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Old 05-02-2012, 08:45 AM   #1
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No wheel well protection?

My new-to-me 2007 Wildwood 376 tri-axle previous owner had a tire blow out at some point. Upon a recent inspection of the undercarriage I noticed this model year has no reinforced wheel well! The shredded tire tore up the undercarriage exposing bare would, insulation, and plumbing lines. Its a miracle the plastic plumbing lines weren't destroyed by the exploding tire. The only protection in the wheel wells is the material that covers the underfloor and insulation! What was Forest River thinking here? The plastic fender skirt was also cracked in several places. I now have to repair the damage to the undercarriage area so the exposed wood doesn't rot from road spray and debris and I am also going to fabricate a steel fender well to protect the undercarriage and plumbing lines, etc. that run right over the wheels. I was very surprised and upset to see this shoddy construction on this caliber toy hauler. Has anyone else experienced or noticed this? Have they made modifications on the newer models to better protect the undecarriage from exploding tires, like line the wheel well area with say 16 guage steel?
Frustrated to say the least.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:01 AM   #2
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No camper has ever been built with such protection.
I take it you never checked for damage when you bought it?
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:06 AM   #3
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Most are cheap plastic, and poorly attached, as well. I have to pull the wheels, resecure my inner fenders, and then re-seal around them, as I can see daylight (in seam cracks) and I want to eliminate any potential for water, insects, or rodents from having any entry way.

While I have the wheels off, I may look at taking some measurements and having replacement (steel or aluminum diamond plate) inner wells fabricated, so that a blow-out doesn't damage anything. I know that I have 12v, 120v, and both H&C water adjectent to the drivers side well, and 12v & 120v adjacent to the passengers side well.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:10 AM   #4
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I did, but never thought to look up inside the wheel wells. Actually checked other areas of the undercarriage and was impressed at the quality of the frame paint and condition for being five years old. I looked at sveral other toy haulers, Jayco and Cyclones, and the undercarriage paint was very thin and the frames showed surface rust. This one's orginal undercarriage paint looks good. I am certainly going to reinforce the wheel well areas with 16 guage sheet metal or even adapt a tri-axle fender to sit up in the hole. This will not happen to me again!
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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A tire pressure monitor system is also a good investment, and that would likely eliminate another tire shredding incident.
Even if you could not pull over right away when the monitor goes off, at least you could slow right down until a pulloff is available.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:17 AM   #6
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I have repaired many, especially last year, as a tech. I usually cut a piece of sheet metal, as big as I can make fit the opening and cover the joist on each side. Once cut, screw it up, with a screw every 6 to 8 inches. Be careful about pinching wires, water lines, etc. Once installed, I spray it down with automotive undercoating, the rubberized kind, and this should seal the whole thing up.

As to why it is not reinforced? None of them are. Go look at your car, it is plastic. My neighbor blew a right front on a Toyota Corolla last month, took out the entire wiring harness for the car, minimum damage to the fender. Insurance totaled the car, 2004 model.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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No, I understand many newer cars have plastic inner fender wells, obviously a weight saving feature. But, trailers are not cars, and catching a tire before it decides to blow even with an expensive tire monitoring system, at 60 - 70 mph. is not an easy nor full proof task. Tires will blow out. I read an earllier post where someone stated they wished trailer manufactures would put better, name brand tires on their trailers instead of the cheaper versions inlieu of a cable tv outlet outside. I'm going with windrider and reinforcing the wheel wells. Thanks for all the feedback guys!
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:15 AM   #8
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My Palomino came with sheet metal installed in the wheel wells (see pic). This is the first time I've seen one with this protection.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:19 AM   #9
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yes!! That's exactly what i was thinking. Not difficult to do. Thanks for the pic! And a Mustang lover at that! I restore 69/70 Mustangs as a hobby. Own several but that's another forum.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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yes!! That's exactly what i was thinking. Not difficult to do. Thanks for the pic! And a Mustang lover at that! I restore 69/70 Mustangs as a hobby. Own several but that's another forum.
Well come on down and I'll buy you a cold one. I'm in the middle of installing new floor pans and could use a 2nd hand Oops, back to the topic

Looking at mine it looks like it could be a simple mod. Since you probably have experience with sheet metal it would be a snap. May have to remove the tires for access.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:31 AM   #11
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Oh yeah, the tires will come off. Going to seal, paint, reinsulate the exposed area and recover it with some sort of material then line the whole area with sheetmetal like your picture. That looks like galvanized sheet metal which obviously won't rust but is toxic to weld. May just screw it in like Windrider says he does it.

Installed many a floor pan and whole floors! This will be easier for sure.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:20 PM   #12
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Installed many a floor pan and whole floors! This will be easier for sure.
Funny how floor pans looks so simple to replace, but take so doggone long. I guess if I was a better welder that would help
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:25 PM   #13
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... May have to remove the tires for access.
Looks like the tires need replaced also or re-grooved.
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:34 PM   #14
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Have seriously considered getting the steel tandem axle trailer fenders and alter to fit for inner fenders. Anyone tried that?
Shipshape Steel Tandem Fender ó 72in. Long | Trailer Fenders | Northern Tool + Equipment
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:45 PM   #15
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I used 12" wide flashing. It comes in a roll and I needed 56" for my wheel well on the curb side. Removed both wheels and coated top of sheathing with an adhesive which held it in place til I put screws in and sprayed with undercoating. looks like it came that way.Took about an hour
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:57 AM   #16
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I also considered the pre-made fenders. In may case they would have to be tri-axles and they aren't cheap, over $200 each. Flashing would work but is very thin. A steel belted radial coming apart at 60 mph would probably tear up the flashing. There's about 14" of width in my wheel wells so fenders would work, but to save some money and weight I think I'm going with 16 gauge galvanized sheet metal. Cut to fit and maybe turned down at the ends to deflect water away from the trailer bottom. Tucking the pre-made fenders up in there might be so much easier and definately stronger. Hmm...
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:57 AM   #17
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Looks like the tires need replaced also or re-grooved.
Lol. Them white tires sure don't have much tread.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:33 AM   #18
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Good Morning! I searched for this topic and found this thread. I had a similar case, but not well damage from a blow out; simply holes worn through the undercarriage "tarp" material from all four tires rubbing against it. I can't believe they don't protect that area somehow! Maybe they do more now, my TT is 6 yrs old.
There isn't much room for tire travel, it doesn't take much of a dip or rough terrain for the tires to touch the undercarriage.
Two months ago we got our first camper, an 06 Wildwood, with holes and exposed insulation above the tires, so I temporarily patched them with duct tape to prevent more damage. Well, I just finished the more permanent fix suggested in this thread and covered the underside with sheet metal, stainless screws and undercoating. Here's a few pics...
Started with 2 pcs of duct metal. Slide side needed trimmed a bit - other side, simply flattened the duct, was the perfect size:
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Then sprayed both with undercoating.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:47 AM   #19
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My Palomino came with sheet metal installed in the wheel wells (see pic). This is the first time I've seen one with this protection.

My V-Lite has the same material in the wheel wells. IMO not near thick enough to withstand a tire coming apart at 60mph but better than nothing. Still working on a permanent solution.
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:48 AM   #20
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Looks like you need to consider raising the trailer a couple of inches to get more clearance or some other means of increasing the clearance (new springs, heavier Alko axles, etc). You did a very good, neat job on the lining, but am afraid it will be all for naught the first time you get on a rough road.
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