I was asked in an earlier post to explain how I fabricated a rockguard for the tradewind. I wrote the description with included photos, but they are now at this URL:
This is the first time that I have uploaded photos (took two weeks) or referenced a URL. Hope it all works. Let me know if you have a better way to do something like this.
New Rock Guard for the 67 Tradewind
We found the fiberglass in the original rock guard in too bad of shape to restore, the frame was damaged, the slide bars didnít work, and the hold-down clamps were rusted out. Starting over seemed easier than restoration and the results can be seen in the first two pictures. The piano hinge and the slide bar assembly are original parts, all else is newly designed and fabricated.
Lexan in a medium smoked tint was used in place of the original fiberglass. The new frame is made of aluminum picture frame material, and assembled is if it were a framed picture. A framing shop can cut top, bottom, and sides to custom lengths. The challenge was mounting the frame to the hinge and slide bar, and then building new hold-down brackets.
Spring clips hold a picture in this type of frame, and the same clips were used to hold the lexan into this frame. I used more than a picture frame would, and they can be seen below. The frames strength in the corners was reinforced with Ĺ by 3 inch corner brackets from a local hardware. They replace the smaller standard pieces used for pictures.
The brown material in pictures below is MDF that I transferred mounting dimensions onto, and assembled the new rock guard on. This assured that everything worked together before riveting it to the Airstream. Fit was an issue with the slide bars.
First the bars wouldnít hold in an open position. This was fixed by removing the original wing screws, and taping new threads in the part holding the screw. New wing screws were made by putting a wing nut onto a round head screw backwards and gluing it in place. The end of the screw threads were center punched after being threaded into the holder. That assures that they donít vibrate out while on the road.
The bar end that mounts to the frame had to be ground and filed down so that it didnít press against the lexan when the rock guard was opened. Originally the bar mounted to the fiberglass, but now it is screwed to the frame. There is a plastic bushing that holds it the correct distance from the frame sides. This bushing had to be flattened on two opposite sides to clear the frame extrusion shape.
The brackets that mount the bars to the Airstream also caused an interference fix, and had to be modified. They were cut off below the original bar mounting hole, and a new hole was drilled and taped for a 10-32 screw. Even though a round head screw is in the picture, a counter sunk flat head was finally used. The screw had to be cut to the exact length; otherwise, the window would hit it when opening. Now the window will only open to the point where it hits the wing screws on the slide bars. I believe the original was this way also.
The last task was to build a new way to hold the rock guard closed. A great deal of searching through the hardware store bens produced the twist latches in the last picture. An angle bracket was formed out of aluminum angle, notched, and then riveted to the frame -- with Olympic rivets of course.
We have not taken this new addition to the Tradewind out for a drive yet, and probably wonít until next season. My only concern is the spring clips that hold the lexan into the frame. They could vibrate loose, but I doubt that will happen. If it does, I will fix it. After all, fixing is why we have vintage Airstreams isnít it?
Jim Cooper, 25 September, 2003