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Hi everyone,

Finally, after all the recent mechanical stuff, i am getting around to the only rust on my 88...the spare tire well. The PO admittedly allowed battery acid to drip into the well when replacing a bad battery several years ago. It along with water etc ate a hole in the bottom of the well about 4" long and 2" wide..i am sure the rest of the bottom is weakened. Anyhow, i'd like to replace the well with the one available from several sources and assumed the rim is tack welded to the trunk floor and sealed with seam sealer; however, while under the car the other day, it appears that a chassis member is also attached to the front portion of the well...not sure if welded but looks like it.

Has anyone recently replaced the well on a late s3 spider and what did you run into?

Thanks
 

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Holly, I have the same issues caused by a PO's battery acid leak on an '86. The body shop I have used for other cars recommends getting the replacement well from IAP. They plan to cut out most of the old well, but not the top part near the shock tower and passenger rear quarter panel, then cut the new one to fit and weld it in. I am not sure whether this is the best solution. Someone else suggested cutting out only the rusted spots at the bottom of the well and using fiberglass to repair. I'd also be interested if someone else has already replaced/repaired it.
 

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Curious too. I have a finger length rust through on my new Spider - same deal - battery leak. I was thinking of cutting the rust out, laying in a fiberglass piece. It is just a spare tire well, and it will rust again. But I am curious about welding in a new one, so will be following this thread with interest.
 

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after you repair it.. get some 1" wide x 1" thick x 3" long hard ruber strips, contack cement these to the floor at 90* each. this will allow air to pass between the tire and the floor.. leting the mosture out, and let air get around freely. then 2 times a year ,just rinse the wll out let air dry.. all better:):)
 

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Just remove the whole well. Cut around any welded brackets, then with the old well out of the way, drill out the spot welds or grind out any seam welds holding the rest of the old well onto the brackets.
Then weld in new well. Trust me, doing it correctly will take no longer than doing it incorrectly.
 

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The advice I received was the wheel well is not a structural piece and that a glass fibre repair would be OK. This is what I did to mine and it seems fine - its definitely a whole lot better than it was before!
I bought a good size kit and used several layers of the fibre mat to build it up. I treated the cleaned up metal with a rust converter solution before laying on the glass so hopefully it should last a few years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
i definately plan on replacing the whole well with the new aftermarket ones but was going to cut out the old spot welds in the trunk floor and remove then spot weld and seal a new one in--just the welded bracket underneath suprised me so i will prolly take the new well and the car to a decent body shop and have them cut out and weld in the new one..i certainly dont want any hamhandiness that your typical chevy/dodge/ford type repair shops might add to this and make it worse though...
 

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SpiderHolly, here is a suggestion (forgive me in advance):

Get the spare tire wheel well from a Ford Focus along with the emergency spare.
It will be smaller and lighter and give you more trunk space.

The em wheel from the Focus will fit...you will only have to carry 4 wheel nuts suitable for steel wheels if your are alloy....I used Honda Civic wheel nuts.

Again apologies to the purists, I beg forgiveness humbly......
 

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A bigger job than I thought !

Hi, I've replaced the spare tire well on my 86 Graduate. It was a bigger job than I was expecting. It's doable but I would not recommend to have this job done by your mechanic. It may easily takes many hours to do that correctly... it's not a tough job, just a time consuming job ! You will have to remove (cut) the battery tray, grind the right rear wheel well portion where the spare wheel well is attached. I had to cut the bracket in the trunk for the latch. The spare wheel well is also attached at some places under the car. I don't know if it's the case for all replacement spare tire well on the market, but I had to trim mine to fit it in the car. When I decided to do this job I was thinking that I will have to cut the older one, put the new one and weld it in. My point is that it's not a difficult job but it's not as simple as it could seem. Here is some pictures of my work on the spare wheel well.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachments/spider-1966-up/147917d1249697339-86-spider-complete-restoration-project-img_6578.jpg

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachments/spider-1966-up/147910d1249695817-86-spider-complete-restoration-project-100_0962-520-x-386-.jpg

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachments/spider-1966-up/150410d1252090702-86-spider-complete-restoration-project-100_1097.jpg

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachments/spider-1966-up/180801d1279320847-86-spider-complete-restoration-project-p1010527.jpg
 
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Greetings. I registered so I could post in this thread and ask for some advice about how to shoehorn the replacement pan into position. I'd like to contact dvoyer but can't PM him until I make 10 posts, so I'll break some photos into separate posts in this thread.

I am Alfaless. My friend Ben bought a 1986 Spider in the DC area a couple years ago. The body is a little rough but mostly rust free, and it really needed some attention to mechanical issues. Worn suspension, shifter pops out of reverse, lots of engine leaks. He drove it over to my house a couple months ago to do a little work on it and it promptly started leaking gasoline all over my asphalt driveway from a rusted gas tank. That little diversion started us down a very deep rabbit hole. After finding rusted-broken springs, etc. we ended up removing the entire driveline and suspension, and found some rust along the way. He's putting new everything back on the car, and we have huge piles of new parts to install. I'm doing the rust repair and will post up some more pics as we move forward.
 

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The rust is only through-going in a couple places; the usual suspects: battery tray area in the trunk, spare tire well in the trunk, one of the wheel wells, and a spot in engine bay. He bought a replacement spare tire well and I set about drilling out the spot welds and removing the old rusty piece.

Please allow me to share with you a head-scratching problem I'm dealing with: getting the new spare tire well pan into position. Here's a few pics...

The fuel tank has been removed and I've started to cut some spot welds. The battery tray on the right side of the trunk is still in place here.
 

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Here I've got the old pan out and have taken a flap disk on a grinder to most of the accessible surficial rust. The battery area is where the real problems are. I'm glad we decided to remove the old piece rather than effect a fiberglass/bondo repair, because the battery area was on the way to rust-through status in a few years. On the other hand, this is a lot of work.
 

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Here's what the new pan looks like in the trunk. Seriously tight fit. At the factory the original pan was obviously installed before the rear valance was attached; that part is welded in and it's a bridge too far for me.
 

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Here's the image dvoyer linked to in post #11 in this thread. He removed the rim of the pan at the wheel well at the 2:00 position, and he notched the rim at the 7:00 position to accommodate the trunk latch bracket. It's obvious his replacement pan is from a different manufacturer than Ben's. I ASSume this pan is the correct size, but it looks like I'm going to have to beat the crap out of it or possibly cut and reweld a seam in order to make it fit. I can cut out a piece of the old pan to protect the new pan if I have to whale on it.
 

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Since I'm only 60% of the way to my 10 post count, I'd greatly appreciate it if someone could PM dvoyer and ask if he could kindly chime in here and shed some light on this issue? Many thanks.
 

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I'm here !

I did that job few years ago but I remember that I encountered the same issue !

At some point I thought it would never fit... but it does fit well after some trimming.

You must trim the pan or bend the rim in a way to be able to slide it straight in the hole. On your picture we see a great angle and the pan will never slide in that way... I think.

Other option : a Big Fu$%$?% hammer ! Results may vary ;-)
 
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