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Old 01-19-2005, 10:32 PM   #1
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Protection Against Rock Damage

We will be taking delivery in the next few days on a new 2005 Airstream Classic 30'SO which will replace our 1998 Safari 25'. In an effort to avoid the damage to the front of the trailer caused by rocks, I am considering having 3M Scotchcal Paint Protection Film applied to the front portion of the trailer, at least the flat section below the front window and between the rock guards and maybe the portion of the curved panels not covered by the rock guards. Also maybe the 3 curved panels above the window (this would be more for bugs than rocks, I think, as in my experience rocks seldom hit the trailer above the window). Another possibility is to protect the A-frame (tongue) of the trailer with this same material, or the thicker version used for headlights, as this area also takes a real beating from rocks.

I have seen this material applied to automobiles, as well as an Airstream motorhome, and it seems to work well. However, I have never seen it applied to an Airstream trailer and was wondering if anybody out there has done it, or seen it done. And if so, how did it work out? It is fairly expensive so would feel better if I knew it was going to work as I hope it will before having it done.

Thanks,
Earl
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:36 AM   #2
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Thumbs up duraback polyurathane coating

hello, i have 76 argosy 26', i just sealed the entire roof with duraback coating .i found several lose rivets in the roof structure. replced them, then sealed the roof. this product has a uv rating they origionaly use it for brush on truck bed linning. easy to work with, it is like a sheet of rubber stuck to the coach. i tried to peel it of the paint can lid with a knife, wire brush, hammer. you cannot even scratch it. i put the cream color, same color as argosy beige. comes in many differant colors.
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Old 01-20-2005, 01:20 PM   #3
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Hello Ed:

Thanks for the reply. Sounds like Duraback might be just the ticket for protecting the A-frame from rock damage. If they have several different colors, it should be possible to match the color of the Airstream frame pretty closely. Can you give me any leads on where to get info on Duraback, as well as where I might buy some.

Earl
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:18 PM   #4
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These are probably cheaper than the plastic coating and will protect everything at once.The idea of keeping everything underneath seems logical to me. I have seen them discussed a lot on the mh forums for toads and everyone that has them seem to like them

John
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Old 01-21-2005, 01:43 PM   #5
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How about mud flaps/rock guards behind the rear wheels of the tow vehicle? Something like http://www.drawtite-hitches.com/towb..._roadwing.html
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Old 01-21-2005, 05:13 PM   #6
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Yeah, I already use mudflaps. In fact, two sets of them - the ones installed permanently on the pickup, and a second set that attach to the drawbar and are therefore only on the vehicle when the trailer is being towed. I am looking for additional protection because, as I'm sure your own experience confirms, mudflaps help but certainly do not resolve the problem of rocks causing damage to the paint and clearcoat. This is especially true if you travel on gravel roads, of course, but you can't avoid picking up a certain number of rocks on any paved highway, not to mention when you get into a stretch that has been chip-coated or is under construction.

Earl
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Old 01-22-2005, 07:21 AM   #7
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Protection against rock damage....... I assume the film you are talking about is a film with adhesive and not a coating this is applied in liquid form. If this is correct I would not recommend applying this film. Is is meant to be a temporary masking to protect during fabrication, shipment. With UV , heat and moisture it can weld permentantly to a surface.
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Old 01-23-2005, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Keyes
Protection against rock damage....... I assume the film you are talking about is a film with adhesive and not a coating this is applied in liquid form. If this is correct I would not recommend applying this film. Is is meant to be a temporary masking to protect during fabrication, shipment. With UV , heat and moisture it can weld permentantly to a surface.
Ed-

The film I am referring to, 3M Scotchcal Paint Protection Film, does in fact go on with an adhesive as you assume; however, it is a permanent application. It is designed to permanently protect the paint on automobiles. You can see what 3M says about it on their website, in particular at http://www.3m.com/us/about3M/innovat...al/index.jhtml
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Old 01-23-2005, 06:24 PM   #9
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Has anyone tried something like these?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...522106318&rd=1
Kinda steep, bet they not too tuff to fabricate.
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Old 01-23-2005, 07:57 PM   #10
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I've seen the tape in use on cars, but not sure if I'd place it on the nose of an Airstream. Having a non CCD or Classic with the front wrap windows, I could see all the places where impacts happened, bugs, sand, soot, etc. What the rock guards don't protect the front wrap arounds pretty much cover all the other areas I've noticed areas of impact.

I installed mud flaps and that all but got rid of any projectiles. Also what I noticed is that less things fly into the coach when mudflap are installed and you have a tow vehicle that is about 3/4 the height of the Airstream.
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Old 01-23-2005, 09:36 PM   #11
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Another road hazard that needs to be guarded against are "road gators" or treads that come off of tires. Very common on the interstates down South. Best measure is to avoid them in the first place. Looks like those rock guards they put on the new Airstreams are just the ticket for protection against the larger road hazards such as these.
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Old 01-24-2005, 12:08 AM   #12
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the scotchcal by 3 m is a great product.

earl

i have had the 3m product on the front of my expensive german car since new and 3 years later the paint is still perfect....it really does protect well. my windshield has the typical pitting that road debris causes but the nose of the car is like new perfect. even my front bumper has been saved from the careless braile driver who backs up too far while parking.

i will never go without it on a new car.

while the material is intended to stay on for the long term, it can be removed if you want it off. and while it is safe applied over auto paints i'd want to get the 'all clear' from the airstream factory before putting it over the coated alum....since this new style coating cannot be repaired by a dealer anymore....on the other hand that's exactly the reason to consider the film....

there are now 3 companies that make the protective film...3m, avery and someone else. most shops carry the 3m product regardless of name (stoneguard, clearbra and so on). having it applied to a car is costly because of the labor time but the material is not very expensive and can be purchased in 2-16inch widths, by the roll or foot.

it's actually pretty easy to apply on large flat or single curve surfaces....i'd consider just buying a roll and diy. my shop gave me some left over pieces and i expertly applied it to an older car myself.

like everything else it's available on ebay.

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Old 01-25-2005, 04:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
earl

i have had the 3m product on the front of my expensive german car since new and 3 years later the paint is still perfect....it really does protect well. my windshield has the typical pitting that road debris causes but the nose of the car is like new perfect. even my front bumper has been saved from the careless braile driver who backs up too far while parking.

i will never go without it on a new car.
--------------------
Thanks for your thoughts. From your experience it sounds like I may be on the right track with this idea. I also thought "what happens if the film damages the clearcoat". But, as you say, rocks and road debris are going to do that in any case, so probably there's nothing to lose. At least, now I know that the film is effective.

From the info I was able to find, it didn't look like it would be terribly difficult to apply yourself on flat or simple curved surfaces, and the saving is significant. My understanding is that it will stretch about 20% allowing some ability to conform to curvature in two directions. I'm considering doing the entire front end, back to the first transverse seam, which would make the installation pretty difficult, I think.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Earl
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:45 PM   #14
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wider options

talked with another film installer today.

venture shield was the other company (i was trying to recall) who makes the film. visit there web site.

the installer said that more makers are entering the market as these products have become very popular. he also said that venture shield makes a 48inch width product that is ideal for large flat surfaces. i guess they put in on trailers, some custom semi haulers and big class a/buses that have fancy paint jobs to protect. they can lay it on as a big sheet and then cut out any openings and so on.

i'd have to look at the front end of a trailer to visualize where and how big an area.....none of the curves are too big or complex but rivets would be an issue since bubbles around them would occur. we would probably not want that 'look'. they do have a little piercing tool for bubbles but not sure how they would handle rivets. airstream skin probably expands/contracts more than a car hood or fiberglass panel but i would imagine the film would move with it.

if planning a diy, might be best to get a small piece and practice first...with a liberal layer of liquid under it a piece can be moved around alot....more than wall paper.

there are online instructions and videos demonstrating the 'how to' of application.

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