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fiberglass repair 101

 
beekppr
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 5
Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/30/10 09:26 PM

I am getting ready to try and paint my 64 Vette and I could really use some advise.

I know a guy who did fiberglass repairs in the 80s and he gave me some advise about my car repairs but I wanted to bounce this off a couple other people.

He claimed that all Vettes get spider web cracks and the key to a good paint job is to take the time to grind out the cracks and repair them so they don't come up through the new paint. He also claimed that once I remove the paint, the crack will become nearly invisable making the repairs even harder.

My car is fairly nice but it has three layers of old paint and there are tons of cracks at every little corner. I can't tell if the cracks are just in the paint or goes down into the glass.

Is there a simple way for me to do this job right or do I really have to grind my car into pieces and spend thousands of hours repairing it before I can actually paint it?

I am hoping that I can strip off all the old paint and seal it with a special primer which will stop the cracks from ever becoming a problem.

Any advise is very much appreciated. If possible, can someone recommend specific products as well so I can do it right the first time?  

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waynep7122
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1114
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/31/10 08:23 AM

you might want to use the forums search link just to the right of the active posts.... there was some discussion a while back on this issue...

there are also some articles in both of the corvette magazines on this site... on corvette paint and prep for paint...

i am not a corvette painter...  as for the spider cracks he described... i would really think that he might have been talking about the massive cracks in the paint that went all the way through to the fiberglass... usually on cars that have been baked in the sun for years .. and the cracks exposed the fiberglass under the paint to the weather...  freezing temps could also cause moisture hiding deep in the cracks to damage the layers of fiberglass where the cracks are...

there are over 2 dozen magazines on this site... and a LOT of them have articles on paint and prep...   use the tech link above.. and the search link to the right..

i will see over the next few days... if i can find some info...

you might want to post some decent pictures of the fenders and areas effected .. with closeups to the cracks... on photobucket.com   and paste the 4th link here...  then the visitors to the forum can give their opinions ...and helpful comments...  

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waynep7122
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1114
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/31/10 08:33 AM

here are some direct corvette paint searched links..

http://www.corvettefever.com/sch/02/paint/articles/index.html

http://www.vetteweb.com/sch/02/paint/articles/index.html

this last search is through all the magazines ... so it could include a lot of stuff... i took a quick look... some good info on this...

think of this as school... and knowledge is power...

http://www.corvettefever.com/sch/02/paint/articles/index.html?SearchSource=SourceInterlinkMedia

i wonder... something.. if your 64 has original paint... if that paint contains lead in the pigments..  probably not..  but its going to need a nice place thats easy to clean without a lot of nooks and crannies to hide sanding dust that will ruin a paint job...  

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beekppr
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 5
Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/31/10 08:58 AM

Thanks for the links, I will start checking them out. I have been doing some research but I keep finding articles on how to repair big cracks, which is good but not quite what I need.

I have read a couple bits about how guys put down a layer of epoxy and then a layer of special primer which they claim is ultra strong but they did not specify if that was done to stop further spider web cracks or to prevent them from ever occuring.

What did you mean about the lead paint? The car definitely has the original silver blue paint with another coat of dark blue on top and another coat of resale red on that. There are a couple areas where the paint is cracking just from being so thick.


I'd like to take off all the old paint or at least take it down to the original paint.  

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beekppr
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 5
Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/31/10 09:19 AM

http://i1120.photobucket.com/albums/l488/beekppr/IMG_0548.jpg

http://i1120.photobucket.com/albums/l488/beekppr/IMG_0551.jpg

http://i1120.photobucket.com/albums/l488/beekppr/IMG_0552.jpg


Hopefully I did this right. Should be able to cut and paste to view.

I took three close-ups of the worst stuff on the car.

The long cracks are at the back of the car. They are by far the worst and the rest of the car is not even half as bad. More like thin cracks or small spider cracks emanating from corners and radiuses.

The least significant are around the headlight bucket. The car has others to but these are good representations of what I have to fix.  

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waynep7122
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1114
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/31/10 09:29 AM

IMG 0552

IMG 0551

IMG 0548  

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waynep7122
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1114
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/31/10 09:37 AM

there are lead paint test kits available at most hardware stores..

lead in the paint was just a thought... i don't have a clue on that issue.. but it sounds like you might be doing this at home in your garage..  not in a spray booth.. or a paint shop where the dust can be controlled..

reds and yellows are probably lead based...  my family has a 1924 cat model 20 tractor.. thats painted with bright yellow paint.. that after decades of looking at how bright the hansa yellow still is... have realized.. its lead based industrial paint..  exposed to sun and rain, uncovered for 45 years and its still so bright yellow it hurts to look at it..  just after high school.. i worked for a plumbing shop... a union shop.. i started the training.. i ask the instructor about the lead being used to solder copper pipes... his answer was its not enough to make a problem..  about 5 years later..  its all lead free solder now..

i am into thinking ahead... and sharing my ideas...  

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beekppr
I love my Chevy Chevette!
Posts: 5
Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/31/10 05:26 PM

Good points. Thanks for all your help. I started reading the articles you pointed me towards and they answer lots of questions.

I think I am going to strip the car down to bare glass and go from there. Any crack that is visible I will attack it. I guess when I am done, I can wipe a grease and wax remover across the finish and look for any hidden cracks. That was mentioned in one of the articles. It makes sense that as the stuff dries, the cracks will hold moisture and make themselves visible for a few minutes. I can mark them as I go and grind them out later, one by one.

You are right that I am going to do some of this at home. I was planning to get a really good respirator when removing all the paint and for any repairs/sanding.

A friend of mine has a small shop he will let me use for any spraying so I will get a nice finished product. They also offered to help me with labor and teach me painting techniques but they admit they know little of fiberglass stuff so I need to do my homework and use the right materials.

Thanks again for the links and if anyone has any thoughts, please share as I could really use opinions at this stage.  

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waynep7122
I mow my lawn and find Chevys
Posts: 1114
Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/31/10 07:41 PM

one thing... i think i would only strip a fender at a time...  or half a fender to start... so you can get the carving and filling done.. then get a proper coat of primer/ sealer on it to stop any moisture from soaking in...

perhaps just exposing a few square feet to begin with...  unless you have full time 8 hour days to work on this...

you might also want to purchase some jump suits from a used uniform shop...  each night peal out of it.. and bag it... by the end of the week.. take them to the laundry mat  this prevents contaminating the house...

creative people can also think up a way to use furnace filters in a holder and some kind of blower... so all the dust is blown into the filter media.. trapped there..    remember.. fiberglass is now being treated like asbestos fibers...  

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