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Old 11-06-2018, 12:05 PM   #1
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1966 28' Ambassador
Walland , Tennessee
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Fixing Dents on the exterior

We just bought a 1966 28' Ambassador that is in pretty rough shape. There is a dent on the front right side of the camper just above the window. Does anyone know a source for finding the aluminum to cover/repair that section? The section includes the rounded section of the camper. I've attached a couple of pictures. Thanks so much!
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Old 11-06-2018, 01:10 PM   #2
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If you can find someone that has and knows how to use an English Wheel they might be able to form a patch. Look to the metal fabricating industry.
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Old 11-06-2018, 01:10 PM   #3
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Thumbs up Dent Repair on Vintage Airstream

Greetings elhoppy7!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!


Quote:
Originally Posted by elhoppy7 View Post
We just bought a 1966 28' Ambassador that is in pretty rough shape. There is a dent on the front right side of the camper just above the window. Does anyone know a source for finding the aluminum to cover/repair that section? The section includes the rounded section of the camper. I've attached a couple of pictures. Thanks so much!

The upper corner panel, I believe, will likely be the most difficult to find as it is one of the "stress formed" panels rather than flat sheet stock (I believe, but am not certain, but the lower wrap panel may be flat stock). Either way, there at least one source of replacement aluminum panels for Vintage Airsteams -- Inland RV, Corona, CA. There were at least one or two other sources, but I couldn't find them in a Google search today. It is my understanding that Airstream sold its stock of Vintage Airstream parts to one or two dealers several years ago, but it wouldn't hurt to check with the factory as well.


The one caveat is that you are looking at some rather detailed work that requires some rather specific skills in metal working to achieve a leak-free repair as removing and replacing the damaged panels is likely the best route to follow for a lasting repair. It also looks like you may be in the market for a new front window and that is also something specific to the 1966 through 1968 Airstrems (Corning Tempered Glass) -- being reproduced and available.


Good luck with your project!


Kevin
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:01 AM   #4
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I would think the differences between viewing the new skins versus old skins would become and issue.


It looks to me that it would be better to fix the dents in those two panels. You can search for English Wheel threads and see how this is done.
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:33 AM   #5
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1967 26' Overlander
Bugtussle , Oklahoma
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BTDT Here are your options:
1. Leave it alone and donít worry about it
a. If youíre fixing up that trailer there about 1000 things that will take
precedence over those dents right now.
2. Remove the interior front end cap and push it out from the inside
a. The skin will end up wrinkled and creased but will no longer be concave
b. This is the choice I made on í67 Overlander with a similar dent
c. Some people ignore everything else about my trailer and point out the
dent like I didn't know it was there
3. Use suction cups and pull the dent out from the outside
a. The skin will end up wrinkled and creased but will no longer be concave
4. Remove the panel and have an expert smooth it out with an English
wheel
a. It may or may not look much better than option 2 or 3
b. Just as much work as replacing a panel
5. Buy a new panel from Inland RV.
a. Cost is around 4-500 dollars and shipping will be close to 200.
b. You will have a brand new, shiny panel that will not match the rest of
your trailer.
6. On the upside, you can get tempered glass for the front window from a local glass company. The curved side windows are a specialty item that can be ordered from Inland RV or VTS.
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Old 11-07-2018, 12:19 PM   #6
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1975 27' Overlander
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dented panels

no matter how you attempt to repair those panels they're not going to be good looking. If you replace them you need to call Jackson Center tell them what you need, let them e-mail you a panel diagram of your year so you can get the correct part numbers of the panels you want. Then if they have your panels or will make them, it will take about 6 weeks. You then have to drive to Ohio to go get them as they will not ship them to anyone that is not a dealer. They charged me $425 per panel, the rivets are about .80 cents a piece and once I found someone that knew how to install them, another $800 per panel, he had to buy a special curved alignment bar for $60 to get the matching rivet holes to line up properly. The up side of buying it new from JC is when you get the panels from them they are already seal coated and not just raw aluminum. You own a very cool trailer, enjoy it.
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Old 11-07-2018, 07:23 PM   #7
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I think you would may want to live with it until you fix the window and?? At least it looks like leakage isn't a issue thru the dent. Don't worry about the new panel being shinny as I believe it is .032” thick 2024-T3 aircraft-grade aluminum. The beauty of the old trailers is that you can install a new panel and polish the trailer up to match...Im assuming the panels available are made with the same aluminium .....probably not if its new from airstream.
You will probably never push that dent out and get a decent job as there is too much stretch in the metal ...I think.
You can buy flat stock online and try and make a patch.
I guess it also comes down to what you want to end up with.
Good luck and have fun!
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Old 11-08-2018, 08:16 AM   #8
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1966 28' Ambassador
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Thank you for your help! Very much apprecaited
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