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Old 08-08-2014, 10:19 AM   #1
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1961 22' Spaceliner
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How much to fab new wheel wells?

I considered trying to salvage these wheel wells off my '61 single axle Safari...even spent hours getting the rust off and cleaning them up, but now I am resigned to replacing them.

I talked to a metal fabricator and he said that the outside taper is too hard for him to do cost effectively and I should go to an HVAC fabricator.

Anybody know what I should expect to pay to fab these 2 wheel wells?
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Old 08-08-2014, 10:35 AM   #2
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I'm sure I've seen re-fabricated single axle wheel wells on an airstream parts website. Try a search in the forums, it may come up.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:22 AM   #3
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Consider having those encased in fiberglass at a boat repair facility. It won't add much weight or wall thickness but they will be very strong.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:43 PM   #4
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I looked into getting some fabbed up locally about a year ago, and depending on how nice I wanted them (Pittsburgh seams, etc), they could cost as much as $350 for the pair, which seemed kind of steep. You might be able to find something that will work on Ebay, just search for "wheel tubs", and you will find many guys who make them for the muscle car world. David Winnick also used to sell them on his website, vintagetrailering.com, and I think his prices were somewhere just north of what the local guys were asking.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:15 PM   #5
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David Winick has them here:
vintage airstream and other classic travel trailers

$350/pair
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:17 PM   #6
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I paid $300.00 four years ago for a duct work man to fab mine out of galvanized metal. That was for tandem axles plus that included remaking the bottom pan for the black holding tank.
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Old 08-08-2014, 06:41 PM   #7
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Thanks all,

The fiberglass idea is interesting but I would like to end up with shiny sheet metal if possible.

Dave's not selling the wheel wells any more. Shipping problems I guess.

I finally found a shop that does duct fab that is getting me an estimate. The tough parts seem to be the Pittsburgh seam, the tapered top with the flange that goes around the top. It requires special tool and machines to do it cost effectively and most "sheet metal fab" shops don't have 'em.

Dave says they don't need to be tapered and there is a normal gap at the top where it connects to the body, but my originals were clearly riveted all the way over the top. My local AS service guy says they need the taper.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:35 PM   #8
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I paid $130 a pair the last time I had them made.
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:31 PM   #9
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Ugh, didn't go so well. They looked great and when placed over the old ones appeared to be a good match. But when I went to install, the flange on the sides didn't line up with the old rivet holes so I had to double up the rivets in places (one to fill the old hole and one to secure the flange).

My 2 wheel wells were different from each other. The guy said he was going to have to take them apart and flatten them out to use as templates...but he didn't take them apart and I never found out why.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:20 PM   #10
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I paid $130 a pair the last time I had them made.
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You have got to love the price of things in the Republic of Texas!!!
In 1/16" aluminum, my guy would charge me $250, maybe $350 each.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:22 PM   #11
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I would go the fiberglass route, not doubt. Since you have rather complete tubs you can to it yourself. A can of resin, some hardener and glass matt and you are in business. Tons of youtubes on how to fiberglass things. Once you get them covered, a little sanding and body filler and they will look great. I basically remade the fridge vent in my 68 and saved a ton over the price of a new one. As for the color, a good coat of paint will make it look anyway you choose. A West Marine or Auto body store will have the supplies you need.
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Old 09-10-2014, 03:50 PM   #12
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About 60 bucks for the pair at an ac frabricator!
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:41 PM   #13
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I don't know if they will fit, but I saw several on the big auction site yesterday....
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:41 AM   #14
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My take away for future readers needing to replace or fix wheel wells is that they must vary across models and if you have ones similar to mine, you may be better off patching as others have done. Here are some pictures...
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