We detailed how to Build Your Own Splitter in an earlier Toolshed Engineer column. Now we are going to show you how to repair that splitter. Why would it need to be repaired you ask? Because splitters hang low, right on the front of the car, which means it’s the first thing to hit stuff: trailer ramps, apex curbing, small animals running across a racetrack. Long story short, splitters get damaged, constantly. Here is how you fix one.

Plywood is not the strongest material and it tends to disintegrate when it collides with stuff. Because it is created by gluing together multiple layers of wood we can simply repair plywood by using more glue and some clamping.

To have a splitter on your racecar is to constantly damage a splitter on your racecar. It is a simple fact of racing life. I have damaged brand new splitters by just loading a car onto a trailer. The leading edge of a plywood splitter is an area where the wood will begin to separate. We have added a layer of 200-mph tape around the leading edge of our splitter to combat some of this separation. This also helps with our ongoing repairs.

Some Gorilla glue, two C-clamps, some duct tape, and a nice straight edge is all you need for a quick and easy splitter repair. Ensure your racecar trailer has these tools at all times. You are certainly going to need them.

The basic concept behind our splitter repair technique is to take the existing layers of plywood that have been separated and get them back to their original shape. We do this by adding Gorilla glue and then squeezing the layers back together using a straight edge and come C-clamps.

Any wood glue will work, however I have found that Gorilla glue gets the job done in a pretty robust way. Not all splitter repair jobs are major, this one is a minor fix where our splitter hit some debris on course and nicked the top of the leading edge.

Because we are using glue to repair the splitter, it means we need time to complete the repair. This isn’t something you can just bolt back together. You need to give the wood glue time to set up. This where the C-clamps and straight edge will help hold things in place over time. Then you can also add some duct tape to keep things tidy.

For small repairs, a little Gorilla glue, a C-clamp, and a straight edge will get things back into the shape. Leave this set up overnight and in the morning you are back on track.

Our team has two splitters for every car because we know these things get damaged. However, not all damage requires swapping in the spare splitter. For damage that just separates a few layers of plywood, we can fix this with glue and tape.

For larger repairs, we use two C-clamps to hold everything in place. The lower layer of plywood was separated and the straight edge is holding the newly glued layers back in place. We leave this set up overnight.

Once things have set up overnight, take down all of the C-clamps and straight edge and get ready to add some duct tape to clean up the leading edge and continue to hold things together. Duct tape is the universal repair tool for everything racecar.

I’ve used expensive 200 mile per hour tape, and I’ve used Duck Tape from Walmart. Save yourself a couple of bucks and just use the Walmart product. I have rolls and rolls of this stuff in my trailer.

The whole point of a front splitter is aerodynamics so take the time to carefully add the duct tape to keep things smooth and streamlined. You don’t want unnecessary bubbles and folds in the tape. Cleaning the splitter with a bit of Simple Green before you place the duct tape will help ensure the tape adheres to the wood.

Start by laying the duct tape onto the leading edge of the splitter. Rub it in. Then lay down the top and lower edges and get rid of all of the bubbles.

After your glue has set up and you have added the duct tape layer on the leading edge of the splitter, your repair is complete. All that is left to do now is to get back on track and go fast. Get used to fixing your splitter because chances are you will be fixing it again and again, and again.

Once the glue is set and the tape is in place, you are back on track with your newly repaired splitter. Time to go fast and win.

Glue and tape won’t fix everything. If you have a major off and the splitter digs into the soft dirt on the outside of the corner and transforms itself from “splitter” to “splinters” then you are back to the drawing board building a brand new splitter.

When glue and duct tape aren’t enough, then you are back to the jigsaw to build a brand new splitter. Arts and crafts time!
Image courtesy of Rob Krider and Herb Lopez

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