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Old 10-20-2006, 03:27 PM   #1
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1955 16' Bubble
Bend , Oregon
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Wheel well replacement.

I often wondered what would happen if a wheel rim separated during towing, have you? Well wonder no more because here are some pictures just for you. The exterior skin no problem with replacement, I am going to order it very soon. The wheel well that is a completely different story. It is not so round anymore and has several tears. Where in the North West US area could I find some one to re-fabricate me a new set? I believe they are galvanized steel so I thought stainless should be the way to go since the wells touch both the aluminum and the steel frame. Just so that there is no chance of dissimilar metals corrosion. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:34 PM   #2
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Stainless and aluminum will still make a battery. The best approch would be, to prime the aluminum with a good epoxy primer, and then put a good sealent between the mating surfaces before reassembly, regardless of what materail is used for the wheelwells.

Kip
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:36 PM   #3
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Mild steel with POR15 might be a cheaper way to go and easier to find. SS would be nice if you can find a supplier/fabricator.
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:42 PM   #4
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Question Galvanized

So I could remake as it was originally done.
Prime the aluminum
Prime the galvanized steel
Lots of Vulkm
Attach away
Sound like a good plan?
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:51 PM   #5
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Sounds good, but be sure to etch and alodine the aluminum first and clean the galvinized with acid etch or vineger before priming, then start pounding rivets. These steps are always the first ones omitted, but it is the metals biggest defense against corrosion.
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:55 PM   #6
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BB 55,
Sorry to hear of your problem.

Regarding the wheelwell material, using stainless steel (SS) is no guarantee that you will not have corrosion where steel and SS or aluminum and SS meet.

While there are various grades of stainless, all are within a similar galvanic range, and they are all different from the value for carbon steel, 6062 aluminum and others. This value indicates whether a metal will be sacrificed to another when electrolysis occurs due to moisture. For instance, aluminum will be sacrificial to steel and stainless steel type 304, and steel will be sacrificial to stainless steel type 304.

Three references for this:
Summary discussion of galvanic corrosion and some minimization methods:
http://www.ocean.udel.edu/seagrant/p...corrosion.html

A general discussion of dis-similar metals in contact:
http://www.assda.asn.au/asp/index.asp?pgid=18533

Dis-similar metals with seawater as the electrolyte (roughly analogous to water with roadsalt): http://www.corrosionsource.com/handbook/galv_series.htm

On my Bambi, I would like to fabricate a plastic insert fender which could shield the existing wheelwell and outriggers from the roadspray. I haven't yet looked into the practicality of this yet, however.
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Old 10-20-2006, 05:03 PM   #7
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I don't know what size wheels and tires you have, but you may want to put larger wheel wells in when you have them made.

Then you have the option of putting Marathon or other larger tires on. You can also cut the wheel openings a little larger if needed.
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Old 10-21-2006, 06:47 PM   #8
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wheel wells seem to be a problem area. has anyone ever considered rhino lining the wheel wells? know this would not have prevented a rim separation but how would it be for protection against general road crud? dave
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Old 10-21-2006, 08:40 PM   #9
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Lightbulb lining

I plan on using a DYI bed liner in the wells when all said and done. In addition to the wells getting a good coat I plan on doing the belly pan also. Thin metal with a extra little somthing to protect from the rocks will keep me happy, I hope. More weight I know but I controll how much goes on!
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Old 10-22-2006, 06:13 AM   #10
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what type of dyi bed liner do you have in mind?
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Old 10-22-2006, 11:46 AM   #11
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For a truly hillbilly $50 repair I might seriously consider making a "hybrid" replacement, say the corners and angles made from cutting apart large black plastic cement mixing tubs with the flat areas being .040 aluminum. Double up the plastic corners w/ inner and outer moldings and same for aluminum flat panels, use large overlaps so they will be leak proof with a little bead of vulkem; and be generous with pop-rivets and washers. A heat gun can coerce flanges that dont lie flat too...

Truly interested how you procede, the above is back of napkin 'need to get back on road' repair...
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:05 PM   #12
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BB: please post pictures of what you do. We had a blow out that seriously trashed the wheel well on my 72 Safari. (Goodyear marathon LR-D with less than 3k miles) It happened almost in the middle of nowhere in Montana and we did some battlefield repairs with a piece of sheet metal cut to fit with a sawsall, some screws and gaffers tape. I've heard some horror stories here on the forums about the damage a blow out can do so I guess we were lucky it didn't take out the plumbing since it was streetside rear. Still, it was quite a mess, actually burning a hole in the plywood subfloor and spraying tire fragments into the closet and galley cupboards.

The really scary thing is that the AS tows so well we didn't know we'd blown it and it was the most miraculous synchronistic thing that we decided to pull over and switch drivers. I opened the door to the trailer to get something and the whole thing was completely filled with smoke so I couldn't even see in. Talk about a heart stopping moment!! I screamed to my boyfriend that the trailer was on fire and he got out and saw the blown tire.

Getting intimate with the wheel well made me realize just how flimsy they are. Rhino liner sounds like an interesting fix.
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:35 PM   #13
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Lightbulb The well

If you look at the picture in my original post the wheel wells are sitting on the frame, I have the shell off of the frame. This was a planed fix during my restoration of the trailer. The semi-permanent fix that was performed on the trailer after the accident was I placed a small sheet of 0.032 All-clad over the tear and made it look as close as possible as a panel. I have heard of some people placing a door over damage and doing a locked closed and forget. As for the well I was forced to re-rivet the well in the position that it warped into. I tried some gentle and not so gentle persuasion to move it into the original holes but it did not work. SO... I hid the rivets for the well behind the panel that I fabricated. On the inside of the well a generous bead of Vulkum was placed to seal out the moisture. Where the well was accessible in the trailer I did the same. I wish I had a picture of the fix but it is long gone SORRY, but I hope that this could help.

I am going to replace an entire section of the exterior skin where the well is located. I plan to have the well remanufactured. The biggest issue I have run into is the radius of the well has a 1/2 to 3/4 inch lip that has the holes to attach to the skin. No can make it like original in my area so I was attempting to branch out and locate additional resources.
Beau
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:02 PM   #14
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I,ll send you a PM with my phone number. Call me and I'll tell you how to make the flange yourself along with how to make the wheel well at home in the garage with nothing but hand tools.

Kip
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