UN­DER THE ARCHES

Sort your frilly arches with our gen­eral guide for cut­ting out the cor­ro­sion and weld­ing in new me­tal.

Classics Monthly - - Cooling System - WORDS AND PHO­TOG­RA­PHY ROB HAWKINS

Rusty and rot­ten whee­larches have been the Achilles’ Heel of car body­work for decades thanks to the road dirt, salt and wa­ter they are ex­posed to, which is thrown at them by the tyres at all four cor­ners.

Most arches are made up of an in­ner and outer panel with a gap in be­tween. The two pan­els are usu­ally joined at the whee­larch lip via a series of spot welds. Once wa­ter gets in be­tween the pan­els, cor­ro­sion can start to spread.

Whee­larch re­pair pan­els are avail­able for a num­ber of clas­sics, which saves time over hav­ing to fabri­cate your own, but just in case you need to make your own, we’ve shown how.

One of the big­gest prob­lems con­cern­ing whee­larch re­pairs is the ex­tent of the cor­ro­sion. This can of­ten stretch be­yond the area cov­ered by the arch re­pair panel, so a spare sheet of steel is al­ways use­ful in case you need to make up some ex­tra patches.

The fol­low­ing step-by-step guides show how to re­pair the rot in the whee­larches of a Mk1 Toy­ota MR2, Vaux­hall Cav­a­lier, Mk2 Mazda MX-5 and VW Type 2 Trans­porter, but most of the in­for­ma­tion can be ap­plied to the ma­jor­ity of clas­sic cars.

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