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Unread 02-16-2012, 09:06 PM   #1
k-bar
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hard top repair?

Ok so looking at buying this top. the guy is asking 100 bucks for it both rear corners need repair, and then there is a crack on the right rear hinge for the window. Other then the rest of the top it is sound. I have some experience in fiber glass, but I have never done any repairs. Does anyone have any experience in this, is this top repairable, how hard is it if so, etc, etc??








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Unread 02-16-2012, 09:09 PM   #2
superj
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i cannot see your picture but check your for sale thread, about the sound bar.
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Unread 02-16-2012, 10:01 PM   #3
Cassafrass
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I didn't have experience with fiberglass. And it was a HUGE PITA. I would never, ever want to do it again. The top looked no better when we got done than when we started. If you have experience though I can't imagine it being too awfully hard for you. I've seen people do it and it come out flawless, not my forte however.

Make sure to make a write-up if you do.
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Unread 02-16-2012, 10:05 PM   #4
superj
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Wow, now that I am off work and on another computer, I can see the pics. I would pass on that sucker. It is tore up!!
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Unread 02-17-2012, 06:42 AM   #5
Berniebikes
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It's repairable if you have reasonable skills with fiberglass. I would use epoxy resins only (don't go buy some cheap body filler at the auto parts place) if you undertake the repair. One thing, make certain that the hardware for the rear hatch is there. It's are as hen's teeth. You can order replacement rear glass, but the piece on the bottom that holds the latch and sandwiches the glass is near impossible to come by.
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Unread 02-17-2012, 07:04 AM   #6
MaddBones702
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search for hard top repair and old4x. He had profound insights on how to best repair fiberglass. I didn't save the thread so I can't point you directly to it.
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Unread 02-17-2012, 07:45 PM   #7
Old4X
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That is more work than it looks, but it can be repaired. Even though the corners look the worst, they are probably the easiest to fix. It is that main crack I would go after first.

Without inspecting it on site, it appears the top may be out of square with that big a crack where it is, so the top has to be jiged up before repair is started, else it will never fit again.

If you are experienced in glass work, a lot of what I list will be common knowledge for you, but I will try to be thorough. Everyone has their own techniques, this is how I normally do it.

To jig it up, just install it on your jeep, and bolt it down solid. Male sure things look good at this point, if something is out of alignment, you may have to cut into the crack with a sawsall or jig saw to relieve stress.

Once it is the shape you want, start to repair the outside of the crack.

You have to have power grinders and power sanders, hand sanding and cutting will not work for this.

On the cracks, stop drill the end of each crack, 3/16 or 1/4 inch drill bit is what I would likely use. Then measure the thickness of the material. If you will be repairing both sides (inside and outside) divide thickness in half. Then go 10 to 1 on the thickness of the repair. This means if the top is 1/2 inch thick, and a 2 sided repair, go 10/4 inches on either side of the crack (2 1/2 inches) and beyond the end where stop drilled. You will sand an area 5 inches wide with the crack in the middle of the sanded area. You V-taper the sanded area with the crack in the base of the V (think make it kook like a valley). You don't want to sand all the way through and open the crack wider, just go half way with the deepest part. 40 grit and 80 grit open grit paper is what you will be using here on your sander. Do not try to smooth out the area like you would for paint, rough is good.

As mentioned above, epoxy resin is best for this type repair.

I prefer to use glass cloth, bi-directional weave, it is the most common weave unless you are ordering from an aircraft supply house. A decent repair can also be done with roving mat, I have used both and always opt for the cloth if I can get it.

Get a good, sharp pair of scissors (dollar store, $1 !). Get some Dacron tape if you can find it (I keep a roll of 2" always in my tool box). Also called peel-ply or sail cloth. Any good fiberglass supplier will have it. Also about a dozen 2" natural brisle brushes (lowes or WallyWorld, a buck each) . And some non wax-coated mixing containers about 1 pint in size each.

Now cut a strip of fiberglass cloth to run the length of the crack. Cut it 1" wide and orient the weave 45 degrees to the crack. Next cut a larger strip that still centers on the crack and is 2" wide or so. Orient the weave so it is 90 degrees to the crack. Keep cutting wider pieces of fiberglass each with the weave laying different from the previous piece. Trial fit this stuff dry, and it will be like a slinky, trying to pull all out of shape.

Remove your fiberglass strips and place them on clean pieces of news paper. Space them out so you can keep them straight.

Make sure the sanded area is clean and dry, use an air hose to blow dust off. Use acetone to wipe down only if you suspect oil or wax contamination.

Now put your Nitrile gloves on and get your brush, scissors, dacron tape, and epoxy out. Mix the epoxy as per instructions. Some resins require q minimum time for mixing and reaction, just follow instructions.

Paint the crack area with the epoxy and lay the first piece in. Work air bubbles out with brush, by stroking and stippling.

Paint on some more epoxy generously overlapping what you just did, and lay the next piece of cloth in to the epoxy. Remove air bubbles, and work out folds or wrinkles.

Keep going like this, remembering to alternate the weave orientation (for maximum strength and crack resistance). When you get to what will be your top piece, lay it in and do not overlap the sanded area, it must be smaller than the area you sanded (not by much). Trim with scissors if you have to. Now lay strips of dacron over the whole repair. Lay it into the epoxy just like you would fiberglass cloth. These strips MUST overlap the repair bu several inches , and only apply resin to the edges of sanded area, some tape remains dry. Make this pretty, slight overlaps or tight butt joints. do not spare the epoxy and get ALL the bubbles out.

Now LEAVE IT ALONE, go drink some cold ones, you are done for the day.

Once the epoxy will scratch "white" with a knife, you can rip the dacron off and see what your repair looks like. I normally wait over night.

Once the epoxy is set, it isn't fully cured for several days, depending on the exact epoxy you are using. If it were mine, I would leave the top in place for several days, then remove it and repair the other side of the crack the same way.

Long post, will continue on next.
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Unread 02-17-2012, 07:51 PM   #8
Old4X
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To repair the inside part of the crack, I would turn the top up side down and work on it like that. The outside repair should hold everything in alignment while working on the inside.

Alternately, a piece of sheetmetal can be used for the inside part of the repair. You still do some glass work, just embed a sheetmetal patch to bridge the cracked area, using pop rivets to hold the sheetmetal in place. The top may not be thick enough for this, or the sheetmetal patch may be unsuitable for where your crack is.

Either way, a total glass repair should be your first choice.

If you can, post some pics of the corner damage from further back so I can see more where and what is damaged.
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Unread 02-18-2012, 09:29 AM   #9
k-bar
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Thanks old4x! So great info. What about the corners? I am about to go pick the top up, the guy js lowered his price to 50 bucks. Also how much do you think it will cost to repair this crack and corners?
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Unread 02-18-2012, 06:41 PM   #10
Old4X
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Repair cost for materials and some paint, $250 should cover it.

The corners can just be built up using a piece of plastic on one side (cut the side off an antifreeze bottle or similar ) as a form and build it up oversize using roving mat and resin. Let set up and sand and file to the desired contour. Easy job.

Alternately you can do it while the top is installed on the Jeep. Cover the body surfaces with duct tape and mask all adjoining surfaces (especially anything below your work area). Paste wax the duct tape just to be sure the resin releases. Then fill in the missing area with roving mat and resin, you may have to put a backer on the inside to keep things in place (plastic here again). You may have to oversand the repair after it sets up and cover with 2 layers of saturated glass cloth and the peel-ply thing to get the final look you want.

Once set up, remove the top and clean up the repair, sanding to final contour. Prime and paint.
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Unread 02-18-2012, 11:10 PM   #11
k-bar
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Also I am wanting to cut the top to make like a half top like a CJ8 half cab top. Will this matter with my repairs, or should I do the repair first and then cut the top down?
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Unread 02-19-2012, 09:55 AM   #12
Old4X
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k-bar View Post
Also I am wanting to cut the top to make like a half top like a CJ8 half cab top. Will this matter with my repairs, or should I do the repair first and then cut the top down?
If you are going to cut it down, just skip the repair. Looks like all your damage is at the rear.

Just forge ahead making and glassing in your new rear bulkhead, the material costs will be the same for the repair OR the half-top conversion.
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Unread 02-19-2012, 06:17 PM   #13
k-bar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old4X View Post
If you are going to cut it down, just skip the repair. Looks like all your damage is at the rear.

Just forge ahead making and glassing in your new rear bulkhead, the material costs will be the same for the repair OR the half-top conversion.

Man you lost me. I was gonna basically cut the side window section out and then attach the rear to the front/top section. I just assumed that was gonna be the best way to do it. What do you recommend?

Oh and for some laughs, here is how I transferred the top to my place.
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Unread 02-19-2012, 06:36 PM   #14
Old4X
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I have never cut one down, but would do it in a flash if I scored a top for $50.

The ones I have seen done work a rear wall that is about the angle of what you see on the rear edge of your soft doors. Also, no need for a rear opening glass, so that can be fixed in place, much simplier and stronger.

I already have a lower Scrambler type bulkhead installed, so I would just match up to that.

Look here for some pics of new ones:

http://www.gr8tops.com/index.php?opt...d=50&Itemid=96
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Unread 02-19-2012, 07:22 PM   #15
k-bar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old4X View Post
I have never cut one down, but would do it in a flash if I scored a top for $50.

The ones I have seen done work a rear wall that is about the angle of what you see on the rear edge of your soft doors. Also, no need for a rear opening glass, so that can be fixed in place, much simplier and stronger.

I already have a lower Scrambler type bulkhead installed, so I would just match up to that.

Look here for some pics of new ones:

http://www.gr8tops.com/index.php?opt...d=50&Itemid=96

I know lol, that's why I jumped on the sale whenever he told me he'd take 50 bucks for it.

So I could build my new corners for a rear window like you said before by using a antifreeze jug? Also, for the rear panel, I am guessing I could you the other half of the top for the rear, and just got out a place for a rear window?
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