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Old 04-03-2020, 12:20 PM   #1
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Are these dents fixable?

I found a trailer I'd like to buy, but only if the dents can be fixed. Normally I wouldn't consider anything with exterior dents, but this is a 1952 Silver Streak Clipper, the one with "alien eyes". Are the dents fixable? Can they be knocked out from the inside? If not, would it cost a fortune to replace the damaged panels?
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Old 04-03-2020, 01:13 PM   #2
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Howdy and welcome...

Those are fixable to a degree via encouraging them out from the inside but they'll never be perfect. If you were to do the work, both removal and reinstallation of the panels, you could get a sheet metal shop to fabricate new panels for a fairly reasonable price.

Those are awesome trailers and very much deserve to be brought back to life.

Do you have more pictures?

Ian
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Old 04-03-2020, 01:34 PM   #3
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Keep in mind that replacing the panels might be problematic if you intend to polish: have to get the same grade/kind of aluminum to get the same level of polish all over, I believe.

Yes, please: more pix!! What a find....

Vivian
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Old 04-03-2020, 03:21 PM   #4
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I know a little bit about fixing dents. Dents where the metal is creased is not fixable as the metal has been stretched. A simple depression can be popped out. The 13 panel end caps were made of flat aluminum and do not have compound curves making fabrication simpler. You could also use auto body techinques such as bondo and then paint aluminum. From what i have heard the finish of an Airstream painted aluminum will last a lot longer than clearcoat and it is hard to tell the difference.
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Old 04-03-2020, 04:40 PM   #5
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My limited experience indicates not fixable in the sense that they will ever look like undamaged panels. Fixable in the sense that they might be pushed out enough to lessen the amount they show. Any pushing on Al stretches it and there is no way to shrink it back. It will take a lot of force to move those bent seams and usually applying that force will stretch the single thickness areas pretty badly when the thing you are pushing with deforms around the stiffer areas. If your goal is a polished perfect trailer I think you will need to replace the panels with the same original Al.
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Old 04-03-2020, 08:04 PM   #6
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I replaced 11 of 13 end panels on a 1957 Overlander. I removed each panel and flattened them the best I could. I used them as templates for the new panels I cut out of flat stock. It was a lot of work but very rewarding
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:51 AM   #7
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Great find for sure! I would replace those 3 panels for sure. It's a great investment at this point.
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Old 04-04-2020, 10:14 AM   #8
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Having been “attacked” by a toll booth arm, my experience is that if the skin is creased, the panel likely needs to be replaced.
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Old 04-04-2020, 10:24 AM   #9
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Everything is fixable, The question is do you have the necessary resources ( AKA as $$$$)
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Old 04-04-2020, 10:26 AM   #10
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I say get over the dents. I see worn character. Imagine, you won’t worry about more dents, one of the most stressful things about owning these vintage icons of design.
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Old 04-04-2020, 10:38 AM   #11
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I'm sure you can get them much better. Roller from the inside. Or vacuum pump from the outside.
Then contact a "paintless dent repair" guy who has the tools and expertise to massage the metal back to almost perfect.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:33 AM   #12
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Pix please? especially the inside? Pretty please?
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:25 PM   #13
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Keep in mind that replacing the panels might be problematic if you intend to polish: have to get the same grade/kind of aluminum to get the same level of polish all over, I believe.

Yes, please: more pix!! What a find....

Vivian
I was worried this might be a problem. I would want to polish it and want everything to match. Here are the other pics I found. It looks like there are 5 panels that would need to be replaced.
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:44 PM   #14
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Pix please? especially the inside? Pretty please?
The inside looks awful and would need to be gutted more than likely.
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:47 PM   #15
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Howdy and welcome...

Those are fixable to a degree via encouraging them out from the inside but they'll never be perfect. If you were to do the work, both removal and reinstallation of the panels, you could get a sheet metal shop to fabricate new panels for a fairly reasonable price.

Those are awesome trailers and very much deserve to be brought back to life.

Do you have more pictures?

Ian

What is a fairly reasonable price? I think there are 5 panels that need to be replaced.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:57 PM   #16
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What is a fairly reasonable price? I think there are 5 panels that need to be replaced.
Ahh, the age old question...

Consider these factors:
- it will need to be gutted, no question.
- most likely needs a shell off, full monty
- frame likely needs extensive repair or out right replacement.
- new axles, tires, suspension
- new wiring, including inverter, breakers etc...
- holding tanks will need to repaired, replaced and/or added
- plumbing will need to be redone
- all penetrations will need to resealed (vents, windows, door, hatches etc...)
- and a lot more to get this into camping condition...

This brief list isn't to scare you off, but for you to really consider if you are ready and able to take the immense effort and investment this trailer will need.
I'm going to make the assumption that you would do the work yourself (you can) which will save you a lot of money but will be a time vacuum, which is fine if you enjoy it.

Now, to the question at hand... These are really valuable when restored really well and perhaps the owner knows this, but there is a Mariana Trench sized chasm between then and now. I would pay no more than 750-1000 based on what I see here and start even lower.

Can we ask what the asking price is?

Ian
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Old 04-04-2020, 07:12 PM   #17
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It is time for the English Wheel. If you don't like the results then use them as a pattern for new cutouts using the same stock as the original. Note: if the panels are anodized the creases will still be there as a white mark. Those sections are call "Pies" in the trade. There may be some available around the country, or as salvage, but good luck hunting.
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:59 PM   #18
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I know there is a lot of work involved and I plan on doing most of it myself, except for plumbing and any welding that might need to be done to the frame. I used to work for an architect who has an Airstream restoration business and it's something I enjoy doing. The seller has this priced WAY too high and I don't know how much he would be willing to come down. He is asking $11k lol. I thought it might be worth $3k to $4k. I found a '54 Clipper from another seller that has new axles and brakes and new subfloor for $5800, which sounded reasonable to me, but I don't like it as much. I really like the alien eye models.
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Old 04-05-2020, 07:53 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Tikidog1102 View Post
I know there is a lot of work involved and I plan on doing most of it myself, except for plumbing and any welding that might need to be done to the frame. I used to work for an architect who has an Airstream restoration business and it's something I enjoy doing. The seller has this priced WAY too high and I don't know how much he would be willing to come down. He is asking $11k lol. I thought it might be worth $3k to $4k. I found a '54 Clipper from another seller that has new axles and brakes and new subfloor for $5800, which sounded reasonable to me, but I don't like it as much. I really like the alien eye models.
What something is “worth” is relative as is evident in my $750-1000, your 3-4k and the sellers $11,000. I had a sneaking suspicion that because there was another Clipper in the photos the seller has an idea of what he has, however inflated that is.

Glad you know what your in for, too often folks get lofty dreams about these and end up making things worse. Plumbing isn’t hard, it’s just really annoying. If you can do most of the other stuff, you can do plumbing.

I feel like the seller is ridiculously overpriced, especially with the damage and what looks to be at least one missing window which I think is actually curved (I may be wrong though) and brings the value down even more.

I’d make my best offer and happily walk away when they don’t budge. It’s good that you know what you want, but this isn’t the only one out there. I found several when sleuthing around for comps and saw a couple that were in far better condition for half this ones price.

Ian
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:37 PM   #20
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I agree that $11k is wishful thinking on the part of the seller.

The pix of the interior don't look that bad, it's just dirty. You will of course have to replace the subfloor, so gut the interior, but take everything out carefully, don't break anything, and keep it all to see if cleaning things up might make sense to keep it as original as possible. And most old stuff is way better made than new stuff.

(Including us old folks LOL!! )

Vivian
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