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Old 01-29-2003, 03:43 PM   #1
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Unhappy tear in skin

My brand new (to me) 72 Tradewind has a one inch gash in one of the rear panels. It's a clean cut and the edges could approximate well. How do I fix it? All I can think of is duct tape.
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Old 01-29-2003, 03:51 PM   #2
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Depending just where it is you could make a fake door type cover there...look for the post where that has been done before. A few rivets and a small panel and your gash is gone.
Other than that, and actually replacing a panel, I think you might be left with some aluminized metal sealant. (Dupont aluminum maybe?)
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Old 01-29-2003, 03:55 PM   #3
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Tradewind

I am an ace with bondo and auto body repairs but not with rips in aluminum. There are some skilled members here that I'm sure will give you some ideas. Welcome to our group.
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:42 PM   #4
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Tear

A good TIG ( Tungsten Inert Gas) Welder can weld the tear with Aluminum Welding Filler Rod. I have welded an aluminum water heater that had a hole in it from a screw that had raised and was rubbing on it. It will have the weld look to it if it is done right but it can be polished out. Some people mind find the look objectable but it is the strongest fix other than replacing the panel.
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Old 01-29-2003, 07:08 PM   #5
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TIG Welding

One thing I should clarify. If the tear is in the sidewall section the insulation will have to be removed to not catch on fire. If it is in the lower section or a section that is not an insulated wall and there is no material that will be affected by the heat then you can weld away.
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Old 01-29-2003, 09:37 PM   #6
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duct tape is a good start untill you get the patch made ive seen some neet looking patches . i wouldnt weld it to much work to grind and polish . i saw one it was down low some one had cut out a rabbit and painted it after it was installed. it was different. if it is up high put the bird on it . just creative hulisinating. lol
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Old 01-29-2003, 09:41 PM   #7
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patch

hey,

instead of a rabbit or bird patch. what about one of those "girls" you see on semi's?

john
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Old 01-29-2003, 11:20 PM   #8
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Tear in Skin

Greetings 72 TradeWind!

Welcome to the world of Vintage Airstreaming.

When I had an unpleasant encounter with a gatepost while towing my '64 Overlander, I ended up with a series of three deep creases (the skin wasn't broken but streched significantly). After much debate and many disucssions with my nearby Airstream dealer, I decided to go with an "overlay" panel that didn't require invasive panel removal and replacement. The result can be seen in the photo below - - the overlay is under the stacked side window and runs to the water fill opening. The overlay is attached with Olympic rivets and was sealed with sealants as recommended by Airstream. This repair was completed more than three years ago, and I am totally satisfied with the result.

Good luck with your project.

Kevin

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Old 01-30-2003, 04:34 AM   #9
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Depending on location of the tear, you may want to consider the addition of a light or purchase a metal warning tag that come on some of the newer trailers.
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Old 02-06-2003, 09:28 PM   #10
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Kevin,

What gauge alum. did you use for the overlay and where did you purchase it.
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:06 AM   #11
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.030 or .040 work well, the .040 will be better for a larger patch, less flex over a larger unsupported area. If you can't find a supplier in Ann Arbor try Meco Metals (248 547-0088, on Coolidge, 1/2 mi N of 8 mile) in Oak Park, they will shear to any size you want, only a couple of miles from 96.

John
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Old 02-08-2003, 03:30 PM   #12
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Wouldn't be better to buy the aluminum from an Airstream dealer so it would have the new coating already applied on it?
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Old 02-08-2003, 04:45 PM   #13
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Lynn ~

The coating on the new panel would not be the same as the coating on the '72. It would probably look and/or wear differently anyway.

Shari
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Old 02-08-2003, 05:26 PM   #14
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Post Just to say

Shari,
That's not always the case. If you really wanted to match the aluminum skin with the same period of manufacture, it's possible in some cases to find it at certain A/S dealers.
Several yrs ago, I was looking for a rear keystone piece for my 84 and, I found it available at three locations.
ciao
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