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Fiberglass instead of sheet metal?? pros/cons??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by chopperimpala, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,589

    Ken Carvalho

    I know the correct way is "cut it out and weld in NEW sheet metal" but why not use fiberglass, to make some of the repairs a little easier??? I know there are a lot of "ROTH" worshippers here and (I don't know a whole lot about him) I believe Most of his wild/crazy stuff was made out of glass, so If a whole vehicle, oh yeah and Vettes, can be made from it, can't some small repairs be succesfully done?? My case in point is the rear most corners in the trunk of my '47 Chevy. there are 3 different planes of sheet metal back there...Fender well, floor, rear of car, and the to cut all the rust out and form new metal, I would think it would be easier (yes I know easier isn't always better, THATS why I am asking) just to media blast out the corner and fiberglass that corner back in??? any thoughts?? THIS IS NOT!!! going to be a show car!!! It will be a daily driver!!!...Ken
  2. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman

    The big problem with doing this is the different expansion/contraction rates of the steel/fiberglass. It can be done, has been done and will not last for very long.

    Sorry to rain on your parade, but I wouldn't do it.
  3. Permantantly bonding 'glas to steel is not as easy as it sounds.
  4. Here is an unfixable car saved by fiberglass...

    My 1962 Studebaker Hawk family car.
    Picture 1- Estes Park Colo 1985
    Pictures 2 + 3 - 1976 Illinois, under construction.




    I built my Hawk in 1977 from a rust bucket that other people would have crushed.
    It needed floors, subfloor boxes, body braces, rocker panels, rocker boxes, door bottoms, trunk floor, trunk sidewalls, fender rust repair, and the lower edges of the trunk lid.

    Fiberglass was what made it not only possible, but economical.
    This is one more Hawk that is still here because of an operation many people do not want to talk about.

    The pictures do not show just how bad it was. The trunk floor was completely gone with nothing to weld to. The remnants of the interior floor that you see in the pics was so thin and "swiss-cheesed" that no welding would have saved it unless you went several inches up the vertical panels to get to good metal.

    Lots of fiberglass with stiffening and braces converted a flexi-Stude into a light but SOLID bucket that handles the 500+ ft lb torque monster. This thing can outrun many muscle cars while pulling a trailer.
    I know a lot of people don't like fiberglassing a metal car, but it has saved an otherwise unfixable car,
    and has outlasted the original floor by a factor of 4 to 1 measured in years. The 1962 steel floor was gone before 1970 I was told. The fiberglass floor is still good after 30 years of family car use, rain or shine.

    That 45 yr old car has provided a stiff and quiet family car for 30 years so far, and is still more solid now than when it was new.

    I have seen some really bad fiberglass floors and fiberglass patches, but they CAN be made to work if done right, without getting lazy and cutting corners.

    If you aproach the project like you were putting on patches over bad spots, it will not be a long term success, maybe not even a short term success. If you use the approach that you are building a strong boat, with strong structural features, it can be made to function well for a long long time. If you do it right, the rest of the car can even stay pretty much attached to it for a long long time.

    People are correct when they say it will try to detach itself from the metal. They are also correct when they say it will shrink slightly over time. If you deal with those correctly, you can have great results.

    I don't have time to write about all the details right now, but I can write a letter or two per day if anyone is interested in the steps I took to get around the problems and make it work.

    I am not going to argue that fiberglass is always the better way to do things, but it most certainly CAN INDEED save a car that couldn't be saved otherwise.

  5. ProtoTypeDesignFlauz
    Joined: Jul 29, 2007
    Posts: 1,055


    The fiberglass ALWAYS comes loose from metal! The seam joint will always show. I did have a friend who worked at a fiberglass tank manufacture plant that fixed his 1968 Stang the glass way. It way a really rusty unit, that Mustang. He opened the trunk, let the fiberglass chop gun flow all inside the quarter panel (or lack of such) area. Ground down the overflow protruding on the outside of the body. Had a body shop paint the car. The car then was nice to look at. I be thinking, that this is the Ebay fix, to a very rusty car?
  6. That's exactly what I referred to as being the wrong way.

    That is exactly why most of the fiberglass patchwork you hear about does not work.

    You can't just open the trunk and shoot it, then expect any kind of lasting result.
    Neither can you "glass-on" a patch and expect a long-life result.

    That's the way most people do it, and that's why it usually doesn't work out very well.

    It CAN be a useful tool if you take the time to work around the weakness of the material; just as it is with any other type of work material.
  7. nexxussian
    Joined: Mar 14, 2007
    Posts: 3,240


    The biggest thing in bonding any composite to any metal is surface prep, will it pull away, eventually, but how long will it take? I know people that have fixed cars that no parts were available for with glass (a friends Hillman comes to mind, he fixed the rear fenders in 64, it's still good). You might consider a different resin, as the polyester that people usually use shrinks the most and sticks the least. Vinylester is better, but epoxy is the best (for stick and shrink anyway). I have used the West system epoxy products (its a marine product but many kit planes are built with it) I have had good luck with it (and it doesn't stink like the polyester stuff does).

    Dare-To-Be-Different, I for one would be interested in what you did to allow for shrinkage and promote adhesion (aside from the chicken wire I can see in the pic;)). If for no other reason than academic curiosity (if no one else voices interest, it might be best to do that via PM if you would, don't wanna burn up Ryan's bandwidth).
    Joined: Jul 3, 2007
    Posts: 207

    from Canada Eh

    don't do it it's cheap and won't last and will kill your resale value if you deice to sell it
  9. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,868

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Fiberglass is NOT a good option for metal repair, no matter what ONE guy says he did to his One car, that still looks good after 3 whole months. It will fail.
    Before I learned more advanced metal skills, before an English wheel was even dreamed of in 99.9% of bodyshops, and MIG's were even rare, I used to BRAZE pieces of steel together to get complex shaped parts. This is still a better option than 'glass!
    And to say 'glass can save an unsalvage-able car, is Bullshit. I've saved worse cars, using all steel, and they will last a LOT longer!
  10. BarryA
    Joined: Apr 22, 2007
    Posts: 643


    I wouldn't do it!!
    I work with fibreglass & resins, and even drive a 'glass bodied sports car, so I have nothing against it per se. It's just combining the two on one job that I have a problem with.
    Learn to do the repair in metal ( start here:
    Especially if your not looking to get it 100% perfect first time out, it is actually quite easy. Plus you'll be learning some worthwhile skills to use on bigger jobs later.
    Anyone can mix up a batch of resin and smear it in there, but it's not the right way.
  11. I Drag
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 884

    I Drag

    It worked for me. I installed Harwood "stretched" fiberglass wheel lips onto a car. Riveted and bonded them to cut steel quarters with wet 'glass, used filler to blend them out. Looked totally professional.

    I was worried about different expansion rates, but they did not crack for the 5 years that I owned the car.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
  12. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,631

    from Hypocrisy

    I think your delusional, I would love to see this car of yours, but I don't think I'd wanna go for a drive in it.

    It's so much easier and faster to just weld metal patches, you don't have to wait for fiberglass to kick, you aren't wallowing in piles of dust and the repair is permanent.
  13. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,631

    from Hypocrisy

    But they did crack, right? I've got steel repairs I did 20 years ago that haven't cracked or shrunk or shown signs of failure. Steel will not fail, fibergalss will, everytime, 5 months, 5 years, whatever, it just won't work.
    Your job was a failure, it's a living testament on how not to do things.
  14. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,426

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    was going to do a hood on a car that is O/T put a radical scoop on a steel hood the scoop was fiberglass..a very very experianced auto body guy (friend) said what ever you do..dont do i guess its time to make the scoop out a steel or get a fiberglass hood for the scoop..anyway..thats what he told me.
  15. Sorry for this long letter, but I was asked by a few people to explain how I did the fiberglass in my cars.

    Before the purists and traditionalists start screaming, I want to say that I am not advocating using fiberglass where metal repairs can reasonably be done. OK? now stay calm for a minute.

    The Hawk I brought home was so rusty that metal repairs would be too much to undertake.

    The shop where it was abandoned had tried to sell it for over a year for only $100. No takers. They were to have it hauled away just about the time I got there.

    NONE, NOT ONE, of the "weld-it" guys were willing to save it, so I did.

    Curse me for that if you wish, but I saved it when the others wouldn't.

    I do agree that fiberglass can and usually will shrink a bit for the first year or year and a half of use. But for many uses that doesn't matter. You have no business peeking under my carpet anyway. Nor do you have any right to rub my paint with magnets.

    You can find just about as many bad and dangerous metal repairs as you can in fiberglass.

    FIRST- You can't use fiberglass like cheap wallpaper. There is more to it than that.

    OF COURSE if you are "restoring" a metal car, fiberglass has no place in it.

    OF COURSE you shouldn't try to pass off a glass car as a metal one. Duh!

    The typical "fiberglass" that most people think of, if they aren't thinking of Bondo with fibers, is the glass fiber woven cloth or random-strand mat that is then saturated with the cheap Polyester Resin as is sold in Wal Mart and parts stores.

    That Polyester stuff is fine for many uses, is used all the time to build very nice cars and boats, and is THE most common resin, but it has many drawbacks such as shrinkage, lack of adhesion to metals, and here's something most people don't know-- even has limited adhesion to previously cured fiberglass. It appears to stick to fiberglass, but can be delaminated along the parting line between old glass (old meaning CURED) and new.

    Polyester fiberglass's best adhesion is to the previous layer of fiberglass that is somewhat cured, but hasn't fully cured yet.

    What experienced boat builders use for repairs on cured fiberglass, metal, and many other things is Epoxy Resin.

    Epoxy Resin will shrink much less, will stick to many things including metal, and is easy to work with when used to saturate the glass fibers.

    As I describe what I did to my car (for ME, to DRIVE, not for "cheating" at car shows, but for ME), please keep in mind that there are many "delusional" car manufacturers such as Lotus, Avanti, Excaliber, and many others, and many many "delusional" boat factories that ROUTINELY embed things into their fiberglass-- metal windshield frames, metal body braces, metal door hinge mounts, metal engine and gearbox supports, metal bulkhead mounts, and ... and.. and...

    all embedded into the fiberglass that they are molding into FLOORs, walls, etc.

    I sure hope no one thought they simply glued on a door hinge and hoped it would stay.

    Fiberglass works very well for countless numbers of very high dollar exotic cars and boats. How can anyone say it doesn't?

    What I did for my Hawk 30 yrs ago, and later my pickup 12 yrs ago, was to wire brush what I could, take a hand held rotary Skil saw, put in a metal cutting wheel, and make many many slits and cuts in the metal that was left at the edges of the missing floors and a few inches up the firewall and side panels. Perforated metal can be embedded in between fiberglass layers with a grip that won't let go. I run the ends of the fiberglass tapering off a few inches beyond the end of the perforated areas so there will not be any "flexing line" that could cause a weakness later on.

    I ground what paint I could off the door pillars, inside and out, and drilled just a few small holes in the two bottom inches to add screws into later. I made sure the door pillars were still attached with plenty of strong metal before proceeding.

    The original floor originally consisted of the metal floor panel with a few ribbed shapes (large bead roller style) to reduce floor panel flex just like the stiffeners you find on most floors,

    and some sub floor boxes spot welded underneath the floor that were somewhat like taking a couple 2x4's and wrapping metal around them, then welding those metal shapes to the underside of the floor. That was the basic shape of the braces. They gave strength to the rocker areas and a couple other places. Just like most other cars.

    They were very rusty, crumbling, and "Holey" but still had the basic shapes left. I left them in place as a mold to shape the glass for me. Please note that I didn't just "wallpaper" the rust holes as the failed ones you read about will often do, I used the rusted shapes as molds to shape the new strong multilayer braces.

    There is a HUGE difference that some people don't seem to understand. Don't just wallpaper the holes, but layer in a few continous overlapped layers to form a strong brace that can take the loads all by itself without relying on the metal. The old metal is nothing more than a cardboard shape to hold the "glass" as it hardens.

    That brings up THE Most Important Point Of All-- As you work, ALWAYS ALWAYS keep in mind that you are NOT patching holes in rusty metal, but you are building a NEW structure that will rely on itself for it's own strength.

    What I did was to use the cut off wheel to cut the remnants of the crumbling floor with two cuts about 3" apart to "open the top" of the crumbling rocker boxes and again to take the tops off of the crumbling sub floor boxes so they were open at the top. That way when I was laying saturated glass on the floor, I could coat the inside of the braces with at least two to three layers of mat. Cloth won't follow the shape right.

    When I was laying the first fiberglass layer with Epoxy Resin, I made sure to run it (saturated fiber mat) several inches up the firewall, several inches up the sidewalls, tuck several layers inside the door pillars and up several inches, then across the whole floor, down into the recesses of the sub floor boxes and rocker boxes, and on into the trunk area, ditto inside the trunk.

    I made sure to run fiberglass mat on both sides of the remaining metal floor edges (firewall, sidewall etc) so the two "first layers" met each other thru the holes and slits in the metal to minimize any tendency to pull away from the metal.

    Basically I made a strong, well braced passenger tub with the cars' metal structural parts securely embedded in the fiberglass. The car was, and still is, a metal car with a strongly braced fiberglass lower passenger tub securely attached and sealed.

    The point here was to make sure the Epoxy had a good grip, that the metal was well embedded in the glass fibers, and the metal couldn't pull away even if the epoxy lost its grip later.

    The rest of the layering was done with the usual cheaper Polyester Resin to lay the whole floor, glassing down into the cut-open rocker boxes and braces, then on the next layer, the floor fiberglass was laid flat and over the top of the open "boxes" to make a flat floor. It was in this last stage that I used the chicken wire in the photo to hold the top layer in the shape of a flat floor and smooth tunnel. You know, the "Carson Top" method. (ducking for cover now)

    After all that glassing and strengthening, I put a couple small bolts in the bottom of the door pillars to stick out a bit for a "grip" then added even more fiberglass over them again and glass it to the floor again. Compare a smooth fence post being placed in concrete, to a post with a few bolts and bumps and spikes sticking out, being placed into concrete. That gives you an idea of the extra grip the glass would have on the pillar. I then layered a few more layers around the junction of the post and connected that to the other floor structures.

    To make some more ribbed braces to make the floor very very strong, I laid some lengths of small rope, a little bigger than clotheline rope across the flloor to give the next glass layer the shape of a large bead roller "bead" and glassed another layer on the floor, up the sides, and glassed in a panel behind the rear seat to replace the cardboard panel that was tossed out. That made a strong bulkhead to further stiffen up the car. That bulkhead was glassed into the front floor and the trunk floor to make one long structure.

    The shape that the fiberglass takes is the key to it's strength, NOT the cardboard, or folded paper, or rope, or any critic screaming "you made the car out of cardboard!". It is the fiberglass being formed with different shapes at different angles that will make it extremely strong.

    That rope method, or folded cardboard method is often used in boat building to make extremely strong ribs that add tremendously to the strength of a panel.

    I know there are skeptics, but that car became so stiff and strong that I could jack up two opposite wheels until the right font and left rear were just lifting off the ground, and the doors would still open and close.

    Anyone who knows about the super-flexibility of Studebakers especially the long coupes, will tell you that even on a rust free car it is unusual if you can park with one wheel on a curb and still open a door without it sticking badly. Even when new, most Studebakers were very flexible. So much so that for some models their assembly lines had to be stopped and changed around because the fenders would not fit if the engine was installed on the frame first. The frames and bodies were bending on the assembly line when the engines went in.

    Basically what I did was to layer up a very strong passenger TUB complete with molded in braces, embedded steel pillars, and plenty of anchor points to hold to the other metal parts.

    I didn't have to spend months making molds. The car was the mold.

    That saved me MONTHS of tin-snipping, welding, and endless hammering.

    You may call the fiberglassing I did to it overkill, but I have never driven a more solid car.

    After 30 YEARS the fiberglass has separated from the flat metal in a few spots but those spots are high up the wall under the carpeting, and can be easily fixed with a few invisible sheetmetal screws. The structural parts are still stronger than the original car was when new.

    The car is still extremely stiff, more than any metal car I have had before, even my short stout Jeep had much more twist than this long wheelbase Stude.

    30 years ago I brought home a Hawk that had very little to work with or weld to, and there was no source of replacement panels. What I did on my Hawk 30 years ago was to save it from the crusher when 99% of everyone else would have let it go as not worth saving.

    Actually, I would like to discourage anyone from following in these footsteps because of all the improper glassing horror stories I have heard and seen.

    But then again,... I have also heard of cousn Jethro welding a stop sign on his floor and then his master cyl still fell out. But don't worry, I am not going to say metal repairs and welding will make your brake cylinders fall out.

    Neither will a proper fiberglass buildup.

    I wouldn't recommend it for routine fixes such as cab corners, even tho I did my truck cab corners with it at the same time I did a complete glass floor in my pickup. I expected it to shrink slightly and leave the outlines of the old corner rust holes showing in the primer, and it did. But that was no problem on my old truck.

    It is a primered truck and I didn't mind driving it for a year in primer while waiting for the shrinking to stop. Then I simply sanded the corner, used a couple primer shots, and sanded a bit. Took 15 minutes.

    It is now good again, and for an epoxy-primer truck I DON'T MIND AT ALL.

    ...and by the way, no matter how many times I hear that using radials on an older car not designed for radials will cause me to crash, I am running radials anyway...

    ...and I don't care that the color of my master cyl is incorrect.

    .....And I had better not catch you pulling up my carpets to take a peek.

    If you know how to build a strong boat, you CAN build a strong floor.

    Sorry for the long letter.

    P.S. By the way, Here is the way Car Craft says to do it....

    I wouldn't do it that way myself, I would go even further, but to each his own.
    rg171352 likes this.
  16. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267


    you answered your own question in your fisrt sentence."I know the correct way is "cut it out and weld in NEW sheet metal"
  17. Frosty21
    Joined: Jan 25, 2007
    Posts: 958

    from KY

    So what are you supposed to do about pitted metal?

    Just re-skin the whole vehicle?

    Fiberglass has a place.
  18. JohnnyP.
    Joined: Aug 3, 2005
    Posts: 1,299


    what is wrong with you? what would you do about pitted metal? if its to bad for a primer or a light glazing putty to fill, then you have no structure to it. are you saying, for example, that you would take a door that is pitted and lay a sheet of fiberglass on there? that is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. fiberglass has its place, yes... boats and sports cars.

    ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID? where is the structure to your car? did you atleast put steel braces on the floor before you did that? do have any idea how easy it is to put a whole into fiberglass compared to metal? do you glue on you body mods too? your definately someone i would pay to fix my car. for one thing, Chopperimpala is asking for good advice, and you give the most retarded advice i have ever heard. if it was a bodyline on his S10 he wants to shave, then fiberglass, why not. for a structural part of his car, hell no. that area was probably made with 16 or 18 ga metal, and your telling him that plastic would be a great fix. no.

    metal would be the correct way to fix this and should be the only acceptable way of fixing this. if fiberglass was considered a practical way, most shops would be doing this. when one guy out of a few thousand tell you its a good idea, know that that guy is probably on crack i think that his kids should be taken from him for risking there lives whith shit like that. just fix it correct the first time and you will be a lot happier. i know that on another thread you were talking about how you were metal working your rear fender for a couple of hrs. if your going to take that much pride in your vehicle,and more power to you, dont half ass it when it comes to the more difficult areas.
  19. publicenemy1925
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 3,187

    from OKC, OK

    The thing that bothers me is you state heavy rust in the rockers, the rocker boxes, the floor. God forbid, you get hit by a text messaging toyota driver, and your car will crush like a aluminum can. All that rot worries me about the safety aspect of the car. Fiberglass is not a repair to made to a steel structure. My .02cents.
  20. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,180

    from Yakima WA.

    I agree, now you have a car with no structural integrity and could possibly fold up in a collison.
  21. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,984

    from California

    fiberglass is for people who don't have a welder or money to pay someone to do it right.

    you have a welder right? you also have all the free advice you can stand right here on the HAMB.

    do it right or don't do it at all.
  22. hellonwheels
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 674


    Amen. I'm no master metal magician, in fact I'm learning all the time, but fiberglass would never be a consideration. Metal work is not the easiest way, but its the right way, and the ONLY way as far as I'm concerned!
  23. floors maybe, but nothing else. But that is only if I had no other means.

    Metal to metal is the best.
  24. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,631

    from Hypocrisy

    Dare to be different, you are honestly out of your mind, your methodology is utterly suspect at best. There wasn't enough metal to weld to, but there was for fiberglass??? C'mon, gimme a break. I don't want to sound like an asshole but your Studey is a junkyard car, it's just on the road because of some very dodgy work, your car would never pass an MOT test in England, unless you were bribing the tester. I hope no one takes what you're saying and attempts to utilize it.
    Welders are cheap, if I can get my 17 year old daughter to cut, shape, weld and grind metal in one Saturday than anyone can do it.

    I once saw a bent like a banana Borgward Isabella that had its floors 'repaired' by bolting in a refrigerator door, it even sounds safer than your Studey, at least that was a mechanical bond.

    Sorry, I'm not being a dick, but I've seen some fucked repairs and your chicken wire flooris right up there with the best of 'em.
  25. Do all those fiberglass 32 owners know they don't have enough metal, and will die too?

    Maybe you should inform all those Lotus owners and boat owners they are all gonna die when the parts fall off.

    Hurry. You could save some lives!

    P.S. My flimsy "glass" pickup has been hit three times in the past 12 years. Two times the others got the worst end of the deal.
    Once a Toyota that hit me was sliced open and declared totalled, and the second time a Dodge Ram was the one that went away with the dents and broken lights. My kids were with me both times. The cops told my kids to be thankfull that they used such heavy metal in the old trucks.

    The other time a semi driver forgot to set his parking brake in the Wal Mart parking lot. It pushed in one fender that I quickly replaced.

    Several years ago my Hawk was hit in the side pillar and door by a hit-and-run 15 yr old in a Camaro. Again it was on the way to school with the kids in the car. We were sitting still at a stoplight. (why am I always sitting still when I get clobbered?) The Camaro rammed us in the side, pushed my car sideways a bit and took off. The impact pushed in my door outer skin a bit but the inner panels were not deformed or pushed in. The door pillar at the back of the door where the Camaro made first contact was not pushed in or bent in at all. I am sure glad I put all that bracing in it. A stock Stude or Chrysler with those short unsupported hardtop door pillars are known to bend in easily. I am glad I braced it with lots of glass structure; it didn't move.
    The Camaro came out reasonably well with a damaged bumper and r/front corner.
    Sate Farm screwed me out of $3500 (body shop estimates) for the door repairs and fender scrapes (It was a steel door that bent, so don't jump on the soapbox). The Camaro owner was WITH THE CAR, and the police report said that "the owners insurance company advised them to report the Camaro as stolen 24 hours after the accident". I don't know how they got away with that.
    That was on the official police report. I went to lawyers, the state Attorney General, and local State's Attorney. They all gave me a runaround and said it wasn't worth fighting about. So I had to replace the door myself.
    I am so glad that we were in a substantial car and not a small econobox that would crumple.
    Yes we have been hit a few times. That is exactly why I am a believer in having numerous braces built in. Too bad that some people cannot understand that.
  26. I Drag
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 884

    I Drag

    Ah crap... bad grammar...Nads, what I meant to say was "it did not crack for about 5 years, at which time I sold the car" I meant that it did NOT crack the entire time I had it, and I doubt it did after. But I don't know for sure. But I doubt it.

    I do know that it was regularly subjected to a lot of localized vibration (6000rpm burnouts) and it was fine.

    This was before I had a welder, and I might do it with metal now. But I still think fiberglass is ok if done correctly. Guess I'm biased since I do a lot of 'glass work without problems.
  27. DrJ
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 9,418


    What happened toall the glass reinforced POR-15 supporters from threads past?
    There ARE adhesives that bond to CLEAN metal for at least a very long time.
    I'm pretty sure the door hinges on my old Astro Van were GLUED onto the pillars.

    He's not talking about doing Rustbelt style newspaper 1/4 panels.
    And it's all relative as to how much longer any one of these old cars will last into the future.
    I may be wrong on this particular car but lots of cars have the junction between the trunk floors and 1/4 panel metal "glued" together anyway so do whatever you need to do, within your capabilities and with a fair thought towards safety to get your ride rolling.
    Just be aware that you need it "glued up" air tight back there or you WILL suck up deadly ehaust fumes into the car's interior.
  28. I appreciate all the opinions expressed in this thread because I am hoping to start making fiberglass 34 Chevy 3 window bodies in the near future. Thanks Dare to be Different, your posts told me things I didn't know about fiberglass use and confirmed other things I had been told. I definitely like the idea of the fiberglass epoxy due to the reduced shrinkage and assumed longevity. My fiberglass supplier was telling me of an adhesive that would let me install a steel structure in my bodies so the doors would be hinged and latched on metal. He never told me about the epoxy, he might have just assumed that was what I would be using.
    Thanks everybody for posting pro/con on this thread, Chip.
  29. Nads
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 11,631

    from Hypocrisy

    Dare to be different, don't get me wrong, I admire your gumption but to compare your car to a boat or a glass deuce is not quite correct. A boat has certain parts that are integrated into its structure, none of which are going to receive the kind of stresses your car will. A fiberglass hot rod body or kit car is mechanically attached to the frame. Your Studbaker wasn't designed to be tied together with fiberglass.
    And DrJ, your point is well taken, but 30 years ago such structural adhesives weren't available and even if they were I doubt very seriously that anyone could get rusted metal clean enough to allow such a bond.

    I used to sling fiberglass with wild abandon in my youth but then I got me a stick welder, which isn't exactly the right way of doing things either but I chopped my 54 Chevy using that buzz box. It took forever because every weld had to be cleaned and I had to change electrodes fifty times an hour but I was young and eventually the lesson I learned was that there's a right way and a wrong way to fix metal. Maybe one day I'll learn how to gas weld like the real masters.
  30. DirtyThirty
    Joined: Mar 8, 2007
    Posts: 2,396

    from nowhere...

    Honestly...Fiberglass does not bother me, for patching small holes, rust pin holes, things that are non-structural, on a car that has little resale value, or is not a show a race car, beater, or just a simple car, that you are not trying to ge a freakin' award does the job on a daily driver, with minor issues, that is not intended to ever be a major creation...if, you do a half decent job with it, do not abuse it, overuse it, it will last a also makes the car look a little better, while you get the mechanicals functioning properly, something that is a priority before appearance. There are a lot, a LOT of customs out there, with countless hours of body work, incredible paint, and a weezing, death-rattling,poorly tuned, 5 lb. oil pressure having, mill, crammed btwn. the fenders, like it was an after-thought...something that I've never understood...

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