Wheel well woes - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-07-2012, 03:42 PM   #1
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Wheel well woes

Still working on our 73 Love Bug. Floor is in! "Oh happy day". Now to the wheel wells. The passenger side wheel well is usable, the driver side is another story. There was a blow out at some point and a PO "made it work. See the pictures. The one with no base is the worst of the two. They are both very thin but the edges of the broken one are almost eggshell thin.

Guess I'm going to either repair the broken one or make a new one. Don't think I can work from the inside of the wheel well as there is tar embedded in the fiberglass on the tire facing side of the well. Fiberglass won't stick, right? I don't know where to start.

Ideas anyone?

Cathy
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:55 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Cat futrell View Post
Still working on our 73 Love Bug. Floor is in! "Oh happy day". Now to the wheel wells. The passenger side wheel well is usable, the driver side is another story. There was a blow out at some point and a PO "made it work. See the pictures. The one with no base is the worst of the two. They are both very thin but the edges of the broken one are almost eggshell thin.

Guess I'm going to either repair the broken one or make a new one. Don't think I can work from the inside of the wheel well as there is tar embedded in the fiberglass on the tire facing side of the well. Fiberglass won't stick, right? I don't know where to start.

Ideas anyone?

Cathy
Pictures??
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:59 PM   #3
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oops, sorry
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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one more
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:01 PM   #5
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You have great looking toes.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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The thing about fiberglass is that you can mold it inside the well and once it is cured, it is hard. I would clean the tar off as much as possible and then use a woven fiberglass fabric and do multiple layers. Be sure to WET the well with the resin and be sure to saturate the fiberglass all the way through when you ROLL it into the well. The woven fabric fiberglass really does a great job. If it does not stick to the part where there is some tar, it will still harden up and form to the well. It's not hard, just messy. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and old clothes and have the setup prepared where you will have the wells upside down and stable. Look for fiberglass patch kits at auto stores (Autozone) or ask a body shop. You need some kind of a roller like what they use when hanging wallpaper to roll the wet cloth before it cures. It gets the bubbles out.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:15 PM   #7
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Heat

This tar may be the spray-on asphalt stuff. You can buy it in aerosol cans at your favorite auto supply store. I had this stuff on my trailer frame. I found that if I heated it up, I could scrape it off. I was working on metal, so I'm not sure if this would work on your wheel wells. If you can scrape the tar off, would your repair be easier? Its just a thought.

Also, if your repair is less than perfect, you can hide the repair under a new coating of new asphalt. Saying this, I am not sure why someone would use this product on fiberglass. Its intended as a rust preventive.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:30 PM   #8
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Also, if your repair is less than perfect, you can hide the repair under a new coating of new asphalt. Saying this, I am not sure why someone would use this product on fiberglass. Its intended as a rust preventive.
Are you sure it was asphalt in a can, or bedliner material?

Lots of folks use spray or rollon bedliner stuff to protect the front (or wheel wells) from rock chips. Some brands are rubbery where others are much harder.
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:39 PM   #9
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Donna, bedliner would be a sensible product to use here. The initial post did say tar....

I wonder how hard it would be to find plastic generic wheel wells. On the boler, the wheel wells are hidden inside cabinets. If you can find something in the correct dimensions, perhaps this would work? Here is a link to start.

Wheel Wells
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:42 PM   #10
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You have great looking toes.
She said "wheel well woes", not toes.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:39 PM   #11
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Thanks Darwin.. Such good information from everyone. I'm pretty sure it's tar, as in black top. It is a 40 year old trailer, and I remember in the good ole' days when there would be a road crew resurfacing a black top road and you had to drive on it to get through, or some times it was slightly melted from the heat, it would sling tar up onto the wheel well of the car.

Thanks for the link Derek, I just checked it out, ouch.. I think I'm going try and to give it a go and save a some money. I did try to scrape the stuff off, got some of it off but got lots of fiberglass too. These things are so thin, I don't want to patch any more holes than I have to.

So here is where I am. I have sanded all around the edges on both the inside and the outside. Exposing about an inch of bare fiberglass on the right side (that would be the side that is towards the cabin) and tapered it to the gell coat. Same method as hole patching but can't expose much more bare fiberglass without real risk off breaking more off.

Darwin, I want to make sure that I follow.. are you saying to create a "new wheel well within the old one and then just leave the old on on when Im done? This could work, as long as the extra bulk doesn't get me into trouble. The existing wheel well was cut off and is too small, height and width.. but only about an inch or so. I have been using fiberglass mat for our other repairs and I know that it will stand up alone making it less complicated to add that missing inch. Is there a reason that you suggested fabric rather than mat?

Cathy
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:46 PM   #12
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oops, forgot the pics again.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:07 PM   #13
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Thanks Darwin.. Darwin, I want to make sure that I follow.. are you saying to create a "new wheel well within the old one and then just leave the old on on when Im done? This could work, as long as the extra bulk doesn't get me into trouble. The existing wheel well was cut off and is too small, height and width.. but only about an inch or so. I have been using fiberglass mat for our other repairs and I know that it will stand up alone making it less complicated to add that missing inch. Is there a reason that you suggested fabric rather than mat?

Cathy

Cathy,

I agree with Darwin's suggestion. Add what you need and overlay the existing wheel well. You won't add much "bulk". Even if you put on a couple of layers the thickness will only increase by about an 1/8".

First layer should be mat. Second layer can be woven roving or cloth.

Woven roving is heavier than cloth. Cloth is very easy work with, conforms to the shape much easier.

If the black stuff is tar it should dissolve in solvent. I probably wouldn't worry about. Just get rid of any bumps etc.

Ron
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:14 PM   #14
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Yes, That is what I was suggesting. Another layer inside the well.

The woven fiberglass is really strong because it is continuous strands of glass woven into a fabric. Mats are bits and peaces of fiberglass and noncontinuous like when they use a chop gun. It could determinate where woven fabric is more prone to stay where it is, it's just stronger.

The woven would give a better product on top of the stuff that the resin will not stick to.

Your final product will be a thicker well.

I don't think you would make it so thick that you would have to worry about the tire hitting it.

Some resins will not stick to other resins. Epoxy and polyester (I dated her in High School) and I can't remember what sticks to what. If you have already used some on the egg and it adhered, then you must B using the right kind.
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