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Old 07-15-2006, 11:30 AM   #1
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Butyrate rock guard '71 Excella?

Hi, new to the forum as just picked up our 71' excella Tuesday. Is in great shape with a few minor repairs needed, one being the rock guard on the front window. Has the original butyrate one but is pretty cracked and faded. Has anyone seen where it can be replaced. have only seen th newer ones at inlandrv but thought maybe someone has come across a different source.
Heck do they even still make them??
Thanks
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:40 PM   #2
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Butyrate Rockguard

I didn't realize the early '70s guards were butyrate. The rock guard that Airstream released in 1967 for the simple rectangular windows were also butyrate. Butyrate is not used anymore. It was sort of a failure. Those clear covers got translucent and then opaque quickly.

We have a reproduction of the late 1960s butyrate stone guard, but we are making it from Lexan (GE polycarbonate). Much better material but the same design. It's a 24" x 44" rectangle so it won't work on trailers with front wing windows.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
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Replaced the plastic on my 71 with Lexan. Only problem is the original has a bend which enables it to stick out a bit to leave clearance for the brackets which hold the rock guard in the open position. But with the front window open it also holds the rock guard open ok. By the way the rock guard looks rectangular but it is slightly trapezoidal. I found out the hard way.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:18 PM   #4
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Never heard of butylrate rock guards.
Any chance a picture is possible?
Somewhere (misplaced) I have a pic of a rockguard on a 70s era Airstream that I snapped at a service dealer years ago.
It is like few I have ever seen before. The frame is somewhat "deep" and the actual material appeared to be a "corrugated" fiberglass. The color of the fiberglass was off white (maybe faded) and the corrugations were not round curved but more of a square up and down.
I think it angled to enclose the wing windows, but am not sure of that positively.

I liked it more than the "star wars" look that Inland sells today.
Any idea what I am talking about? Could this be the butylrate?
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:21 PM   #5
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Airstream never had a materials engineer or long term sun exposure test program. They therefore depended on the material vendors for their expertise and advice. Some of that advice unfortunately just favored the materials they made. Butyrate was an Eastman Kodak product and had excellent impact resistance, as long as it was not exposed to extended sunlight exposure. A number of other companies fell into the same trap.

Lexan ( GE/Sabic tradename for polycarbonate) has a very good reputation for impact resistance, (if you use the grade which has been properly stabilized for exposure to UV), and is one of the best materials for this kind or usage. Lexan does take special handling and higher temperatures to vacuum form it. Lexan is sensitive to some solvents and will crack if exposed to them. Use only dish washing type detergents to clean the Lexan stone guards. Motorcycle and football helmets are mostly made from Lexan and have the special cleaning instruction on the inside of them.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ishmael View Post
Hi, new to the forum as just picked up our 71' excella Tuesday. Is in great shape with a few minor repairs needed, one being the rock guard on the front window. Has the original butyrate one but is pretty cracked and faded. Has anyone seen where it can be replaced. have only seen th newer ones at inlandrv but thought maybe someone has come across a different source.
Heck do they even still make them??
Thanks
We carry the Airstream "rockguard".

Our part # 34943, on our web site, is what it looks like.

The original clear rockguards, failed mostly during the warranty period.

Tens of thousands of Airstreams are equipped with them.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:27 PM   #7
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My 1963 Overlander has a corregated Fiberglass guard for the flat front window. The original crest on the flat center section has bit the dust many years ago so I can not tell who originally made it. If you look in the photo gallery on this website or the VAC archive I am sure you will see some.
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Old 11-21-2008, 09:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
Replaced the plastic on my 71 with Lexan. Only problem is the original has a bend which enables it to stick out a bit to leave clearance for the brackets which hold the rock guard in the open position. But with the front window open it also holds the rock guard open ok. By the way the rock guard looks rectangular but it is slightly trapezoidal. I found out the hard way.
We were thinking of doing the same - a local racing products company said they could cut one to fit the frame from flat lexan. What did you have to do - remove the lift brackets..?

Thanks....
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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This might be what your talking about.
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:13 AM   #10
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dwightdi, Do you know of anyone fabricating their own Rock Guard of Lexan? Probably cheaper to buy Andy's, but getting his from west coast to east coast adds up. I put some Lexan on my center console boat's T-top as a water shield. It's thin and takes a beating during rough water and holds up fantastic.

Earl
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:38 AM   #11
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Hi Earl- I made one for my 71 safari----http://www.airforums.com/forums/f469/rock-guard-rebuild-71-safari-25910.html----jim
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganglin View Post
We were thinking of doing the same - a local racing products company said they could cut one to fit the frame from flat lexan. What did you have to do - remove the lift brackets..?

Thanks....
Yes, I just removed the brackets. I'm sure I can rig new brackets that will work, on my to do list. But, as I said earlier the front window will hold the rock guard open when needed. It looks just like the Firedog photo above. I used 1/16" Lexan. Easy to cut yourself with snips. I had to buy a whole 4x8 sheet for about $60. I used clear because that was in stock locally. Tinted is available but costs extra plus I would have had to have special order and pay for shipping which would more than double the price. One unanticipated problem I noticed is wind pressure caused the Lexan vibrate against the front window causing some scratching of the Lexan. I solved this in an easy but not purdy way by cutting off a 1 foot section from my grandkids swim noodle and placing it in between the center bottom of the rock guard and trailer. The pressure holds it in place. I replaced the rock guard latches with the 3 part door latchs Inland RV sells.
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azfiredog300 View Post
This might be what your talking about.
Jerry, not exactly, but similar as far as I can tell from your photo.

Yours appears to almost be a hybrid or a re-do. If I see correct yours has the wavy fiberglass. And it appears to have opaque (whitish) over the wings and clear in the center. I have never seen that before, but it makes alot of sense for towing see-thru.
I cannot remember if the one I recall had the fiberglass running vertical like yours or horizontal. In fact if I ever find the picture it may turn out the thing was one of those vacuum formed one-piece shells, but I seem to think fiberglass.
Are there any tags or nameplates etc still on your rockguard frame?
Are you completely satisfied and happy with yours? Any thing negative about it?

The rockguard sold by Vintage and mentioned in post above may be the closest to what I am remembering (although the one I saw was opaque)
but I hope not, because I want it to curve to cover the wing windows of course.
Vintage Trailer Rock Guard

I have put the word out to find that picture around here and if I do I will post it to this thread some day.
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azfiredog300 View Post
This might be what your talking about.
Yes, this is exactly what we have on our trailer - with the exception that ours has a couple of decent cracks. Not sure if I called it the right thing in saying it was Butyrate, but was going off of original manuals or something I read. Feel free to correct me if it's wrong. Anyone know of a way to find a replacement the has the curved same shape and look?? Thanks
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