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Old 05-21-2013, 05:52 PM   #1
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Can This Dent Be Removed?

Could a paintless dent repair technician remove this dent if the righ tail light housing was removed? Would he be able to get his tools behind and work out the dent? I had our tech take out a ding in my black Prius door and I can't remember where it was. He was able to get a long tool inside the door and from the back of the dent push it out. I was wondering if the same technique can be done with aluminum.

Thanks

Kelvin
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Old 05-21-2013, 06:17 PM   #2
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I have gotten pretty good at those with a professional quality hot glue dent pulling kit. They ain't cheap though. I think you'll find removing the light housing is waaayy too difficult. Inner panel has to come off after removing all your furniture....then you could just roll it out from the inside. No need to to remove the light in that case. Pulling is the only way, IMO.
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Old 05-21-2013, 07:22 PM   #3
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Can This Dent Be Removed?

Yes. Heat and roll.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:41 AM   #4
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I had a big dent in the top rear of my Trade Wind where some PO had backed it under a low hanging something. I had a guy who is very good with the paint-less dent removal come to the house and try to fix it. This fellow had done a couple of dents in cars for me and was very skilled. He had no luck with the aluminum. The main problem is that the aluminum of an Airstream is much tougher than car sheet metal. He could not generate enough force to move the metal. After about 45 minutes he gave up. What I did was to roll, and hammer and dolly the dents. They are high and look OK considering what I started with. If you can get to the edge of the dent by removing the tail light you can probably make it look better, but for the small dent you have and considering the trouble it would be to get to the backside, I would just live with it. Finally, remember unlike auto body work you can't cover the worked metal so be very careful to not stretch the metal as you try and fix it and go very slowly.
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Old 05-22-2013, 07:02 AM   #5
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Pull the tail light assembly out and you maybe able to push it out with a little effort.

Perry
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #6
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As I said before, IIRC, that taillight assembly requires removal of the inner skin to get to the rivets. If you are that far into it, roll it from the inside.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:47 PM   #7
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I didn't realize the taillight was riveted and you had to get to the inner skin.

I guess I'll leave well enough alone.

Thanks for everyones comments.

Kelvin
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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Try the hot glue method, Kelvin. Practice makes almost perfect, but you'd have to really screw up to make it worse. Here is the kit I got:

DF-DM550DX Ding Massager Deluxe Glue Pulling Kit - Dent Fix Equipment

But the glue gun sucked! TOO HOT. I went to the local hobby shop and got a nice quality craft gun with a thermostat and 2 settings. Much better.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:44 AM   #9
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Here are a couple of before and afters.....

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Old 05-23-2013, 12:48 PM   #10
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You did a good job Rich. I might be able to get some of my small dents out with that.

Kelvin you might be able to use the tail light as a handle to pull that dent. Something pushed the tail light in. Maybe you can just pull on that housing and pull it back out.

Perry
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:42 PM   #11
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All you guys talk about pulling dents and using hot glue and the results look fantastic but how do these methods work? I'm not sure I could do it. Can this work be done by a professional paintless dent tech? I'm an Airstream newbie!

Thanks for everyones comments.

Kelvin
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:52 PM   #12
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I would bet that some of the paintless dent guys are adept at glue pulling. Basically, you apply little pull tabs to the skin with hot glue. I believe it is a greater adhesive glue than the craft glue at the hobby store. The pull tabs have a pedestal which engages into a slide hammer (which I don't use on aluminum) and a squeeze handle puller. as you squeeze the puller it lifts the tab away from the skin. I use a slight pump/bump technique to carefully, incrementally "tug" at the dent. LESS IS MORE! It is really easy to create a high spot instead of the dent that was there. Then you have to work the high spot with a wooden dowel and small delicate hammer. Think "jeweler" type work.

When the area is done, you use a release agent to pop off the tab with a provided plastic "chisel". Each dent takes several to many applications of tabs. Some of the tabs are large and some are small "point" type tabs.

PS: The large dent pictured above took some additional, and scarey, muscle work from the inside on the rib with a BIG hammer and a block of wood in order to get it to a point eligible for glue work. PO left that one for me. How he did it....I'll never know, as the corner protector was undamaged.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:59 PM   #13
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The next time I HAVE to do this, I'll try and document the process. My Bro-in-law just got a new hickey on his 2012 30' Classic. I may be pulling on his next month. If so, I'll take pics and show more detail.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:02 PM   #14
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OK Rich you can camp in my yard for free as long as you bring your dent pullers.

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Old 05-24-2013, 09:17 PM   #15
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i saw those photos and my first thought was....

LIAR!!!!

that, my friend, is incredible magic ( or photoshop). or talent that i am quite jealous of.
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:07 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Try the hot glue method, Kelvin. Practice makes almost perfect, but you'd have to really screw up to make it worse. Here is the kit I got:

DF-DM550DX Ding Massager Deluxe Glue Pulling Kit - Dent Fix Equipment

But the glue gun sucked! TOO HOT. I went to the local hobby shop and got a nice quality craft gun with a thermostat and 2 settings. Much better.
Rich,

Nice job on those dents!!!

Will you be offering your services at any Rally's to pay for that kit!!

Bob
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:50 AM   #17
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They're not photoshopped.....but they're not baby butt smooth either. Once aluminum is stretched, you can never get it factory smooth again. But at least they don't catch the eye anymore and make me go "uggggg" every time I walk around the AS. The big front one was largely oil canned. Once I beat the rib back out, I only had about half the severity of the dent to work.

It's really not magic, or that hard to do.

Robert, I might consider doing small dents on others' trailers, but I am far from professional and I be scared to death to do a large area for fear of not satisfying expectations. But if someone told me they were going to replace a panel anyway, I'd give it a go.
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:15 PM   #18
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Ok. Today I backed in to the edge of a plywood board sticking out on top of a storage shelf in the garage - YIKES. Nice big crater dent in the top corner panel just above eye height. Bought some pullers and got the depth part out but the crease and about an inch of depth is left. I will have to try your glue technique. What would you get now knowing that the gun is no good in that kit? I am NOT a happy camper!
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:38 PM   #19
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I would get the same kit, but replace the gun with a quality thermostatically controlled dual temp one from a craft store. (Which I did).
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:39 PM   #20
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BTW, I am going to work a small dent next weekend on my Bro-in-law's AS. I will document the steps with pics.
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