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Old 08-28-2019, 08:24 AM   #1
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2019 22' Sport
Bend , Oregon
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A/C ripped off by carport -- repair strategy

Hi all -

I'll try to keep this short, as this is my first AS and its a funny/unconventional story.

I am purchasing a very deeply discounted 2019 22' Bambi Sport that has extensive damage to the roof due to a too-low carport encounter. It was at low speed, but high enough to completely rip off the rooftop AC. The roof panel in front of and behind the AC is dented and/or 'ripped'. [working on uploading photos].

Coincidentally, the 'modification' is what actually allows me to buy the AS, because: 1.) I can afford it now and 2.) It now fits in my 9' carport!

I live in Central Oregon and adding A/C is "optional". We may look into alternative AC strategies (I.e. a mini split mounted anywhere other than the roof) in the future.

For now, I need to commence with triage in order to get the AS from its old home (Texas) to its new home (Oregon). Fortunately it is summer, so while I may have some hot nights, at least the likelihood of significant rainfall is minimal.

My access to tools/supplies will be severely limited, as I am flying down to the AS (and tow vehicle). My goal is to just get the hole covered in a safe way that doesn't create MORE work for myself for the long-term fix.

The long-term fix is most likely either a fantastic fan or a skylight (leaning towards the fan). I'm hoping (beyond hope?) to do the work myself, as we are doing the single-income household thing and I'm a reasonably handy guy always looking for an excuse to buy more tools (especially metalworking tools!).

Short term: Fly with some gorilla tape and several square feet of heavy duty black plastic/'visqueen'. Tape the sharp edges of the hole to protect the visqueen. Then tape two squares of visqueen over the hole, with the top layer being oversized so that both layers are adhered to the roof. I'll need a ladder to do this work, but I believe the seller has one and will allow me to borrow it before I hit the road.

I think that using a rigid piece of material (i.e. thin aluminum, acrylic, even plywood) would probably be more secure, but I worry about the potential consequence of something so "massive" coming loose at 55 mph. While I certainly hope the plastic sheeting stays in place, if it did blow off, the results would be much less catastrophic. I plan to stop and inspect the patch, frequently at the beginning of the trip.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:34 AM   #2
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We used a piece of plywood wrapped in plastic and cushioned on the roof top and held in place with wood pieces larger than the hole on the inside and fastened to the roof top piece with screws for our trip home to cover a lost vent cover. It worked well for us. We weren't particularly worried about scarring things at that point as the trailer needed extensive work anyway. We also used gorilla tape to hold exterior hatches closed, and the door of the trailer closed. We came through extensive rain, and it was cold (early April) without issues.
You can take gorilla tape residue off with carb cleaner or goo gone.
Good luck! And congrats on your find.

Kay
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:35 AM   #3
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I assume you bought this one:

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...port-22-texas/


PS. You really, really wanted an under 9 ft. trailer. Could have been accomplished by removing the ac on an undamaged one, but I understand you were looking for a price point. Still, anticipate a lot of unseen work to go along with what you can see.


Good luck.
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Old 08-28-2019, 08:59 AM   #4
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Hi

Replacing those damaged aluminum pieces isn't going to be cheap...(and that's only the start ....).

Bob
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:02 AM   #5
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The good news is a roof A/C is designed to fit a standard 14" x 14" roof vent. So you can plug the hole with a vent.
Then fixing the rip is the big issue. Get it as smooth as possible then lots of Eternabond tape and or VHB tape. Maybe a patch with an aluminum sheet and pop rivets.
Nobody looks at the roof. Leaks are the issue.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:22 AM   #6
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Hello and welcome.
If you are handy and can do the work your self. Provided the end caps are not damaged to badly. This won't be too costly or too hard. Aircraft Spruce will be your friend. They have aluminum sheet, rivets, tools, etc. 4x8 sheet of .040 is about 200.00.

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/menus/me/aluminum.html

Best of luck with your project. Keep us updated.

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Old 08-28-2019, 09:28 AM   #7
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Bend , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minno View Post
We used a piece of plywood wrapped in plastic and cushioned on the roof top and held in place with wood pieces larger than the hole on the inside and fastened to the roof top piece with screws for our trip home to cover a lost vent cover. It worked well for us. We weren't particularly worried about scarring things at that point as the trailer needed extensive work anyway. We also used gorilla tape to hold exterior hatches closed, and the door of the trailer closed. We came through extensive rain, and it was cold (early April) without issues.
You can take gorilla tape residue off with carb cleaner or goo gone.
Good luck! And congrats on your find.

Kay
Neat idea. So you sort of "sandwiched" the hole, if I'm understanding you correctly? A piece of plywood above the roof, a piece of plywood from below the interior skin, and a few screws to hold them together? (with some plastic and/or foam-tape etc. to help cushion things and avoid scratching)? I like the strength of that.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
I assume you bought this one:

http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...port-22-texas/


PS. You really, really wanted an under 9 ft. trailer. Could have been accomplished by removing the ac on an undamaged one, but I understand you were looking for a price point. Still, anticipate a lot of unseen work to go along with what you can see.


Good luck.
Yep -- thats the one! Sure, some work and I'm sure a couple/few $k in expenses, but we couldn't have even approached a non-damaged unit. We were having to look at vintage models to get into this price range, and those come with their own issues. At least with this one, we mostly know what we're getting into, and the damaged areas aren't visible so whatever repair we do, just has to "work" rather than look good.
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
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I'd go to a big box store and buy a piece of thin aluminum, sheetmetal screws and some sealer to cover the hole until you get home to repair fully and correctly. Good luck
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:51 AM   #10
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got good insurance?
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:05 AM   #11
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At what point is something like this: http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...ambi-19-maine/ not a better deal? Obviously this one is a long ways from Oregon, but there are lots of AS out there like this.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:05 AM   #12
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Go with fantastic fan. In my opinion one of the best things to have in a trailer. Allows you to stay comfy without AC. Damage doesn't look too bad. Don't cut corners as leaks are no fun. Good luck.
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:06 AM   #13
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Patching hole

I agree with the piece of plywood. A big box store would probably cut it to size for you, use something like 2 x 4's on the underside just long enough to cover the opening size, with bolts through all with washers and nuts on the bottom side. Tape over the edges with gorilla tape and you will be home free!
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
At what point is something like this: http://www.airstreamclassifieds.com/...ambi-19-maine/ not a better deal? Obviously this one is a long ways from Oregon, but there are lots of AS out there like this.
MMmm, gotta say I like my current deal better. 20 years newer, 3 feet larger, and already has the A/C removed

I hear what you're saying. The deal I'm going for has a lower resale value because of the damage, but in my opinion the discount is large enough to justify it.

And at this point, they money is already paid so....I'm committed!
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slofoks View Post
I agree with the piece of plywood. A big box store would probably cut it to size for you, use something like 2 x 4's on the underside just long enough to cover the opening size, with bolts through all with washers and nuts on the bottom side. Tape over the edges with gorilla tape and you will be home free!
Very good refinement of the idea. I'll try to find some material (even just some old towels) to pad the interior of the ceiling so that it doesn't get marred by the 2 x 4's.

I always forget that big box stores will cut wood for free! Good call. I'll not bring my woodsaw!
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:32 AM   #16
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I would suggest trimming back the worst of the damaged area for the A/C before trying to cover. A pair of right and left aviation snips will easily fit in your luggage (probably not a good idea for carry on) and will be handy for the repair process later on.

https://www.acehardware.com/departme...ls/snips/22221

I'd also consider some duct/gorilla tape on any riveted seams that are damaged. Water damage to the interior just adds to your repair costs.

You have a long trip ahead of you and the smoother that patch is, the less chance of issues on the road. Good luck, let us know how it goes.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:02 PM   #17
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Fix

My advice would be to bite the bullet and fix it right and replace the A/C unit. If you don’t, you will forever own an Airstream that is only worth a fraction of what it should be worth. Plus you will have to explain to a potential buyer what happened to the trailer before you bought it, and then why you chose to not replace the A/C. We don’t use our A/C much, but when we do, we really needed it.

If you fix the roof and replace the A/C you will have a trailer that no longer looks like it had a bad shave.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doughpat View Post
Yep -- thats the one! Sure, some work and I'm sure a couple/few $k in expenses, but we couldn't have even approached a non-damaged unit. We were having to look at vintage models to get into this price range, and those come with their own issues. At least with this one, we mostly know what we're getting into, and the damaged areas aren't visible so whatever repair we do, just has to "work" rather than look good.
Hey there,

I live in Austin and if you’re coming in the next week and a half or so I’d be happy to lend a hand. I’ve had to deal with this issue before on a friends trailer and have all the tools that you’d need.

PM me if you’d like to talk about it.

Ian
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:56 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetfeet View Post
My advice would be to bite the bullet and fix it right and replace the A/C unit. If you don’t, you will forever own an Airstream that is only worth a fraction of what it should be worth. Plus you will have to explain to a potential buyer what happened to the trailer before you bought it, and then why you chose to not replace the A/C. We don’t use our A/C much, but when we do, we really needed it.

If you fix the roof and replace the A/C you will have a trailer that no longer looks like it had a bad shave.
Agree with the "fix it right' part, but the OP needs an under 9 ft. height. And in this case he can have his cake and eat it too. If he leaves wiring intact, the 14" x14" opening (as has already been pointed out) will work for either fan or ac should the next owner want an ac back in it's place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iansk View Post
Hey there,

I live in Austin and if you’re coming in the next week and a half or so I’d be happy to lend a hand. I’ve had to deal with this issue before on a friends trailer and have all the tools that you’d need.

PM me if you’d like to talk about it.

Ian

That's why I love this forum. Folks willing to help others.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:57 PM   #20
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Repairing the hole will be the easy part. Looks like you have some endcap panels to replace. They aren't all that tough, but they are tedious. Sounds like you're up for it, so I'm betting on you. Much will depend on how nice you want it to be when finished. It's hard to tell from the interior photos exactly how much damage there in on the ceiling. Maybe it can be straightened to your satisfaction and then replace the exterior panels as needed. The teardrop marker light that is pulled up, is a leak waiting to happen, so keep an eye on it while you're traveling. Good luck with it. You will enjoy it. PM me if you like. I've done several similar repairs.
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