In part one, we looked at the things you can do to protect your trailer, with the gear you can attach to your tow vehicle. In part two, we look at the hardware to attach to your caravan and how to keep the track debris off the front of your trailer
The stone guard is the mainstay of the trailer protection department. The effectiveness of the one you have is all in the design, or more importantly, the angle at which it is positioned. Essentially, what you have is a tennis racquet at the front of the van – ready to play the perfect volley straight back at your tow vehicle. To a lesser degree the gas bottles, toolboxes and especially a vertical spare tyre mounted here, play similar shots in various directions. It’s a lottery as to the damage the back end of your car might receive. The double-edged sword of protecting your trailer can payback with damage to the car.
A vertical stone guard, and acutely so if it’s short in height, will do less to protect your van than a longer, forward-leaning design. Equally, if the mesh material used is flimsy (shade cloth, insect screen, etc.), then it’s not exactly impenetrable. If you intend going the home-made route also consider the weight of the thing you’re building and that using metal instead of mesh creates a great barrier, but also drag. Whatever your stone guard above the drawbar, it should be aided by mudflaps below it.
A neat idea to protect your suspension is to add a brush barrier to the underside of the van.
A leading drawbar fitment, the toolbox needs to be robust. If the boxes are installed with no stone guard in front, they need treating with some kind of paint or texture spray to make sure that the sandblasting the boxes will receive doesn’t take your boxes back to bare metal on a long trip outback. Whereas some people will insist the toolbox can act as a stone guard, the chances of stones and rocks rebounding somewhere to cause more damage are high as well as the damage they can suffer themselves.
COVERS AND TREATMENTS
There are more subtle options too. Just like caravans with front windows have employed stone shields since the early days, you can now use near-invisible and very high-tech coatings. You can opt for something like 3M C Guard Protective Coating on the invisible side of things, that’s employed by one manufacturer, Sportscruiser. Some manufacturers such as Ezytrail, lend a nod to the older-style van protection and offers a padded, press-stud-on cover to protect the leading area of the van with no stone shielding. And of course, the aftermarket window shields are available too. Since shares in chequer plate manufacturing must have gone through the roof in recent years, armouring your van is a solution, but not practical in terms of weight or cost.
THE STONE STOMPER
This product takes the stone guard mesh idea and stretches it between the tow vehicle and trailer, like a protective sheet. We should mention it’s not actually stretched, it’s placed, or laid across the span, and the Stone Stomper can be used in all towing situations without risk of damage, including tight turns.
The material used to construct the Stone Stomper is reinforced truck mesh, not shade cloth as some might suggest. The effectiveness is in the complete coverage of the area between the two units in your set-up. The mesh allows air to pass through, so there’s no drag effect, and the mesh is tough enough to keep everything below the drawbar. The result is not only is your trailer protected, but everything on the drawbar is too: gas bottles, trailer hardware and your wiring. There are no restrictions on the type of hitch required and each Stone Stomper is custom made for your set-up, with easy fitting quoted.
So there you go, how to keep the track debris off the front of your trailer. If you have any more ideas or products you’ve used, let us know in the comments sections. If you missed the link to part one, the stuff that bolts to your tow vehicle, click here