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Old 04-26-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
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1965 17' Caravel
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2
Need upper front panels for 65 Caravel

We have a 1965 Caravel that has pretty bad damage to the three upper front panels. These are all compound curves. My wife and I tried straightening them as much as possible but they still look pretty awful. Inland RV sales them for $500 a piece the last time I talked to them. So that is $1500 for three small panels and seems very expensive to me. Does anyone know where I might procure the panels for a more affordable price?

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Old 04-26-2010, 12:10 PM   #2
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Those panels won't be cheap anywhere you can find them. When you say you and wife tried to get them out, did you try from the inside? I know you'll need to gain access to the inside of the exterior panels so you can work on them but still a better possibility than trying to find and pay for new panels which would most likely require you to take out the interior end cap anyway. Might just be worth a shot.

Just how bad are these thee panels? Its hard to tell from the photo.

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Old 04-26-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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1965 17' Caravel
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2006
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the interior is completely stripped right now so we have access to the inside of the panels. I had a hammer on the outside and my wife had a dolly on the inside. it was difficult to time the hits and line up the locations exactly. We did pretty good considering. there is a link to a larger closeup picture in my original post that shows the damage more clearly. I will take more pictures tonight from atop a ladder. I guess one of my main concerns is if the panels will leak because of all the gaps where the panels meet. the previous owner applied generous quantities of clear caulk to seal and fill the gaps. its pretty ugly looking when you stand on a ladder and look at it. From ground level you don't notice it much.
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:41 PM   #4
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You could get salvage ones perhaps, but you won't save much that way either. The big hit is really the labor. I was told to expect to pay about 5k to 6k to replace three front segments from a '67 caravel. That was Sierra trailer restorations if I remember correctly. Replacement requires that you remove the interior end cap, which is not a small job in itself. You almost have to gut the front of the trailer to get to it.
If the picture you posted is your Caravel it doesn't look bad. I would get in touch with a paintless repair place and see what can be done. You could cut holes through the interior end cap below the dents, roll them out from the inside, and then patch the cut pieces back in with fiberglass cloth and resin. That would keep you from having to remove all the interior panels to get at the end cap.

Best to you,
Rich the Viking
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