Make your own StoneStomper

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:10
ThreadID: 130042 Views:23007 Replies:16 FollowUps:10
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G'day,

I've been researching ideas for our upcoming trip along the Oodnadatta Track to stop both the vehicle and van being sandblasted or pelted with stones/rocks.

I like the idea of the Stone Stomper and am pretty keen to rig up something like it myself, I was considering buying some heavy duty matting and attaching to under the front of the van with some tubing but not too sure how to attach at the very front of the draw bar without it potentially hitting/scraping the back bumper of the car.

Has anyone made their own version? I would buy one but at $550 if there is an alternative option that might cost $100 or less I'd rather explore that first!!

Any ideas or information would be greatly appreciated,

Cheers

Derm
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:21

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:21
Don't think you could go past using high density shade cloth, Derm. It's relatively light, and would stop most rocks and gravel for this one trip.

Often heavy duty matting equals heavy weight, and mounting issues are sure to arise once you hit the rough stuff. I understand that the Stone Stomper attaches to the rear of the tug, using multiple springs.....maybe you could "steal" that idea?

Bob

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Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:27

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:27
I ended up buying a stone stomper. By the time I paid for materials and sewing it works out good value to purchase outright. That is without getting gussets wrong a few times.

Don't believe you would buy the materials for $100, especially if you stick with the stainless hooks and D's. They run away with a fair bit of cash very quickly.

By the way I am very pleased with my decision to purchase and install.

To answer your question a frame is attached to tow hitch then mat attached with 10 SS boat quick release hooks.

Neil

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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 15:24

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 15:24
Totally agree with you Neil.

I too own a Stone Stomper and can vouch for the protection it provides.

I first tried a Rock Tamer. You know, those big adjustable mudflaps that are supposed to stop stones from hitting the rig you are towing.
I nearly pooped myself when driving up the Birdsville Track and seeing in the rear view mirrors, the amount of missiles being ejected sideways.

Bought a Stone Stomper for use when towing my camper trailer and have been thrilled with the results including a long return trip from Adelaide to the Kimberley and back, including the Gibb River and Cape Le Veque Roads, without any issues whatsoever. I had planned to remove it for river crossings, etc. but just didn't need to.
I have since upgraded the Stomper to suit my new Van (required a different sized mesh) and my mate has been so impressed with its performance that he has purchased one as well, even though he is "careful with his spending".

You may try to copy, but there is nothing like the real thing, which Christian has developed into a top line product.


Bill


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Follow Up By: cookie1 - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 16:22

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 16:22
Bill, a big Thank You for considering other road users

"I nearly pooped myself when driving up the Birdsville Track and seeing in the rear view mirrors, the amount of missiles being ejected sideways."

I wouldn't like to recall the number of times I have been peppered in sideway stones from people towing when I am travelling in the opposite direction

cheers
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 16:58

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 16:58
Ta Cookie,

That was my thoughts too!
I have no desire to create problems for other road users.
I tried different angles on the flaps to no avail.
The Rock Tamers are just an expensive piece of junk sitting in the shed.
They cost about the same as the Stone Stomper product which does the job beautifully.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 09:49

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 09:49
Good Morning Bill

Not long now for your great trip and I bet you can not wait.

I have posted a reply below to evaredy , but he has not replied as yet.

Can you comment on what would happen in a situation like this.



Cheers



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Reply By: Member Boroma 604 - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:44

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 10:44
Gooday,
Been down that road but it is not as easy as it may seem I found. I used heavy duty shade cloth attached the front end to the Tow hitch and used 'Occy Straps' at the caravan end. I used it for a few of trips but gave it away in the end. Had' Occy Straps' on either outer edge also going underneath, two of there, my major problem was when turning one or other of the straps would drop off. Tried using a pulley underneath the caravan to overcome the slack on turning but again little joy.
By all means do not let me dissuade you from having a go, but think you are better off to get the Real Stone Stomper and save your money, this guy has perfected it and I am sure he did a lot of experimenting before he got it right.
I finally made a Rock stopper as per pictures, have been using it for about 6 years, has done a good job, however went across The Great Central, Plenty, Donoghue and Tanami in 2010, did a wonderful job, however even though I used carpet for a cover instead of shade cloth as most use, it did act as a cushion to some extent not a trampoline effect like the shade cloth they use on these upright ones you see, I did discover when I got home and washed the Tow Vehicle, (Jeep Commander Diesel), the tailgate was peppered with little chips from small stones bouncing onto it.
I am going to invest in a Genuine Stone Stomper in the next few months, before I do any more long gravel road trips as the carpet on my home built job needs replacing any way.
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Reply By: Oldbrowny - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 11:41

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 11:41
Like you I was a little hesitant at shelling out the $550 for the StoneStomper and looked at ways to make my own. In the end I ran out of time and ordered one.

Once I received it, I was very happy that I went with them, the product is top notch in my opinion. Fitting, materials and design etc is very well thought out and good quality. I'm happy I spent the extra.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 12:50

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 12:50
I tried the DIY copy route with heavy duty shade cloth. Two attempts to get it to hang right, the third version was ok but the shade cloth cannot handle the abrasion from the stones and just disintegrated. Spent about $300 over 3 years and a number of trips.

I bought the real thing for our last couple of trips and now realise that is what I should have done in the first place.
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Follow Up By: Dermottj - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:01

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:01
Thanks for your input, I'm coming to the realisation that really, I'm best to bite the bullet and buy one! Was not initially so keen on the idea but I must admit to some reservation about spending less cash initially, a fair bit of time and perhaps the DIY version not doing the job.......may be a fairly sound investment by the sounds of things!
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:29

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:29
A major part of the cost was getting my DIY effort professionally sewn by my local motor trimmer.

I tacked it on my wife's machine but it could not accommodate the required heavy thread for the final job.

Also, my vehicle exhaust melted part of the first attempt, even though the exhaust was under the mat and had a down-turn. I ended up diverting the exhaust sideways behind a rear wheel to fix that little problem. That was another $90.

Too many hassles mate. Christian (the proprietor) has it all worked out. If exhaust heat is a possible issue, it might be worth asking him about that - I don't know how resistant to heat the truck mesh he uses is. But I do know that shade-cloth has no tolerance for it!!!!
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Reply By: Member - evaredy - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:07

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:07
I would just buy one, they are well worth the money.

Just remember to remove it when driving through mud.

Here is some photos of mine, it may give you some ideas.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 20:22

Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at 20:22
Hi evaredy

I have seen on a number of threads out not using them in mud. I was just wondering why and what is regarded as mud.?

Recently when we headed up to the Gulf country, we were on the main road from Boulia and Winton. Around half way across, they were doing major roadworks and a detour was involved. The detour was for about 5 kilometres and started off as a good dirt detour.

Then within about a kilometre, was a water truck wetting down the black soil detour. The further we went, the wetter it was and to be honest, I would not wanted to have been towning a caravan, as there may have been a very good chance of getting bogged, it was that muddy.

Why they were wetting down this black soil, I have no idea, as dust would have been far better, but by the time we were back on the main road, you would have thought we had just driven down a closed Birdsville Track, our car and camper were covered in thick black mud.

What would have you done in a situation like this, as there was no indication that the detour was going to turn into a real mud bath. Would it have damaged the Stone Stompers, to the point of tearing them with that typical black soil mud.

Just be interested to hear your thoughts please, as like many, I have plans to buy some.


Cheers



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Follow Up By: Member - evaredy - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 12:12

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 12:12
If I can see that things are getting worse, I will stop and remove it.
The mud will build to a point that it causes the material to drag on the ground, so rather than damage it, I prefer to remove it.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 13:34

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 13:34
Thanks evaredy

Not sure if it would drop right down. Why on earth they had the water truck on that black soil beats me. Like I said I would rather have dust than mud.

If you had to get out of your car the mud was around 3 inches deep and would have been real messy.

Cheers



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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:14

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 13:14
Long before Stone Stomper was common, I saw a few home made versions. Some were attached to the car by springs, but one was a clever system of pulleys for ease of tight turns. Photos of these and a variety of other stone deflectors, most of which are home made, can be seen on my web page “Photos of different concepts in stone guards taken courtesy of a number of different inventive travellers”. Direct link can be given privately if requested.

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Reply By: Iza B - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 14:30

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 14:30
Recently completed a new Trampoline style (like a Stone Stomper) rock protection for the van. First version did a couple of thousand k of dirt, including the road out to Birdsville and back. No damage to the van at all. Trampoline mat did not have apparent damage, just did not fit well enough for me, so a couple of mods and it is on mate's camper trailer.

Current version cost $17 in 70% shade mesh and $25 in 8mm shock cord. Van end is held in sail track screwed to van chassis. Front is supported across the width of the van by a sail batten cut to length. Shock cord runs the outside length all the way to the back of the ute (under the back of the tray and just higher than the tow bar) and another length of shock cord holds things tight to the A Frame so those pesky little ones don't get through. Couple of extra ties to the back of the vehicle from the sail batten to keep things nice'N'tight. Good size mud flaps with weighted bottoms seem to help performance of the system. The shock cord arrangement allows for quite tight turns and I disconnect the outside connections before doing any backing. Mostly I get to the storage on the A Frame without disconnecting anything. Trampoline is just wider than the van by about 20 mm. The thing flaps little at 90 k and being a bit loose seems to take the sting out of the rocks pretty quick. Careful measurement is the one hint I might make and having an offsider with sewing skills helped. I'm putting the difference in cost between DIY and bought into diesel.

'Ave a go, at worst you have to have two goes and lots of bits of shade mesh left over.

Iza
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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 14:58

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 14:58
The genuine Stone Stomper did a great job for us and after the Donohue, Oodnadatta and Birdsville Tracks and others in between on one trip it is still as good as new. We had no stone damage to van or tug. Just to be sure of avoiding damage to paint or back window was worth every cent. Saw some home made versions but most would be lucky to last one trip. Ours will go for years. If you look at really making something so practical, easy to use and durable it would not be cheap! Lynne and John
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Follow Up By: Dermottj - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 15:05

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 15:05
Thanks for your input! The more I hear the more I'm sure I'll be buying a Stone Stomper for our setup. I must say it's really great to hear all of the good stories about them, they just make sense and from all reports including input from members who have them here, they really do a great job of protecting the tow vehicle and caravan/camper trailer.
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Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 16:55

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 16:55
Dermott,
Although I do not have a Stone Stomper when towing my Tvan I agree with all of the comments concerning stone and sand blasting that occurs. I am sure you have thought of this but just in case it is relevant is the protection of the rear window of the tow vehicle. Of course your vehicle may not be suseptable however this appears to be the window that suffers the most damage. Certainly the Stone Stomper will reduce the possibility of damage but it is worth considering. I bought mine from Plasweld in Bendigo. It is made from polycarbonate it has travelled some 35000 km trouble free and is attached with suction cups. I just check the suction cups each morning.
Robert
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Reply By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 20:48

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 20:48
I looked at making my own, then looked closely at a Stone Stomper. I reckon they are worth the money. Also a great little company who really look after their customers.
PS. If you make your own or consider other products. Think about what happens when you run through (and sooner or later you will) heavy wet clay or mud.
Mike
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Reply By: Member - iijmartin - Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 21:16

Thursday, Aug 20, 2015 at 21:16
Hi
Another happy stone Stomper customer. Great fit for my new van. Great product and well worth $550 to protect an expensive off road van.
AnswerID: 589476

Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 00:33

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 00:33
Try this site. Scroll down to "stone guards"
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Reply By: Kyle H - Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 23:29

Friday, Aug 21, 2015 at 23:29

I made this one for my previous van used it for 6 years and must have done at least 50,000K with it. Worked well as no stone damage to van or car.
Cost around $100 to make.
Have recently upgraded my van and will bite the bullet and purchase a stone stomper this time around.
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Reply By: Bosun Broome - Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 08:41

Sunday, Aug 23, 2015 at 08:41
I too am a happy stone stomper - fitted it new in May in Adelaide then one week later had to escape William Creek because they were about to close the road because of heavy overnite rain. Halfway thru to C Pedy I stopped to help a stranded couple and to my dismay the Stomper was gone - all that was left were the clips and broken shock cord. Christian sent another one but I will never use one again in muddy conditions.
Cheers
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Reply By: DiscoTourer - Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 12:07

Monday, Aug 24, 2015 at 12:07
Stick with the real deal.

The price will be long forgotten once you have the piece of mind by having a stone stomper looking after your expensive CT and the back of your car.

Brett...
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