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Old 06-27-2018, 05:02 PM   #1
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Rock Guard support arm thumb screw broke

When I raised the rock guard, for the first time this year, the thumb screw that locks the support arm would not turn by hand. Corrosion had locked it in place. I put a drop of oil on the threads then got a pair of pliers and turned it about 1/8th turn, then back. The wing broke off the bolt

I scanned through the 300+ threads on this forum (thousands of post) and did not find this mentioned. Also used the search box without any luck.

I can't find a replacement at any of the normal Airstream part stores online. Did find a couple for vintage models, but not one for my Safari.

Wondering if any of you have had this issue, and how did you resolve it?

edit:
My first thought is to cut the brace shorter, then drill and tap a new bolt hole.
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:10 PM   #2
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The broken off thumb screw
Click image for larger version

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Cut off the end of the support arm
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Drilled a hole then tapped new threads
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Repaired with new thumb screw (not exact replacment, but good enough till I find the correct one)
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Old 06-28-2018, 07:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the good photos. Nice reminder for us all to lube that screw to prevent the same corrosion.

Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
When I raised the rock guard, for the first time this year, the thumb screw that locks the support arm would not turn by hand. Corrosion had locked it in place. I put a drop of oil on the threads then got a pair of pliers and turned it about 1/8th turn, then back. The wing broke off the bolt

I scanned through the 300+ threads on this forum (thousands of post) and did not find this mentioned. Also used the search box without any luck.

I can't find a replacement at any of the normal Airstream part stores online. Did find a couple for vintage models, but not one for my Safari.

Wondering if any of you have had this issue, and how did you resolve it?
I opened my rock guard to clean out a bucket of leaves at an over night Koa, and also had problems with my thumb screw. Would not lock back in. So I duct taped the rock guard as a temporary fix, so I could hit the road next morning. That was over 2 months ago, and have been to 17 states with my rock guard duct taped. Still in Adirondacks of NY for next 3 weeks.

I will do your recommended repair when I get back home to Texas. Wish Airstream had included an extra bag of thumb screws with each trailer.

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Old 06-28-2018, 08:54 PM   #5
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When you do the repair, try to find the correct screw first. The original screw has a shoulder that tightens up against the arm. The screw I used has a spade head and does not have a shoulder. I think the original screw must have a thread bradded on the inside so that it cannot come out. The screw as you see it in the photo will probably vibrate loose and fall out while traveling down the road. I did not brad the inside thread since I plan on replacing it.

When I find the correct screw with wing head and shoulder, I will post another photo and better describe what I am talking about.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:57 PM   #6
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This is similar to the original screws in the support arm on my Safari.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Crown-Bo...1808/203623723
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:17 PM   #7
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I found the identical thumbwheels at an ACE hardware. Less than 2$.
Herbs hardware in Quartzsite AZ has them also.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
When I raised the rock guard, for the first time this year, the thumb screw that locks the support arm would not turn by hand. Corrosion had locked it in place. I put a drop of oil on the threads then got a pair of pliers and turned it about 1/8th turn, then back. The wing broke off the bolt

I scanned through the 300+ threads on this forum (thousands of post) and did not find this mentioned. Also used the search box without any luck.

I can't find a replacement at any of the normal Airstream part stores online. Did find a couple for vintage models, but not one for my Safari.

Wondering if any of you have had this issue, and how did you resolve it?

edit:
My first thought is to cut the brace shorter, then drill and tap a new bolt hole.
Hi, I hated those stupid supports and because of that I never opened my rock guard. But if you go to "Favorite Mod Under $100" Page #24 and posts Starting at #324, You will see what I did and now open my rock guards all of the time. [my original supports ended up in the trash]
18" struts ended up being the magic size.
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Old 06-29-2018, 04:30 AM   #9
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Nice mod Bob,

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, for less than $50.00 I bought two 20" 40 lbs lift shocks from Camping World, four 10mm stud balls w/ 5/16" X 18 threads on Ebay, four locking nuts from Lowes, and a 5/16" X 18 thread tap from Ace Hardware. Now I just undo my rubber latches and lift open my rock guard and easily close it too. Now when camping, I will open my rock guard and open my windows too. Note: rock guard was broken in Yukon Territory while going to Alaska.
[click on orange arrow above to go directly to the post]

. . . but we like to use the plexi raised slightly so the window can go up one notch for ventilation, and the smoked plexi still gives privacy from walkers-by. Will lube those screws today lightly with Lock-ease so the graphite powder will lodge in the threads.

Have a great Fourth of July, all !!!

Peter

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Old 06-29-2018, 06:22 AM   #10
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We open ours often as well as the windows to get better air flow so perhaps they stay loose and work easily. I did have the lower arm attachment to the window frame come loose and broke a screw there once. A little spray silicone on occasion goes a long way to maintaining function also.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:50 AM   #11
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We also like to open the rock guard slightly, for privacy and for ventilation.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:52 AM   #12
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I replaced my manual supports, years ago, with gas struts. Just release the rubber hold downs and raise. No fiddling.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:40 PM   #13
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Been there!

I too have been frustrated with this tiny devil of a thumb screw. I lost one of mine a couple of years ago on about my 3rd trip in my new 2018 Bambi Sport. Searched forever only to find this link for a replacement: https://woodlandtravelcenterstore.com/search?q=Thumb+screw

I refused to pay $20 for a screw so instead spent $20 in gas driving around town for a weekend looking for the right replacement only to compromise with a $1 screw, not quite the same shape, from Ace Hardware. It worked (sort of) but kept catching on the window each time I put it up making opening/closing the windows a ridiculously awkward process, especially for one person.

After about 90 more days doing that each day, I finally broke down and paid for the original screw replacement.
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