Sunday 1 September 2013

E21 316: Inner-Arch Fix + MOT Prep.

Hacking out the inner wheel-arches at the back to make the 16x9s fit left them in a right state, with a big gap up inside the wing. Being where it is, the gap is wide open to dirt and water flinging up off the wheel ready to rot the body from the inside out, so as a temporary measure I covered the area in ally-tape. It worked well, but was never going to last long. I figured the inner-arch would be considered a structural part of the body and would need a steel fillet welding in, but it doesn't appear to be the case so fibre-glass will do.

The area is a bit big for filling in though, so I shot up to Halfords and bought a square-metre of fibre-glass matting, £4.29. You need resin to apply it, which is a bit dearer. A kit is available for £9.99 that includes a small bottle of resin and a small mat, otherwise resin starts at a fiver and hardener is extra. The recommended resin is polyester-based, so it stretches, but I figure that marine epoxy-resin, which can be used for fibre-glass, will do the job as it may not be as flexible, but sure is waterproof and rock hard. I also happen to have a litre of the stuff left over from some carbon-fibre projects a few years ago.

I weighed the fibre-glass mat up to the whee-arch and cut it into rough shapes. The instructions say to coat the mat in resin and then stick it, but I found it just as easy and a little less messy to brush a little resin onto the surface, then stick the pieces of mat on dry and brush in heaps of resin over the top. The epoxy is quite thick and stiffens quickly, so this may the only workaround method using this stuff. It's certainly done the trick, the fibre-glass is as solid as the metal and has stuck well even to the rough under-seal surface, lets just hope it doesn't flex too much and crack away. It should see me through the MOT next week and that's the main thing, but at least there's no mud being flung up into the wing anymore. A quick coat of red-primer and the tester may not even notice the difference...

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