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Old 07-10-2009, 11:04 AM   #1
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Floppy wheel wells

My newly acquired 1967 Tradewind has wheel wells that are really easy to move and am wondering what originally provided some rigidity to the aluminum in this area.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:10 AM   #2
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Do you mean the outside aluminum that is in front of the wheel wells? As far as I can tell from our 67 rig, that was "designed in" (and not the best design). They're rather floppy and curvy.

I strengthened ours by getting a couple of pieces of 1/4" angle, drilling holes, and mounting them behind it all using the original rivet holes that hold the moulding on the outside. Just use longer rivets.

But maybe I don't have a good idea about what you're referring to. And that also would not be surprising, given my poor mental state.


Lynn
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:16 AM   #3
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Clarification

All around the entire opening above ,front and rear of the wheels is really loose and easily flexed in and out.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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All around the entire opening above ,front and rear of the wheels is really loose and easily flexed in and out.
Yep, I think we're on the same page. It was the same on ours, much less so after the "fix."


Lynn
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:42 AM   #5
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So, did you use aluminum angle? Would love to see some pics of your fix. hard to believe it was designed that way!
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #6
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All around the entire opening above ,front and rear of the wheels is really loose and easily flexed in and out.
When wheel wells are loose, as you described, the cause is lack of proper running gear balance, almost everytime.

They not only get loose on the inside, but the outside wheel well gets loose with it.

No matter what you do to fasten them back down, seemingly permanently, they will only fail again, until such time as the running gear is properly balanced along with having axles that are not bottoming out.

Road shock and vibration, is the cause, not poor design.

Andy
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:53 AM   #7
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So, did you use aluminum angle? Would love to see some pics of your fix. hard to believe it was designed that way!
No, I used steel, but only because of availability at the moment. If I come across some appropriate aluminum angle, I'll probably replace the steel, which is too strong and heavy anyway.

(BTW, our local Habitat store in Taos often has a good stock of various aluminum rounds and odd-shaped angles, usually from old bathtub doors, surrounds, and the like. It's surprising how much of this stuff winds up on either the Airstream or our old MG.)


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Old 07-10-2009, 01:09 PM   #8
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Thanks Andy,

I will keep the cause in mind and will definitely do what I can to prevent it once I get the new axles and such. Any ideas on the remedy now that the damage is done?
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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Thanks Andy,

I will keep the cause in mind and will definitely do what I can to prevent it once I get the new axles and such. Any ideas on the remedy now that the damage is done?
Reassemble as best you can.

For the metal outer wheel well, plate it as necessary, add Vulkem underneath that plate and around it's outer edges. Fasten it with pop rivets.

Let the Vulkem cure out for a couple of days, then spray some autoo "underseal" over the patch, 2 or 3 times. Then, spray the entire outer wheel well a couple of times.

Refasten the inside wheel well as best you can. Again, if you need to plate it, that's ok, but use Vulkem under the plate, and around the edges. Use pop rivets.

If you need to beef up the edges, use some aluminum angle that you can purchase at Home Depot.

New wheel wells are available, but their configeration is a little different from the old style.

Make sure you don't forget the fiberglass insulation, between the 2 wheel wells.

Andy
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Old 10-23-2009, 08:23 PM   #10
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my 1959 tandem axle, the metal above the wheel wells looks like its bent, crinkled and has a rip about 6 inches up and it looked like someone along the line tried to reinforce and pop rivet together to get it to hold,.......being new to airstream my guess would be since it has it on both sides and is almost at the peak or center of wheel wells, that maybe there was a tire blowout or a axle failure sometime??? again being new to airstream I'll have to figure out how best to cut out this section of twisted / ripped metal and replace with new aluminum but I suppose a small say 10" high by 18" wide patch riveted in will look goofy too.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:24 PM   #11
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For what it's worth, I notice that the wheel wells in my trailer are attached at the top to a frame member with a small aluminum strap. This goes a long way toward preventing relative movement between the wheel well and the shell.

John
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Old 01-25-2010, 09:04 AM   #12
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John,

Any chance you could take and post a photo of the strap you speak of?

Thanks,
Michael
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Old 01-26-2010, 02:11 PM   #13
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Michael,

Here are photos; one for context and one for detail. I erred in indicating that there is a separate strap. In fact it is an extension of the inner flange of a "Z" shaped framing member bent and riveted to the top of the wheel well. In these photos, the connection has been undone by removal of the rivets into the wheel well.

John
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:31 AM   #14
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Thanks for the Pics

Mine does not have this support. I think I'll be adding it though.
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