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Old 03-15-2008, 12:43 PM   #1
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DIY or go pro panel replacement

Kind of a vague question, but I'm trying to decide whether to have the professionals replace the 4' x 12' side panel on my Overlander or to have a go myself. I haven't even seen the trailer yet but the photos show gouges down the curbside although the other panels look great.

On the one hand I have zero effort, $360 for an Al clad 032" panel, $216 of rivets (360) some adhesive and $960 for labor and undoubtably the best job possible no question.

On the other hand if I DIY; $185 for a panel, ($225 for 040") same cost of rivets I guess plus all the necesarry tools. (I have a lot of tools already but other than air compressors would have to buy everything I need).

It seems $1000 would buy a rivet gun set, a rivet head shaver, Clecos, some cheapo scaffold and a little test material. If all goes well maybe the bug will bite and I'll do the street side too to eliminate the service hatches for long since removed machinery.

Factors affecting my decision are that the inner panels will come off anyway for the full rehab. Has anyone left the panels to the pro's and done the rehab themsleves or do they go hand in hand?
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:50 PM   #2
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I've seen member work that has been fabulous. That'll take some looking for threads...

At very least you'll need a Jilson Supersnip -- a bit tedious but okay for a one-time job. Otherwise check out their air tools. Do you want to buck the rivets?
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Old 03-15-2008, 12:58 PM   #3
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I think an pneumatic nibler/snipper is the way to go. Bucking rivets sounds like a rite of passage so I guess I wouldn't need the head shaver then; just a willing assistant?
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:14 PM   #4
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Due to an injury I have sustained I have most of the work on my trailer done for me by professionals who know exactly what they are doing, and have done it for a good amount of time. If they mess up, it is on them and it is taken care of, but if I screw something up...I am paying for it.

Just my $.02.

Steve
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Old 03-15-2008, 01:46 PM   #5
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The PO of my trailer did a panel replacement, and he did a beautiful job with Olympic rivets. Everyone I've pointed it out to was surprised it was replaced, let alone a home-job.
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:22 PM   #6
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panel replacement

Airstream panel replacement requires a knowledge of the construction, and a lot of talent.

If done correctly, only a pro can tell that a panel has been replaced.

Side sheets are easy to do. Segments and quarter panels are fastened with flush rivets, that cannot be seen. In order to remove those panels, you "MUST" also remove the flush rivets, if not, the panel won't move.

We replaced several segments and a couple of side sheets, for the "Makeover."

Ask Steve (soldiermedic, the new owner of the Makeover) if he can tell that it was done.

Andy
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Old 03-15-2008, 02:28 PM   #7
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Just Tools

I like to justify buying tools to do a job as if they were free.
Like...I am saving as much as this/these tools would cost, and after job is done, I still have the tools.

Thats the story I tell.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:31 PM   #8
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hi truck'

u might wanna wait till after the shell off total floor and frame repairs...

before tackling the skin repairs

POST SOME PHOTOS! and the replies will be more useful.

we've all seen some very nice skin 'patches' over small holes or gouges...

these patches can look cool, don't require the same effort as full panel jobs...

and make for a truly unique trailer!

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:26 PM   #9
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Is the logical order of work pretty fixed then? Separation, fix/ update the frame, new floor, replace belly pan, reinstate shell, replace outer panels as required, seal leaks, re-wire, insulate, replace inner skins?

The snag is that if I wait until I've seen the trailer I will have to go DIY unless I fancy taking it 3400 miles round trip back for the pro's. And by pro's I mean where it sits now in Andy's shop.

I'll attach some pics but I don't know how much you can see.

I'm leaning towards a combo approach, have InlandRV work their magic on the curbside so that I have a nice straight coach and try my skills out on less critical parts as and when.
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:43 PM   #10
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trucks...

unless you are planning a museum piece, that will never again travel...

those skin issues look minor from those photos.

get her home, do the frame/floor and whatever else...

the skin looks fine as is.

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-15-2008, 05:51 PM   #11
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I think if you polish right over it you won't even know it's there unless you're looking for it. I'd give it a try first anyway.
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
I think if you polish right over it you won't even know it's there unless you're looking for it. I'd give it a try first anyway.
Steph.

This trailer "IS" in our shop.

Polishing won't remove gouges in the metal, nor will it remove stretches in the metal. This trailer has both.

Andy
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:18 PM   #13
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hmmn, maybe this shot shows the damage in a different light? It could have suffered the door opening at speed scenario, I don't know.
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:54 PM   #14
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IF you are planning some sort of primo restoration do it right.

that panel (or panels) should only be replaced with bucked rivets.

olympic rivets and new skin (even alclad) WILL be obvious.

also you'll be committed to polishing older segments to the level of new alclad;

matching shine is a bigger challenge when there is 40+ years age difference.

and besides NEW booboos might happen during several stages of your restoration...

or during the long long trip north to onaway

i think that skin looks uniformly fantastic right now.

IF you really don't like how it looks you'll have the opportunity to buck rivet a repair that looks and holds better....

do you see that small patched segment behind the door? imo that looks pretty neat and reflects the years of duty...

of course the photos along, may not clearly reveal what's happening here ...

cheers
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:13 AM   #15
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Truck,

From the photos I would tend to agree with 2air. Here we call them scars of honor. They reflect the service given and joy gained from use.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:27 PM   #16
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sorry guys, the image was too big to load in my last post, here we go.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:45 PM   #17
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Ouch, That is a little worse than showed in the first photo. Hard to tell from the photo but is that Oil Canning behind the door? If so it could be a damaged frame.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:05 PM   #18
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I think your cost analysis is pretty accurate except the cost of rivets will be more like $50. You can probably get the rivets, rivet gun, sets, bucking bars and clecos for around $400 total.

I did the same on my '59 except it was the street side. I just didn't want to patch over the old furnace and water heater holes.

The comments above about matching the finish are 100% true. Be willing to polish the rest of the trailer if you want it to look good. Otherwise you will have one shiny panel and the rest dull. I haven't decided what to do. I don't want to polish the whole thing to a mirror finish.

On the bright side, the sense of accomplishment you will get from doing this is priceless.

There's a picture in my photo gallery, I'm not allowed to post pictures inside of threads.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:09 PM   #19
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Beats me becuase all I've seen are these same photos. It's still over a month until I can get down to see her; hopefully a good proportion of the mysteries will be revealed then! More time for me to read historical posts and research stuff I think.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:19 PM   #20
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What ever you do keep that water cooler on the roof!

I have not seen to many of those around :-)
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