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Old 08-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #1
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Aluminum Segment Protectors?

The front of my Safari is somewhat beat up from 35 years of rocks and I'm thinking about building segment protectors. I'm planning to polish the trailer and am considering building segment protectors out of aluminum so I can polish them to match the rest of the body.

I understand these would take a beating towing and would basically be disposable units (I might even keep a set in stock for quick replacements) but I expect the cost or replacing aluminum periodically would be much less than buying stainless segment protectors that would also get dented and need to be replaced.

Has anyone done this, and what grade/thickness of aluminum would you recommend?

Thanks
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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Or, you could build segment protectors and get some Rock Tamers. They reduced my denting by at least 95%. I have taken off my SS protectors and gently rolled the dents out one time. Up close you can see the dimpled, displaced metal, but I was really surprised how well they rolled out.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:19 AM   #3
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My truck already has mudflaps to help limit the rocks thrown at the trailer. I also realized while looking at the trailer last night that since I have the front battery door, the segment protectors from Airstream would have to be modified to avoid blocking my battery door, so I might as well build my own.

I think I'll take a trip to Aircraft Spruce and build some segment protectors before I start my polishing. I already have all the metal working tools, just need to decide what type and thickness of aluminum to work with.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #4
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Did you get your protectors built? I am thinking of doing the same thing, also thinking about thickness and alloy.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:15 PM   #5
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Has anyone ever tried to make a mold and lay up some fiberglass segment protectors? I've worked on small patching projects with glass but never anything that large, but glass is light, paintable and easy to patch. Any thoughts?
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #6
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Great idea, my neighbor does carbon fiber, maybe I can talk him into it. Big $$$ at least for carbon fiber, I believe. I have some left over aluminum sheet and thinking of finding a way to attach some to the front corners. Thinking about some double sticky foam tape used on some large truck trailer panels with 4 or so screws on the corners. Or perhaps some rubber standoffs behind with longer screws? I recently traveled quite a few miles on Montana gravel roads and have some rash on the front corners. I am also looking into mud/gravel guards for the truck. New to airstreams so still learning.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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The use of a thermoplastic that would elastically deform to absorb the energy of the rock and then return to the original shape might be more durable and not require replacement. To keep the look of the trailer, it should be aluminum pigmented. Making the segments using vac forming or drape forming would minimize the cost of the mold. Due to the lower modulus, they would spaced out a little further from the trailer.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:10 PM   #8
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Because the stainless steel segment protectors dent up too, I was wondering about getting some used segment protectors and having them painted with the rhinoliner material that is used in pick-up beds. It seems very tough and probably would do the job. I notice that older classic jeeps use it on the back of the jeep to protect the finish from road dings. The rhinoliner material comes in several colors. I saw a few years ago a 23' AS trailer that looked like it probably had a light gray rhinoliner material painted right on the trailer aluminum itself, about the size of segment protectors, and it looked great. I haven't looked into this but it would make more sense I believe than investing in segment protectors just to have them dented. My trailer is a 1988 and didn't come with segment protectors as original equipment, so I must do something soon. Am worried the rhinoliner material may not adhere properly to aluminum and that it may adversely affect sales value.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:11 PM   #9
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I have used a material called Kydex for the interior of an airplane, it comes in many colors including grey. It also comes in many thicknesses, I am thinking about trying some after I make patterns out of card stock. It can be bent in a brake similar to aluminum either cold or also thermo formed. It can be deformed and bounces back. Still trying to decide how to attach it, any good ideas? Probably will not hinge it, just screw it on with offsets. Maybe drill out a few rivets and install rivnuts so it can be removed easily. Rivits could be replaced so as to hopefully not reduce the re sale value.
By the way I also need a window rock guard, but that is another thread.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:11 PM   #10
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I'm still planning something, probably out of aluminum. I will likely be one of my winter projects.

Right now I'm thinking I'd build a frame out of 1/2 or 3/4 aluminum chanel or angle with an aluminum panel attached with button heard machine screws so the panel could be easily replaced when dented. Since I'm polishing I want to stick with aluminum and stay away from fiberglass or lexan/plexi glass but those would both be workable ideas.
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Old 05-26-2016, 05:23 PM   #11
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home made segment protectors

I've thought of about bending and welding a 1/2" conduit frame for each side and putting a skin of white FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic) over it for segment protectors for my argosy. FRP is available at Lowe's and Home Depot in thin and heavy 4x8 sheets. Paint the frame, rivet on the FRP and use aluminum angles to mount it. Light weight and pretty tough material.

Of course this is way down the list of projects for the Argosy.
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