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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently got a project whaletail from Tweek and figured I would start a thread that would chronicle my attempt to disassemble, repair, and mount it.

First of all, there are some good resources on the web already available. Including in these, is a fabulous guide that Turbocon put together. It can be found here:

http://www.saabce.com/Media/PDF/Whaletail_Restoration.pdf

Now, to the whaletail in need of repair!




The work done so far:

1. Separating the rubber from the composite/fiberglass tail:

This is necessary because the rubber strip that is embedded within the rubber of my whaletail was rusting, causing obvious swelling, fitment, and durability issues. The rubber is held on by several metal studs that can be accessed by flipping the spoiler upside down. Doing so, you'll see the following. The red circles are areas in which you will find the studs secured:





Gaining access to the studs is easy enough, but removing rusted ones is a different breed of evil. I'd recommend getting a good supply of Band-aids, PB Blaster, and sufficient tools (especially deep sockets). Rust does nasty things and it astonishes me that a spoiler would rust like these did, especially considering its position on the vehicle.

Once the rubber is off, you get the following:




Now, with everything separated, step 2 begins: removing the rusted metal band and studs....coming later tonight!
 

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Looks good Andrew. I've done a couple real and repro (SAS) tails. I wish you luck on the metal band inside the rubber lip. That was always the PITA I hated to deal with, hence the SAS tail on mine.

Just take your time. Can't wait to see the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Step Two: Removing the often rusted metal band.

There is a metal band embedded within rubber of the whaletail. It runs the length of the rubber and is roughly shaped as the red line indicates in the following picture below.



If your metal band is as rusted as mine was, it will be broken in pieces. Accessing it is as simple as getting a razor blade and making an incision on the hidden face of the rubber. The long red lines outline the location of the metal band and the other red rectangles represent areas where studs would ideally be present, attached to the embedded band.






Screwdrivers, varying size pliers, razor blades, and a shop vac are necessities for the job. Toughest part for me was getting the band out of the corners. To do this, I had to make a slightly deeper incision than before (see last picture). Besides that, the band came out like cake considering it was so rusted. Rusting on one side was causing a small split on top of the rubber that is shown below:



Besides this one area, the exposed rubber was in pretty good shape, still pretty soft all around without any other cracks or irrepairable damage.
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With the band out and the rubber cleaned, I plan to use some kind of heavy duty rubber glue/compound to reinforce the areas and re-secure the areas where I had to make cuts. I don't think I'm going to re-insert a band as such seems to present more challenges and less benefits than required. Instead, I was thinking of taking individual studs and epoxying them inside physical rubber, then using to re-attach.

Step 3 is doing all of the above and it will come once I figure out all the details. This is where you come in with helpful product suggestions! Anybody have any ideas of what type of heavy duty rubber product I can use to glue/compound the rubber? I figured I would apply the unknown glue like product and clamp the said areas with wood clamps to secure the sections together to ensure a proper repair. Any ideas on products?

Thanks!
 

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This is extremely interesting. Andrew, if I pm you some questions would you be able to do some uhmm measuring for me? :rolleyes: I have a brandy new never mounted whaletail...minus the rubber piece/metal strip. I also have an Idea to attempt a bootleg replica of the rubber piece, but would need some measurements.
 

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The whaletail on my black SPG needed restoration as well. But the metal band wasn't as rusted as yours was. So I left the band in, drilled and tapped new holes, and used new stainless hardware. I also treated the metal to some rust inhibitor.

In addition to the bolts I used a bit of Sikaflex between the rubber and the hardtail. This was an extra measure and possibly unnecessary in my case but gave me added peace of mind ( did not want to lose anything at high speed!:) ). In the reading I did, this was the product to use, given it's capabilities below the waterline. I picked up a tube of Sikaflex at a marine shop. Cost around $10-$12 bucks CDN. You might need a couple of tubes given it'll be your only means of attachment.

BTW, nice write-up! Always great to add more content on this subject.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll definitely take whatever measurements you need. As far as a bootleg repro rubber piece, I thought of making a mold, but am reserving that only as a last resort. For a few moments, I thought one could possible take a standard c900 coupe OR convertible rubber spoiler and possibly cut such down to the size of the standard rubber piece. I put a spare standard coupe spoiler up to it though and the length was far off.

Let me know what measurements you'd like!

And to others with any knowledge of a proper glue/compound product, let me know.
 

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Awesome! Pictures to go with the process. Thanks Andrew.

I think your idea of epoxying in fasteners is a good one. I've heard of people doing that. I've also heard of people imbedding a stainless steel strip back in there. That sounds difficult to me though.

A couple things that will help you out in the future...

Drill some 1/4" drain holes through from the upper valley where the rubber sits to the underside. It will keep water from getting trapped between the rubber and the spoiler in the future.



You may also want to notch out the mounting splines on the underside and add some 1" wide aluminum to mount to. I found that the original narrow mounting points are fragile and you don't always hit them right on with the mounting screws. Adding the aluminum inserts gives you a little more surface area. You can also add a bigger weatherseal there to keep water from getting through the screw holes.



I agree that urethane windshield setting compound is the way to go to repair the rubber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Awesome advice and great guidance. Thanks a ton! I especially love the bottom fastener idea...that's something that will make eventual mounting alot easier. More pics and details to come after I get some urethane windshield setting compound!

Before that, while I think of it though, anybody have any tips on what products to use for cleaning and conditioning the rubber? I was thinking of using an alcohol wax/grease remover as a prep, but I wasn't sure if there was something specific that people have been using as a protecterant.
 

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Best to clean it with a couple things to get all the natural and synthetic stuff off. Pre-paint wax and grease remover works on the synthetic stuff, liquid swimming pool algecide works great on the natural stuff. You may also have to hit it with some CLR to remove any rust stains.

303 Aerospace Protectant is my dressing of choice for plastic and rubber parts. You can pick it up at West Marine in Latham Farms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bueller?

Digging this up from the way-back machine. How did you make out simply epoxying studs in and leaving the metal band out?
I made out pretty well! I'll get some pictures this weekend when I'm near the car. The one thing I did do for extra assurance was remove the whaletail during the winter because it was not garaged, and I didn't want the cold/snow/etc to make its way into the rubber and risk possible cracking when freezing occurred. Pictures to come later!
 
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