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Old 04-25-2010, 07:08 PM   #1
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Disappointed in Dealer Body Work.

Hello all,

I was hoping to get an opinion from those that might have some experience with the following. We had a bad storm come through our area that caused a tree branch to fall onto the front top right "quarter panel" of our 23ft 2009 Airstream. The damage was limited to just the center area of that corner panel and did not cross over to other aluminum sheets. So basically the repair entailed just replacing the rounded corner sheet. I picked the trailer up the other day from an "authorized dealer" and was not exactly happy with the work performed. I was expecting the trailer to look like what I would expect my car to look like after getting it back from a body shop. I expected the repair to look as if the trailer just stepped off the factor line. Perfect. Well it did not. It wasn't an awful job. But there were noticeable imperfections. The shop manager after sensing my unhappiness kindly explained that "He should have told me, before the work was performed that it would never look factory original."

What do you all think. Should I expect factory original workmanship? Or can that only be expected from the craftsman back in Ohio?

Thanks for listening.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:15 PM   #2
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hi t'

posts photos.

at least the AFTERs but before repair pics would be good too.

you did document this mashup and fix visually right?

replacing 1 curved segment of end cap is NOT complicated and should look almost original...

the rivets may look a tiny bit different (olympic style) on close inspection,

but the actual end cap segment IS an oem piece.

did they REPLACE or OVERLAY the new curved segment?

with wrap/pano windows at the front this adds to the puzzle but still should look good.

IF your insurance is paying for the repair AND you weren't satisfied, don't accept the work as is...

cheers
2air'
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:20 AM   #3
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Ditto on contacting your insurance company. Especially if this is one of their "approved" shops, they will make it right with the shop or send you elsewhere.

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Old 04-26-2010, 08:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tmarquis View Post
Hello all,

I was hoping to get an opinion from those that might have some experience with the following. We had a bad storm come through our area that caused a tree branch to fall onto the front top right "quarter panel" of our 23ft 2009 Airstream. The damage was limited to just the center area of that corner panel and did not cross over to other aluminum sheets. So basically the repair entailed just replacing the rounded corner sheet. I picked the trailer up the other day from an "authorized dealer" and was not exactly happy with the work performed. I was expecting the trailer to look like what I would expect my car to look like after getting it back from a body shop. I expected the repair to look as if the trailer just stepped off the factor line. Perfect. Well it did not. It wasn't an awful job. But there were noticeable imperfections. The shop manager after sensing my unhappiness kindly explained that "He should have told me, before the work was performed that it would never look factory original."

What do you all think. Should I expect factory original workmanship? Or can that only be expected from the craftsman back in Ohio?

Thanks for listening.
In field replacement of sheet metal on an Airstream, is not difficult, but it is some what of an art.

The only difference in appearance should be the appearance of the rivet heads, and only if you examine them from about a foot away. Carefully shaved Olympic rivet heads will very closely match the original buck rivets.

You may have a problem with the insurance company, if "you" selected the dealer.

How about posting a couple of closeup photos especially showing the seams?

Andy
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:22 AM   #5
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You have to post a picture.

Replacing next to older panels will never match in color. That is just a fact of life, but unless your trailer was exposed to extreme elements over the last year color should not be a problem.

Finished metal has a grain to it and that can be a problem when 2 panels have different grains. The same problem you see when you place to pieces of valor next to each other and turn one 180 degrees. This problem will happen when the panel is made and no attention was paid to the grain of the panel before it is placed in the press.

As for alignment and rivet placement that is a funtion of the skill of the installer. The rivet alignment along the seam where the new panel goes under the old should be good as there they use the old holes as a template. Where the new panel is on the outside would require a good eye or some measurement and layout.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:30 AM   #6
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You have to post a picture.

Replacing next to older panels will never match in color. That is just a fact of life, but unless your trailer was exposed to extreme elements over the last year color should not be a problem.

Where the new panel is on the outside would require a good eye or some measurement and layout.
Howie.

I would think a new panel on a 2009 trailer would match exactly, especially since the new type clearcoat no longer takes on an opaque coloring, or appearance.

Also, the lower seam of all segments, has the holes already punched out, eliminating the need to do any measuring of any kind. Sole exception is the quarter panels, but their lower seam is hidden by the rub rails anyway.

Andy
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:18 AM   #7
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tmarquis,

Your expectation is right on. It should have looked as if it came off the factory floor. There should be little to no noticeable difference in the alum skin or repair work vs factory build as this was an authorized service center using OEM parts which are readily available.

I have seen pictures of repair work completed by the factory service center that was far, far, far worse than you describe. The before and after pics were stunning and as hard as I could try, I could not find any discernible difference in appearance from the factory repair work, to what it would have looked like after initial production.

I would first try to work with the dealer and that didn't pan out, then talk to Airstream in conjunction with your insurance company. Given what I've seen done, your expectation is a valid one....
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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You seem to be an expert on repair, thus my question. We and our new 2009 had a slight run-in with a post (yikes!) and now have scratches and a slash of green paint to show for it. Any suggestions about first aid for our mishap? We'll take it to the dealer for repair but thought maybe there is something we try ourselves first without damaging the clearcoat. Thanks in advance if you have advice.
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by donna01 View Post
You seem to be an expert on repair, thus my question. We and our new 2009 had a slight run-in with a post (yikes!) and now have scratches and a slash of green paint to show for it. Any suggestions about first aid for our mishap? We'll take it to the dealer for repair but thought maybe there is something we try ourselves first without damaging the clearcoat. Thanks in advance if you have advice.
Please post some photo's along with a gtood closeup.

Andy
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:05 PM   #10
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I can only respond as a rookie with all of this Airstream stuff.

However, this is from an unfortunate experience. I would love to be able to say that a tree fell on my trailer, but it was the other way around. <hangs head in shame> I bought the trailer on April fools day (26 days ago) and the "in-artful parking" took place on Easter day, one hour before I made it home from the dealer. I call it the Easter Massacre. ;>)

The right rear bottom corner panel was bent and creased. It had to be replaced.

I took it the 8 hour drive to my dealer (Sutton RV) in Eugene, Oregon.

It took the "artist" a full 8 hours to replace the skin. He worked the entire time, as I watched him from a chair about 10' away. These folks treated me like a King. It was quite a process and taken with great care and personal pride in craftsmanship. He wasn't going to accept ANYTHING less than perfect.

The finished job was flawless and it matched the existing panels in every way. They use different rivets than stock, but unless you know to look and unless you are very close, the untrained eye would never notice the difference.

I didn't use my insurance... they would have covered it, but it was my fault, so I took the hit. I thought that $2200 to replace one skin was a rip off, until I saw what all the guy had to do, do it with perfection..... and the outstanding results.

Good luck.
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:09 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gator113244 View Post
I can only respond as a rookie with all of this Airstream stuff.

However, this is from an unfortunate experience. I would love to be able to say that a tree fell on my trailer, but it was the other way around. <hangs head in shame>

The right rear bottom corner panel was bent and creased. It had to be replaced.

I took it the 8 hour drive to my dealer (Sutton RV) in Eugene, Oregon.

It took the "artist" a full 8 hours to replace the skin. He worked the entire time, as I watched him. It was quite a process and taken with great care and personal pride in craftsmanship. He wasn't going to accept ANYTHING less than perfect.

The finished job was flawless and it matched the existing panels in every way. They use different rivets than stock, but unless you know to look and unless you are very close, the untrained eye would never notice the difference.

I didn't use my insurance... they would have covered it, but it was my fault, so I took the hit. I thought that $2200 was a rip off, until I saw what all the guy had to do, do it with perfection..... and the outstanding results.
Quarter panels cost about $1200.00 to replace, and does take 8 hours, with all the moldings and trim.

Anyd
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Old 04-26-2010, 02:53 PM   #12
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After lurking here for years I decided in a circumstance like this I think I would bite the bullet and head to Ohio. That said, if you took it to an Airstream dealer (in Fredericksburg?) and they took the job on, I would expect it to look like new other than perhaps a slight variance in the alum sheen due to aging. Like everyone else says.....please post some photos! Sorry you have to deal with this problem.
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Old 04-26-2010, 03:01 PM   #13
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Ouch... so I might have gotten ripped off. Hmmm.

I must be an easy mark. One thing is for sure... they did an outstanding job.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donna01 View Post
You seem to be an expert on repair, thus my question. We and our new 2009 had a slight run-in with a post (yikes!) and now have scratches and a slash of green paint to show for it. Any suggestions about first aid for our mishap? We'll take it to the dealer for repair but thought maybe there is something we try ourselves first without damaging the clearcoat. Thanks in advance if you have advice.
Since you are somewhat close, I would forgo a dealer and go right to Jackson Center. Folks who have gone to the factory for these kinds of repairs are not disappointed. I mean seriously, if the factory can't fix it as if it were new, who can. There are many great dealers out there, but even of the great dealers out there that sell them, there are only a handful I would even consider tearing into my Airstream. Lucky for me, the factory is as far as the closest good dealer so to me it's a no brainer.

Go to the factory...you won't be disappointed.

If you went elsewhere I have heard great repair stories from these dealers:

Ace Fogdall- Iowa
Airstream of Arkansas- Arkansas
Inland RV- Corona CA
Sutton RV- Washington
Some dealer down in Texas, but I heard their main guy left or retired

These are the only places I'd consider IMHO from what I know if I didn't go to the factory. That is not to say there aren't other good servicing dealers, these are the only ones I have some info about having been streamin' for about 7 or 8 years now.
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