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fiberglass repair


glennia's Avatar
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07-23-02, 09:14 PM   #1  
glennia
fiberglass repair

I have a 4 inch crack on my conversion van top that I hopefully can fix myself. Can anyone tell me what or how to go about fixing this? Can't afford a body shop job. Thank you.

 
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knuckles's Avatar
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07-23-02, 11:08 PM   #2  
knuckles
It's pretty easy, but you'll need a good disc sander/grinder & a few other basic bodyworking tools.

If you've ever repaired a drywall crack, you'll know exactly what to do. The theory is the same, only the materials are different.

Grind deep in to the crack w/ a 4" grinder. You want to make a trough along the length of the crack about 1/4" wide and at least 1/2 as deep as the base material is thick. You want to remove the gelcoat & penetrate about 1/16"-1/8" in to the base material.

Using a 36 grit sanding disc, grind the area surrounding the crack, about 4" on either side.

Head to the local autobody supply or boat shop & pick up some fibreglass resin, fibreglass matting & lightweight autobody filler. Pick up a cheap "cheese grater" file while you're there.

Mix the resin according to the directions on the can & spread it in to the crack & the area surrounding the crack. Cut a section of matting about 2" larger than the crack all the way around. Bed the matting in the resin w/ an autobody filler spreader.

Allow the resin to harden.

Mix & apply a second coat of resin to the repair area.

Cut a larger piece of matting & embed it in the resin.

Allow the resin to harden.

Sand the repair area w/ 36 grit sandpaper. If possible, use a DA sander. You can do this by hand w/ a sanding block, but it takes forever.

Finish the repair w/ autobody filler. Mix the filler according to the instructions on the can. Apply the filler as smoothly as possible. Once the filler is applied & begins to harden, rough shape it w/ the cheese grater file. *This step may not be necessary if you were very careful when spreading the filler.*

Once the filler is fully hardened, blend it in to the existing shell.
Begin using 40 grit sandpaper for the initial sanding & work your way up to 320 or 400 grit paper for finish sanding.

Apply a good primer & paint & you're back in business.

CAUTION!!

Wear appropriate safety equipment when grinding & sanding. This means safety glasses & a good dust mask. Good gloves & long sleeved shirts are also a must when working w/ fibreglass.

You might want to head to the local public library & look at a few autobody repair & or boat repair books to get a better idea of what's involved before you begin. A picture is worth a thousand words & I don't have any body repair pics to post here!

Good luck!

 
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07-24-02, 11:43 AM   #3  
glennia
fiberglass repair

Thank you for your help. I am going to the library to see if I can find a book that might help. I had the general idea in my head how but wasn't sure. I read about a product called Plasticoat and wasn't sure if that was the right technique or easier. Thanks so much.
Glennia

 
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