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Old 03-02-2006, 03:10 PM   #1
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1969 29' Ambassador
Tucson , Arizona
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Unhappy Pain in the rear

Hello all,
I've had my '69 Ambassador 29' stored inside a warehouse while I've been tinkering / remodeling over the last few years. I had thought that it would have been the safest place for it. Turned out that someone with a car hauler had parked right next to it and didn't look very well when pulling it out yesterday. It appears that only two of the panels on the right rear were hit (pictures attached). My question is whether these are flat sheets that are wrapped around the rear or stamped as the upper section appears to be? Also, to replace these panels, would the fiberglass endcap need to be removed? Any input is greatly appreciated.


Thanks
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:29 PM   #2
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Ouchhhhhhh, that is too bad did the one who hit it contact you?
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:34 PM   #3
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Ouch!
PITA indeed. I hope you have the name of the culprit.
I'd say you're going to need new pre-formed panels. you won't need to remove the interior end cap. New panels can be installed externally but a whole lot of rivet removal, reinstallation (olympic rivets), shaving and caulking is in store.
It's bad enough when damage like this happens on the road but being sideswiped while parked is pure carelessness. If it were me, I'd make an effort to have the repair done at a professional Airstream facility and billed to the responsible party.
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:45 PM   #4
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1969 29' Ambassador
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The person who did it called right away. He's a friend(?) who stores his trailer in our warehouse. He offered to get his insurance involved and make things right, but I wanted to see what was involved first before going further.

The only reason I wasn't sure of the panels was that unless there is very slight amount of a stamped curve in it (other that the aftermarked stamp it just got), It appears to be 2 or 3 flat panels that are individual segments of the radius.
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Old 03-02-2006, 03:52 PM   #5
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It's going to be new Panels..

First post implies some hope that interior can be removed and panels "pushed back into shape.." similar to what might be done for a fender on a car... Without paint and bondo, aluminum skins won't return to original condition and smoothness.

There are several threads on similar body damage (look for Bruno of France's posts.. Same result in inside storage..) and conclusion has consistently been that new panels, riveted and caulked, were the only workable repair... That would run into the $ thousands easily.. Your friend's insurance company is not going to enjoy this episode

John McGowan
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:07 PM   #6
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Sorry about the damage to your Airstream.

You need to talk to Jay Breshears at Oasis RV right there in Tucson. He'll be able to tell you exactly what it wil cost for parts and labor. He probably has the panels in stock.

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Old 03-02-2006, 04:10 PM   #7
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Between 6 year olds and car carriers it has been a bad few days for airstreams....Makes me want to go out to my coaches winter quarters and make sure it is ok
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Old 03-02-2006, 05:31 PM   #8
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1969 29' Ambassador
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condoluminum
First post implies some hope that interior can be removed and panels "pushed back into shape.." similar to what might be done for a fender on a car... Without paint and bondo, aluminum skins won't return to original condition and smoothness.
I mentioned the fiberglass just to find out if it would need to be removed in order to remove / replace the exterior panels. I'll call Oasis to find out about the panels / sheets to do these repairs. I just was wondering if someone knew if these were stamped or simply cut sheets, with the second option being preferrable so that I can get sheets to repair this and a couple of other spots. The Ambassador has a mild case of rear end separation and I've toyed with learning to replace panels to repair the ripples that were created over the wheelwells by the 'Sag'.
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:12 PM   #9
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If your handy you might be able to do that job but it is alot of work.
I would suggest that you get it repaired at your nearest airstream dealer.
He will be able to order in those panels.
You will need special rivets for this job. You can order them from Inland Rv.
Check their web site. AS well you will need the necessary sealers.
Those panels will be Quite hard to take off even with the rivets drilled out.
A lot of those panels used sealers like vulkem sealer,believe me those panels will be hard to come off,you will have to cut through the sealer between the panels to get it off!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-04-2006, 11:21 PM   #10
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Ouch...that hurts!

You'll be in good hands if you contact Oasis...be thankful they are so close!

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Old 03-05-2006, 09:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 69Ambassador
Hello all,
I've had my '69 Ambassador 29' stored inside a warehouse while I've been tinkering / remodeling over the last few years. I had thought that it would have been the safest place for it. Turned out that someone with a car hauler had parked right next to it and didn't look very well when pulling it out yesterday. It appears that only two of the panels on the right rear were hit (pictures attached). My question is whether these are flat sheets that are wrapped around the rear or stamped as the upper section appears to be? Also, to replace these panels, would the fiberglass endcap need to be removed? Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks
As mentioned earlier, have Oasis look at your trailer and let the guy's insurance handle the job. There is no hope of salvaging the panels and make it look right. I had a close call last year when a kid on a bicycle skidded on gravel and almost hit the trailer in the side. It it had made a dent and the dent could not be pulled out so that it was not noticible then their parents would have been paying me for the cost of panel replacement. That dent would have lowered resale value should I have tried to sell the trailer later.

When these trailer are built, they use buck rivets. They have one guy on the outside and one on the inside. A "jackhamer" type of tool is used to hammer the rivet on the inside while the part on the outside is held in place. They would have to remove the interior plastic to use that type of rivet. To save labor cost and the trouble during repair, they use Olympic rivets which can be used in a standard rivet gun. You place the rivet in the hole from the outside, pull it with the rivet gun and the center piece snaps off about 1/2" or so from the rivet head. They cut the piece off, grind it to the head and then use a rivet shaver to make the thing all blend in.
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:11 AM   #12
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I feel your pain....

I am in the process of getting an estimate for this. The dealer says it's about an 8 hour repair job.
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:46 AM   #13
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Cool

I don't think those dents will pop out without leaving a crease. I have had to replace those panels on our motorhome twice. Once when a tree rear-ended me, (hit and run) and once to repair bullet holes. Yep, bullet holes. I had stored the unit in Southern Minnesota and was driving it home and when I got home there were two holes in the rear. Looked like shotgun slugs that were spent. They penetrated the outer skin and not the inner.

It gets very spendy. The first time with the criminal tree, it also broke the curved glass cornor window and creased the end cap cornor as well. $17,000.00.

Oh yeah, the insurance company wanted to know if I had filed a report with the Sherriff about the bullet holes. I asked what county they thought I should file with. I had traversed four!!
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