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Fiber Glass Repair

minifridge1138

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Feb 2, 2007
Messages
908
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USA
Corvette
1982 Black Fastback
hello all. I am very sad to say that the front driver's side of my car has some very serious fiberglass cracks. Apparently the previous owner damaged the car, had a cheap fix, and sold it. I bought it, and when it got cold, the cracks in the body came through the paint.

I have seen door-to-door replacement front ends ranging from $700-$1200. How easy is it to repair the body? Would it be worth it to replace the whole front end? Any opinions/experience? And does anyone know a good body shop in Arkansas?

Thanks
 

Evolution1980

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Cleveland, Ohio
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ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
When I smashed up my car (thus tearing up the fiberglass pretty bad), my mechanic just cut out the bad areas and replaced / patched it. Gooder than new! :D
 

Curby

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Dec 29, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Alabaster, AL
Corvette
71, 72, 73, 82, & 00
I have an '82 with a complete new front end. It sure looks like a lot of work to get it straight and fitted just right. It might be a lot easier to just fix the broken areas.

I will be trying to bond the front on and get it straight in a month or so. There is a lot of work to get the area where the headlights goe, the line where the bumper attaches, and the hood and fender lines just right. I bet I will spend more time getting the gaps and surfaces perfect than it would have been to fix the cracked fiberglass in the first place.
 

6880 Mike

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Jun 30, 2006
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Location
The Bluegrass State
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1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
...I have seen door-to-door replacement front ends ranging from $700-$1200. How easy is it to repair the body? Would it be worth it to replace the whole front end? Any opinions/experience?...

Swapping a front end is a BIG job, but not impossible. I put a new front end on my '68. My advice is not to replace the entire front end if the damaged panel(s) can be repaired. Post some pics of the damage/cracks.

:)
 

LVMYVT76

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Apr 21, 2006
Messages
664
Location
springfield, mo
Corvette
1976 medium blue
My suggestion would to find a good corvete repair shop, one that know fiberglass repair, and have them look at what would be best to do. They should know the advantages of a small repair verses a complete front end replacement. You may want to try more than one, getting more opions on the repair. Ask to look at some of their repairs and ask for references of other repair work.
 
T

tak

Guest
Mine has been damaged in the left front also, but the damage is limited to just the area in front if the headlight.The paint is cracking too. The bumper cushion support on the back side is still broke. I will remove the bumper and repair both the areas properly, but would never think of removing the hole front clip unless the damage was severe.
 

minifridge1138

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Feb 2, 2007
Messages
908
Location
USA
Corvette
1982 Black Fastback
Yeah, I really do NOT want to remove the whole front end. My car is a little different, because when the previous owner had the cheap repair job done, the front bumper was bonded to the fenders. So there is no gap between the bumper and the area in front of the headlights. I'll post pics in a little bit.
 

gmjunkie

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Nov 11, 2004
Messages
4,547
Location
Old Fort NC/Vero Beach FL
Corvette
03 Z-51,78 L82 Coupe
Yeah, I really do NOT want to remove the whole front end. My car is a little different, because when the previous owner had the cheap repair job done, the front bumper was bonded to the fenders. So there is no gap between the bumper and the area in front of the headlights. I'll post pics in a little bit.
My guess is that he used Regular Polyester glass to Repair!!!
I believe it was in 1977 that they went to SMC!! If you repair SMC with Polyester it "WILL" do this!!!!!:upthumbs
 

minifridge1138

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Feb 2, 2007
Messages
908
Location
USA
Corvette
1982 Black Fastback
fiber

Wow, i didn't know that. That is very good to know. I would like to save the labor costs and repair the cracks myself. Does anyone have a good reference about fiber glass repair? I've searched CAC and haven't found anything, but i may just be looking in the wrong place.

Thanks for all of the information.
 

6880 Mike

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Jun 30, 2006
Messages
2,723
Location
The Bluegrass State
Corvette
1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
...I would like to save the labor costs and repair the cracks myself. Does anyone have a good reference about fiber glass repair?...

The Glas-Ra series (two volumes) is good. Eckler's book is pretty good. If memory serves, all three are available through Eckler's. Other aftermarket providers might also be carrying the books.

:)
 

oceangal

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Jun 28, 2005
Messages
581
Location
Merrimac, MA
Corvette
1982 silver/claret
I am getting this from my fiance' who is an auto body, hot rod restorer and has been for 30 yrs.

Once you do the fiberglass you have to bondo and make sure there are no waves. He see's a lot of what folks do on their own and it ends up costing them more in the long run than it would have in the beginning.

He suggested that you could also check around and see if someone who works on boats might want to do it on the side.

It really is worth the money to have it done right, esp since its been butchered already.

Good luck, I feel for you.
 

minifridge1138

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Feb 2, 2007
Messages
908
Location
USA
Corvette
1982 Black Fastback
Good call. I went around town and got a few estimates. I finally found a guy that could do the work for a fair price (another body shop told me that he was the best guy in town). He had a few C2's and an early 70's C3 in the shop, so I'm not the only one that trusts him.

Thanks for all of the advice.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
295
Location
South Dakota
Corvette
76 Coupe
Mini, I really would like to see pictures of the damage and did you ever own a red 76 down there in Arkansas?
 

minifridge1138

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Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Messages
908
Location
USA
Corvette
1982 Black Fastback
I'll get some posted tonight. I got distracted over the weekend.
No, i've never owned a red 76. The black 82 is actually my first car.
 

minifridge1138

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Joined
Feb 2, 2007
Messages
908
Location
USA
Corvette
1982 Black Fastback
How do I post pictures?

Also, here is a very specific question:
What is the difference between the Headlight Actuator supports for the 1968-1974 and the supports for 1975-1982?
I'm thinking that when prev-owner repaired the front, he used the wrong support. I say this because the support is slightly different on the other side and only 3/4 of the mounting bolts fit. There is no hole for the 4th bolt. Because i'm only getting 75% of the support, the headlight is vibrating. The vibration is causing the cracks. I have 3 cracks in the body, and they start where the 3 bolts are threaded to the mounts in the body.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
295
Location
South Dakota
Corvette
76 Coupe
there is stuff on this site to tell you exactly how to put up pictures. I don't know how to get to them other than a search. At the top of this page, search for irfanview. it is a program to size pictures real easy and it is free. the search should bring you to the part of CAC that tells you how to do it.
 

Evolution1980

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Cleveland, Ohio
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ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes

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