Post Photobucket re-post..........................
I mentioned this problem just before I clocked off on New Years Eve.
Who hasn't struggled to hold their spare in position while you get the T bar started?
Who hasn't used towels stuffed round the lower edge to hold the spare in position?
Who hasn't ended up with an aching back after fighting the spare wheel into position?
Well, now I have a solution.
This is one of those ideas from "the ether". This is when a problem seems insurmountable, when suddenly a solution presents itself, and this happened over Christmas.
If you visit the factory, there's a scrap box in the wood shop and you are invited to help yourself to an offcut. These are small cuts of ply, usually from the rear wheel arches, so curved and tapered. They are all slightly different! - but over a few visits I've accrued a few pieces which rest on a shelf in the garage.
It seemed they were a bit pointless until I started looking at what I've got and found an almost matched pair. It took a small amount of fettling, but I was able to make them into a pair. They are curved and also slightly tapered.
The plan was to fit these two pieces to the cross timber which passes under and below the spare. The problem with it, is that this cross timber is only just below the centre line of the wheel, making it harder to judge where to fit, as the width of the wheel is only just below maximum at that point. The other problem was marking the position with the wheel in place, because access is very tight. I then found that the required holes are so close to the bodywork, that drilling all the way through was very tricky. Initially I was intending to use 4m or 5m long bolts with nuts, but because of the tight access I decided to use wood screws with a dash of PVA glue. Once this was determined I drilled the timber and countersunk the screw heads.
Next I did the first test fit:
That went well, so I did the other side:
At this point I refitted the spare, but the gap was too wide by quite a margin. Made worse by the curved sidewall of the tyre. I didn't want to get the wood too close in, because then it would have been much harder to adjust it outwards, but realistically I was almost half an inch too wide each side. This was no great problem because I had intended to use a rubber buffer on the wood, but as it turned out it took four strips each side of rubber sheet, with the top one tapered.
Here's another test fit:
Because these are visible, I decided to hide them. Black paint would have worked, but to save time I used an offcut of leather. I appreciate that leather isn't especially waterproof, but when the job was finished I sprayed the whole lot with Tectyl506. The cross timber is disguised with a neoprene strip on the upper edge.
This is the completed buffer with tapered upper edge and wax coated:
And here's the wheel, now self supporting - no more towels!!!
The job took about three hours at a steady pace, and I'm very happy with the result. The next one I do will be better from the experience I gained doing this one! For once I had to drill some holes in the Roadster....
And here's a bonus image. When I did this job on my Plus 4, I left the retainers in plain wood, which matches the clean surroundings of the clear underseal environment.......
A single strip of neoprene buffer was added to each side after fitting the spare and adjusting the gap.