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Old 04-12-2008, 11:50 AM   #1
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Wheel well crack and insulation question

I have several questions to ask concerning my wheel wells.

1. There is a 6" crack in one (rear of street side) where the wheel well meets its flange as indicated by the arrow. Should I fiberglass this or use the aluminum/vulken patch that I have seen mentioned.
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2. I have seen discussion about inner and outer wheel wells. Mine only has the one plastic one and I did not see signs of another ever being there. Is that the way it was in the 1970 Overlanders?

3. Something is flaking off the underside. I assume it is undercoater. Should I worry about replacing that?

4. There was no insulation. I assume I should insulate it before reassembly. Right?

Other than the one 6" crack I have not noticed any other faults.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:39 PM   #2
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Hey Vernon, I can only speak from my experience with my '64 Sovereign to date and there are much more knowledgeable people here than I but I will tell you what I can.
With regards to the crack on your plastic wheel well cover, if you use fiberglass , I would think you would need to be sure that it would adhere/ key in to the plastic, I have seen plastic fiberglassed in part on surfboards here, but only on small areas. If it were me, I think I would go for the patch and even a high quality silicone/glue and seal the crack and clamp it till it cures somewhat.
I think when people refer to inner and outer wheel well covers they are referring to the one made of sheet metal that you can see from the outside of the trailer if you look up around the wheels themselves (see pic). On my trailer, the flanges running off these were placed and fixed under the ply flooring and on top of the steel chassis/framing. Following that, insulation was placed on top and around the well on the trailer interior side of the cover, then covered with a plastic cover similar to yours.
I'm not sure what is flaking off the underside of your cover, I do know that the plastic covers that I pulled out of my trailer are pretty marginal in terms of whether or not they are worth repairing, the old plastic is very brittle and perishing, and I think I will have to buy anew. Hope I have been of some help to you.
Pete
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Old 04-12-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
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Thanks Pete,

The way you describe it would be the way I would think it should be. However, my AS only has the single wheel well made of plastic and its flange was under the floor and above the frame. I did find the following diagram which was in a 1974 Airstream Service Manual which was loaned to me by a friend.
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I am not sure if I am missing the inner or the outer wheel well or with that year model that I am missing anything. From the diagram it would appear that maybe I am missing the interior wheel well cover since it apparently sits on top of the plywood floor. If that is the case I probably could get my sheet metal guy to fab up some out of aluminum an inch or so larger than the wheel wells and fill the space with some sort of insulation. Any suggestion guys and gals?

Here is a picture of the liner that is flaking off the bottom side of the wheel well. The piece on the left is the side toward the well. The piece on the right is the road side. It looks like some kind of an undercoater maybe put there to protect the plastic.

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Old 04-12-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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Yeah, your diagrams are essentially what I was trying to describe, maybe someone with a similar year model to yours will be able to shed more light on things as to why your trailer is the way it is. It sounds as though it is factory, being under the floor and all.

The insulation sandwiched between the covers on mine was the same as in the walls ( pink fiberglass batts we would call them here), from memory but as long as the exterior was well sealed, you could use any sort I reckon.

As for the samples from inside the wells, I can only speculate, a form of undersealer perhaps? I know on the outside, the wells on the sovereign have numerous seams that will need a once over to ensure a complete seal is reached even though I sealed as I went when reassembling. I want to make it as easy as possible for any water to free drain and not be drawn into any seams through capillary action.
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Old 04-12-2008, 05:04 PM   #5
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I am going with reflectex type insulation (bubble foil) for the rest of my AS so I guess I could also just wrap the wheel wells with that. I am not sure what other purpose the inner cover would serve. They will be out of sight.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:18 PM   #6
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I would go with an aluminum doubler and sealent. Mine were both cracked but in a different place and I sandwiched the plastic in between two pieces of aluminum and shot it all together with MS20470A5-X rivets. I don't think fiberglass would stick to this type of plastic.
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:29 PM   #7
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Thanks Kip,

I removed my wheel wells today and I could only find the one crack. I may double up everything or maybe just double up the cracked area with bent aluminum.

Speaking of bending aluminum I was wondering if you or someone else might be able to tell me if a flat sheet of aluminum could be bent to form an angle flashing to put on top of my rear bumper area. It would be a straight angle along the center section but curved on each end. I am not good at drawing so I made a model out of paper and took a picture of it.
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My plan would be to set this on top of the bumper storage area below the hinge and up against my shell to stop the ponding water from entering the rear. The belt line would go on top of it and with help from some Vulkem I would think it would work.

Do you think this can be formed with my friend's English wheel? What type of Aluminum would be best? I only have 2024-T3 now but could probably find some other.

Everyone's advise will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:50 PM   #8
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Might be easier to fabricate using your paper templates and weld if possible or vulkem- rivet the seam where the two faces meet.
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:34 PM   #9
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Back on the subject

I realize that I hijacked my own thread with my last post. Sorry about that! But getting back on the subject, does anyone know if a 1970 Overlander came with insulation over the wheel wells or if they had inner wheel well covers? Do you think that I need some?
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Old 04-21-2008, 07:13 PM   #10
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Orange Barrels are good for something

I took an "orange barrel" from which I cut out some patches. Pop riveted over the crack with silicone in between. Then spray on auto undercoating. So far so good.
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vhord
Thanks Kip,

I removed my wheel wells today and I could only find the one crack. I may double up everything or maybe just double up the cracked area with bent aluminum.

Speaking of bending aluminum I was wondering if you or someone else might be able to tell me if a flat sheet of aluminum could be bent to form an angle flashing to put on top of my rear bumper area. It would be a straight angle along the center section but curved on each end. I am not good at drawing so I made a model out of paper and took a picture of it.
Attachment 58608
My plan would be to set this on top of the bumper storage area below the hinge and up against my shell to stop the ponding water from entering the rear. The belt line would go on top of it and with help from some Vulkem I would think it would work.

Do you think this can be formed with my friend's English wheel? What type of Aluminum would be best? I only have 2024-T3 now but could probably find some other.

Everyone's advise will be greatly appreciated.
I could go into great detail on how to make this from a single piece of aluminum but the tooling involved would cost way more then you are most likely willing to spend. An English Wheel is unfortunately not the right tool. the cheapest route would be to fab up the two pieces from 6061 aluminum and have it welded up.

Kip
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:51 PM   #12
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[quote=Aerowood]I would go with an aluminum doubler and sealent.[ATTACH]

I made aluminum doublers to support the outside corner where the crack was. The opposite corners seem to be sturdy because they have the benefit of having a flange on two sides, not just one. Since the one had cracked there I decided to reinforce the others as well. I sealed them with vulkem in case any water tried to run down the aluminum from wheel splash. And of course I will seal them the the frame. Thanks for you help.

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Old 04-27-2008, 01:16 AM   #13
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In effect, I have had to do pretty much what you, yourself have done but to my steel covers. I was wondering if they were stress points. Great to see your progress.
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Old 05-21-2009, 04:48 AM   #14
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What Kind of plastic is the inside wheel cover?
If it is abs plastic I have found a good way to repair that I have found if you use PVC cleaner and PVC cement ment for PVC and ABS plastic (which I purchased at Lowes)
and DRY wall repair tape(it looks like screen) (which and come in sizes 2" to 6" ). First clean area then apply some cement to area then apply the tape then you put a couple layers of cement over the area after it has almost dyed I did this on the inside edge of my bath sink where the rivets are placed. Some of the rivet holes had cracked so I did this for support
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