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Old 11-20-2009, 06:58 PM   #1
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how bad is this dent?

My search for an Airstream continues, and I have come across one with a dent in it. I've seen where panels can be purchased for a few hundred dollars, but is the installation of a panel more complicated than it appears? I've attached a pic of the dent...
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:06 PM   #2
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Have you tried a suction cup dent puller? It won't be perfect but it will save you a few bucks.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:16 PM   #3
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I have only spoken with the seller over the phone and have not seen the Airstream in person yet. He did say that the prior owner had drilled a hole and tried to pull the dent out, which did not work. He said there is some sort of patch in place, so I imagine replacing the panel would be best. But how expensive it that, or is it not too difficult to do oneself if one is relatively handy?
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:28 PM   #4
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I agree with the previous poster, a suction cup automotive type dent puller looks like it would be well worth a try.

Normally the screw-type pullers that work with a slide hammer are used on badly creased dents in cars where you know that bondo will be used. You use the puller only to try to simulate more or less the original contour so that you won't need such a thick layer of bondo. They usually make quite a mess, but it will be covered by bondo anyway. Not so on an AS!

I am a fairly new AS owner myself and have never had experience trying to replace panels. I believe they may run around $400-$500 per panel.

Looks like there are two dented panels? above and below the window level?


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Old 11-20-2009, 07:33 PM   #5
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Yes, it appears there may be two dents. I have not made an offer on this trailer yet. I was just trying to get an idea of what the costs (either $$ or labor if DIY) might be given the worst case scenario...that is, panel replacement.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:39 PM   #6
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The dent in the rear of mine is far waorse than that, but I don't care. It's water tight, and if someone judges me by a dent - well LMAO

I couldn't tell you how hard it would be, but there are a lot of people here who can. Also, go to http://www.airstream.com/dealer_locator.php?zip_postal_code=Zip+Code Find a dealer near you, and ask them about it, and about parts. This will give you an idea anyhow
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:06 PM   #7
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I have a dent and a crease that is worse than that one. It's doesn't affect my fun that I have with the AS - anyway we all have blemishes as we age. I wouldn't worry about the dent, buy it and start having fun.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:18 PM   #8
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There is a tool called a Dent King that uses hot melt adhesive to attach to the dent and then a frame that bridges the dent which is used to pull the dent out. This looks like a pretty shallow dent and may be able to be made better with just a dent puller cup which you can buy for $8. The Ding King is about $15 to $20 and is worth a try before you spent $1,000 having it done professionally.
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Old 11-20-2009, 08:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airstreamjudy View Post
I have a dent and a crease that is worse than that one. It's doesn't affect my fun that I have with the AS - anyway we all have blemishes as we age. I wouldn't worry about the dent, buy it and start having fun.

Hi Judy,

I am sure you are right - but the potential buyer may be like me!

I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, but I am particular about having things look the way they are suppose to! I guess that's what they mean by being "anal!"

For those of us so-inclined, it is hard to accept less! I know it doesn't make a lot sense, but I'd be pee'd off every time I looked at those dents and wouldn't be happy until I had done something about it!


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Old 11-20-2009, 08:46 PM   #10
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Trying to pull it out will save more than a few bucks. I have a "Ding King" there is also "Pops a Dent" which is esentially the same. You can also do the same with some pieces of wood and a hot glue gun.

You could also take off the inner skin and roll out the dent with a tool made from a bed frame roller and just pushing out with your hand.

Replacing a skin segment is not rocket science, but it takes a lot of time and you need some riveting equipment. Then you will have one new panel that will stand out more than your dent and will end up polishing the whole dang trailer to match it, and that's a whole other story.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
My search for an Airstream continues, and I have come across one with a dent in it. I've seen where panels can be purchased for a few hundred dollars, but is the installation of a panel more complicated than it appears? I've attached a pic of the dent...
The segment next to the curb side wing window, costs about $1100.00 to replace.

Dents can be some what removed, but the wrinkles will always show.

Drilling a hole into the segment and attempting to pull the dent outm makes the dent look even worse.

Aluminum, when dented, usually stretches. Unfortunately, there is no method available to shrink the aluminum, in the area that was dented.

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Old 11-21-2009, 04:42 AM   #12
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At first I thought the dark spot on the lower corner panel was the dent, but after looking for a while I think it is the reflection of something. The dent in the area next to the window may extend to the end cap above the obvious panel. I can't be sure.

So far as I know, the stripe decals on the side of the trailer usually extend all the way around, but this trailer only has them in the rear half and on the propane cover. I believe there are exceptions, but I'd want to know about that.

You won't find many cars as old as that trailer is without some scratches, dings and maybe dents. Everyone prefers a perfect skin, but it pretty hard to have an unblemished trailer or face.

If you look on the right side of the Forum page it tells you how to find a Forum member who will inspect a trailer for you. Then you can get more information about the trailer from someone who isn't trying to sell it. There are scams and more commonly the seller tries to make it sound better than it is (that's natural).

I wouldn't want to buy a trailer without having seen it myself and inspected it thoroughly.

I don't think anyone has answered your original questions—cost and difficulty of DIY panel replacement. I hope you get an answer.

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Old 11-21-2009, 06:28 AM   #13
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There always seems to be plenty of units in your area (or reasonably close) for sale.

If you've not used this search you may want to try it:

Search Tempest - The EASY way to search Craigslist!

good luck.....
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:12 AM   #14
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dent repair

Purchased a 66 Landyacht 15 years ago with a good sized dent in the rear lower roof pannel. Got a paintless dent wizard to press out the booger. He drilled a hole in the window frame and did all the work from there, after which he insertd a plug. Worked really good and was a fraction of replacement cost!
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:03 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the responses everyone. I know that when looking at 1970's Airstreams that the body won't be perfect, but it would be nice not to have any major dents or impressions. One thing I hadn't thought about if a panel was replaced, is that it would stand out compared to the other panels unless the whole thing was polished.

As far as the stripe going all the way around, from what I have seen I believe only the Excella models during the 70's have a stripe that goes the entire length. This model is a 1978s and looks like the other 78's I have seen, with the exception that it has a window in the door. The window in the door seemed like a nice feature, but I imagine that could be added later to a trailer without one if desired.

I guess I will hold off on this one since it may need the panel replaced, and since the new panel would stand out terribly compared to the others. Ordinarily I have been overlooking Airstreams with dents larger than a baseball, but this one caught my eye because of the door with the window. However, I guess I'd rather have to deal with adding a window than deal with a dented panel. Also, there seem to be quite a few older 31-foot Airstreams for sale within a 1/2 to full days drive from me. The problem is finding one with the right layout (and price)--bath in the middle instead of the rear. I am using CraigsHelper, which has saved A LOT of time. Thanks again for all the feedback and suggestions!
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:58 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transy416 View Post
Thanks for all the responses everyone. I know that when looking at 1970's Airstreams that the body won't be perfect, but it would be nice not to have any major dents or impressions. One thing I hadn't thought about if a panel was replaced, is that it would stand out compared to the other panels unless the whole thing was polished.

As far as the stripe going all the way around, from what I have seen I believe only the Excella models during the 70's have a stripe that goes the entire length. This model is a 1978s and looks like the other 78's I have seen, with the exception that it has a window in the door. The window in the door seemed like a nice feature, but I imagine that could be added later to a trailer without one if desired.

I guess I will hold off on this one since it may need the panel replaced, and since the new panel would stand out terribly compared to the others. Ordinarily I have been overlooking Airstreams with dents larger than a baseball, but this one caught my eye because of the door with the window. However, I guess I'd rather have to deal with adding a window than deal with a dented panel. Also, there seem to be quite a few older 31-foot Airstreams for sale within a 1/2 to full days drive from me. The problem is finding one with the right layout (and price)--bath in the middle instead of the rear. I am using CraigsHelper, which has saved A LOT of time. Thanks again for all the feedback and suggestions!
New panels, contrary to opinion, "do not" stand out from the rest of the trailer.

The aluminum is the same.

But, what does make a huge difference in appearance, is the clearcoat or plasticote as it's called.

The clear paint, takes on an satin appearance, in time. Therefore placing a new panel next to the trailer, makes one think, "wow" what a difference.

However, if the old dead clearcoat was removed, then the owner would quickly see, that there in fact is no difference, in the metal.

Simply put, what you see, "IS NOT" what you got.

This issue has been around Airstream for over 40 years.

Plasticotes life is about 5 years, and then begins to flake off the metal, especially in areas that are stressed. During that life span, the plasticote slowly, but surely, takes on an opaque appearance.

Replacing segments is not a difficult task, but one must know how to do it and have the proper tools.

The basic instructions are to lengthy to post here, but are reasonably outlined in the service manuals.

The most difficult part, is shearing the "blind" rivets, that most owners don't believe even exists, but they are there, and are on every Airstream ever built.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:01 AM   #17
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My two cents: If I had been the one who made the dent, then it would bother me immensely, as it would have been me doing something stupid and living with the reminder. However since it was not, I would accept it as a beauty spot and would not have any problem being the benefactor or having the price substantially reduced (over having a non-dented one). Provided there is no leak.

But I note that what looks like the sewer connection is on the curb (patio) side of the trailer. If that is the case then I would not want the trailer.

Pat
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:06 AM   #18
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My two cents: If I had been the one who made the dent, then it would bother me immensely, as it would have been me doing something stupid and living with the reminder. However since it was not, I would accept it as a beauty spot and would not have any problem being the benefactor or having the price substantially reduced (over having a non-dented one). Provided there is no leak.

But I note that what looks like the sewer connection is on the curb (patio) side of the trailer. If that is the case then I would not want the trailer.

Pat
Pat.

That cap, is on the end of a "sewer hose carrier," that's on many Airstreams.

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Old 11-22-2009, 08:25 AM   #19
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Just curious...what do the panels look like once the clearcoat is removed? Sounds like they look good.... I am just trying to figure out why the clearcoat is put on the panels to start with, especially if it starts to wear off in about 5 years?

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However, if the old dead clearcoat was removed, then the owner would quickly see, that there in fact is no difference, in the metal.
Andy
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:49 AM   #20
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Body Buddy Vacu-Dent Pneumatic Dent Puller

This tool does wonders for dent removal. I tried it on a dent like the one in the picture. We used a body hammer and tapped around the edge as we pulled and the dent was nearly invisable. It took about 5 minutes to do.
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