Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Repairing a Cracked Tire Cover

OK, so some supposedly immoveable object jumped right behind your LD as you were backing up and it cracked the fiberglass tire cover. Oh woe is you....what to do? Here are some tips for a DIY repair:

The spare tire cover on every LD, manufactured in the last ten years or more, are made out of plastic, not fiberglass.

One can repair cover cracks using PVC or ABS solvent plumbing cement forced into the crack and then covered on the inside with a glued on sheet of PVC or ABS plastic. The PVC glue seems to soften the plastic deeper than ABS, leading to better bonding.

<http://www.homedepot.com/buy/plumbing-plumbing-accessories-pipe-cement-primer-cleaner/oatey-16-oz-pvc-clear-solvent-cement-161500.html>

<http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/Sheet-Stock-1YYG3?Pid=search>

When the cover and repair sheet are glued, the solvent melts the two surfaces together. Place tape over the outside of the cover before gluing to prevent damage to the paint, cause by glue squeeze out.

A fiberglass patch may work fine but is a lot of messy extra work, compared to the plastic patch. Make the patch too stiff and the cracks will reappear elsewhere. (See below for details on using a fiberglass patch.) The small West System repair packets contain enough material for a fix, if desired.

It is best to prevent cracks by not allowing the cover to hang open without placing a support under the end of the cover. The covers can be be very flimsy, depending on the production run.

Protect the mounting hole with a large nylon washer placed under the acorn nut. The link below is to a photo of a repair piece Larry Wade recently made. The mounting hole in the tire cover had completely blown out, leaving nothing to glue.

<http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwade/7210354508/in/set-72157623383483881>

Contributors: Larry Wade, John Woodruff, Ken Fears
Revised: 17 May 2012
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