It may be hard to tell from the photo above, but with a straight edge across things it was a nearly 4″ bow that it had. Maybe this happens when the spare tire is in used and someone hauls something heavy. I don’t know. Either way it’s a super flimsy piece of sheet metal.
So my thought her on this is to use some small 1/2″ angle steel to brace things up. I picked some up at the Home Depot for not too much money and got on to cutting things.
My first thought is to reinforce the middle hinge area with just a straight piece across there. So I measured it to fit, which was about 26″ and then sanded off the paint to get a good weld.
That went pretty well. I tacked one end and then would press down on things to get it as flush as possible.
Fortunately my welder can do some pretty thin gauge stuff so I wasn’t worried about blowing out the welds.
Then came the nasty part. I knew the foam residue was going to cause a problem, but that coupled with the bigger sheet being double and having an air pocket. Well it was nasty.
It was sputtering and popping all sorts of fierce. I basically just had to grunt through it and take some solace that it won’t be visible. You can see above that my plan is to weld an X.
And done. Yuck.
Like I said it’s probably hard to tell the difference but it does sit much flatter.
And as for strength.
Here is a 100lb anvil sitting right on the center with the spare tire on top just to show that it’s not merely sitting on the spare for support. Far more rigid. Now I won’t have to be too concerned if I am hauling anything heavy back there. Like anvils.