Fiberglass Body Cracks

Posted: May 5, 2005 By: Cloud59

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    Cloud59

    Member

    This is a response to an E-mailed question from an Eastwood customer who poses a very common and valid question that some folks my find of value:

    I am restoring a 64 corvette

    Questions:

    Tail pipes and fiberglass repair

    1. The tail pipes are rusted. Is there a rust remover that I can take advantage of. I think the pipes were originally stainless steel and I would like to restore the pipes to the original look.

    2. I have few hairline cracks in the fiber glass. The cracks are separations of the back fender and trim behind where the bumper attaches on the right rear quarter panel. Maybe a 1/16 inch wide and 3 inches long. Do you make something to repair that type of fiberglass problem. I think I need something to fill the crack.

    3. I have a hole in a fiberglass trim piece about the size of a penny on the underside of the trim piece which is on the left rear fender just below where the bumber attaches. Do you have something to fill in the hole such as a repair kit. I think I need a small piece of fiberglass cloth and the resin to fill in the hole.

    4. I have two stress cracks such as around the antenna base. Radial cracks which kind of swirl out from the base of the antenna. I can remove the paint on the rear fender but I am afraid the paint will recrack if I don’t do something to the fiberglass itself before I prime and repaint.

    5. The same type of cracking where I installed a new radiator which did not sit low enough. When I closed the hood, the hood developed a round swirl type cracks at the point of impact where the hood underside hit the top of the hose connection on the radiator. The cracks now show show on the top of the hood. Maybe an inch in radius.

    Appreciate the help.

    Response;

    Body cracks certainly are one of the few unpleasant aspects of vintage Corvette ownership but are unfortunately the nature of the beast. They result from aging and embrittlement of the fiberglass resin used in the original manufacture compounded by the body flexing during normal driving. There are several avenues of approach to the problem. Simply filling the cracks and holes then coating with primer is a temporary measure at best. The proper repair technique would entail much more detail than I can provide in a few paragraphs and a number of excellent videos and books are available from many of the quality Corvette parts catalogs that are available. Another valuable resource on Corvette body repair are the GM Corvette service manuals which are currently available at the same Corvette parts vendors, your local Chevy dealer, swap meets or from online sources.

    I will however provide a brief overview of the task at hand:

    – The paint must be sanded completely away for several inches surrounding the damage.

    – The crack or hole must be ground out to a beveled “V” shape.

    – A good quality filler such as Eastwood # 31334ZP Glass-Lite can be used to fill the grooved out cracks.

    – Fiberglass Mat # 10522 and Resin # 10521ZP are available from Eastwood to repair holes after thoroughly sanding, beveling and cleaning of the hole area. Then sanding to shape can be done.

    – Allowing sufficient time for full curing, a quality gel coat must be applied over the repaired areas, allowed to fully cure then primer and topcoat can be applied to finish the repair.

    If you are referring to the detachable exhaust tips, yes they are stainless steel and can be buffed with an Eastwood buff motor such as # 13306 and our Stainless Buffing Kit # 13106. If you are referring to the actual exhaust pipes, if rusted, they are most likely carbon steel possibly with an aluminized coating and once rusted, replacement is the only feasible solution.

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