big dent, replace or repair?
Just bought a 1977 Airstream and want to fix a few exterior dents. Is it possible to just remove the panels and push/pound out the dents and have it look good? Or is it better to replace the panel entirely? I can post a picture that shows how big the dents are if that makes a difference.
Welcome to the forums.
Dents come in different shapes and sizes, a picture would help.
It very much depends on where the dents are, and whether or not there is stretched aluminum caused by a crease in the aluminum.
If your kid hit it with a basketball, almost certainly can be pulled out with a suction cup. Harbor Frieght carries many. You want one designed for carrying plate glass or pulling dished in auto panels. Inside panels don't necessarily have to come off. However, Overlander63 repaired one from the inside using a soft basketball rolled around on the inside of the panel.
If you hit a branch or sign and there's a big crease, it can be lessened but the crease will remain. This may need to be worked on from the inside with a roller. Use the "SEARCH" function - there have been many before and after pictures taken by people who have repaired boo-boo's.
Once there's a hole, you're stuck with replacing the panel or living with a patch. A few people have removed the old style antennas from the 50's and 60's and made neat patches. I've seen one thread where the awning arms tore loose at the bottoms, and a very nice reinforcing - almost decorative - patch was made that looked like it always should have been there.
You can also call someone like "Dent Wizard" or find someone who repairs aircraft skins for a professional job. It's cheaper than $1200 per curved segment that the factory charges for curved segments on the new ones!
Most repairs are not perfect, but many can be seen only by those who know where to look.
Some prefer the "pre-dented for carefree towing" look. I got a small crease on the roadside of mine from a speeding idiot coming in the opposite direction on a curving mountain road - on my FIRST TRIP in a brand NEW unit. I covered it with an American flag decal. I might replace that with a small vinyl lettered sign that says "Foiled Again".
77 Land Yacht Dents
I looked into getting rid of my dents, but after my first weekend camping, all my friends suggested that it has a beautiful sort of lived in look, and now I dont even notice them.
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