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Old 09-25-2019, 10:25 AM   #1
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2019 22' Sport
St. Louis, MO , MO
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Hail mary!

While en route to Levenworth, WA the week before last we encountered a severe thunderstorm in SE Montana that pelted our 2019 AS Sport with quarter size hail doing a fair amount of damage to at least 4 panel segments above the chip shield and side panel on the driver side. I have full 'comprehensive' insurance coverage minus the deductible so there's some comfort in that. We pulled off the Interstate on our return trip stopping at the dealer who sold us the rig and inquired about protocol for repair. I was told that the only option is segment replacement at a cost of about $7k per segment. I thought I misheard but no he said again that's the replacement cost. Is this what I should expect and why in gods name would this cost be so outrageous when the soft skin is so vulnerable to hail damage. I've had a number of pesky issues with this trailer and twice in a little over a year had to leave it with the dealer for warranty service. I'm starting to feel snake bit and while I don't regret buying the AS am at the point where I'm in 'what's next' mode and that's not a good place to be. I would just as soon as live with the dents but my wife will have none of it arguing credibly that it effects resale value. Any input, suggestions or general feedback is appreciated. See attached pics of impact dents.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:00 PM   #2
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Yeah... hail seems to be an insurmountable problem. And they say things are only going to get worse, especially here in Colorado, as the planet continues to get warmer. The outrageous repair cost is in the fact that not only does the outside panel need to be replaced (drilling out rivets and altering the adjacent panels), but often things on the inside need to be removed as well.


It's an issue that comes up a lot, but I have been surprised that it's not more of a "non starter" issue for people paying retail for Airstreams.


I have been working on a system that is "deployable in the field" that involves really long fiberglass tent poles and reinforced nylon (basically a "hail fly" instead of a rain fly), but it won't do you any good if you're caught unaware, which is generally how hail goes.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:06 PM   #3
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Why not let it be an insurance problem? As long as they fix it and it costs $20k then let them deal with it. The damage is cosmetic but heart breaking. Personally, I would take the money and fix it myself or take the money and not fix it. A dent guy might be able to fix it without removing the panels.



Perry
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:11 PM   #4
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Hi

Like it or not, any metal vehicle is prone to hail damage. Rolling through Montana a month back all the car dealers had up signs "Trade in your hail damaged vehicle NOW". Based on that, I'd guess your AS was not the only vehicle with issues this summer.

Bob
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:16 PM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
A dent guy might be able to fix it without removing the panels.

If you find someone who can fix that kind of hail damage without removing panels, said person will have more business from this forum than he/she could possibly handle. Someone who can pull Airstream hail dents is beyond the proverbial "unicorn." It is a topic discussed ad nauseum here on the boards.



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Old 09-25-2019, 12:19 PM   #6
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Parking under a bridge might be an option as well. I have been lucky that mine has not gotten much hail damage. It did get a little banged up in a tornado a few years back. Best thing to do is stop because the forward motion (get off the road first) is going to make the dents worse and the end caps are soft so they can be formed into those complex shapes.



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Old 09-25-2019, 12:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Like it or not, any metal vehicle is prone to hail damage. Rolling through Montana a month back all the car dealers had up signs "Trade in your hail damaged vehicle NOW". Based on that, I'd guess your AS was not the only vehicle with issues this summer.

Two summers ago I was pulling one of my Jeeps with the other one (long, horrible story involving being stranded in the middle of nowhere, quite *literally*, hauling an Airstream shell), when I got caught in a Wyoming hail storm. Both vehicles were totalled. Which is to say, I received my insurance check and both Jeeps are still daily drivers. If you can live with a dimpled vehicle (golf ball aerodynamics?!) it's a great way to have "free" vehicles!

EDIT (to address "under a bridge"): the natives obviously knew what was going on, as every underpass, gas station pavilion, etc. was crowded with vehicles clamoring for shelter. And then there were the *miles* of angry drivers parked on the highway watching their cars get destroyed because of the lucky (and extremely selfish) few who were parked six across under every overpass blocking any possibility of escaping the storm. Seriously.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:23 PM   #8
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2019 27' Tommy Bahama
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Airstream Dent Removal

I am very interested in the answer to the SteveF's question regarding dent removal. I have no doubt our AS will experience hail damage in our travels, or even at home parked in the driveway at one time or another. We had a hail storm at our cottage several years ago that was unbelievable. I had heard of golf ball sized hail but never experienced it before that day. It came out of nowhere and the hail was golf ball or larger and was actually scary. The sand on the beach looked like an artillery barrage in a movie We had a new car parked in the driveway and you would think someone took a ball peen hammer to it. I have an excellent car body guy here in town and I took it to him and he had an itinerant hail damage repair guy pull the dents. I couldn't believe the result, absolutely no evidence of damage, and no need to paint. He glued little "pullers" in the center of each dent and pulled them out. It was awesome. He suggested, based on the damage to the car, that we have our cottage roofs inspected as well. Good advice, both roofs were ruined and insurance paid many thousands for new ones.

So, can aluminum dents be pulled out? I understand that aluminum ductility will vary greatly based on aluminum type and treatment but I would hope the AS skins are ductile enough to allow dent removal similar to what was done on our car.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:28 PM   #9
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Yes, replacing the outside panels requires removing the cabinetry and inside panels, shaving off the rivets, putting on new custom panels from the factory, and putting it all back together again. You really want someone who knows what they are doing to doing the work, I’d probably take it to Jackson Center.

Or, you can take the insurance money and either live with it or mess around seeing if you can mitigate some of the damage with glue-based dent pullers. Google “Airstream dent repair” and you’ll see all kinds of solutions and videos. Because aluminum stretches you won’t be able to pull all the dents out like nothing happened but you might be able to make them less obvious.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:48 PM   #10
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Airstream dimples! Congratulations!

Claims may go against your insurance... (will)... I had two road debris damage and the rates increased, even tho we’re comprehensive
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Airstream dimples! Congratulations!

Claims may go against your insurance... (will)... I had two road debris damage and the rates increased, even tho we’re comprehensive
Hi

Same sort of concern you have when a rock hits the windshield of the truck ....

(crack in mine is a bout 2' long now ... )

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Old 09-27-2019, 10:19 AM   #12
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$7000 per segment seems way-high.

That being said, it all depends on how they intend to do the repair. It seems that the "standard" approach to a segment replacement is to remove the old segment from the outside, install the new one, and use shaved Olympic rivets to fasten in place. The conventional cost of doing the replacement, according to my dusty memory of every post I have read in recent years regarding the cost of segment replcement is $2-3000 per segment.

Now, there are those who will swear up and down that Olympic rivets are not as good as bucked rivets, and would insist that the interior be torn out so that the replacement segments can be bucked in. In this case, yes, I could see the cost going up, but $7000 per segment still seems way high. I mean really, if you take out the interior end-cap, it doesn't matter whether you replace 1 segment or three, the removal and replacement of the interior is still the same amount of work.

Anyway, when I tore my trailer apart during my rebuild, it was clear that one of the wing windows in front had been replaced at least once, and a lower segment in front and in the rear had been replaced using the "standard" approach from the outside, and fastening with Olympic rivets. The rivets didn't leak, and the structure was evidently sound enough.

You could shrug your shoulders and say "its the insurance company's problem," but they are likely to just total it. I have seen several dimpled trailers sold on eBay with salvage titles.

good luck!
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:57 AM   #13
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Steve - as one other responder mentioned, 7k per segment seems high unless they were thinking of removing interior panels as well. You didn't say where your trailer is now but if you are still in Washington give Nick at Airstream of Spokane a call. They replaced a front quarter panel on my 2018 for about $2k. And like the previous poster, I do not have a problem with the Olympic rivets. The folks in Spokane did such a great job, if you didn't know what to look for you would never know they were not bucked rivets.
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:15 PM   #14
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Hail damage, what to do?

If you have a clear title, no bank loan, you could take whatever the insurance will pay you and keep the trailer. Of course, it will have salvage title and reduced value but you can use it as normal. It is a 2019 and will last many years and you no longer have to worry about hail damage.

I would take the money and use it. You may be able to work out some of the damage using the "Dryice" method. Get the skin surface really warm/hot by sitting in the sun. Put on gloves. Take a block of Dryice (wrapped in a single layer towel) and place it directly over the dent. Rub it around over the dent. This may make it less noticeable or pull it out completely. I learned this method of hail damage dent removal when I was stationed at Ft. Sill, Ok while in the Army. This worked on many, many hail dents on mine and others cars. Give it a try.

If you have a loan on the trailer this will not be a solution. Happy travels.
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Old 09-27-2019, 01:07 PM   #15
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“I’m not aware of an observational study that has concluded hail frequency and large hail frequency is increasing,” says Michael Tippett, a climate researcher at Columbia University. “Difficulties with the data makes this a vexing challenge.”

The many predictions related to climate change since 1915 have been utterly wrong.

With a track record like this, rest easy, Dear Airstream Owners.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
Yeah... hail seems to be an insurmountable problem. And they say things are only going to get worse, especially here in Colorado, as the planet continues to get warmer. The outrageous repair cost is in the fact that not only does the outside panel need to be replaced (drilling out rivets and altering the adjacent panels), but often things on the inside need to be removed as well.


It's an issue that comes up a lot, but I have been surprised that it's not more of a "non starter" issue for people paying retail for Airstreams.


I have been working on a system that is "deployable in the field" that involves really long fiberglass tent poles and reinforced nylon (basically a "hail fly" instead of a rain fly), but it won't do you any good if you're caught unaware, which is generally how hail goes.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:13 PM   #16
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But "they" have made a claim, it must be true.
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:46 PM   #17
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This To Shall Pass

Thanks to all, the many comments and sage advice is greatly appreciated. I own the unit outright and have an estimate from the AS dealer who does the repair in house, or so they say, and working out the claim details with the insurance company. I fully expect this will have a serious negative impact on my premiums around renewal time but can't see myself living with the damage. Here I thought having covered storage would keep her safe from hail harm, magical thinking on my part I now know. Live and Learn
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