice coverup with the Michigan sticker.



Steve
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:36 PM   #13
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I agree, cover it up:



Plus you get an extra awning.

OK, I have massive hail damage...and that's Photoshopped.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:53 PM   #14
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I'm with the "leave it there" brigade - it's patina, something you can spin a story around and proof that you take your travel trailer out on the road; history, even.

I have a dent in one of the rear end panels on mine and it's staying; a reminder for me to check that side of the trailer the next time I'm negotiating an outsized "STOP" sign. :~)
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