Damaged Fiberglass

Anything goes in the world of fiberglass and plastic



Non-Lurker
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 05, 2021 7:15 pm

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 8:23 pm
First, I am a newbie to fiberglass and only an occasional body guy. I have stripped paint using chemicals, sand paper and media blasting, but never an entire car. Usually just small repairs and only on metal. Second, I have never worked with fiberglass on any level. Be that auto or hobbyist. So, this all new to me. It kind of resembles paper mache projects, but that just how I am trying to wrap my head around fiberglass so it doesn't seem so daunting.

I searched the first 20 or so pages and found some very interesting cases, but nothing that resembled my case. I bought someone's unfinished project and though the body was in rough shape I couldn't pass on the price of this deal. With the chassis and engine nearing completion it is now time to focus on the body. I stored the body in my back yard while I worked on the chassis in the garage. At some point when it was stored back there someone used it as a ladder. As you can see in the pics that level of laziness and disregard pretty much destroy the fiberglass.

I need to figure if this is repairable or if it needs to be cut and replaced with a newly shaped piece? Kind of like cutting out a piece of metal body because it is stretched too much and therefore either weakened the structural integrity of the metal or is stretched too far to fix to get it flat again. This section does not really bare any weight or structural integrity (from what I can tell. The dash mounts to a steel center section that connects to the chassis. And the doors bolt to another steel brace that connects the center section to the rear chassis.

Also, I snapped a couple of pics of the interior floor pan (fiberglass) already bonded to the body. The black pieces are the floor pan interior and the grayish/brownish color pieces are the body. I am not sure why someone did this, but it is my understanding that the interior pan typically mounts to the chassis before the body is installed. I would like to separate the interior floor pan from the body so I can install the center brace over the pan and then install the body. I would either have to cut the floor pan and reconnect it later using some fiberglass bonding/welding method or some how figure out how to release the bond...as if that is likely. It almost looks like some type of Bondo was used or some type of bonding putty. Either way, the technique on how to do that is beyond my pay grade.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Attachments
IMG_20210505_105740328.jpg
Interior Floor Pan/Body bonding
IMG_20210505_105714448.jpg
Upper Passenger Cowl/Fender Damage Pic 1
IMG_20210505_105708100.jpg
Upper Passenger Cowl/Fender Damage Pic 2
IMG_20210505_105704498.jpg
Upper Passenger Cowl/Fender Damage Pic 3
IMG_20210505_105700319.jpg
Upper Passenger Cowl/Fender Damage Pic 4

User avatar

Board Moderator
Posts: 5824
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:00 pm
Location: central Ohio
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2021 9:55 pm
Well, 50 years of building/rebuilding kit cars and this is one bizarre puppy. What kind of body is it? I mean is it a replica or an original design? Do you know when it was made or who was producing these bodies? When I get ready to work on older kits and fiberglass cars I do research to track down "how" they were made which helps me a lot in restoring them. This "white" stuff I'm seeing here doesn't look like any type of normal gel coat. It looks more like an air dry gel coat or a polyester primer/surfacer that has been applied over what appears to be woven cloth lay ups.
So any more info. on the body would help..... I can tell you this you are going to have to be either fairly talented or a fast learner to begin filling in/ straightening out this mess of a body.....just sayin.
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



Fully Engaged
Posts: 320
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:36 am

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 7:35 am
Gotta admit, I've never seen fiberglass damage like that before. Looks more like a wrinkled up paper bag. I've seen glass 'dent', crack, shatter, imprint, and bent, but never wrinkled.
I would either grind into it to see what's going on, or find someone who knows fiberglass intimately, to look into it.

User avatar

Board Moderator
Posts: 5824
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:00 pm
Location: central Ohio
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 8:41 am
Yeah, I even went back through some of my old records from the 1970s and didn't find anything that looked like this...... just a guess, but I'd say all that white crap is probably going to have to come off just to "see" what you are working with..... try not to break through the underlying cloth.....
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



Non-Lurker
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 05, 2021 7:15 pm

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 11:57 am
Thanks for responding to the post. I am no body expert by no stretch of the imagination, but when I saw the damage I was also shocked since I've only known glass to bend to a point before it actually breaks/cracks/frays. So this really threw me. There is one other section that was damage, but that damage looks like a typical cracked fiberglass panel (an actual crack with the chop mat showing). Looking at the fender from under you can see the chop mat laid with the resin so I have no idea why the glass wrinkled like it did.

Looks like I definitely have my weekend project laid out for me. I will sand off the top layer and see what lurks beneath. FYI, the body looks like it was sprayed with a grey primer. The interior and underbody looks like the last picture I uploaded. So, I have no idea how the surface looks under the sprayed coat. The car is a cobra kit car that I picked up for $5k (body, chassis, engine, trans, rear, bumpers and seats). About the only thing it was missing was driver and passenger doors, windshield and electrical. I'm typically a mustang guy, but with this pandemic keeping me working from home I figure I'd throw my hat in the kit car ring. It is definitely overwhelming at times, but hey so is life.

Again, I appreciate all the input and I will post again when I have sanded down the topcoat and have more pics to share.

This is probably an admin question, but will I be able to share more pics on this thread? I know when I added the initial pics it only allowed 5 pics.

User avatar

Board Moderator
Posts: 5824
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:00 pm
Location: central Ohio
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2021 4:22 pm
Okay, first on the picture thing....I think that was just a limit based on your newbie status. It is pretty normal around here to have bunches of pictures over in the project threads. Here is my latest as an example....
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=27971
Getting back to your fiberglass I have known of fiberglass to do some very unusual bending in the presence of outdoor sun exposure. My thoughts about what we are seeing with this white stuff is that it is indeed some type of more "flexy" poly primer that reflected a lot of the damaging sun but still allowed the fiberglass to get hot enough to internally start to delaminate and move. I'd just get every bit of that white stuff off and go over the fiberglass with a dental pick....kind of pulling at the glass with it. If you see that cloth pulling up in patches I'd be very leery of continuing to restore this body.
Just an opinion, but Cobra bodies are the worst of the worst just next to dune buggy knockoffs when it comes to varying quality of glass work. The best ones had sandable gel coat blown into the molds, a good veil coat, and many layers of different roving woven materials with a final chopper gun surface. Even seen a few of the better ones with double walls and foam between them. If you paid that little for all of that.....well, you know what you are up against.....
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!

Return to Fiberglass and Plastic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests