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Old 06-26-2022, 08:04 AM   #1
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Cracked polycarbonate stone guard

I gave the Airstream a thorough cleaning last week, including cleaning the windows behind the polycarbonate stone guards. When I opened up the street side stone guard, I found that it had a chip/crack in the polycarbonate material. Itís round with several small cracks radiating outward from the point of impact and roughly the size of a quarter. Itís really not easily visible from the outside because of the tint in the stone guard material.

The good news here is that the stone guard did what it was intended to do and my window glass isnít chipped.

Whatís the best way to repair or replace the stone guard? I havenít looked into replacing it at the Airstream dealership, but Iím guessing thatís not cheap. Are there other reasonable options? Is there a recommended repair to stop crack propagation from the chip?

I think Iíll leave it alone for now, but eventually Iíll have to deal with it.
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:13 AM   #2
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First, unless things have changed, oem is not polycarbonate. It is plexiglass. I replaced my panes with polycarbonate a couple years ago. Theres a thread somewhere around here discussing the process. It was about $300 all said and done for all three guards. As opposed to $2k or so for a replacement which will just crack again.

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Old 06-26-2022, 08:19 AM   #3
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Thanks for that. I didn’t realize they were plexiglass. I like your option much better! Did you do the work yourself?
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Old 06-26-2022, 08:27 AM   #4
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Thanks for that. I didnít realize they were plexiglass. I like your option much better! Did you do the work yourself?
Yes, it was much easier to work with than I expected. Like you, I waited (over 10 years) until I had numerous star cracks.

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Old 06-26-2022, 09:04 AM   #5
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If all the pieces of the guard are still intact, you can try and get some cyanoacrylate (CA) glue into the cracks. The stuff is also known as Krazy Glue, and there are lots of varieties out there. Seek out some of the 'thin' variety.

I'd lay the panel flat on the ground (with a towel or something under it to protect the plexiglass). Then drip the glue into the cracks one drop at a time as it sucks into the cracks. Leave it flat until the stuff cures. This should help bond the broken edges together and keep the crack from expanding nearly as fast. Practice dripping the glue before doing the real thing, as it does take a bit to get the hang of so you don't just squirt it all over.
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:04 AM   #6
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I had that happen on the first trip with our 2014.

I stop drilled each radiating crack (drill a very small hole at the end of the crack- this stops it from continuing). Then I used a syringe filled with acetone and filled each crack acetone welds plexiglass). Take off the guard and lay it fit on the ground so the acetone goes into the crack. It will discolor the surrounding plexiglass if it gets on it.

The crack has not gotten any bigger since.
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:31 AM   #7
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Fix the crack

I second the thin CA ďglueĒ method. Remove the whole window (with frame). Lay it upside down and flat. Clean with isopropyl alcohol. Put a piece of clear packing tape over the damaged area on the OUTSIDE. On the back side CAREFULLY drip the CA in the damaged area. Give it time to cure (1 hr). Flip it ove to the front side. Remove tape. VERY CAREFULLY with a very fine Wet/Dry sandpaper, smooth out any roughness. Flip back over to back side, and neatly tape over the area with clear packing tape. This will remain permanently to help ďsupportĒ the area. It wonít show from the outside. My repair as outlined looks as good as when I did it 4 years (63,000 miles) ago.
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
I had that happen on the first trip with our 2014.

I stop drilled each radiating crack (drill a very small hole at the end of the crack- this stops it from continuing). Then I used a syringe filled with acetone and filled each crack acetone welds plexiglass). Take off the guard and lay it fit on the ground so the acetone goes into the crack. It will discolor the surrounding plexiglass if it gets on it.

The crack has not gotten any bigger since.
I did the same thing to mine about 3 years ago. No spread.
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Old 06-26-2022, 10:01 AM   #9
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If you're not getting ready to sell it, I'd leave it alone. When you do decide to repair it, just replace the entire solar rock guard.
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Old 06-26-2022, 10:33 AM   #10
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Discovered I had a crack in my streetside guard while I was debriefing for a visit at Vinnie's Northbay. He stop drilled the cracks and then advised to apply clear packing tape to the inside until ready to replace the the whole thing.

That was in June 2020 and the crack hasn't spread nor have I replaced the tape! I won't install the new one until finishing the Alaska caravan in 2023. The new one is in my crawlspace waiting ($495)!
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Old 06-26-2022, 10:34 AM   #11
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when I purchased my airstream the plexiglass stone guard was broken on both sides (with holes). I removed the frame and then the plexiglass. I used the old plexiglass as a template and cut a piece of Lexan/Polycarbonate (grey tinted). Then reinstalled.
It was fairly easy as lean is cut with a saw, just take your time. I have done the same thing with my Harley windsheild...I keep the original scratched up shield as a template and then just pick up a block size piece of lexan and cut a new one.....way cheaper than buying a new one pre made !!
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Old 06-26-2022, 11:30 AM   #12
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One 4x8 sheet of lexan will do all 3 sections.
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Old 06-26-2022, 01:01 PM   #13
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Cracked

Same thing happened to us last year out West. , To get home I put some black Gorilla tape on the inside and out of the shield. Coming through Denver Colorado I bought at Airstream a new stone guard. Left it wrapped up in the truck till we got home. Went to install it and the brackets did not line up at all. When in Jackson Center for repair a few months later they had to reposition the brackets on the shield to make it all line up. They told me they are not very consistent on the build. BTW to unwrap that glued on paper coating is a CHORE!
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Old 06-26-2022, 02:26 PM   #14
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lexan sheet

I replaced the cheap plexiglass with lexan and found that I could not get a tint as dark as original. After a week or so I find that is not important. Mine was a center sheet and it was easy install but how would you do a curved section on the outboard sides?
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I replaced the cheap plexiglass with lexan and found that I could not get a tint as dark as original. After a week or so I find that is not important. Mine was a center sheet and it was easy install but how would you do a curved section on the outboard sides?
When I got my trailer last year I had to re-set both of the curved rock guards. They had popped out of the aluminum frames due to the rubber spline shrinking over the years.

The plexiglass in those curved sections seemed to me to be a flat sheet which was just held in the curve by the frame. It took a bit of finagling, but I managed to reseat the plexiglass into the frame with new spline, and so far it's holding.

Not sure if Lexan flexes as well as the plexiglass, but it should be possible to use a flat sheet to make the curve.
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:57 PM   #16
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When I got my trailer last year I had to re-set both of the curved rock guards. They had popped out of the aluminum frames due to the rubber spline shrinking over the years.

The plexiglass in those curved sections seemed to me to be a flat sheet which was just held in the curve by the frame. It took a bit of finagling, but I managed to reseat the plexiglass into the frame with new spline, and so far it's holding.

Not sure if Lexan flexes as well as the plexiglass, but it should be possible to use a flat sheet to make the curve.
..................
I have a 1995 Sovereign 21í that has original front guard with a jagged crack top to bottom in middle. I am in Daphne, Al. MOBILE. Where would I get some Lexan. Tried a few places but shipping is terrible. What are you all doing? Thanks. Tom
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:03 PM   #17
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..................
I have a 1995 Sovereign 21í that has original front guard with a jagged crack top to bottom in middle. I am in Daphne, Al. MOBILE. Where would I get some Lexan. Tried a few places but shipping is terrible. What are you all doing? Thanks. Tom
Start looking for plastic supply houses in the area. You might need to look to the next big city over. Around here I get mine from a place called Midland Plastics, but I have no idea if they have a location near you. But, there are plastic supply houses in every big city and most will sell retail.
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Old 06-26-2022, 09:17 PM   #18
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I agree with the CA glue as the fix.

Starbond is great stuff and I would consider their thin CA glue and accelerator for the cracks and maybe a thicker one to fill any hole.
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Old 06-27-2022, 08:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I replaced the cheap plexiglass with lexan and found that I could not get a tint as dark as original. After a week or so I find that is not important. Mine was a center sheet and it was easy install but how would you do a curved section on the outboard sides?
Lexan is very bendable...scratch yes.....break no.

Peel the paper/plastic protector away from the edges a bit to go into frame.... then leave on for install . Once you've done installing you can peel the remainder off. It can be hard to peel if its sat around for a long time.....then try using a bit of heat.
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Old 06-27-2022, 10:35 AM   #20
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Lexan is very bendable...scratch yes.....break no.



Peel the paper/plastic protector away from the edges a bit to go into frame.... then leave on for install . Once you've done installing you can peel the remainder off. It can be hard to peel if its sat around for a long time.....then try using a bit of heat.
And don't ever use glass cleaner on polycarbonate. Just soap and water.

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