Toad Rock Guard

 

The following describes the Building of a rock protector for toad being towed behind the GMC motor home.  There are several commercial products available that are similar and can be found at 

http://protectatow.tripod.com/

http://www.towingworld.com/catalog%5CAccessories%5Cprotectors.html

I have not used or seen these products so can't address their quality or more importantly their fit to the GMC.  The GMC is a little narrower then most SOB motor homes so there may be an issue but the difference at the bumper is only about 2 inches.

 

I can't say enough good about this system for protecting the Toad from damage.  After 4500 miles towing our new CR-V we did not acquire a single rock chip.  If we had driven that far on the highway I am sure that we would have acquired more then a few chips considering that we spent part of a day riving through snow on sanded roads in the New Mexico mountains.

I would estimate that we built the shield with the exception of the support pole in about 2 hours.  There was probably another hour in the initial measurement and design and another hour or two building the pole for a total of about 5 hours.

Materials for the Project were:

Description Quantity Source Cost Each Total
Phifertex Woven Vinyl Fabric 54" Wide (the two yards is minimal) 2 lineal Yards Vaughan Brothers Inc
(503) 233-1771 88 SE Washington St
Portland, OR
12.50 $25.00
Heavy duty Polyester Thread DB92 Large spool Vaughan Brothers Inc
(503) 233-1771 88 SE Washington St
Portland, OR
   
Carabineer clips (small) 6 Local Hardware store 1.98 $11.88
Marine eye straps (Ronstan RF1050) Much cheaper eyes from the hardware store could be used 6 North West One Design Inc
(503) 285-5536
Portland, OR
2.75 $16.50
Aluminum Tube 7/8"  6.25 feet Local boat top shop    
Bungee Cord 5/16" 23 feet Local Hardware store    
1" #10 stainless bolts, lock washers, nuts 6 Local Hardware store    

 

The following are the steps to build the skirt.  It seems like a lot but it is very simple.

  1. Generate the rough cut piece as shown in diagram 1.  Note: these dimensions for a skirt that fits the GMC with a Falcon 2 Tow bar and the CR-V other tow bars and vehicle combinations may require a different dimension.  It is necessary to cut and splice the fabric to get a piece of suitable size.  I used a 1/2" overlap when splicing the fabric together.

  2. Fold over a 1/2" hem on each edge of the rough cut fabric and sew down to create a hem around the whole perimeter.

  3. At the motorhome end of the skirt measure from each corner along each edge  7 inches and draw a line across the corner and cut along that line, see Diagram 1.

  4. At the Toad end of the skirt measure 5 inches from the corner along each edge and draw a line across these corners and cut along the line as shown in Diagram 1.

  5. On each one of these cut corners fold over a 1/2 inch hem and sew Diagram 2.

  6. On each of the corners just hemmed fold over another 1 1/2 inches and sew Diagram 2.

  7. At the midway point along each edge between the Motorhome and the Toad cut straight in 3 inches, don't cut away any material as shown by green lines in Diagram 2.

  8. On the edge that will be next to the motorhome measure out from the center line 14 inches and cut straight in 3 inches as shown by green lines in Diagram 2.

  9. Where the cuts were made in steps 7 and 8 above fold back a triangular flap and sew  along each edge of the triangular flap as shown by Detail A in Diagram 2.

  10. Now fold over a 1 1/2 inch hem around all the long edges of the skirt and sew down in a hem leaving the ends open so that bungee cord can be threaded through it as shown in Diagram 3.

  11. At the bottom of the V sew in a reinforcing tab using a small piece Phifertex about 2x3 inches folded over the skirt and sewn down as shown in Detail B Diagram 3.

  12. On the center line and between the Vs on the sides sew a 3x8 inch Phifertex patch on the same side as the hems.  This is the bottom of the skirt. Diagram 3.

  13. Make a strap of Phifertex by using a 14x3 inch strip of material folder over three times along the long side to create a 1 x 14 inch strap.

  14. Sew both ends of strap to top side of skirt where patch is on the back.  About 1.5 inches at each end of strap are sewn down front and back.

  15. Thread the Bungee cord through the hem around the outside of the skirt, it should be relatively loose, Tie it together temporarily so that it can be adjusted.

  16. Add the carabineers to each corner and to the bungee at the Vs along the motor home end of the skirt.

  17. Build a support pole form a 6 foot piece of 7/8" Aluminum by adding some form of clip at each end.  I used some surplus spinnaker pole ends but this is not economical for most people, but other clips could be attached to the end of the pole.

  18. Attach a single eye-strap at the front corner of the toad under the front bumper on each side.

  19. On the motor home add an eye strap to the bottom of the back bumper at the forward outer edge.

  20. Add two eye straps under the back frame 14 inches from center line

You are now ready to try out your new underskirt and make final adjustments. Attach the four carabineers at the motorhome end of underskirt to the motorhome, position the toad and connect the tow bar. Attach the underskirt to the toad.  Drive the motorhome forward enough to extend the tow bar until both arms lock.  Adjust the bungee cord until it is snug and hold the skirt almost level.  Lay the pole across the top of the tow bar and attach ends to the bungee where it is exposed in the Vs along the edge of the skirt.  Use bungee to hold support pole to the tow bar.