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Geff 03-18-2003 08:36 PM

Bad crunch.....fixable?
Well, I thought I had found the perfect trlr, but it has two areas need repairing. The worst is on the back of trailer, driver's side, bad crunch around eye level. Buckled the outer skin badly, and also long crack in skin. Around 2-3 feet diameter, all of damage--can this be replaced (1986 25' Sovereign)? I don't see any way of fixing it, that doesn't leave it looking horrible.

Other problem, which I have read other posts about, was due to flat tire, ripping off the the bottom skirt a foot or two--this doesn't look quite so hard to fix.

I would be willing to put some money into this trailer, and I have first option to buy it, at this point, if this could be fixed, or if there were anybody who repaired Airstream exteriors, in Dallas TX area.

Other than these to problems, is perfect trailer, just what I'm looking for, and price is right....

I have gotten much help already from the information on here, and from people who have helped me, and hope soon to be among the ranks of people who actually *own* an Airstream, rather than just look longingly...just don't want to bite off more than I can chew...



thenewkid64 03-18-2003 08:49 PM


Depending on how good of a deal you are getting, the repair could cost as much or more than you will pay for the unit. I would take a couple of Pictures and for reference see if you can get a rough estimate on the repairs.

If you are so inclined you can do it yourself. We have a member that re-skinned the whole roadside of his motorhome. But you should factor all of the costs before taking the leap.

The other option is if it does not leak at the crunch spot, just use it and see if you want to spend the $$ fixing it up as you go.

Good luck on your quest!

j54mark 03-18-2003 08:58 PM

By coincidence, I just came in from working on a crease in the lower rear corner of my '85 26' Sovereign. After several hours work just to get at the inside of the panel, and about an hour's steady work slloooooowwly working around the edges of the crease (head of a rubber mallet against the skin, pushing steadily, but not strongly with the handle - hundreds and hundreds of times) I now have - a somewhat smaller, shallower crease. I think another hour's work and I can get it reduced some more, but it will never pass the 10 foot test.

Anything much larger than 3" or so across seems to be problematic if you are looking to push it out. And "cracks" (I assume you mean an actual tear) can only be patched or replaced.

Can it be replaced? Yes. I also have a dent in the corner panel immediately next to the rear window that is, not coincidentally, about the size and shape of a 15 pound pumpkin. The dealer's estimate was right at $1500.

The lower panel can be replaced also, but I don't know any cost figures.

Figure all this into the purchase price, and go for it. The 25' size is hard to come by, and a very nice unit.


thenewkid64 03-18-2003 09:05 PM


You you have to tell how the 15 pound pumpkin sized dent got there...............................:D :D :D :D

I agree on the repairability of the dent, but the one thing I did not ask is if the dent is in a flat side wall or on a curved segment? Flat is cheaper than curved to fix.

Geff 03-18-2003 09:12 PM

I tried uploading a picture of the dent--it's on the curve, driver's side back of trailer, up high--but the file was too big, and I don't know how to make it smaller, other than to "zip" it. But anyway, from what you all have told me, it's either just put duct tape on it for a while, or replace it.... This is about a basketball size dent, that also produced about 10 inch crack...on the other hand, is 25 foot w/ rear double bed, 1986, for around 5,000....which seems pretty good. It would be good deal--it seems--even if I had to buy dealer replacement. Well, I'm going back to picture uploading school...unless someone has good advice on how to make file smaller....

Thanks again for the help


InsideOut 03-18-2003 09:36 PM


Well, I'm going back to picture uploading school...unless someone has good advice on how to make file smaller....
Open the photo in any photo editting program (Photo Shop, Paint Shop, etc) and reduce the size, then try uploading it.

Here's a previous thread explaining in more detail...

Shari :)

j54mark 03-18-2003 09:38 PM

The pumpkin size dent was from a pumpkin which was lifted off a neighbor's porch and thrown into my trailer back in the fall. I am taking it tomorrow to get the panel replaced.

Rear full-size bed 25' Airstreams are hard to come by. Assuming I am right and it can be repaired for $1500 or so, it might be worth buying. I had to drive 1500 miles (each way) to get mine, which was not a trivial expense.


Silvertwinkie 03-18-2003 10:33 PM

To me, if it is that bad, it will need to be replaced. I take this simply from autobody exp.

Usually, if there are tears or the dent is big enough, the can fill it and the paint covers it.

In our case, it's virtually bare metal exposed. You might be able to lessen as some have indicated here, but for a real fix, for a perfect look, you will need to have the sheet metal and any structural damage fixed. For all you know a vertical truss might also be damaged.



Chas 03-18-2003 10:41 PM

Someone here on the forum, I think it was Overlander64, was able to overlay a damaged area with a new piece of skin. If it is in an area with any type of curves like yours it would be tricky but I would say it is worth a try. If it is done correctly with clean lines and the proper riveting and sealing I think it would look fine. The proper way would be to go back to the original fastening joints and do the whole piece but a lot more work, and $$!


Geff 03-18-2003 11:17 PM

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I'm going to try and send pic of "crunch".

74Argosy24MH 03-18-2003 11:34 PM

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That is very fixable. I did basically the same thing, replaced the 3 back windows in my mh.
It really isn't that bad of a job, and you have the old panel for a template.


53flyingcloud 03-19-2003 02:52 AM

Just for references
Just to give you an example of cost.
Last summer, I had the top rear center keystone panel replaced at the A/S factory in Ohio. (I had a local RV Tech step on it!~!)
This included all new lights, etc.
Total cost was 1200$
A/S is 29' 1984 Sovereign.
BTW, A member of our local WBCCI here in NE purchased a unit exactlly as the one you're looking at, for 6000$ in perfect condition and, totally checked to be 100% working order.
(Just thought you'd like to know)
Their unit was originally from TX.

PeterH-Airstreamer 03-19-2003 07:31 AM

lucky crunch
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looks like you just missed the vertical rib and you will be able to keep your blue decals.
Appr. Material cost $600.-
The rear window and the upper aluminum trim needs to be pulled.

Silvertwinkie 03-19-2003 10:07 AM

Unless you have the skill set, from looking at all the photos, I'd be careful here. Cloud has the approx repair cost if you had it done. If you don't feel up to the task, I'd have it done. That is one mean looking tear/dent. I agree that you seem to have missed the main rib truss.

In John's case he has the option of painting his rig since it is an Argosy. Yours is a bare metal A/S (not totally bare). Any blemishes that John had, could be patched and painted to hide. You might not have the same luxury.

At any rate, if you even think it's beyond, take it to be fixed! :)


Chas 03-19-2003 10:34 AM

Let's keep this straight, Airstreams are aluminum skinned, not metal. People who have done it say it can be done so I would give them a good listen. Just my two cents.;)


Inland RV Center, In 03-19-2003 11:33 AM

Replacing that segment would cost less than $1000.00. Since it is a compound curve, laying a flat section of metal over it would probably look just as bad, as it would look like a patch.

I would also check to make sure wires were not cut, and, that there is no damage on the interior.


74Argosy24MH 03-19-2003 11:40 AM

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As far as painted or polished, a few thousands of an inch of paint does little to hide bad surface prep.


ALANSD 03-19-2003 01:22 PM

that's the best lookin' Argosy you'll ever see:)

Geff 03-19-2003 02:47 PM


Originally posted by Inland RV Center, In

Replacing that segment would cost less than $1000.00. Since it is a compound curve, laying a flat section of metal over it would probably look just as bad, as it would look like a patch.


Thanks for this and all the other helpful replies--this is the conclusion I'm coming to, is that I will take it directly to N. Dallas R/V which is A/S service center to get it repaired, if everything else checks out o.k.

I have done my own work plenty myself, on old Harleys, and boats, but I'm absolutely unfamiliar with skills that would be needed to repair this, and fear I would botch up looks even worse.

I'm waiting to talk to Service manager, maybe get ballpark figure...I do know that if it's anything like H-D, I just need to take my highest possible guess, and then double it, and then still get my feelings hurt ;-)


Silvertwinkie 03-19-2003 02:51 PM

When I say metal, I mean it in the most general sense, kind of like air, I call it air instead of 02.

I think we all know they have aluminum skins and the last time I checked, aluminum was a metal as is gold, silver, etc, so let's not split hairs, I think you all know what I meant. :)

Second, an a few thousands of an inch of an inch of paint won't cover much, you're right, but, you can also "bondo" type material, sand down to a smooth finish, and then when you paint, it looks like glass like the rest of the Argosy body. They do it to cars all the time. My point is that with the Argosy finish you can get away with more than you can on an somewhat bare or exposed plastic coated *aluminum* panel without any paint, etc. Kind of like working on a DeLoren vs. a conventional body car.



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