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Old 12-29-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
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'65 Airstream Bumper Replacement Woes

I can't seem to find a stock bumper to replace the one on our Caravel. It was rear-ended, mildly, minutes before we took delivery. Only the bumper got bent, the accident didn't get into the body, so I figured it would be an easy fix and bought the old girl anyway. Well, after doing everything I wanted, and needed to make it roadworthy, I am left with the last detail - the bent bumper. I could (and probably will) attempt to straighten it with heat and my big ol' vice, but I have doubts. I looked online and inquired at AS resources and have come up empty handed. If I can't straighten it reasonably, I think my options look like to try to take it to a professional old school body man -or- find some kind of custom hotrod type stamped steel bumper. Are there any other options? Any opinions/suggestions?
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:06 PM   #2
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As I recall the older ones like on your '65 were welded onto the frame extensions. The newer Airstream bumpers (from about 1970 and up) are solid aluminum and are attached with flat head bolts to the frame. You might look to see if the new stile can be modified to fit the older chassis and frame you have. Frame width/body width might be an issue but the sport models are made with the narrow body and may be close to what you have now.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:26 PM   #3
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A fellow Airstreamer friend easily adapted a late '40s Cadillac bumper to his '67 Safari. Looks nice.

Neil
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:42 PM   #4
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A fellow Airstreamer friend easily adapted a late '40s Cadillac bumper to his '67 Safari. Looks nice.

Neil
Here is the link to MarkDenise blog; theweetinker: Airstream Safari 1967 and a picture showing his/her Cadillac bumper on their '67 Safari. The blog also tells of the renovation plus their new project an early 1950s Cruiser. These folks ARE talented!


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Old 12-29-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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If I were you, I would wander around Pick-N-Pull looking for and older ford truck bumper. They were simple with cleaner lines which would fit the Airstream better.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:42 PM   #6
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Well, ok, I got ahold of a plater who could straighten the bumper. I hustled across town before they closed with our bumper. The guy said "no problem, theres good metal to work with, it'll take 4-5 days and be SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS". Nope nope nope. So I looked at new hot rod bumpers online and found several new, chromed plain chevy truck bumpers for less than $300. Better. Mounts may be tricky, but not beyond my skills. I think tomorrow I'm gonna take a stab at straightening the old one, I've got nothing to lose at this point. Thanks guys! I like the ideas y'all presented, I'm also gonna look into the Ford bumper, and aluminum AS ideas too. The caddy was a neat bumper, but not quite my style, but it does give me ideas I'm willing to try out. If I do ruin the old bumper I have good options.
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Old 12-29-2014, 11:27 PM   #7
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'65 Airstream Bumper Replacement Woes

I couldn't wait. I dug out my old "pear burner" and a tank of LP and stuck the bumper in my big ol' vice outside. This worked out fairly well, my O2 & acetylene was what I wanted to use but my O2 regulator blew the diaphragm and the pear burner was the backup plan. It heated up, broadly and evenly, the bumper allowing me to push and pull the bent spots gently. The burner also acted like a poor boy's paint stripper. The main bend from the recent accident came out, but all this work revealed two other spots from previous accidents; at some time in its past it was apparently backed into a post, creasing the bumper -and- a glancing blow to the lower part of one side of the bumper, pushing in slightly along a few inches. So a total of three damaged spots. The rear-ending big bend is satisfactorily solved. The post crease and the other ding will require more heat and one of my ball peen hammers and the grinder. I think I'll be happy with this solution (and some silver paint) for the time being, until I find a new old stock bumper or parted-out old AS to scavenge. I'll extend the frame rails a few inches and work out, perhaps, a storage box of some sort, perhaps the old PVC fence post slinky storage idea. I'm not restoring "Madge" yet, just making her useable for now. Thanks!!
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:35 AM   #8
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I couldn't wait. I dug out my old "pear burner" and a tank of LP and stuck the bumper in my big ol' vice outside. This worked out fairly well, my O2 & acetylene was what I wanted to use but my O2 regulator blew the diaphragm and the pear burner was the backup plan. It heated up, broadly and evenly, the bumper allowing me to push and pull the bent spots gently. The burner also acted like a poor boy's paint stripper. The main bend from the recent accident came out, but all this work revealed two other spots from previous accidents; at some time in its past it was apparently backed into a post, creasing the bumper -and- a glancing blow to the lower part of one side of the bumper, pushing in slightly along a few inches. So a total of three damaged spots. The rear-ending big bend is satisfactorily solved. The post crease and the other ding will require more heat and one of my ball peen hammers and the grinder. I think I'll be happy with this solution (and some silver paint) for the time being, until I find a new old stock bumper or parted-out old AS to scavenge. I'll extend the frame rails a few inches and work out, perhaps, a storage box of some sort, perhaps the old PVC fence post slinky storage idea. I'm not restoring "Madge" yet, just making her useable for now. Thanks!!

Silver Trailer Supply.com has the bumpers in stock

1964-1968 Bumper



Brand: Airstream
Product Code: 106035
Availability: In Stock
$189.00

Qty: - OR - Add to Wish List


Silver Trailer Supply.com has the bumpers in stock
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Old 12-30-2014, 11:56 AM   #9
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How about a photo? If it is steel then it should be easy to fix.

Perry
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Old 12-30-2014, 01:09 PM   #10
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I have repaired a couple of bumpers with my 20 ton arbor press. An extra set of hands made it go easier. Then finish dolly with a hammer and hand anvil. Sometimes you can get lucky and not damage the chrome. My AS aluminum rear bumper was tweaked a little and now it looks great.
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:42 PM   #11
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1965 17' Caravel
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Silver Trailer does NOT have them in supply. It's a mistake.

This is the typical '64-'68 Airstream stamped steel bumper, it's not chromed. I looked at many many bumpers on ebay to replace it with.

I'm not sure how a photo of the bumper is gonna help me here. It's old, its bent (not so much now). I've straightened it enough to satisfy me, I'll weld it back on soon, but first I need a storage solution, the compartment lid and box apparently fell off after the accident and weren't recovered.
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