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Old 02-26-2021, 07:28 AM   #1
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Protective (temporary) Sheathing Materials

Hi all,
I was lucky enough to get on the Alaska caravan this summer. After recently camping next door to a gentleman from Alaska who had traveled the Alaska Highway five times - and listening to his tales of woe regarding the kind of damage that can be incurred - I've decided I will take some measures to protect the front of my Airstream. He recommended a roofing material, sticky on just one side, that could be applied and then peeled off later with no residue or damage to the finish. He didn't know the exact name of the product but likened it to the phrase "bitch again." I've looked at roofing sites online, trying to figure out which one he was referring to but no joy. Anyone know what he was talking about, or have alternate recommendations on what to use?
I do not intend to cover the "plastic" front window guards or steel rock guards; just the exposed aluminum below, between, beside and above the windows and rock guards, going all the way up to where my red numbers are. His "stick on / peel off" solution was appealing in its simplicity but other ideas are most welcomed.
Thank you.
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:53 AM   #2
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Why not just use paint protection film? It's made for what you are trying to do and it can stay on for years, and is not visible.
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:38 AM   #3
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PM West Coast Bob....he had a good solution several Seasons ago when He & Lee made the trip.

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Old 02-26-2021, 09:00 AM   #4
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I've always heard it referred to as "bitch-a-thane", kind of a reference to what happens when it sticks to your hands. The actual trade name is BITUTHENE®. I'm a GC, not a roofer, so I've only fooled around with on a few occasions. BUT, it's meant as a permanent installation! I'd be very careful sticking it on my AS and leaving it for a few weeks.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:17 AM   #5
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On the 2018 Alaska Caravan about half of the trailers had front end protective material. I was in the half with zero front protection, bud do have rock tamer mud flaps on the truck. I do not remember any damage to the front of any of the protected or not protected trailers. I do remember a coupe of broken side windows.

The roughest travel was the road to and from Chicken, Alaska. It was the only dirt road we traveled with the exception of some sections of road construction. The saying in Alaska is that there are only 2 seasons, winter and road constructions.

You will have a trip of a lifetime with so many things to see and do. John and Sissy are great hosts and fun people to travel with.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:41 AM   #6
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We covered the drivers side windows on the trailer with the foil and foam reflective material from Lowes. Or you can use the thin plexiglas sheets they sell and fit them to the windows with clear tape so they almost do not show. When you meet or are passed by trucks they sometimes throw a handful of fine gravel almost like a shotgun charge. There is nothing you can do to keep that from happening. A place you want to protect is the fresh water drain valve. We wiped the area down with a cleaner and then duct taped a piece of pipe insulation over it. We covered the propane lines with a split hose. I prefer less stuff taped to and hung on the trailer. There are going to be a couple of times when you really want to pressure wash it. My rigged stuff seems to have a way of coming loose at one end and beating the trailer up. No serious damage in our two trips to Alaska but it does take a toll on the shiny new look. One thing I was not smart enough to take but wished I had was some rubber slip over boots and a couple sets of the throwaway paper coveralls. This trip can get dirty in a few spots. Either from dry dust or wet dust that dries in cakes.
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:44 AM   #7
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Bill M,
When you say to protect the "fresh water drain valve," are you talking about the spigot that is in-between the driver-side tires (I have a 25' FBT Sig)? Or the two side-by-side spigots that are closer to the front left tire? Why are they more likely to get damaged than on any other sort of road trip?
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:15 AM   #8
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For one thing it is a very long road trip. There are stretches with gravel and maybe some debris. Maybe it was wasted effort. Maybe not. And there is luck involved. Very few people had tire failures. But one of the leaders had 3 tire punctures on his truck. Lots of metal parts seem to be in the roads.

On our trailer the drain valve is plastic and in a vunerable spot. The low point drains are up in the belly and protected.

There seemed to be a lot of brake failures on our trip. So get the brakes checked for wear and worn parts
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Old 02-27-2021, 09:23 AM   #9
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I would stay home if I had all them problems.... not worth it
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:00 AM   #10
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Yeah, it would be a shame if you got that diesel truck dirty.
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Old 02-27-2021, 10:56 AM   #11
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Contractors and pharma companies buy “track mat” by the roll. It’s pretty sticky but comes off clean. By itself it won’t offer much ding protection, but with a piece of plastic hardware cloth sandwiched between two sheets?
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginophiles View Post
I've always heard it referred to as "bitch-a-thane", kind of a reference to what happens when it sticks to your hands. The actual trade name is BITUTHENE®. I'm a GC, not a roofer, so I've only fooled around with on a few occasions. BUT, it's meant as a permanent installation! I'd be very careful sticking it on my AS and leaving it for a few weeks.

I agree. My understanding is the roofing version is Ice & Water. Bituthene ( aka bitch-a-thane) was the spec in a commercial hospitality project I was involved with,and was applied to a spread footing/basement foundation wall with MuiraDRAIN mat over before backfill, to allow water to flow down to perimeter perimeter drain system. My understanding and experience is that this is not intended to ever be removed, it is designed to be a permanent water proofing layer forever. Get it down right the first time. There are no mulligans with this product. (same for Ice & Water which I used in the valleys of my last home's new roof)
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Old 02-27-2021, 04:38 PM   #13
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Oops, re. my post #11: Not sure whether to blame myself or autocorrect, but that should be Tackmat, or Tacky Mat. You can find it on Amazon as Tacky Mat.
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Old 02-28-2021, 02:37 AM   #14
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Like these?

Bob's Ice & Water [not]: https://www.amazon.com/Grace-Water-S...-4&tag=mh0b-20
Don's Tacky Mat: https://www.amazon.com/SATECH-Adhesi...NrPXRydWU&th=1

Don, is this sticky enough to adhere on its own for the entire Alaska caravan, or should it get perhaps a layer of duct tape [or ?] on the edges over the aluminum rock guard segment protectors?
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Old 02-28-2021, 02:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by PatLee View Post
. . .
. . . but other ideas are most welcomed.
. . .
Did you know that there are both short and tall segment protectors? News to me:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f14...ml#post2300134
https://www.google.com/search?q=tall...=airforums.com
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Old 02-28-2021, 08:14 AM   #16
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Peter,
The tacky mat is coated on both sides, about as sticky as a lint roller sheet. It is thin (online sellers probably include thickness in the specs), like the film put on cars being shipped via car carrier. (That film is more about preventing paint damage from acid rain than dings fro gravel.)
It only lifts where people drag their feet along, but road use is a completely new application. Duct tape on the corners might be a good idea. If you go all the way around, you might as well use foam board.
Me, I’ve never been to Alaska and may never, so I just listen to the navigator when she says, “Not that way!! It’s not paved!!”
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:25 AM   #17
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Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2021, 12:01 PM   #18
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Yoga mats work great. Tape them on the entire front of trailer.
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Old 03-14-2021, 03:04 PM   #19
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My Freind did the Yukon caravan with her brand new Bambi
All trailers had brackets welded to the A frame to hold a full sheet of plywood notched to cover the whole front end.
There is not a single stone chip on her Bambi
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Old 03-15-2021, 06:21 AM   #20
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Native143 - Using yoga mats sounds like the best solution I've heard so far although I think I would only cover the areas not covered by the front rock/window protectors. What kind of tape would adhere best and not leave a residue?
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