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Old 10-30-2008, 10:41 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Bumper Straightening

I pulled my trailer out of the Mendo Natl forrest today. The forrest service dug in water bars while I was there and my 76 31' Sov. didn't fair so well on the way out. Drug it's butt in the dirt and needs belly pan surgery and a new bumper, waste plumbing too ......

Is there anyone that straightens bumpers like they do for cars and trucks??
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:10 AM   #2
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Ouch! I don't have an answer on bumper straightening. Occasionally donor trailers are parted out and posted here on AIR. My '74 Argosy was a thick forged piece of aluminum -- it may be hard to find the specific replacement. Another thought is to phone Colaw in Missouri - COLAW RV PARTS & SALVAGE | WE HAVE YOUR PART!. They've got a fair number of Airstreams in their boneyard.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:18 AM   #3
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That not very nice of the forest service is it.... Did you get to talk to them....

I was backpacking one and they dug a 15' deep ditch across the road while I was out... They didn't drive all the way up the road to see if anyone was parked... I came down just as they were leaving for the weekend.... Had to leave the car they gave me a ride home... Which was 2 hr drive for them.. But they did feel bad about it...
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogger View Post
Is there anyone that straightens bumpers like they do for cars and trucks??
Is it like this one?
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:28 AM   #5
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I had the bumper of my '72 straightened out, it looked like the PO hooked one end of it on something immoveable. I took it to an automotive/bumper/welding shop and they got it straight, welded, looking great. So, yes, it is possible to fix it I would say.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:43 AM   #6
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Maybe....

The bumper on my 76 is substantial and I have straightened the street side end (PO) that was slightly bent. Certain grades of alumnum can be straightened if the damage is not severe. I have had some sucess using a deadblow hammer and soft wood such as pine, or spruce. I have also used a rolled pair of old jeans, or towels as padding to help spread the impact load. If you have access to a mechanical press...even better.

The key is to go slow..so you don't over correct any damage. I usually hit once then sight (eyeball) twice, then either stop, or proceed with more tweaking.

Just remember...Repetivitve bending and aluminum usually don't mix. AND NEVER HEAT ALUMINUM TO BEND... Unlike steel, aluminum doesn't change colore when heated...you'll know when it's hot...when is dissolves like solder. Also certain grades lose substantial strenght when heated.

Good Luck,

Kevin
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:01 AM   #7
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Thanx for the helpful hints. it's a heavy aluminum bumper that now looks like it was hooked in the middle for a tractor pull. Do to the natural shape of the bumper I'm sure it worked well as a grader...for a little while. The only thing that kept it from bending more is that it would have had to pull the frame together in the back.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:39 AM   #8
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Thanx for the helpful hints. it's a heavy aluminum bumper that now looks like it was hooked in the middle for a tractor pull. Do to the natural shape of the bumper I'm sure it worked well as a grader...for a little while. The only thing that kept it from bending more is that it would have had to pull the frame together in the back.
You and an assistant could try backing the trailer into a short wooden post. Nail a piece of 2x4 to the post, and slowly back the trailer against it. push backwards slowly until it's straight (that's where your assistant comes in).
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:30 AM   #9
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I tried the same suggestions, finally bought a fresh one from Inland.
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