Thread Number: 14918
Hoover constellation dent, how to fix?
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Post# 158184   11/6/2011 at 01:35 (4,495 days old) by bnsd60m9200 (Akron OH)        

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anyone have experience with dented hoover constellations? i have a dent in the top of my newly aquired 86 and was wondering the best way to pound or push it back up without screwing up the paint?


Post# 158207 , Reply# 1   11/6/2011 at 08:44 (4,494 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        


Me too!

My 86 is flawless except for a dent in the lid. Its a shame! Ill never pop it out. I am afraid I will damage it!

Must have used slightly flimsy metal on these. I see many constellations with dents in the lids. Or maybe just carless owners. :P

Post# 158212 , Reply# 2   11/6/2011 at 09:05 (4,494 days old) by sfcoronet (San Francisco - Bay Area)        

I don't know if they work on vacuums, but I've seen these guys work miracles on cars....


Post# 158217 , Reply# 3   11/6/2011 at 09:56 (4,494 days old) by minivanmegafun ()        

Yeah, Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) might be an interesting option. See if you can track down a local, trusted, independent guy (ask your local used car dealer or check yelp) and see if he's up for a challenge.

Post# 158218 , Reply# 4   11/6/2011 at 10:00 (4,494 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

You can't really take out dents without doing something to the paintwork unless you're a professional dent specialist, and even then some need to repaint to get rid of scratches of scrapes from where it was struck to cause the dent...

Of course, you can just beat out the dent then send off the casing to a powder coating co. to be repainted, such as what "hotpoint95622" does with his constellations which most people would consider are "lost causes"... :)

Post# 158220 , Reply# 5   11/6/2011 at 10:15 (4,494 days old) by hotpoint95622 (Powys, UK)        
hotpoint 95622

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I left the dents in, shows how much work the old girls have done. And think if it was all plastic it would have gone in the skip a lot sooner.

Post# 158228 , Reply# 6   11/6/2011 at 11:26 (4,494 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I was referencing to you sending them off to be powder coated to give them a fresh new look, rather than popping out dents and whatnot... :)

Post# 158269 , Reply# 7   11/6/2011 at 19:12 (4,494 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
How I'd do it. And do. Often.

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Truthfully, popping and easing out a dent or dimple no worse than what is in Lee's picture can be managed quite successfully on the kitchen table/workbench. As long as there is no sharp crease the end result can be virtually undetectable...and even then some creases can be smoothed out. :-)
There's no secret or magic formula - just generous dollops of patience with appropriate tools and right thinking.

Easing a dimple out of a flat sheet of metal such as automobile bodywork is indeed an art because the soft steel is unimaginably thin - truly flimsywobbly until welded or bolted in place - and what caused the dimple usually stretches the thin metal out of level and it will never lie flat again - that's why a bodyman uses fillers and files.

But the Constellation, and most vintage vacuum bodies, are stamped from much heavier gauge steel. The metal tends to simply pop in a shallow concave, from a drop, bump or a flung wand, and doesn't stretch the edge. Sort of like pressing a finger into a balloon. The thick paints used have a measure of elasticity so if it ain't cracked it's unlikely to flake after the fix.
Constellations come apart easily.
I have had great success popping dents out of Electroluxs, Air-Ways, Lewyt Big Wheels (reference the before & after pix of my prize winning Lewyt 107 which was majorly de-dented prior to painting) and easiest of all, Constellation domes.
My method:
First, analyze the dent. How can you access it from the backside? Usually this involves isolating the piece from all interference, i.e. deconstruct the vacuum.
When you remove the handle, hose bezel and rim of a Connie you will know it is not a flimsy piece of stamped steel - Hoover used a superior heavy gauge on all their metal bodied vacuums.
Clean any schmutz off the surface - any grit will mar the paint when you bring the hammer down.
Lay a large folded (4 or 6 times) fluffy bath towel on a firm table. Select a solid round ball like a baseball or softball and a heavy mass hammer or rubber mallet.
Place the dented area directly on the towel. Prop it up in place if necessary to keep it from rolling off center - do not try to simply hold the piece upright because your hammer blow will be askew with your divided attention. Stacked telephone books are good for this as they can shift when the blow is struck thereby preventing new damage from immovable objects. Place another towel or facecloth folded twice over the dent and place your ball directly and squarely over the dent. Visualize the vector of the blow to pass in a straight line from the hammer & ball to the high point of the dent to the padded table top. You want the force to distribute itself evenly across the supported area. Double check your aim.
Take a breath, hold it and bring the hammer down ONCE on to the ball at a force only you have determined to be most likely to be 'just right'.

Now, inspect your dent - it should have popped out cleanly; bop it again if needed. Less is more and further bopping may push the weakened metal out around it's stressed edges. If you feel it needs more massaging try rolling the bare ball around the dent edges.
For a flatter surface vacuum I use the same towel-padded tabletop but will select a piece of hard or softwood block shaped and sanded to mimic the compound curve of the body shell's damaged area (with the edges rounded - so as not to introduce new dents). It will be obvious that you do not want any tool or edge to push the metal outward beyond the level surface you are correcting. That's just results in a convex dimple and a big sadness.

For a curved tubular surface with a dent, such as an Electrolux cylinder or square body Air-Way formed from flat sheet steel, I will select a heavy glass jar or thick diameter wood dowel and roll it back & forth across the dent until it disappears against a single towel layer.
Also handy if you can't access the area is a deep-throated 'C' clamp with large pads. Often the clamp can be seated deep enough inside to press the dent flat, particularly if it is a conical dimple from something like a nail or spike.
If a corner edge dent is so severe that it has crumpled around the edges, tapping repeatedly with a small ballpeen hammer usually flattens the crumples well. For a firmer surface I will use a piece of clean cardboard instead of the towel, rather than risk scratching the paint on the wood tabletop which by now has a fine layer of dust grit on it from all that banging and dis-assembly.
If the dent has a crease you can sometimes massage it flat by hand using oscillation pressure with the head of a steel hammer, which are usually slightly domed. Again, use your best judgment of how much force to apply and it may be you have to reduce the towel thickness. Heavy metal serving spoons are great tools, too. You don't want to make the dent even dentier in the wrong direction. :-)

Some dents and dimples just never come out completely...but you can certainly make them less noticeable. Always worth a try unless you can afford the expense of a professional Bodyman who will charge you accordingly...which might be a good option if the vintage vacuum is otherwise blemish-free, which as we know is unlikely.

Do-It-Yourself re-painting?
If your paint is already scratched and rusted to the point that you intend to re-paint you should still try to remove the big dents (which will lead you to remove the small dents) so the final result is as flawless as you can manage. Bondo fillers and a thick primer coat sanded smooth will go a long way toward eliminating minor and annoying scratches and blemishes - just ask Crevicetool.

Show us your Connie's dent/dimple, Will, for an estimation of success.


This post was last edited 11/06/2011 at 20:01

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