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Old 07-27-2014, 05:18 PM   #1
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And away it went!

While returning from Sarasota, Florida this spring, I happened to crane my neck to look in the mirror to check for following traffic when I saw the road-side segment protector gyrating wildly. I managed to stop before losing it and took it home in the bed of the truck.

That segment was replaced a couple of years ago and there was only one screw still holding. The others were gone. The aluminum trim on the top of the protector was broken and the segment underneath was scarred. Other than the aluminum trim, the protector was intact.

The screw holes in the segment were wallowed out, so I redrilled and refastened the protector with four or five 3/16" aluminum pop rivets through the bracket and into the segment. It tore the bolt out of the upper channel and took the short lower channel with it. No other damage to the rest of the trailer.

Camper Clinic gave me a damaged protector with a good top portion and I used the aluminum trim from that one for a repair. Other than a few visible pop rivet heads, the repair looked fine and survived a couple of trips just fine.

On the way to St Louis a couple of weeks ago, at about 62 mph on the interstate, I heard a noise and my eye caught the protector sailing over the tall weeds on the side of the road. I was between trucks. I could not stop there and it would have been miles to circle back. I'm sure I could not have found it even then since it cleared the roadside fauna and went clear out of sight. So it is gone.

At an overnight, only about 75 miles earlier, I shook it and noticed no looseness, though I did not examine it further. The barrels of the rivets were still in the segment. It appeared that the rivets may have stretched enough that vibration caused the bracket of the protector to saw through the rivet heads, leaving the barrels in the trailer.

I haven't priced a replacement yet, but I expect they are not cheap.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:17 PM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
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I had the same issue on my '91 and it's protectors are much smaller that the later model trailers. The just isn't enough stuff holding it on. I made a 3" diameter aluminum disk to cover the ripped out holes, seated it in vulcum with rivets around the perimeter to attach it to the shell. Then the bracket got riveted to the circle. No more issues in several years of towing
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:45 PM   #3
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I think that the 3/16" pop rivets failed because I did not debur the drilled-out holes in the attachment flange of the segment protector. The sharp edges acted like knives to gradually shear the heads off the pop rivets a little bit every time I hit a bump.

I will attach the replacement with stainless machine screws into rivnuts after expanding the rivnuts into the enlarged holes in the trailer. I'll set the screws into loc-tite.

I dropped by the local Airstream dealer today and they had a new segment in stock that was ordered for another trailer and not used. They gave me a break on the cost and there was no shipping cost. They also had the replacement channels to attach the protector in stock. Some dramatically lower temperatures are expected from Thursday on through the weekend, so I'll mount the new parts then.

The new channels include a short channel in the middle top of the protector that was not present on my trailer. I don't know when they started to put that part on. That may have saved my part for me had it been present.
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