Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wheel Well Moldings-NEW

Sorry, but since someone asked this evening, I realized I never posted this-written last fall!
To finish off the moldings on our class C, I had to make my own fiberglass moldings for the wheel well openings.
 Similar to the front cab-over moldings made and described in other posts, the wheel well moldings took a bit of imagination and effort to complete. Not difficult, but many steps. The end product looked GREAT I think!

 Removing the old aluminum factory installed moldings was the first step, then cleaning the raw material and covering/sealing the area to be protected with the same aluminum/rubber "flashing tape I used on the vertical corners and bottom moldings.

 Using a piece of large flat cardboard, I traced the outline of the now 'bare' opening to make a pattern. In my garage, I cut the pattern out and placed it on some Pink board insulation material(blue board is the same Extruded Polystyrene). Doubled it for adequate thickness for a 'One Off Mold'.

 Bought a 2' x 4' piece of plywood that had a smooth Formica type surface on one side at my local Home Depot and used it for my work platform (shown above)and release surface(the opposite side of this board). I waxed the white side of the board 3-4 times to create the easy release surface I would want later. Taped the cut out template made from the foam insulation and covered the insulation on all surfaces that would possibly see resin, with packing tape and clear plastic sheeting so nothing would stick to the foam. I waxed the tape to make sure it too, released quickly with only slight pressure when done. I wanted a Quick Release and no mess after I got done with the layers of fiberglass.

 When ready, I brushed on 2 coats of Gel Coat, a fiberglass resin with added white pigment. (a bit hard to  see here but it's there) This would be what you see when the job was done. To that, I began to layer up 6-7 layers of precut fiberglass cloth 4" tape. (short 4-6" strips made it easy to apply around corners) Slowly built up the layers then left it to harden.

 The next day, I popped the new crude moldings off the foam insulation and then had to mark and trim off the excess with an electric sabre saw, leaving a molding approximately 2" x 2".

 A little sanding and touch up and the 2 parts were now ready for paint.

 I did use White Gel Coat to get some white color to the parts, but spray painted them with the same paint I used to spray the corner off white.
**Keep in mind that the aluminum/adhesive rubber Flashing Tape is what REALLY seals everything from moisture and degradation.  The fiberglass or PVC moldings are only added for aesthetic/clean, industrial look.

 Looks good huh!