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Fiberglass repair

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Fiberglass repair Empty Fiberglass repair

Post by jghowes77 on Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:42 pm

Does anyone have any idea what to expect for the cost to repair a dent near the taillight with some surrounding cracks? I'm thinking of buying a 1988 Sebring that's been sitting for 22 years and this is one of the repairs that I have to figure into the price. Thanks.

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Post by David V. on Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:04 am

It's fiberglass so if it's not a large hole it should be dead-easy to do yourself if that floats your boat (speaking of boats, a good boat repair shop can probably do it for you cheaply). I'd have to see a picture of the damage to guide you, but a combination of fiberglass mat and/or strand reinforced putty followed by a finishing putty or a gel-coat touchup can fix just about anything. That being said it will be nearly impossible to get the colour matched right so you'll have to consider either driving with a slightly mismatched repair or repainting the whole car (quite a large endeavour). Just my two cents, hope it helps Smile
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Post by jghowes77 on Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:51 am

I'm not sure how to add a picture here. It seems that I had to create this link so hopefully I'm right.
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I would think that I'd be able to get the paint close and maybe buff it to blend it. I don't know. I've never done that either.

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Post by Hotrod on Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:13 am

Check the backside of the damage, inside the fender.  If you can see any damage inside, then it will have to be repaired on the inside as well.  Just trying to fix the outside will result in the damage eventually showing up again.  If this is a 5000 (leaf spring car), then the rear spring mount will be in the way of accessing the backside. This means the rear section of the body will have to be at least slid back (if not completely removed) to make a proper repair. If it's the MX version (coil springs), then you may get lucky and may not have anything blocking access.

All of the gel coat (red) that is cracked will have to be ground out and redone or the cracks will reappear sometime in the future. The trim strip is bolted on from the backside and it will need to be removed to make this repair. I know from experience on my car that this may be an adventure in itself.

Repairing fiberglass is not difficult, but it has to be done right.  Unfortunately, that damage is in an area that will be difficult to access for a proper repair.  All of the curves means that most, if not all, of the sanding will need to done by hand.

You may want to get an estimate from a professional on that particular repair.
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Post by jghowes77 on Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:49 am

I gather that it's the 5000 since leaf springs were mentioned.

Side note: since you seem to know a lot about Sebrings in general, do you happen to know if all 302 Ford engines are the same stock for an '88 or if there were even more options after choosing the 302? I'm trying to estimate the likely horsepower. Some places say 300 while others say 220. Thanks.

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Post by Hotrod on Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:42 pm

Sorry, but I'm not familiar enough with Ford engines to answer your question.

I do know that the 80's were terrible years for horsepower from any manufacturer. I wouldn't expect a stock 302 from that era to make more than 250 HP no matter what it was in. Even the 351's probably didn't break 300 HP. I'm not just picking on Ford either, Chevies were just as bad.
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Post by jghowes77 on Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:53 pm

I thought that maybe they souped them up or used a late 60s Boss 302 for the Sebring. An '88 5.0 Mustang was 220 hp. They're always called budget Cobras so you'd expect over 300. I saw some listed with Edelbrock carbs and heads though so maybe they altered them to get to 300. Do you know any differences between the 5000 and MX besides the leaf/coil springs? I can't find anything on this online.

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Post by David V. on Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:52 pm

The MX has slightly wider rear flares than the 5000, this has been confirmed by one of our members who owns both. The front bodywork is identical and the rest of the kit was also the same as far as I can tell, though there may be some differences in the chassis mounts and bracing due to the aforementioned suspension differences. Everything else comes down to the person who builds them.
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Post by jghowes77 on Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:58 pm

Not a huge deal then. I gather that the wider flares make it more like a Cobra then. As is I think that they are like a cross between a real 3000, a 100 or 100-M and a Cobra.

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Post by Hotrod on Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:33 am

I can't be sure, but it has been speculated that they are loosely based on the Healeys built to race at Sebring and Lemans. Those cars had louvered hoods and some had flared fenders. Somewhere I have a picture of an original Healey race car that is very similar to our cars.

I also tend to think that the flared fenders were included to better use the Mustang II front and rearends. The Saxon's did not have the flares, but used Chevette suspension parts.
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Post by jghowes77 on Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:40 pm

The Saxons seem to look exactly like the real 3000 but are worse performing than the Sebrings. I saw another replica on an old Top Gear that was when more of a clone. They only made a few of them so they're very valuable.

Here, I found it. HMC. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Post by jghowes77 on Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:30 pm

Here's a real 3000 on Bring A Trailer that has a louvered hood. It still has the defining 3000 bump/intake/whatever you call it that the Sebrings usually lack. I'm curious why they didn't keep that and if it's difficult/expensive to swap one on. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Post by Hotrod on Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:12 pm

Some of the race Healeys did not have the fake hood scoop.  Just the smooth hood with louvers like the Sebrings.  

Seems I read somewhere that Donald Healey did not like the scooped hood.  That was added by BMC when they took over the manufacturing from the Healey Works.  The original 100-4's did not have the scooped hood.

There is a member on here (Monrob22) that has bought the original Classic Roadster body molds for the Sebring, but due to the virus lockdown in Canada has not been able to pick them up.  He plans to offer replacement parts.  You should be able to source a scooped hood from him.  I don't think an original Healey hood will fit because the Sebring is wider than an original car by about 2".
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Post by jghowes77 on Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:15 pm

If it's easy enough to swap then it would be nice to keep both and alternate.

You don't happen to know how to fix spiderweb cracks in fiberglass do you? I have some minor ones on my 1992 Corvette. It's really not bad at all but I'd like to fix them if not too much of a hassle.

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Post by Hotrod on Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:21 pm

I'm not an expert by any means, but I have talked to some pro body men and read a good bit on this because I have some cracks that need to be repaired as well.

The general view was that the gel coat in the cracked area needs to be removed and feathered out down to the base fiberglass and new gel coat needs to be put on in that area. Most (but not all) info I got said that if you don't do this, the crack will eventually return.

Also, I have seen videos where the crack was grooved out and some kind of polyester filler was used to fill the groove. Most of the pros and the books say this is wrong and the repair will show through the paint after a while even if it doesn't crack again. The only way to keep the repair from "ghosting" through the paint is to repair the gel coat.
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Post by jghowes77 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:22 am

I'll probably repair the Sebring first then if I do end up buying it as I'm expecting to. I'll put the Corvette as a "someday" project.

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