Fun with fiberglass

A couple of weekends of propane and electric heat, lots of dust, stink and itchiness has us well along in our fender-stretching process.

 

Here’s my initial plan to take the front fenders out ¾ an inch (the beam would need to be narrowed 2 inches to get the tires fully under) and stretch the rears about 7/8 of an inch.

1. Pick a line for the cuts, then put on a dust mask and gloves, and grind out an inch on either side of the line to expose the fiberglass under the paint and gel coat, on both sides of the fender with 80 grit to rough the surfaces.

2. Mask. Goggles. Drill holes at the ends of the proposed cuts, at least an inch above the running board, and a couple inches from the edge of the back of the fender. Slice both near edge with cut-off wheel or jig saw.

3. Pull out the cut edges 1 inch and wedge 3 spacers in along the length of the cut. The spacers should be 1 inch at the top of the fenders and less—like a half inch—down each side. (total stretch about ¾-7/8 inch at the apogee, to account for the cut-off blade’s thickness).

4. Install 4 steel tabs, formed to fit in the gaps and overlap, spaced between the spacers. Secure with self-tapping screws from the top. Remove spacers. Clean top with wax/grease remover.

5. Aluma-tape from top, forming the smooth curved shape of the stretched fenders.

6. Don mask, gloves. Fiberglass like this guy.

a. clean the area with wax/grease remover. Acetone.

b. cut cloth to fit in the gaps and overlap, from the bottom.

c. mix resin, wet the underside and apply 3-4 layers of cloth, making it wet and pressing out bubbles.

d. remove tape and screws, then 60-grit from top to smooth the repair, clean again.

e. glass bondo as needed. 80-grit, clean again.

f. primer, top and bottom. 4 coats.

g. 220 wet sand, clean and spot putty as needed. Clean

h. 220, 320, 400. clean.

I. final prime. Paint underside of fender matte black.

So that was the plan. I’m right about at 6-d. But I went a little wider in front—1 1/2 inch or so, with the idea of skipping the beam-narrowing for now at least. And I taped from bottom and put the first layers of glass in from the top, 3 layers. After that dried I came up from the bottom in two stages: 2 layers the first pass and one more on the last, getting wider as I went. This seems to have worked. The steel tabs are now buried in glass, with the screws removed. All that’s left now is filling in with this glass filler Dr. Clock recommends. I’ve ordered a quart and will post again when I try it. Supposedly it sets up rock-hard; I’ll use it to fill the Vs in the tops of the fenders and start to make the right contours for the wider shape.

But if I ever do it again, I will

1. epoxy the steel tabs in first. Then remove the screws before doing any fiberglass work. Glassing them from the top left me with a slightly loose setup, and the chance for air bubbles and weakness. I think I got them pretty tight, but if they’d been glued-in tight ahead of time the job would have been easier.

2. Come up from the bottom, as originally planned. I did this with the scuttle plinths and it seems to be the way. We’ll see later when I put the 3-4 layers atop the mesh I installed this a.m.

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About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
This entry was posted in Fixes, Improvements and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fun with fiberglass

  1. billnparts says:

    A major undertaking but the result is looking pretty good. It’s gonna look good.👍

  2. stuntmidget says:

    Thanks, Bill. I know you know all about this stuff. Fingers crossed.

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