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Old 02-13-2024, 02:52 PM   #1
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2022 23' Flying Cloud
Oak Ridge , New Jersey
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Damage(?) between rock guard and trailer

Hello All,

I have a '22 Flying Cloud 23 FBQ, it's been on a few road trips and I found these marks when cleaning it up for storage during the winter. They are on the inner side of the rock guard and the outer skin. Almost looks like something got in there but it doesn't seem like it is scratches, almost seems like a growth. I was able to clean up some of the surroundings but had to put it away before I could investigate. Now that I have some time I am hoping to get some help and figure out what it is and how to best move forward.

Anyone seen something like this before, is it some type of corrosion or something I can clean up/repair myself?

Your guidance is appreciated


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(Sorry this one is sideways, can't figure out why it is doing that )
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Old 02-13-2024, 03:34 PM   #2
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Is it possible the guard is touching/rubbing against the panel in that spot?
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Old 02-13-2024, 05:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by StuartsDad View Post
Is it possible the guard is touching/rubbing against the panel in that spot?
x2.

Look at the first photo; it looks like there's a matching spot of wear on the inner size of the stainless steel segment protector. Perhaps something hit it.

Certainly anything that touches the aluminum skin of an Airstream will wear the finish. This is exactly why old Airstream owners warn against using covers and tarps.
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Old 02-13-2024, 07:17 PM   #4
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I think it is likely your segment protector is vibrating and deforming during travel and rubbing against the shell. I could see this in my rear view mirror on the way home from the dealer after pickup when brand new. My solution was to apply some adhesive foam weatherstripping on the shell, under the protector and the problem never recurred
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Old 02-13-2024, 08:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rolind View Post
I think it is likely your segment protector is vibrating and deforming during travel and rubbing against the shell. I could see this in my rear view mirror on the way home from the dealer after pickup when brand new. My solution was to apply some adhesive foam weatherstripping on the shell, under the protector and the problem never recurred
I have personal experience with this (vibration/deforming) and it has been so bad that my rock guard now has a fracture in it, like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Also have some of the rivets that hold the mount points coming loose from all the vibration, I have replaced several rivets to restore a tighter mounting connection. I have started to put reinforcements in place behind the rock guard, and I learned the hard way that the inside of the rock guard can very easily rub against the outside trailer skin. It is certainly possible you have that rubbing. I think over the years Airstream has made the rock guards thinner, cost cutting, and now they vibrate and flex in the (significant) turbulence when towing at highway speed, and this leads to a number of unwanted issues.
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Old 02-14-2024, 06:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by 1StreamDream View Post
I have personal experience with this (vibration/deforming) and it has been so bad that my rock guard now has a fracture in it, like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Also have some of the rivets that hold the mount points coming loose from all the vibration, I have replaced several rivets to restore a tighter mounting connection. I have started to put reinforcements in place behind the rock guard, and I learned the hard way that the inside of the rock guard can very easily rub against the outside trailer skin. It is certainly possible you have that rubbing. I think over the years Airstream has made the rock guards thinner, cost cutting, and now they vibrate and flex in the (significant) turbulence when towing at highway speed, and this leads to a number of unwanted issues.
Does your 25' have a front utility door? Same question to the OP with a 23 footer as both your model years, as mine, do not have the new construction process that beefed up the connection up front that started I think around mid 2023?

As for the OP, there is no question that this is a rock guard rubbing against the body. I think this is a warranty call for sure. I'd contact the factory and get some solid answers toward repair. From what I understand a few things can cause this-

-Incorrectly installed rock guard
-Being massively overhitched
- A pre mid 2023 unit with a front utility access door
- A combo of #2 or #3

There could be other reasons too, but those are the ones I know of.

For what it's worth, my late 90s rock guards are the same as the rock guards on my 2021. If there is a difference, I'd need a micrometer to tell.

I'd be interesting how Airstream approaches this. I really do wonder if they'll deny the claim. I mean mine with dimples on either side of the utility door and they said no, wasn't an issue.
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Old 02-14-2024, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1StreamDream View Post
I have personal experience with this (vibration/deforming) and it has been so bad that my rock guard now has a fracture in it, like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Also have some of the rivets that hold the mount points coming loose from all the vibration, I have replaced several rivets to restore a tighter mounting connection. I have started to put reinforcements in place behind the rock guard, and I learned the hard way that the inside of the rock guard can very easily rub against the outside trailer skin. It is certainly possible you have that rubbing. I think over the years Airstream has made the rock guards thinner, cost cutting, and now they vibrate and flex in the (significant) turbulence when towing at highway speed, and this leads to a number of unwanted issues.
Not sure why you have the issues you mention above but in 4 different AS's in 17 years towing, never had these issues; 3 different 25FC models nor my currant 28'FC model. In fact, never heard of this till this post?
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Old 02-14-2024, 09:55 AM   #8
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Abrasion

Sorry for that discovery, Wonder if something fell down in there trapped and then caused the abrasion stain that ruined the finish. All you can do it try to rub it out with a wax polish and then close lid and see if there is a clearance problem. At least its outta sight when the shield is closed. A picture sent to JC service may provide a better answer.
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Not sure why you have the issues you mention above but in 4 different AS's in 17 years towing, never had these issues; 3 different 25FC models nor my currant 28'FC model. In fact, never heard of this till this post?

Be interesting to know what weight bars are being used with each of these setups. For example, I was using 600lb bars, and inadvertently used them for about 400 miles instead of my 800lb bars with the 30' FC Bunk. The PO had 1200lb bars on the 30 footer, which may have contributed to my dimples on either side of the utility door,.

When I got my late 90s 25' (no front utility door), the dealer gave me 1200lb bars. I noticed some slight deformation of the rockgard and I also noticed the bottom chrome band slightly separating from the shell. I moved to 800, then 600 and never saw it get any worse, so my guess, and it is just a guess, weight distribution bars? If the front end flexes, for any reason, those rockgards can also show some issue as they are right in the line of fire. The fact that on the OP's picture shows it made contact, that just doesn't happen in a vacuum. Either it was initially installed wrong or something is flexing the front shell. Only a few things can do that.

For a 23-25 foot, 600lb bars with a 3/4 ton, more than sufficient if integrating sway with WD. 800lb, ok but overkill, and 1200+lb bars, near ludicrous with that sized trailer or smaller.
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1StreamDream View Post
I have personal experience with this (vibration/deforming) and it has been so bad that my rock guard now has a fracture in it, like a jigsaw puzzle piece. Also have some of the rivets that hold the mount points coming loose from all the vibration, I have replaced several rivets to restore a tighter mounting connection. I have started to put reinforcements in place behind the rock guard, and I learned the hard way that the inside of the rock guard can very easily rub against the outside trailer skin. It is certainly possible you have that rubbing. I think over the years Airstream has made the rock guards thinner, cost cutting, and now they vibrate and flex in the (significant) turbulence when towing at highway speed, and this leads to a number of unwanted issues.
Someone mentioned the slight curve where the straight hinges mount on the trailer were causing the problem of the mounts coming loose. He said he used spacers at a couple rivets to relieve tension on the hinge mounting.
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Old 02-14-2024, 02:34 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies, the spots to my eye are related, the same shape, size and exactly across from each other. I hadn't considered the two pieces making contact while moving, the gap seems steady while parked but who knows when the trailer is moving and bouncing down the road. I don't believe anything hit it, there's no dent or impact mark on the road facing side of the rock guard and it seems like this would take more time than a one off impact, that's me making stuff up as I type.

I'm wondering from the comments if something like a pinecone didn't slip in there during a stop and rub away until it finally was jolted loose, there was nothing in there when I opened the rock guard and first found the issue.

I can admit to not closely inspecting and staring at the panel while towing but I have looked back while towing and also examined it while hooked up and didn't see any type of obvious deflection

Also asked, mine does not have the front utility door, and it is an early 2022 model, picked up late 2021.

I bought it from Colonial in NJ, was going to call them as my first stop but several have mentioned going right to JC, is that the way to go for shell issues?
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Old 02-14-2024, 06:29 PM   #12
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I Know What This Is

I know exactly what this is. Yes, the rock guard is rubbing on the skin of the camper. My 2023 27í International had the same exact issue. Itís not tension bars causing this, or dirt, or the wind of traveling down the road, so you can stop pointing at all the wrong answers folks. They bent the metal of the rock guard slightly incorrectly and the arc of the bend intersects the skin of the camper. I just folded a towel in thirds, placed it a the intersection point and gently applied pressure in little pushes at the side opposite the hinges until the arc changed enough to get the guard off the skin. The guard still latches and the contact is gone. I waxed the heck out of the contact points and have never had an issue again. Please everyone, stop going for Airstream blood. Youíre putting out bad information with assumed answers.
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Old 02-14-2024, 10:56 PM   #13
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My trailer is a 25' RBT, so it does *not* have the front storage compartment. It is positively wind vibration (at highway speed) in my case, at the time I could see the difference between the driver side (vibration) and passenger side (stable) in my towing mirrors. Since adding the stiffener/bracing items on the side that had the vibration, I don't see it happen in my mirror any longer, but the fracture will be there forever, or until I decide to replace the rock guard. I am the second owner of this trailer, I cannot say for sure but I vaguely recall the original owner telling me they had replaced one of the two rock guards due to a bad dent, maybe it is the replacement rock guard panel that is giving me all this headache.
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Old 02-15-2024, 11:05 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by DAVSCH View Post
I know exactly what this is. Yes, the rock guard is rubbing on the skin of the camper. My 2023 27í International had the same exact issue. Itís not tension bars causing this, or dirt, or the wind of traveling down the road, so you can stop pointing at all the wrong answers folks. They bent the metal of the rock guard slightly incorrectly and the arc of the bend intersects the skin of the camper. I just folded a towel in thirds, placed it a the intersection point and gently applied pressure in little pushes at the side opposite the hinges until the arc changed enough to get the guard off the skin. The guard still latches and the contact is gone. I waxed the heck out of the contact points and have never had an issue again. Please everyone, stop going for Airstream blood. Youíre putting out bad information with assumed answers.
This sounds plausable; maybe try this method if you know anything about working with aluminum..(being an "old" Navy Aircraft Sheet Metal technician). I know when I purchased "new" rock guards for replacement/use with my 2008 25, AS the service guys at the dealership told me I might have to "work" with the alignment of the replacement guards when re-installing the new ones to existing holes, to maintain clearance...had forgot about that discussion because I ended up not using the new ones and resold on line.

However, my reason for switching rock Guards was different; we purchased the 2008' on line in AZ and did not inspect prior to purchase. When we picked it up, the rock guards (among other things) looked like they had been taken on a gravel road to/from AZ to Alaska a few times! They were really beat up! Thats when I had someone tell me, "hey, their Rock Guards; that's what their for; deflecting rocks." Still, the rubber custom covers I got from Vinnie last summer are really nice looking and hide the dents, plus protect.
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Old 02-15-2024, 03:12 PM   #15
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If that is true then the owner has a verified solid case for a warranty claim and service fix. Our 21 has plenty of clearance so if they formed new year panels wrong JC will make it right. Pictures a email verification and a service date will be needed.

Company has never let us down on a warranty design or build process or our own mistakes from travel accidents.
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Old 03-04-2024, 07:50 PM   #16
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It's the rock guard rubbing the aluminum. I am so disappointed. We just bought a new 24 25fbt International the end of January and took it out to a local county park to camp and test everything. There we found it had a tear in the awning that we didn't catch at purchase. This will be covered under warranty. Now this weekend we gave it a good wash to prepare to Walbernize and discovered a wear spot from the rock guard rubbing. You can tell on ours that the guard was not bent and mounted properly as it does not line up with the lower belt guard trim like the other side.

We can't believe this occurred with only 300 miles on the unit. We spoke to Airstream and now we need to decide who will make the repair. Should we trust a dealer with this repair which will be a panel and rock guard replacement? Driving to Ohio is not going to work. Does anyone have any experience with the Las Vegas dealership doing repairs? Please feel free to post or private message. Has anyone had this repair? If so, what is involved?

This is our second Airstream and the first one a 21 had no issues. It was just too small so we moved-up. Love Airstream, love the size and layout of this new one, but so sad it will need surgery.

I would suggest to anyone buying an Airstream now--whether old or new, to open the rock guards and look at the underneath skin.
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Old 03-05-2024, 09:05 AM   #17
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It's the rock guard rubbing the aluminum. I am so disappointed. We just bought a new 24 25fbt International the end of January and took it out to a local county park to camp and test everything. There we found it had a tear in the awning that we didn't catch at purchase. This will be covered under warranty. Now this weekend we gave it a good wash to prepare to Walbernize and discovered a wear spot from the rock guard rubbing. You can tell on ours that the guard was not bent and mounted properly as it does not line up with the lower belt guard trim like the other side.

We can't believe this occurred with only 300 miles on the unit. We spoke to Airstream and now we need to decide who will make the repair. Should we trust a dealer with this repair which will be a panel and rock guard replacement? Driving to Ohio is not going to work. Does anyone have any experience with the Las Vegas dealership doing repairs? Please feel free to post or private message. Has anyone had this repair? If so, what is involved?

This is our second Airstream and the first one a 21 had no issues. It was just too small so we moved-up. Love Airstream, love the size and layout of this new one, but so sad it will need surgery.

I would suggest to anyone buying an Airstream now--whether old or new, to open the rock guards and look at the underneath skin.
If you can't get someone locally for your fix, I would consider Vinnie in Sacramento for repairs. I would surely call and discuss. Closer than Jackson, but still a bit of a drive, but he also does amazing coating for your rig on the outside.
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Old 03-05-2024, 11:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by DAVSCH View Post
... bent the metal of the rock guard slightly incorrectly and the arc of the bend intersects the skin of the camper. I just folded a towel in thirds, placed it a the intersection point and gently applied pressure in little pushes at the side opposite the hinges until the arc changed enough to get the guard off the skin. The guard still latches and the contact is gone. I waxed the heck out of the contact points ...
Yes, that has happened on two of our AS. When the curves / arcs of the protectors don't match those of the trailer, hot spots rub. One possible cause of the mismatched curves could be caused when opening - and not preventing the protector from swinging full force against the hinge points - resulting in a differential from spec; another cause could be a bump / hit to the protector. Be cautioned when re"arcing" with the towel method that you don't cause a dent in the AS. We removed the protectors to re arc separated from the AS. In both of our cases, when cleaning ... we noticed the "rub" almost immediately on brand new units - could have left the factory that way or dealer - who knows. Eventually debris may collect between the skin and protector and cause the unsightly but not truly serious damage. We check frequently!
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Old 03-06-2024, 08:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
Not sure why you have the issues you mention above but in 4 different AS's in 17 years towing, never had these issues; 3 different 25FC models nor my currant 28'FC model. In fact, never heard of this till this post?
Ummm, interesting.

POI...
Rock guard= front window.
Segment protector=front panels.

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Old 03-06-2024, 08:49 PM   #20
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If you can't get someone locally for your fix, I would consider Vinnie in Sacramento for repairs. I would surely call and discuss. Closer than Jackson, but still a bit of a drive, but he also does amazing coating for your rig on the outside.
Thank you for the info. Will do. Also, looking forward to attending a local Rally in April where Vinnie will be talking about FES.
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