the Dune Buggy Archives
DBA Forum - Not logged in
Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / New buggy owner. (23899 hits)
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-20 00:04
Good evening to all,

As I gear up for my Manx buggy build I had a question about a few things. My first question has to do with sanding the gel coat. I have roughly a 45/50 year old buggy with the original paint job. It is a gold/silver metal flake. The paint is very, very, very thick. The primer coat looks to be black. I want to paint the buggy Emerald green with a white pearl. I was wondering if it would be best to sand the car completely down to the black primer. I worry about sanding too much away causing the fiber glass to be thin. Will it hurt to leave a little of the gel coat? My next question is about fiber glass resin. I want to fix a few places, plus add some more too some areas that are thin d to wear and tear. Where would be a good place to get it? Here are a couple of pics.  Thanks for your time and help.

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-20 14:35 Edited 2010-01-20 14:41
The black should be the lower coat of color under the flakes, simplest way is not to worry about taking all the flake off, Take a D A sander ( ORBITAL SANDER ) they are availiable in air or electic, use 80 grit on the D A and go over whole body very good, feather in the spots where it goes from flake to black, do your body repairs and prime with polyester primer, let dry and block sand, then you could prime again with polyester or epoxy, fiberglass resin and cloth are availiable at any automotive paint store or even lowes are wal-mart. Be sure to blow down the body with air then pre-clean ( wax and silicone remover ) wipe on wet and dry down with clean cloth right behind putting it on wet ( about 3 or 4 feet square as to not let it sit on and dry by itself ) and blow it down again before aplying the primer !!!     Ken......
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-20 15:59
Thanks for the help ken. What would be the best cloth to use. I have seen several different kinds. Is there one better then the other. Again thanks for your time and help.
Big Jon
By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-20 20:19
Hi Big Jon, rubber gloves will be your best friend, I cut out the bottom of a clean milk jug leaving the handle intact to mix my resin in, once you have the pieces cut to fit your repair there are a couple of ways to apply the fiberglass mat or cloth, I use the cheap throw away paint brushes about 1" to 3" wide, I wipe resin on the repair area, then you can start with cloth and keep brushing on resin and patting it in with the tip of the brush, or you can lay the cloth on some cardboard and soak resin into it before placing it on the body, as far as different cloths the ones I use are #1. mat ( strands of fiberglass matted together ) it is the weakest but you can tear it apart and it makes a great filler for some applications. #2. thin cloth ( woven together cloth ) my choice but takes multiple layers. #3, thick cloth used alot in marine industry, it works great but takes a lot of resin to have the resin soaked all the way through and not as good on crack repairs. Usually only 4 or 5 coats of thin cloth is the most you can do at one time on the side of the body or it will start to slide down. You can buy the thin glass easily the thick is harder to find. Thick is the best if you are repairing a big hole such as a speaker hole, on those type repairs I put card board behind the repair to keep the cloth from falling in, On all cracks I use the thin cloth it is in my opinion is the srongest of all, grab a piece and try to tear it. Hope this helps.         Ken.........
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-21 02:11
Thanks again Ken,

I do have one more question. When you are patching a hole on fiber glass do you do the top side or do you cover from the back side? I am practicing with my dash piece right now. Its small and a whole lot eaiser to replace if I screw it up. Again thanks for your time and help.

Big Osh
By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-21 04:06
The finished product is going to be seen from the front, side although you can do front side and back side, but you dont want to make your repair thicker than the rest of the body, you have to grind down where the repair is going to be, on a crack dish out toward the crack, on filling a hole grind down around the whole edge of the hole, remember you want to tie it into the area surounding the repair, that is why you grind and dish it out, on a crack I dish it out so that at the center of the crack it is almost paper thin, you can also grind and glass the back side after the front side is glassed, this will not take much grinding at all and you will only need a layer or two of cloth then lightly grind or sand to make it even with the rest of the body, I allways use a light coat of body filler over the glass work, trying to use just the resin and cloth can swell up later on and show the print of the cloth through your paint job, maby search the forum for fiberglass repair and you can probably look at some peoples repairs on here, I have been doing paint and body since 1975, their repairs may not be the same as mine but I started out working on corvettes and classic cars, just like the body filler over the glass work I learned that early in my career when I tryed glassing the bonding seams on a corvette without the filler and after about a year you could see the print of the cloth, the customer didnt have me redo it but I guess being a perfectionous I just wasnt happy with it, it bothered me more than it did him, It was a live and learn situation.         Ken........
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-21 14:06
Ken, don't know if you agree with this or not, but I've always dished out holes on both sides, the front not as deep and put at least one layer of thin woven cloth on the front, on top of that I've used short strand fiberglass filler (kitty hair) to get the shape and bring it back up to level with the exixting surface or just a bit below. Then I use body filler for final finish. My way of thinking is that the fibreglass filler will have more in common structurally with the usually choppergunned body and expand and contract at a rate closer to the original body.

In the past I found that if I just put mat in from the back and filled the hole with filler from the front, the filler would crack away from the body, maybe I was doing something wrong, don't know.

Just thinkin', I are mechanic, not bodyman :-)

There was a good article on fiberglass repair in the January issue of Street Rodder

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-21 15:40 Edited 2010-01-21 15:48
Hi Brad, I havent had a problem using all cloth of course on a hole you need to use thicker cloth or mat to build up the area, I still recommend the thin cloth as a top surface of all fiberglass repairs. I understand what you are saying about trying to get close to the density of the body, the reason I use all cloth on cracks is you are not taking all the material off and I feel like the cloth strenthens and ties in the cracked area better, a hole is a different matter and yes starting with mat or thick cloth is better because it is stiffer than thin cloth, I would say that even on a cracked area 1 layer of thin mat  at the crack before the cloth would be a good idea . I do the opposite of you on preparing the hole I dish the edge on the outside of the body more than the rear, I like the glass to be feathered into the body as to not swell up aroung edge of where the hole was, like I said I am sure there are different methods with different people I just do what has worked best for me, and some of it I learned the hard way, that is where we usually get our best lessons in life anyway !!!                 Ken......
By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-21 16:10
You know Brad that brought back memories of some of the nightmare body repairs I have seen in my 35 years of body work and paint, besides some people thinking rust repair is newspaper, screen wire and bondo, I had a 65 vette come in the shop once with the bonding seam cracked on the rt. rear quarter panel, as I was dishing out the seam sparks started flying, Yep some darn idiot had made a metal quarter panel and covered it with glass and bondo filler, I would guess he had no money to buy a quarter panel but had plenty of metal, fiberglass, and filler, it is a trip what some people do LOL, NEW TOPIC FOR OFF TOPIC, " WHAT KIND OF BUTCHER JOB HAVE YOU SEEN DONE ON A BUGGY "
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-21 22:02
Thanks for your help brad and Ken.

My next question I have is how far out from the edge of a hole should you then out. Here is a pic of my dash. I want to cover the whole where the old gas guage went. I also want to fill the hole where the gas tank filler was on my hood.

Again thanks for your time and help.

Big Osh
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-21 22:59
Ken might havea different idea (he usually does :-) ) but for smaller holes like what you have on the dash I would go about an inch.

Ken I should have posted in my earlier reply that I use 3 or 4 layers or glass mat on the back, not just do all the fill from the front. for the back I put a piece in the size of the hole, usually thick mat, to build it up, then a bit bigger one of woven mat, and then depending on the size of the hole one about and inch larger yet, for big holes such as a speaker or batter box hole 2 or even 3 inches beyond the hole again with woven mat.

I've found both heavy and light mat in woven and random  strand at autobody supply shops, we have a great independant shop here a couple blocks down the street.

Ken what do you think about using epoxy resins as apposed to polyester resins for large repairs or bonding panels?It's a little late in he game now but I used epoxy to bond the parts of my roof together when I chopped it. Then roughed up the surface for the regular resin to stick to.

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-22 00:08
Yea what Brad said hes allways right, LOL just kidding, but I do agree with him, I would grind around the edge of that size hole about 1/2 inch, and go out from the hole 1" to 1 1/2 inches out with the glass, you are going to grind off to get it flat and even anyway, leave a little room for a thin skim of body filler on the outside of the repair, you want even have to grind the glass you put on the back, you cant see it, unless you plan on putting a gauge in that area and you will want it the same thickness as the rest of the dash front and back, Brad they have epoxys now that high production shops use to bond on metal quarter panels, I am old fasioned and elect to keep on welding them on, You should be fine on the roof if you used a good epoxy SIMS etc, and for the proper operation, they have come a long way with epoxy over the years !!     Ken........  P.S what are you saying Brad I am backwards LOL.
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-22 01:15
So brand name wise what should I be looking for. I want to do this right. I am not in a big hurry to get this on the road. I want it to look good and function well. So I am trying to do as much of my home work as I can before getting started. So many thanks  for all the help. I also found a couple good articles here on the forum. again thanks for your time and help.

Big Osh
By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-22 02:12
I have used different kinds, all of the ones I have used seem to be about the same, at automotive stores you will probably find the brand evercoat, I was buying fiberglass resin at lowes in the gallon can, according to how much repairs you have to make you can usually buy a gallon for about what you would pay for 2 1/2 quarts. By all means feel free to ask questions there are a lot of good people here that do not mind helping out, good luck.     Ken.......
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-22 02:20
Thanks Ken, I told the girl at the supply store what I was doing and she turned me on to the epoxy resin, can't remember the name but it wasn't cheap. I told her I only want to do this once and she stated that this was the stuff well something like that, but this is a family site). Her family's been in the biz for decades and they've never steered me wrong.

Good luck on your project Big Osh, you're going about things the right way. As far as brand names, maybe Ken can give you a name, or talk to a GOOD body shop supply house and ask them. I've inhaled to many resin fumes to remember the names of the products I've used ;-)

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2010-01-22 02:54
I have done one or two fiberglass repairs. I have always used the resin I get at Parts America (or Autozone). I think it is Bondo brand. I buy it buy the gallon and mix it in little aluminum foil baking pans (maybe 3"x5"). I also use the disposable brushes. I use almost exclusively matt since I was given an entire roll (about 4 feet high and a foot in diameter) with my Speedster project (pic below). There is no need to use epoxy resins. Your buggy wasn't built with them. Save your money. Will they work? Sure they will. But trust will the cheaper resin.

For small holes I taper them back about 1". For little drill holes I use my 4 1/2" grinder to wallow them out. Anything that need backing I try to back with wood covered with wax paper. Sometimes I just duct tape the wax paper to the back of the repair. The larger the repair the more I would taper it. I have sometimes tapered my repair back 3". I rarely reinforce the back, but if you do, I suggest you repair from the front, let it dry, then roughen up the back and put a layer or two in the back.

I also give a very light skim coat of a quality filler (like Rage Gold).

Here are some of my repairs using those steps:

My old Manx:

My old Manx dash:

An old buggy:

By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-22 04:47
I wasn't suggesting doing all the repair with epoxy resin, in fact I would have spent $300 on resin if I had used it instead of polyester at $40 a gallon. I used epoxy because of its superior bonding qualities to hold 3 rather large and heavy roof pieces together. I used one layer top and bottom and then covered that with regular product. Like I said I wanted to do it once and not fear the roof coming apart at 60mph on the freeway.


By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-22 12:31
I am glad you guys had some pictures its sad to say that after 35 years of paint and body I have never documented fiberglass repair or doing candy and metal flake with pictures, guess I will do that with the Allison Daytona, I do have lots of pictures of restorations of metal body cars and custom paint I have done on cars and bikes, I too have a time remembering name brands EVERCOAT, and Bondo brand you can find at automotive paint stores or wal-mart, auto zone, advance, etc. I cant remember the brand name at lowes but it was the same consistancy as the rest, make sure you keep the repair wet with resin and pat it with the end of the brush as to remove air bubbles in the cloth, the mixture on hardener to resin varies to temperature and how long you want it to take to dry, wax paper would be fine for the back side but I wouldnt use it for the front, I wouldnt want the wax to get into the glass, Wax and silicone are a painters nightmare, the cardboard I use from having so much around from buying parts, it scrapes, sand or grinds off easy, The cheap plastic paint roller pans work O K but are flimsey, Remember what you use for resin will be thrown away unless you clean it with like laquer thinner and it will cost more to clean it than what it is worth therefore, clean empty milk jug, plastic paint roller pans cardboard, etc are the best, Great job Brad and Jeffery I would say we gave Big Jon a class 101 in fiberglass repair what did we leave out, oh yea you will be grinding the glass with 36 to 80 grit grinding disk, Good Luck and take some pictures and show us how it goes.        Ken.......
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-22 14:16
One more tip, buy a disposable painters suit, with hood, OR wear long sleeves and gloves taped at the wrist, jeans (not sweat pants, trust me on this one) taped at the ankles, large safety goggles that fit tight to your face and above all a quality dust mask, not a cheap paper disposable hope it fits style and ear plugs. Fibreglass dust gets EVERYWHERE, it's still in the sleeves of my Carhardt jacket and drives me nuts every day and you definitely don't want to breathe it of get it in your eyes it will damage lungs and eyes.

Doing it in a well ventilated area goes without saying, the stuff is stinky and the fumes are toxic, my friend who's shop I did all my glass work at HATED me for weeks and it took a lot of Scotch whiskey to buy his friendship back. I had to plan my glass work around customer visits to his wood working shop, he makes fine furniture and didn't want his clients breathing fumes while negotiating the purchase of $10K dining room suites...go figure.

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-22 14:47
You can also take a shop fan and blow the dust away from you while you are grinding on the glass, I guess thats why I dont dress up as much as Brad, Man I would pay to have a picture of him in that get up, but hes right it itches like you know what.    Ken........
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-22 16:47
Thank you all so very much for all the info. It is nice to have a place you can come and ask questions and not get beat up for it. This is my first ever total frame up rebuild. I want to do it right the first time. I have always played around with cars and truck, patching holes here and there with bondo never really taking my time, But after being in the Air Force for 15 years it has made me a perfectionist. Attention to detail is my biggest hang up so I have been told. I am hoping to get pics posted of my build this week end. So again thanks for all the help.
Big Osh
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-22 22:10
Hey Ken,
I was looking at a post about buggy addicts. I noticed that you talk about several bugs in the NC area. I was wondering if you are in NC. I am stationed at Pope Army Air Field. I was also wondering how hard is to paint a car. I found the color that I am going to paint my buggy. It is called Emerald Bliss by Hot Hues. I have never painted before. I am considering it. Then again I will see after I get all of my body work done. Thanks for your time and help.
Big Jon
By glassbuggy Date 2010-01-23 22:05 Edited 2010-01-23 22:11
Painting your car isn't all that bad but you must remember that a paint job is 95% prep. I suggest that you do your bodywork and then take a course at the local Votech school. An instructor can guide you through it. That's how I learned.
By glassbuggy Date 2010-01-23 22:12
Ok, lets talk about our friend ''The Spiderweb''
What do you guys reccomend for this type of repair ? I assume that it must be repaired from the gel coat side.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-23 22:40
Spiderwebs are caused by impacts and distortions of the fiberglass. If there is damage to the substrate, that must be repaired or the cracks will keep coming back. Look for cracks, rock hits or other damage behind the spider cracks. They recommend grinding out behind the cracks and filling it with new mat to relieve what ever stresses might be in the glass causing the crack.  To repair the cracks themselves I grind them out and fill with regular body filler. I grind the cracks out to about a 1/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch longer than the visible crack.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2010-01-24 04:23
If you want a real stable repair on the small hairline cracks then grind them out (I have used a dremel tool) and fill them with 3M HSRF. Its expensive but will hold like crazy. Fill them just below level and finish with a high grade filler.
By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-25 02:51
Hi Guys just got back from the beach, maby I should go back, Nope got to make some money so I can go back, first advice, although I say "all things are possible" it can get real expensive !!!! With what paint and materials cost nowadays, especially custom paint, you would at least benefit from having a experienced painter come and help when you apply the paint !!!! Search out someone good and tell them what you want to do,and you never know you might find a nice guy that will be happy to come over for a laugh, Im sorry I meant to say help out. It would be worth offering them a few dollors, cant help myself love picking at you guys sometimes, if you cant find somone at least get a old cheap car fender and practice on that first !!!  Kens ensycopedia = spyder cracks, caused from stress, found more so on thin bodys than thick bodys, or from damage to body from continuous vibration, Ok no one has to agree with me but I grind them out and lay down as many layers of cloth that I need to build the body back up, I do this because I do not want to spend money to paint and have them come back, on the thin bodys I even reinforce the bottom sides, on some buggys I glass in 2x2 boards to help support the rear of the body,make sure they are hidden the best you can and do not get in the way of anything . Hope this helps, good luck !!!!      Ken.........
By Jon O 2004 Date 2010-01-25 03:06
ya know someone might make it worth thier time to paint thier buggy if they had a place to paint it. My problem is I live on a Air Force base and have a car port.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-01-25 05:03
PERFECT, some of the nicest paint jobs I've seen were done at 5 in the morning in a driveway. The tree huggers might have a s%^& though. LOL. You could get macco to paint it, get them to REALLY hose it on, wait for a few months till it dries and then color sand and polish.

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-01-25 14:46
Good point Brad, actually if you get a painter that has been with them for a while and you can see his work, and you have the body prepped right you could get a pretty good job, not to mention that after painting conventional stuff all day long he would probably get a kick out of painting the hot hues paint.    Ken.......
By Jason F 4582 Date 2016-01-06 15:06
Hey Jeff

It's such a join to see your projects. Great and helpful pictures.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2016-01-06 15:59
Glad they help. I miss building them. Maybe one day I will start up again.
Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / New buggy owner. (23899 hits)

Powered by mwForum 2.10.2 © 1999-2007 Markus Wichitill