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Old 11-12-2013, 10:42 AM   #1
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small skin tear repair?

Hi
I did a quick search, but didn't find a thread that addresses this, although it probably has been discussed. You know that stupid thing you do at the end of the work day that suggests you should have packed up to go 5 minutes ago? Well one of mine was pulling on a rivet from the inside that I thought I had sheared the head off of (not completely). It created a tear in the outer skin that is almost entirely covered buy the trim. But i would like to seal against leaks and prevent further migration of it. Was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?.
I am trying to figure out how to post a photo. Not the best photo, but it's bottom right side (if it attaches)
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rippie View Post
Hi
I did a quick search, but didn't find a thread that addresses this, although it probably has been discussed. You know that stupid thing you do at the end of the work day that suggests you should have packed up to go 5 minutes ago? Well one of mine was pulling on a rivet from the inside that I thought I had sheared the head off of (not completely). It created a tear in the outer skin that is almost entirely covered buy the trim. But i would like to seal against leaks and prevent further migration of it. Was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?.
I am trying to figure out how to post a photo. Not the best photo, but it's bottom right side (if it attaches)
Cover the tear with Vulkem or Sikaflex and then install the rub rail over it.

Andy
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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What you have pictured is skin corrosion, it's like cancer and needs to be cut out or it will not stop. The rivet popped due to the corrosion between the skin and the structure underneath. You need open this area up. I'm guessing that this is at the rear of the trailer.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
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Andy does not work with Aluminum and to simply cover it up in not the answer! Clearly any one who knows, at first glance, would suggest the entire panel needs replacement do to the fact it's clearly oxidized through (the crater looking holes) and in a very week state and that is why it tore. 2024-T3 was used because it does not tear. If your not going to replace the entire panel, I would urge you to drill a hole about the same size as a rivet hole, just ahead of the crack to prevent any further growth. This is a common trick used in this situation to relieve the stress and not allow the tear to grow.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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Oh, It's open, my friend. Say it ain't so about replacement. There is definite corrosion from the constant dissimilar water baths through the rear trunk phenomenon. And the rivet holes are obviously the worst area due to the break in the material and also the closer contact there. I am afraid if replacing this panel is the proper fix, then consider me the control group. Is there no chemical or mechanical cleaning process that will remove this buildup? I thought I could just make new rivet holes. I have really been trying to avoid messing with Buck (Rivet, that is). My time and monetary budget are not allowing the rear lower panel replacement at this time. What about installing aluminum angle to replace the steel end bracket dissimilarity? Here's another, more dreadful look.
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Old 11-12-2013, 12:50 PM   #6
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Sure you can D A the oxidation off as best as you can but in your case you would go right through the Aluminum... Your idea's in the short term will work. But realize that is a structural part of the trailer! Think of standing on top of a beer can that is holding up your weight... now indent the side.... any questions?!
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:09 PM   #7
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That back panel looks like toast to me. If it were not so bad you might be able to coat it with POR15 but there is not enough left of the aluminum to attach new rivets to. I expect you have a rotten floor in front of that area. It might be possible to splice a new piece on to replace the damaged area. I think you are at the first stages of rear end separation.

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Old 11-12-2013, 01:27 PM   #8
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here's the dreadful look I promised.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:47 PM   #9
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You're giving me flashbacks! Yep, my '73 looked just like that too. I ended up replacing the rear center panel because of the damage to it around the rivets (just like yours). I also found the aft ~3' of frame so rotten that it had to be replaced as well.

Don't get too freaked about the panel replacement. Fortunately, this is just a flat sheet, not a formed segment. The aluminum itself is well under under $100, especially if you can find a distributor locally. Yes, buying a compressor, and buck rivet gun can get expensive, but have a look on ebay and Yardstore.com and maybe you will get lucky.

good luck!
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:55 PM   #10
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And another note--I checked with the factory when I started replacing panels on my trailer, and Airstream started using 6061 T6 .032" in 1972. This should be good news, as it is a lot cheaper than 2024 T3 Alclad. I was able to find it locally in Houston for ~$75 for a 4x12 sheet.

good luck (and check your frame)!
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:11 PM   #11
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It has been a day of mourning over this back panel. What about splicing another strip with a new rivet line or two above the trim. I know it is not Airstream code, but as stated before I am over my time and financial budgets. I really want things done right, but on this I hope to buy a little time.

And looking at Aero's thread I thought it was pictures of mine at first. You said this was caused from the galvanized sheet. Uh oh. I just replaced the badly rusted out crossmember here with galvanized. Me thinks this will not bode well. What should I do with 1) the splicing extra aluminum above trim on the back panel (some may call it gaudy, I choose 'custom') 2) the galvanized crossmember now directly below said problem caused by galvanized metal (can it be coated and stainless screws used?). Here's a new idea also-- what about replacing the steel end plate with angled aluminum?
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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And thanks for the info Belegedhel. I will eventually understand the info you gave. I know it has to do with quality/ gauge of the sheets. I am slowly catching onto the lingo. I just left Houston a year ago. Too bad, i would be glad to let you revisit your past sorrows with me. Ha! Ha! Go Texans!
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:26 PM   #13
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The numbers Belegedhel used are the codes for various aluminum alloys. 2024 Alclad is a very ridged aluminum used up through 70-71, Airstream then switched to a slightly different one identified as 6061. The .032" is the thickness of the aluminum sheet. My suggestion is that you head out to your local airport and asked one of the mechanics there where they get their aluminum for fixing airplanes. Chances are you will be able to find the 6061 from the same supplier.

My local supplier is Aircraft Spruce and Specialty and a 4'X6' sheet of 6061 T6 in .032" is $47. That should be large enough to fix the back in the correct manner. If you do it any other way, it will end up costing more in the long run.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:01 PM   #14
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What is the gray stuff that looks like deer moss where the floor hits the back of the trailer? Is that some sort of foam rubber to plug the holes in the floor?

Perry
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