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Old 07-26-2009, 04:28 PM   #1
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Lower rock guard repair? Is it possible?

Hi Folks..

After my last trip to AZ. I noticed that the lower rock guard on the street side has come loose from the rivets at the bottom. This is allowing the entire guard to touch the body of the trailer and make a small rub mark. I like to try to fix things before I buy them new but upon closer inspection Im not sure I know how to go about this? It seems the hinge is riveted onto the trim and pressed in place. I looked around in other threads and couldnt find this one (maybe someone knows where) and now im wondering if a repair is possible? What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

Vinnie
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Old 07-26-2009, 05:12 PM   #2
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Dont mean to bump the thread but maybe a couple more pic's to better understand the repair..
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by vlamica View Post
Dont mean to bump the thread but maybe a couple more pic's to better understand the repair..
If I understand the question, just rivet things back together.

The next question is why did it happen?

There are a number of causes, as we see it in our shop on occassion.

Excessive rated tow vehicles, and/or excessive rated hitch bars, seem to be the cureable cause.

Rough roads, as well, can also contribute to the cause.

Unbalanced running gear does not seem to be a major player with the rivets failing on the segment protectors.

Andy
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:20 PM   #4
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Vinnie,

I found the exact same thing on my trailer, and re-riveted them. However, don't do like I did, and use aluminum rivets, because they are not strong enough...they should be stainless steel rivets.

I actually had one come off after using the aluminum rivets, so they are not strong enough.
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Old 07-26-2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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What is Excessive Rated

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
If I understand the question, just rivet things back together.

The next question is why did it happen?

There are a number of causes, as we see it in our shop on occassion.

Excessive rated tow vehicles, and/or excessive rated hitch bars, seem to be the cureable cause.

Rough roads, as well, can also contribute to the cause.

Unbalanced running gear does not seem to be a major player with the rivets failing on the segment protectors.

Andy
I've seen a couple of mentions about excessive rated tow vehicle. What's an example and what kind of damage might they do? Is the problem just a rough ride? Or, something else. Is a 3/4 ton just right? But a 1 ton might be too much?
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:06 PM   #6
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I've seen a couple of mentions about excessive rated tow vehicle. What's an example and what kind of damage might they do? Is the problem just a rough ride? Or, something else. Is a 3/4 ton just right? But a 1 ton might be too much?
Typically, a 3/4 ton vehicle is excessive, because of the rear springs. Anything heavier than that, is even worse.

Remember, 30 and 40 years ago, the largest Airstream trailers, were towed with larger cars.

Now we use, for most part, trucks or heavy duty vehicles, which in themselves create a harsh ride for the trailer. Couple that with excessive rated bars, accelerates the damages to the trailer.

Metal fatigue, both with the shell and with the chassis, is a common example of over rigging.

Shearing of rivets, cracking copper tubing in the AC's, loosening screws in many areas, including within the breaker panel, creating LPG leaks, water leaks, shaking the entrance door, as well as many other things, are all due to over rigging, lack of proper running gear balance, and/or bad axles, or a combination of those things.

An Airstream trailer must have a "soft" ride, as it flexes when in motion. The greater the flexing, the greater the damages. Anything that takes away that softness, will in time, cause many problems.

As a service center for over 40 years, we see those unnecessary damages, all to many times, that can easily and simply be avoided. The costs to repair some of the major damages, gets to be expensive, quickly.

Unfortunately, all to many owners feel that if a 3/4 ton tow vehicle, with heavy duty everything is ok, which it is not, then going to one tons and dually's is even better. Not true.

Repair service bills, clearly show the results of excessive rated tow vehicles and rigging.

There is an article around that discusses "towing myths."

Andy
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:10 PM   #7
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The problem on my trailer was NOT caused by too heavy of a tow vehicle as I tow with a 1/2 ton pickup. Some on this forum would even say it is not heavy enough (7800 lb tow rating vehicle towing a 6750 lb loaded trailer). I even use 600 pound bars on my Reese hitch with a 760 pound tongue weight, so the ride is not too harsh.

The problem on my trailer was caused because an Airstream "Service Center" did a repair on the front of the trailer, and evidently it was done incorrectly. I bought the trailer used, and there were rivets installed into holes that were drilled a multitude of times and therefore too big, and there were some screws installed where there should have been rivets.

Additionally, if you ever take a close look at the area where the segment protectors rivet, you will see there is actually a slight curve to the area running in the vertical plane, and the hinge of the segment protector is not only straight, but a straight "L" shaped piece of stainless steel that does not want to bend to the curvature of the trailer. The whole thing is a poor design, in my opinion.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:43 PM   #8
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Ok,, I got the thing apart. I can see why it fails. The rivets i took out were aluminum and should have been steel. Good call. The wind must flex this think to death as your flying down the highway.
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Old 07-26-2009, 09:57 PM   #9
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Vinnie, the rivets that must be stainless steel are the ones that attach the "L" shaped brackets to the trailer. The ones holding the protector together, I don't know as I did not change them. Additionally, I would go one size larger with those rivets also....if they were 1/8", I would go back with 3/16" to make sure they have a good grip.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:04 PM   #10
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Thanks Steve,

I have the 3/16" stainless steel rivets. The previous rivets were all different as someone was in there prior to me. Im actually going to get an assortment as some of the holes are a bit bigger than they should be. I think this project will be a few days longer than i anticipated due to not having all the correct material. I just love to rip into things!

Thanks Vinnie
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:21 AM   #11
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Hi, Vinnie. You might want to use rivet washers on the back side/ inside of the panels.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:09 AM   #12
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Good idea

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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, Vinnie. You might want to use rivet washers on the back side/ inside of the panels.

Bob,

Good point. I will get some longer rivets to accomodate the washers. That will help a bit with a few of the oversized holes.

Thanks..

Vinnie
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:20 PM   #13
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The rockguard is repaired however I understand more why it failed now. When reinstalling the hinge side to the coach there is a natural curve in the trailer and an un-natural bend in the hinge. This curvature puts stress on the hinge and the rivets in that area. I added two small washers to the lowest screw between the coach and the hinge to allow the hinge to be straight in tha area. Just one more little improvement before the next big repair...

Vinnie
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