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Old 02-25-2018, 10:25 PM   #1
Rivet Master
2003 25' Safari
Kissimmee , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 800
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DIY end cap panel replacement?

My trailer was hailed badly about 10 years ago (story and photos in an old post). Only the end caps look bad. Although it doesn’t leak, I’m thinking about a future repair. Questions for the experts:

Once the rivets are drilled out, how difficult is it to remove a panel since it has sealant in the seams?

Would I remove/replace one segment at a time, or remove the entire end cap first?

How do I remove the windows? I have a Safari with the cheap windows with the black frames.

How precisely cut are the factory replacement panels? Do they need to be cut to fit? I know that I’ll need to cut out the windows and such.

Should I use a hole finder to match the old rivet holes to prevent the underlying structure from becoming Swiss cheese?

I intend to do this without removing the interior, so it will be done with blind rivets. Also, some of my dented panels were previously replaced (prior to the hail) by Airstream in JC due to corrosion (also described in an old post), so I’ll be removing some blind rivets and my ribs are probably already Swiss cheese.
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Old 03-06-2018, 05:54 PM   #2
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1971 21' Globetrotter
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Arvada , Colorado
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I'll try to answer your questions one at a time.
1) There is no sealant in the seams so the panels come of easily
2) I would do one panel at a time.
3) Drill out the rivets on the window frame. Most likely it will only have a foam type gasket that will leak later on. I removed the foam seals and shot the windows back on with just sealant.
4) New panels will be oversize and not have window cutouts. They will need to be trimmed during install.
5) You should always try and use the same holes. There are many different ways to do it.
6) There are no ribs where the upper segments attach to each other. The only place that there are ribs are where the segments attach to the main body of the trailer. Some trailers had a rib at the molding line where the upper and lower segments attached to each other, not sure what you have.
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:04 AM   #3
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San Gabriel , California
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 4
The safari window is screwed in from the inside and glued into place with sikaflex. The screw heads are overlapped by the interior skin and the tips of the screws that hold the upper cabinet into place come down and pinch the frame inside the wall. It typically takes my technicians that have done it many times no less than 4 hours to get the window out of the unit without damaging it.

My advice on body work is always to file an insurance claim and let some one who knows what they are doing fix it right. If you break the window it will end up costing you more than your deductible to fix it. Hail damage is covered under most insurance policies.

If you still want to try, follow these steps;
1. outline the interior window trim ring in blue painters tape.
2. Remove the interior window trim ring
3. Cut the interior skin around each screw hole, being careful not to cut into the tape, otherwise you will see it when you reinstall the trim ring.
4. Remove the screws from the over head cabinet and remove it.
5. Remove all screws from the interior of the window clamp ring.
6. CAREFULLY work around the edges of the window frame to cut through the sikaflex adhesive. This is the tough part.
7. Remove the window. DO NOT pry on the window frame, because you will break the glass or dent the other adjoining panels.

Jason Skinner
Service and Parts Director
Airstream Los Angeles
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