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Old 03-08-2016, 02:29 PM   #1
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1965 24' Tradewind
Smalltown , New Hampshire
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Suggestions Repairing This Skin Rip

Hey Folks, First time posting here, about to jump in with both feet on our 65 Tradewind. Been thinking about this particular repair for a while, would love some ideas on how to tackle it. Exhibit A:

Thanks for any input!


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Old 03-08-2016, 02:35 PM   #2
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It'll always be visible, but if you've gotten past that find a talented aircraft A & P who loves working with sheet metal. He can fashion a "nickel and dime" type patch (cut out the damage, back it with another sheet of aluminum, and rivet in the repair on top of that). It's an art form, so again you need someone who loves sheet metal work, not just a metal bender...


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Old 03-08-2016, 02:49 PM   #3
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Initially, I was thinking the same thing (well, not nearly as in depth as your suggestion). My first thought was if you follow the straight line of the top of the wheel well back, you would just clear the top of the tear and then you could cut out a rectangular section so to at least make it appear a bit less of a repair and more like just another panel. But I agree that it would probably be best to find someone who know what they're doing.

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Old 03-08-2016, 03:43 PM   #4
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Go to and look up the nearest chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Those people build airplanes for a hobby, and lots of them are good sheet metal workers. Or, the above suggestion, try the local general aviation airport for a professional A&P mechanic who likes to do sheet metal.
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Old 03-08-2016, 03:50 PM   #5
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Great suggestions folks! Actually, I live near a fly-in community and I think I know someone that lives there. Think I'll get in touch.

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Old 03-09-2016, 11:57 AM   #6
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I agree that you're talking about a patch panel of some type & size, with the size & layout to look original-ish - plus you may have behind the AL sheet damage + around the corner into the wheel well damage to repair.

Looks like tire blow-out damage to me.

While an aircraft A&P may be able to do it for you, another option would be a good AS resto shop up your way. Since Vintage Trailer Supply is up your way, try calling or emailing the owner Stve to see if he can recco someone to help you out.

Note that they'll need to use the proper type & gauge of aluminum alloy to match the skins on it.

Also make sure that they either do Buck Riveting on the outer skin as they did originally - if they have back access, or else to use the Olympic shaveable rivets & shaver to make it look original. VTS has write-ups on it & sell the kits too - if you or the shop wants one (I got their kit for Xmas to re-rivet some belly pans & elsewhere on our `60 Avion).

Good Luck!
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:36 PM   #7
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Great Info Tom, thanks so much!

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Old 03-09-2016, 12:50 PM   #8
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We saw a really cool patch at the dealership in the Pasadena area on a vintage trailer. It was in the shape of a whale or dolphin which was going to be the theme of the restore - ocean and sea mammals. You can personalize it with a cool patch and make it all your own - one of a kind!
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:30 PM   #9
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Here are some decorative patches.

It's been years and I couldn't locate it with a search, but I saw a vintage owner who had a chewed up wheel well. He used an English Wheel and formed a patch that went around the entire opening - buck riveted it, then did the other side to match. Made the well appear to bulge out an inch or two and be a feature of the trailer. it even swept back behind the wheel. Very streamlined looking - a little reminiscent of a dually truck.


I'll spend a few more minutes on a google search

Look at post #7 - this isn't the one I remember, but very similar! You could even do something like painting it red and having it tail off in flames... Of course both sides would have to be done.
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Old 03-09-2016, 06:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
Of course both sides would have to be done.
Maybe not, you can only see one side at a time.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:05 PM   #11
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Kind of like a new Caravan I saw many years ago that came into a dealership with Dodge markings and trim on one side and Chrsyler markings and trim on the other.
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Old 03-09-2016, 07:18 PM   #12
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I repaired a similar (but smaller) booboo by trimming out the damaged section and making the wheel well slightly larger.
In my case I only needed to make the wheel well about 1.5" longer and 1" higher. I'm not sure that would work here because the rip is right up to the outrigger. You would need to cut right up to the outrigger and then use a spoon to work out the wrinkle that's behind the outrigger.
I was putting on larger tires so the larger wheel openings helped with mounting and dismounting the tires. If you went this way you would need to make sure it looks proportional. You would also want to open the wheel opening on the other side so it looks balanced.
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Old 03-10-2016, 05:59 PM   #13
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Hello, I would not cut any of the damaged area. drill stop the crack and fabricate what we in the aircraft world is a doubler. cut and follow the contour of the wheel well and rivet with field fasteners (Blind rivets) follow a pattern of rivet separation that looks like it the rest of the TT and it will not only look custom, it will look like it was from factory.
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Old 03-10-2016, 08:15 PM   #14
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I would make some fender skirts like on a 50's car if you wanted to hide it. Personally I think if you cut it out and patched it no one would notice unless you pointed it out.

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