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Old 01-09-2021, 10:31 AM   #1
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Need advice on repairing new "dents" in my AS.

Looking for some experienced input on best way to repair some damage to my rear quarter panel. I moved to a new storage spot this past week, and mis-negotiated a pole while backing into new spot.

Embarrassed as I am, my wife was not amused; so looking for some help on best way to repair. Local dealer's I called here in Austin area are 3-4 months out they tell me. I did send request to Jackson Center to schedule, but likely mid summer will be reply. So what to do??

Any DIY advise/recommendations are appreciated; ...I do have "some" limited knowledge working with aluminum sheet metal from when I was an Aviation Mechanic (sheet metal and hydraulics) while in the Navy, so not afraid to try some things...just don't have the tools (yet). So any input is appreciated...see pics below. No visible bending or damage inside that I can tell, although the window looks like a bit of "tension" from outside picture. If you look close at the dents, you will see there are no real "creases" that I can tell, so perhaps just a "dent" removal kit may work? If so, recommendations again...
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:37 AM   #2
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Sorry to see what has happened. If it was me, I would be planning a trip to Jackson Center...
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:53 AM   #3
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It is still water tight? I’d wait for JC — they have the tools and equipment to knock it out right the first time. Anyone else will likely need to wait for JC to send them what they need anyways.
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Old 01-09-2021, 10:54 AM   #4
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That looks like three creases to me (though it's hard to tell from just pics). To fix it properly, the panel needs to be replaced. That means drilling out the rivets and removing the panel, then reinstalling the new panel with shaved Olympic rivets (so they match the bucked rivets) from the exterior. You *might* find a local body shop that can do it right, but if you care about details, you're going to want someone who has repaired Airstream panels regularly. Usually people are satisfied with the work from Jackson Center, but I have also heard stories from people who came away very dissatisfied.


Unfortunately that's a pretty expensive repair. Insurance?
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Old 01-09-2021, 11:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Looking for some experienced input on best way to repair some damage to my rear quarter panel. I moved to a new storage spot this past week, and mis-negotiated a pole while backing into new spot.

Embarrassed as I am, my wife was not amused; so looking for some help on best way to repair. Local dealer's I called here in Austin area are 3-4 months out they tell me. I did send request to Jackson Center to schedule, but likely mid summer will be reply. So what to do??

Any DIY advise/recommendations are appreciated; ...I do have "some" limited knowledge working with aluminum sheet metal from when I was an Aviation Mechanic (sheet metal and hydraulics) while in the Navy, so not afraid to try some things...just don't have the tools (yet). So any input is appreciated...see pics below. No visible bending or damage inside that I can tell, although the window looks like a bit of "tension" from outside picture. If you look close at the dents, you will see there are no real "creases" that I can tell, so perhaps just a "dent" removal kit may work? If so, recommendations again...
If it's not leaking....

Exactly what insurance is for.
Send the photo's to Jackson Center, get a preliminary estimate and submit a claim to your insurance.

Take a repair 'Vacation' when they give you a repair date.
The absolute best way to insure re-sale value.

Bob
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:47 PM   #6
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Lucky the window is intact! Most places will do an overlay, I would remove the panel. Caution the Awning arm is under torsion and needs to unwound carefully. I would count the turns until the tension is gone.

One of the easier panels to replace, IMHO
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Old 01-09-2021, 05:54 PM   #7
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I think you’re looking at about 7 grand.
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:00 PM   #8
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To be done correctly, that looks like a pretty complex repair.
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:19 PM   #9
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Vinnie’s North Bay or Jackson Center are your 2 best options.
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Old 01-09-2021, 09:41 PM   #10
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The Jackson Center repair 'vacation' would be my solution, along with a call to the insurance co. Don't feel too bad, it's not that uncommon, especially on the "blind" side.
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:59 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input, everyone! I did send request to JC and also Vinny's in Ca...waiting to hear back. If you look close at the pictures, to me, it seems the contact was just under the window at the belt line which buckled the lower rear quarter panel and pushed the window in just a bit behind the awning support. After taking another look yesterday, there is some seam exposure I will need to address short term. I watched a couple AS repair Youtube videos where they used dent removal tools; just not sure that can do it here. I will call Insurance Monday.

I did try to contact a few places here in TX/Austin area, AS dealers and even local body shops with aluminum experience, but everyone seems really busy so far. I am looking for temp fix till I get a reply from JC and Vinny's. "JC vacation" likely the route we will end up taking. They were not able to get to my "squeaky floor" last year during my warranty visit, so this may be a good time to get both done. I do remember last year, a guy staying next to me at JC space port, had similar quarter panel issues from backing into a tree. (he blamed his wife, by the way!) I was amazed how fast they repaired it; they had the damaged panel off and a patch on first day; next day it was finished!)

Wife starting to talk...will update later!
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:49 AM   #12
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Hi

I would not touch anything until the insurance people have had their say and you have estimate(s) in hand. Past that:

1) The window is intact right now, you need to keep it that way. If it *is* under strain, that could be a problem. Some careful examination is very much called for. Having it shatter / blow out of the frame heading down the road ..... yikes ...

2) If you plan to be out when it rains ( you *do* have to get it to Ohio or California ...) it will need to be water tight. I'd say RTV / Silicone ( the aluminum compatible variety) is your friend here. It does not need to hold on for decades. You just need something that will stay dry for 6 months or so.

3) The creases in that panel don't look like they will "pull" out. Same thing with the damage to the window rim. I think you will just get into more trouble with dent pullers. It still will have obvious damage even after you are done. Unless you have some really fancy gear to handle the sheet metal, doing up a full replacement panel from scratch is a mighty big undertaking.

I'd run it up to JC and let them deal with it ....

Bob
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:08 AM   #13
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In our area (Dallas), call Randy @ North Dallas RV in Carrollton. Their guys did a great job replacing our upper left rear panel. Very professional. They specialize in Airstreams. Complete cost was $2500. It took weeks, not months, and that was waiting for panel to get here from Jackson Center. This was after picture, the dent was 18 inches long and 4 deep. Backed into a garage door frame (long story).
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Old 01-10-2021, 11:30 AM   #14
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Austin area shops

A little off topic, but....

Who in the Austin area would you trust with your rig? I've made minor repairs myself, so far, but would like a different option if the time came for professional help. My AS friend (only one, at this point) won't use the local dealer.
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Old 01-10-2021, 01:31 PM   #15
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We had damage to an upper front corner panel from an errant tollbooth arm in Mexico two years ago. On a recommendation we contacted and used Todd Ludzenski, owner of Caravan Services in New Braunfels. He is AS trained at Camper Clinic II in Buda. He ordered the parts from JC, and we took it in when the parts came in. Took maybe a week and it looks like new......I’d recommend him. His cell is 512-468-8881, and email is todd@caravansvc.com. BTW, he is the only employee as well.
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Old 01-10-2021, 02:51 PM   #16
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DIY Panel Repair

Sorry about your mishap, I bought my 2012 Signature 27 with damage to the Left Rear Corner Panel in much the same condition. I bought a Suction Cup and Dent Repair kit from Harbor Freight. After the repair I covered what remained of the damage with National Park and Destination Stickers. With close
inspection you can see that the panel is not pristine.

However, since you have insurance you should definately file a claim to preserve your investment.

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Old 01-11-2021, 01:07 AM   #17
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Ditto on Randy @ North Dallas RV in Carrollton. The are very close with factory and stay up to date on the latest techniques. They do good work with out question. I also recommend The Airstream Factory Service at Jackson Center, OH.
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Old 01-17-2021, 01:47 PM   #18
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Atlanta area repair

Hi,

Depending on how far you want to drive, and weather conditions and time frame, look at Southland RV in the Atlanta area. I saw them replacing entire rear panels. They recently added on another big service bay They know what they are doing. I always see good reviews online also.

They have taken care of our airstream and I have no complaints at all. We have to drive up to get there, but worth it.

jrw
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Old 01-17-2021, 04:24 PM   #19
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I recently repaired two dents in my rear top panel on which the “Airstream” letters and three running lights reside. The dents were from falling walnuts, without creasing. I did a great deal of research on the Internet. There was a very helpful video on you tube of an AIrstream owner pulling out hail dents with the Eastwood “Paintless Dent Removal Kit”. I found the kit on the Eastwood web site and ordered one. It did a really good job on my dents. My dents, fortunately, had no creasing. The Eastwood site has instructional videos, also. The way it works is that you hot glue plastic devices to the dents, then pull on the devices with either the slide hammer or the hand squeeze device, both of which are included in the kit. You pull on the plastic device until it breaks loose, then use alcohol to remove the squished hot glue spot from the aluminum. It’s amazing! I could not imagine, but it does not damage the clear coat whatsoever. I also used it on a neighbor’s car, and it did not damage the paint. There are several you tube videos of guys using the kit on a car, which you can easily find and view. All that having been said, it will pull out your dents quite a bit, but it will still look bad. You have a lot of creasing, as did my neighbor’s car, and you will therefore not get a very good result. My great deal of time on the Internet also led me to another method. You can drill out the rivets on the inside panel and remove the panel. You can then push out the dents from the inside. Then you can replace the inside panel with pop rivets, which is what the factory did. That way you do not need the several hundred dollars of special tools and special waterproofing rivets to reinstall the outside panel. Unfortunately, pushing and pounding out the dents from the inside or by removal of the dented outside panel, will not restore the dented area to factory condition, despite being able to hammer the metal between a dolly and hammerhead. From my research and limited experience, I conclude that you will not get a nice job from anything but replacement with a new panel. You have damage to the window as well, so those parts will need replaced since I doubt if removal and attempted straightening will give a really nice result. I have heard from other owners that there are Airstream dealers that can do this work, as well as Jackson Center. Colonial Airstream, in New Jersey, the top selling dealer in the country, has you tube videos of them replacing outside panels. If I were you, I’d email customer service at Jackson Center, and at Colonial Airstream, with photos and ask for advice about how they would proceed, cost, and scheduling. By the way, in the past every January and February the Jackson Center factory has solicited service appointments offering discounts during that slow period. I received no such solicitation this year, however, and my guess is that they are busy because Airstreamers are not snowbirding, but staying home because of Covid. Good luck.
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:25 PM   #20
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I did the same sort of damage

I live in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Canada. I did the driving holiday to JC. For me it was a seven day drive, one way. It was worth every penny. JC was done in 2 days and they had all of the parts, no waiting. I did not find it expensive.
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