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Old 06-30-2013, 02:05 PM   #1
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Falling tree = roof dent...how bad?!

I am looking at this lovely '73 Sovereign to buy - the price isn't bad but they just had a tree fall on the back left part of the roof and, well to me it looks pretty bad! Unfortunately, it's hard to get a good picture since the sun was out - but it is about 4-5 ft long, and a few inches deep. We've had heavy rain the last week and the owners said it didn't leak so it didn't seem to do to much damage. Do you think this could be popped out with a suction cup and maybe some styrofoam? How bad is it?! And more importantly, how much (estimates of course), do you think this could cost to fix?

Thank you!!
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:20 PM   #2
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1972 25' Tradewind
Hopkins , Minnesota
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Looks to me like it would be nearly impossible to pull such a dent out. I believe it would be necessary to purchase new panels from InlandRV, and have the restoration done by a pro.

I could be wrong...someone else may have a different take on this.

But check with InlandRV for replacement panels. They aren't cheap, that's for sure. ($350 - $530 each...depending on location)

Good Luck!
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:22 PM   #3
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How much are you buying the trailer for? It's an important question, because to make that damage completely go away will be over $4,000. The bare panels are around $400 each, and then about $1,000 each to install. That's only by asking this question over and over again here. I'm sure the quotes will vary widely. Also depends on how much frame damage was done. It looks like some of the steel ribs under the skin will need to be straightened out.

The cheaper route would be to strip the interior and work the dents out, but it will never completely go away. You could get it 95% there with many hours work, but there's too many creases that will never completely disappear.

-Kevin
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:24 PM   #4
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1977 31' Sovereign
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This is way beyond suction cups or anything else to pull this out. Luckly there is not any support frames behind these segments. They are all sell supporting. You need at least Four of them, only one seems salvageable. Very few DIY people can tackle a job this big. You can buy the segments, but shipping is also costly because of the bulk. I would go to the best Airstream dealer you can find and show him the pictures. There also may be damage to the vaccuum formed inner caps. They are also hard to come by. Getting the parts off a totaled Airstream will not be easy either. Hope you find an answer.
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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Out of Control has the cost right, at least three segments at $1400 each.

Not saying it can't be done, and if you're getting the unit for $500 or less... you can possibly afford to pay to have this fixed (do it yourself and you'll pay with frustration, bleeding fingers, redo's and more frustration).

Leaks - leaks happen BETWEEN the skins and don't always show up inside for weeks or months. They drain down and rot the floor.

I took a very close look at picture #2. What's happening to the left of the taillight - some kind of damage there. I also see what appears to be a ddep acratch just above the trimline on the side panel about a foot before the curved segments start. More expensive repair work?


Someone with a LOT of skills could even do a modified rear end and build a covered porch (think of Teddy Roosevelt campaigning from a train. The rear car has an extension of the roof about 3 feet beyond the bumper and there's a railing around the bumper. Just chop off everything above the trim line in the rear end where the curve starts, and build out an aluminum awning, then make lexan windows to fill the gap... but then this one is probably a rear bath unit so that might be way too public. (Sorry sometimes the brain just goes off into wild flights of fancy.)

Don't get too riled up, these were manufactured... so there are more out there. You'll find one as good or better!

Best wishes, Paula
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:04 PM   #6
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Thank you every one! I was afraid it was going to be expensive. I don't think it's really worth it, I don't have the time or money and the deal isn't that good!
Thank you for all your advice!
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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Well what is your goal? A usable trailer that doesn't need to be pretty, or a show trailer? You can pull down the inside end cap and straighten out some of it, but allot will never come out. Re seal it Install the end cap and it should be usable. Also it may need axles, and if its a rear bath possible rear end floor rot.

Finding another rig and getting the end off of it is the other option. But that is a LOT of work.
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:30 PM   #8
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1978 31' Sovereign
Mansfield , Georgia
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tree dented roof

Words of warning, I bought a 1978 international thinking that it would only need tires, cleaning and updating. Wrong, wrong, wrong was I. As I got into it found major water damage from a rear cap that had been replaced. Looks like who ever installed it did not open the inner end cap and seal the connecting seams properly. So think good and hard on how much you want to send in both time and money before purchasing.
Myself I get to tear apart a airstream and put it back together, which has become a wonderful project that I won't finish anytime soon.
Good Luck with whatever choice you make, happy airstreaming
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:17 PM   #9
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Twere me, I'd offer them 500.00 to take it off their hands...
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:02 PM   #10
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You could try to find used end caps BUT the best thing to do with used is to replace all curved panels as they don't always end up exactly the same match. Ie the window cut out is different from trailer to trailer. I too would vote for the $500 - 1500 price DEPENDING on interior and rest of skin. If there's no rear end separation and orig interior , then you're on the high end. Gutted and / or frame issues, And you're prepared to DIY , then maybe. I'd be more likely to do panel replacement on a short trailer as they have better resale value.
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #11
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Very sad when the time and materials to replace all those panels far exceed what the trailer is actually worth, but that is probably the case ... at least from the photos. Lots of good advice for you here. Don't get discouraged, but do keep looking. This one is a pass.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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You guys are freakin amazing!!! I can't believe on the replies! I decided to let the airstream that inspired this question go - thanks to you guys for saving me from a money pit and hassle!!
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