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Old 09-12-2018, 12:51 PM   #1
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2005 19' International CCD
Phoenix , Arizona
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Dealer Skin Replacement ?

Hi All. Hoping for some advice regarding a large panel of skin replacement by a local dealership. Our local dealer has said they will replace the lower curb side panel on our 2018 FbT International, but I am feeling very uneasy about their ability to do so correctly. They say they are Airstream certified but I am worried if not done properly or as to factory standards that I will have more problems down the road, such a water leakage.
Any advise or experience from others are appreciated! Thanks in advance. P.S. This repair is necessitated due to a scratch on a new airstream.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:03 PM   #2
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Photo of the 'scratch'?

A surface scratch with little panel deformation..now wait for it, we realize that as a new owner this may be hard to swallow...live with it. 😂
“Time will bring to light whatever is hidden; it will cover up and conceal what is now shining in splendor. “
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If serious consider the factory. The very least call them.

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Old 09-12-2018, 01:22 PM   #3
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Thank you. You're correct that it just HURTS more than it looks. IF, the damage was done by someone else, then how would you handle? For instance, what should I expect "in lieu" of the repair? My apologies, I do not know how to attach a photo...but the scratch is deeper than the clear coat and about 4 inches long..... ugh....what to do..
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:34 PM   #4
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Just had panel repair done at the factory myself...don't ask... My thought for you is corrosion-X the scratch, then clearcoat, then make an appointment for the factory for when you may be out that way, even if it is years away. A scratch isn't that bad and if you can get to the factory on a vacation trip in a year or two perhaps that's the way to go.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:36 PM   #5
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You're generally better off having the work done at an all-Airstream dealer like Airstream of Scottsdale. I would ask to talk to the technician who would do the work and see if he/she seems knowledgeable and experienced with panel replacement.
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAHBABY View Post
Thank you. You're correct that it just HURTS more than it looks. IF, the damage was done by someone else, then how would you handle? For instance, what should I expect "in lieu" of the repair? My apologies, I do not know how to attach a photo...but the scratch is deeper than the clear coat and about 4 inches long..... ugh....what to do..
The factory did say that the aluminum could not be repaired because the deep nature of the scratch...and that is why we are even contemplating replacement. Click image for larger version

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Old 09-12-2018, 02:38 PM   #7
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Well that looks very much like what happened here. 😢

The 'damage' is still their, but the hurt has subsided over time. 👍😂

I would....Negotiate for $$ compensation, and or an option upgrade.

Bob
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Well that looks very much like what happened here.

The 'damage' is still their, but the hurt has subsided over time.

I would....Negotiate for $$ compensation, and or an option upgrade.

Bob
Thanks for your thoughts! Much appreciated.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:20 AM   #9
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One thing to consider even if you have the factory replace the panel it will not be as good of a job as when it was built. No one can put it back exactly like it was. If the damage is minor try and live with it.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:30 AM   #10
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Vinnie's North Bay Airstreams - Wilton, CA - best in the business, it will be like new. Recommend doing it in the Winter when he slows down a bit.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:42 AM   #11
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While crossing the White Salmon/Hood River Bridge, across the Columbia River, I was forced out of my lane by a rent-a-truck/trailer combo and hit the bridge's guardrail --- see photos.

I took the trailer to Airstream Adventures NW, outside of Seattle and had them do most of the work --- see note below. They assured me that they had a guy who had taken numerous classes at Jackson Center about replacing aluminum panels. I met and talked with him, an older fellow who sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

I came back several weeks later. WOW!!! A new Airstream --- you never would have known.

Note: The estimate for the total repair was approx. $16.5K. I declined to have the door replaced and the right front rock guard replaced, resulting in approx. $9K of work. The door continues to show a small scratch. The rock guard I easily hammered back, so that it looks virtually new.
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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skin replacement

Just know that an Airstream dealer doing the replacement is backed up by Airstream! It won't be cheaply done and will be warrantied for at least some period of time. Not so much at some multi brand dealership. If you can live with the scratch why would you bother with breaking loose all the factory sealant between the panel edges and openings just to get a shiny scratch free panel and take the chance on future leaks! Go to a graphics store and have an appropriate sized Band Aid decal made. That makes it a good camping story for years to come! Ha! I guess my advice would be get a repair estimate from your closest Airstream dealer and have the person responsible for the damage pay that estimate and damage costs. No one ever says you must repair/replace to be reimbursed for you loss. Ed
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:01 AM   #13
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I faced this problem and declined to replace the panel. To attache the new panel they will likely use a special "Pop" type rivets provided by Airstream. Airstream built your unit with "Bucked" rivets which requires access to the inside of the trailer. I was told that the replacement pulled rivets have a hole that is filled and the rivet shaved so that the rivets resemble the original factory rivets. I am sure that the factory supplied replacement rivets are sufficiently strong when properly installed. On this forum someone suggested a spray on product called Nyalic. I have used it on scratches and it is effective in making minor scratches less noticeable and protects the exposed aluminum. It is transparent but does leave a surface shine. Can't say how long it will last. Best of luck.
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Old 09-13-2018, 11:44 AM   #14
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Earlier this summer I managed to jackknife our Bambi and put a dent in the curb side front just below the window. I didn't even notice it for 3 days but now it really bugs me. My dealer (Airstream of Spokane) is awesome to work with and I would trust them to do a panel replacement. Going to the factory is out of the question due to distance. While I know the dealer would do a wonderful job I am concerned about breaking the seal that was put on the inside after the outer shell was assembled. My dilemma is that I'm also concerned that this dent, although hardly noticeable, will have a serious effect on resale value down the road. If I have the panel replaced then my insurance takes the hit. If I leave it as is then when we sell/trade the unit we take the hit.

Not sure if I should leave it well enough alone or have the panel replaced. Thoughts?

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Old 09-13-2018, 01:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helwigc View Post
One thing to consider even if you have the factory replace the panel it will not be as good of a job as when it was built. No one can put it back exactly like it was. If the damage is minor try and live with it.
I don't agree than as good a job as when built. First place they rarely take whole skin off but over lay new over old even if to replace uprites, they just cut hole to access part to replace damage. then over lay. Seal replacement skin same as when new then use olympic rivets if can not get inside to buck rivet. Olympic just as strong IMO. and very few can tell dif. if not well versed and how to tell. I have used many olympics and not many can see where they were used. I have had repairs done at JC 3 times over the yrs. on 3 dif. corners and that's how it was done. Very satisfied And I'm a perfectionest. If dealer scratched before delivered it's there dime to fix, if you did it either turn into ins. co. or bite the bullet pay out of pocket and panel replacement is costly, or some suggested some kind of decal or some other kind of band aid or live with it. Yes it hurts if you did it but you will forget about it over time, bottom line use AS and enjoy as prob. not last scratch will get.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:10 PM   #16
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I've just had some other repairs done at Windish RV in Lakewood/Denver. They are a 5-Rivet dealership that suffered some extreme hail damage to their own inventory. All repair work was done by their team onsite. If I had to get panels replaced, I would make the journey to go there and have it done.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:34 PM   #17
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There are dealers and there are competent dealers. In my experience, I would not let the Scottsdale dealer change a light bulb because if the ancillary damage and mess when we had a simple project go really south.

There are third party vintage trailer restorers that replace skin all of the time. I have used A&P Vintage Trailer Works in Paradise TX for extensive modifications to both our 2014 31’ Classic and 2015 23D International Serenity. Have seen them do frame off work on 40s vintage trailers where everything but the skin is made new.

Just saying....
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by SilverWind View Post
You're generally better off having the work done at an all-Airstream dealer like Airstream of Scottsdale. I would ask to talk to the technician who would do the work and see if he/she seems knowledgeable and experienced with panel replacement.
The dealer will tell sure we have factory trained technician.
Anything goes wrong you will never know. They will cover it up.
I had two full lower panel replacements both by the factory. I would not trust a dealer especially the street side panel. Of course I am only three hours from JC.
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Old 09-13-2018, 06:47 PM   #19
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A long a no rivets are pooped, how about a custom taller rock guard?
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Old 09-13-2018, 10:04 PM   #20
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FWIW, At the factory all late model Airstream repacement skins are cut on their computer control cutting table by serial number. If you need a new side, they just put in the serial number and in an hour or so your new panel ie delivered to the installing tech. That means when he fits it on it will be a perfect fit for your trailer. The reason for overlay in the past was because the Vulcum they used was impossible to completely remove. Now after removing the old panel they seal tape the new piece, rivet it on and caulk the edges. It is now really just like new. However, I now have both lower side panels replaced with the old system and you can not tell they are not OEM. Airstream Service Center does it right the first time.
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