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Old 07-03-2014, 10:25 PM   #1
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1964 17' Bambi II
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Schererville , Indiana
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Build your own rock guard...you can do it!

My daughter & I both have Avions. I have an Airstream as well, so I know this is useful for all of us with this problem. Our rock guards were brittle, ugly big black things. I had a nice aluminum 3-piece rock guard on my former Airstream, so I knew what I was missing! I also know they cost about $1250, and don't fit an Avion anyhow. After reading several types of DYI rock guard instructions, I decided to document my creation of 2 identical rock guards for my daughter & myself. The tools I used were:
Band saw
Electric Miter Box
Drill
Rivet Gun
Buck Rivet Gun
Clecos
Cleco pliers

Supplies:
Many Rivets
Angle Aluminum 1" x 1/16"
Sheet Aluminum or Diamond Plate 1/16"
4 stainless steel angle brackets
42.5" x 30.37" Lexan (I used clear...you can get smoke if preferred)
2 pieces 19" x 30.37" Lexan



These are the instructions for a 1982 & 1984 Avion...an Airstream would be very similar, but the dimensions would vary a bit. Please be sure to measure all of your dimensions yourself & don't depend only on mine!

The first thing I did was make the center rectangular piece. The dimensions were 42 1/2" x 30 1/2"....so make a frame of the angle aluminum with mitered edges to that size. Use the SS angle brackets for the corners & secure them with rivets. I used all buck rivets, but you can probably get away with pop rivets. I used the bracket that came off of my old rock guard for the hinge. I also used the arms off the old rock guard. You can find them at Vintage Trailer Supply if you don't have them. Install the Lexan into the frame. Use aluminum washers on the Lexan side to keep the rivets secure. I used clecos when I drilled everything. They are found at Vintage Trailer Supply & are VERY necessary for this project. They hold everything together & square while you're working on drilling your rivet holes. GET THEM & A PLIERS Vintage Trailer Supply - parts and supplies for vintage travel trailers and campers!

Now comes the fun part. The wing windows.... They are composed of four pieces of angle aluminum. The straight side is 30 1/2" long. The two pieces that will become the rounded corners of the window cover are 31 1/2" each. The piece that joins the two 31 1/2" pieces is about 6" long. There are also two pieces of flat aluminum that is about 1/16" thick (rather stout if that seems too flimsy) to hold the curve of your aluminum. I used my old rock guard as a guide to the curve. If you don't have a rock guard, you'll have to use your trailer to mold your curve to it. You must cut relief cuts in your 31 1/2" pieces on both sides in order for it to make the curves. I clamped the straight piece to my center window guard to keep everything square. I used clecos after I drilled the holes to hold the curves. Then I cut a piece of diamond plate in the shape of the curve of the outside of the window. This I clecoed to the outside curve of the curved piece to hold the outside curve. I'm going to post a bunch of pictures to let you absorb what I'm trying to get across:
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1964 Bambi II
1988 Avion 32S
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:36 PM   #2
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1964 17' Bambi II
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Now fit your Lexan into the curved pieces. Trim them with your band saw, Pull your clecos out one at at time when you do this & drill the hole, put the cleco back in, etc. Use an aluminum washer on the back as you did with the large center rock guard. When you are all buttoned up with your rivets, you will have to make the choice if you want your rock guard to be in three pieces, or one large piece. I opted for one large piece, since my hinges I ordered were too small. I can always change it later. I riveted all three pieces together & have one large rock guard. I put some weather stripping inside so it won't bang or scratch the aluminum. I'm going to put two rubber latches like this :Amazon.com: RV Designer E205 Rubber Hood Latch: Automotive to hold down the rock guard during transit. Is it perfect....? No. But it cost me about $200 and some time. And it looks a lot better than the big ugly black one! Lots and lots of drilling & riveting. Some planning & screwed up pieces that I cut wrong. But it'll keep my windows from breaking! I'll add the rest of the pictures I have. Hope someone else can benefit from this!
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:36 AM   #3
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Nice Job Becky. I have some projects maybe you can do for me? You have taken the time to do something you can be proud of.

Dave
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:05 AM   #4
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Do you want to use clear Lexan? The darker stuff would also double as an awning. Good job on the rock guard. This is something I have not had time to deal with. I have also thought of making a lower quarter panel protector. You might try that next.

Perry
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:13 AM   #5
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Becky, you are so cool! Thanks for sharing.

I have a rock guard already but the lexan or whatever is warped from the heat/sun. Is it difficult to obtain and replace that material and install it into the current frame?
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:24 AM   #6
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1964 17' Bambi II
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Schererville , Indiana
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Posts: 2,617
Images: 19
Build your own rock guard...you can do it!

I intentionally used clear Lexan because my windows are already tinted. One can use whatever color Lexan he/she chooses. They do make smoke color, but it is more expensive and needs to be special ordered. I got my Lexan at a local glass shop. Not sure how difficult it would be to install in a current frame.


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Old 07-04-2014, 10:27 AM   #7
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1964 17' Bambi II
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Don't need a lower rock guard, Perry. I'll leave that up to you!


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Old 07-04-2014, 02:03 PM   #8
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Very nice work and great job of documentation. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Old 07-04-2014, 02:52 PM   #9
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How easy was it to flex the Lexan? I too wonder how to do it in my existing frames with the larger curve. I have several star cracks from the guards doing their job....it's a matter of time before I need to replace the Lexan.
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Old 07-04-2014, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
How easy was it to flex the Lexan? I too wonder how to do it in my existing frames with the larger curve. I have several star cracks from the guards doing their job....it's a matter of time before I need to replace the Lexan.
It wasn't hard to flex at all. I used 1/8" thick Lexan. I talked with the man I ordered it from & thought I'd use plexiglass. He advised me that plexiglass would crack when drilled & also if hit with a rock. When I picked up the Lexan, he demonstrated to me, with a hammer, how the plexiglass shatters and the Lexan can take a huge beating & not crack (he WAILED ON IT). After drilling the Lexan a bagillion times, I'm glad I didn't make the mistake of getting plexiglass!
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Old 07-04-2014, 05:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckybillrae View Post
It wasn't hard to flex at all. I used 1/8" thick Lexan. I talked with the man I ordered it from & thought I'd use plexiglass. He advised me that plexiglass would crack when drilled & also if hit with a rock. When I picked up the Lexan, he demonstrated to me, with a hammer, how the plexiglass shatters and the Lexan can take a huge beating & not crack (he WAILED ON IT). After drilling the Lexan a bagillion times, I'm glad I didn't make the mistake of getting plexiglass!
Do you think it would flex enough to slide into the frames on a late model rock guard?
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Old 07-04-2014, 05:46 PM   #12
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So the Original equipment must be plexi...as it star cracks pretty darned easy.
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Old 07-04-2014, 06:41 PM   #13
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I think it's plexiglass in the original ones. They're not drilled anywhere. I think Lexan could slide in just fine


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Old 07-04-2014, 07:06 PM   #14
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Thanks, great thread!
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