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Unread 08-21-2013, 11:47 AM   #76
243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7ROB View Post
I like fiberglass too
My first thought after you posted the buggy's "how would they run with a WRX motor"

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Unread 11-10-2013, 09:29 PM   #77
O1dSoldier
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My Experience with Fiberglass

I have a '78 CJ5 that I bought back in 1987. It was a rusty hulk and a few years later I bought a fiberglass tub for it. I was a young PFC in the Army and cost was the deciding factor. I've hated the fiberglass body from day one snd here's why:

The body is about 1/4 - 3/8 inch narrower that the original which means my OEM hood and windshield frame doesn't marry up well and I have to build spacers to put between the winshield hinges and body.

While grounding isn't a difficult issue to solve, it is time consuming and some things are not as easy to ground as others.

There is a tremendous amount of flex in the body where the windshield attaches causing the top of the windshield to move back over an inch when at highway speeds. This has always been a safety concern for me.

The firewall and cowl seam was very poorly done and needed significant re-engineering to keep it together and make it so it didn't look horrible.

I made a template of the firewall of my steel body to help with cutting the fiberglass fenderwell and it helped but the thickness f the firewall still made it necessry to build custom brackets. I realize they now sell these that you then have to add.

I had to build custom rollbars. The OEM didn't fit between the fender rails due the body being narrow and the heavier lip wouldn't allow the angle iron to fit under it.

Anywhere something mounts to the body needed custom backing plates for support - fenders, hood hinges, windshield hinges, dashboard, seat and seatbelt mounts, etc.

There was no bracket for the e-brake and no real way to attach a bracket to the side of the tub that either didn't look bad for the bolts goingthrough the body and the mass of glass that would have needed to be added.

I have no doubt fiberglass tub quality has improved since then and I find myself tryimng to decide again between fiberglass and steel as I plan a full rebuild. Cost isn't a factor anymore but time and effort is and after scouring everything I can find talking about both, given all the issues with the steel tubs I'm still leaning in that direction.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 05:22 AM   #78
ScroungerLee
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Except for the last post everyone who likes fiberglass tubs actually has one. Those criticizing them dont have one. I'm sure there are exceptions, but this seems to be an important factor to me.

I live in the salt belt and wouldn't mind a fiberglass tub at all just for rust reasons. On the other hand I don't think I would be able to stand having a one piece nose where the fenders and hood are one piece, that is just too much change FOR ME, others might like them.

I have seen a fiberglass boat hit a big log at speed and crack, but it sure didn't shatter, and the fix was easy compare to reforming metal.

Of course this is just my opinion and as such doesn't affect other peoples decisions. After all we decided to get CJs and love them, other people have a Rubicon and love it.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 06:43 AM   #79
John Strenk
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You don't need a 1 piece nose.

I have fiberglass tub fenders and metal hood and grill. They bolt together well. Hardtop fits well also. Just had one problem with one corner that didn't make a big difference. Certainly the same width and roll bar bolted right in.

E-brake fit but I need to move it some day because of the front roll bar.

Mine is about 15-20 years old now.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 07:28 AM   #80
Jeeprage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Strenk View Post
You don't need a 1 piece nose.

I have fiberglass tub fenders and metal hood and grill. They bolt together well. Hardtop fits well also. Just had one problem with one corner that didn't make a big difference. Certainly the same width and roll bar bolted right in.

E-brake fit but I need to move it some day because of the front roll bar.

Mine is about 15-20 years old now.
2nd on fiberglass tub and fenders, metal good, grill, windshield, and tailgate.

My tub was perfect width, no issues mounting the windshield at all. No issues at any seams, edges, or anywhere else. Using large fender washers when bolting things down was no big deal, and grounding issues were pretty easy to resolve. Run a separate ground to tail-lights, grill, and dash; that is all it took for me.

Biggest Pro: Never having to worry about rust ever again, whether it be from winter salt or sitting parked.

Biggest Con: Pre-drilling and epoxying all holes that went through a cored support area to seal moisture out.

Absolutely would use a 4wd Deluxe tub (with tailgate cutout) again.
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Unread 11-11-2013, 12:30 PM   #81
Cutlass327
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Only fitment issue I have notices was the 'glass windshield frame I put on last year, it was narrower and thinner than the steel one I replaced. That is an issue with the Kentrol frame, not the tub. All else is fine.

John, I've seen guys weld a piece of metal off the side of the e-brake to clear bars, instead of moving them over. Only other suggestion would be a hand brake between the seats...
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1978 CJ5 258/T177/D300, '86 D30/D44 WT axles, 'glass tub windshield frame, and fenders, 31x10.5 BFG A/T, TDK galv'd frame - DD and weekend toy

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Unread 11-11-2013, 09:03 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
I have a '78 CJ5 that I bought back in 1987. It was a rusty hulk and a few years later I bought a fiberglass tub for it. I was a young PFC in the Army and cost was the deciding factor. I've hated the fiberglass body from day one snd here's why:
You hated it after you finished all of the work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
The body is about 1/4 - 3/8 inch narrower that the original which means my OEM hood and windshield frame doesn't marry up well and I have to build spacers to put between the winshield hinges and body.
I have this issue with my "no name" tub. I thought it was the hood that was slightly wider as it had been damaged. I managed to get it centered well enough that you don't notice it, but it had to be in the sweet spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
While grounding isn't a difficult issue to solve, it is time consuming and some things are not as easy to ground as others.
Something you deal with when you decide rust is no longer in your future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
There is a tremendous amount of flex in the body where the windshield attaches causing the top of the windshield to move back over an inch when at highway speeds. This has always been a safety concern for me.
I can see this happening on some tubs. There are obviouosly different quality tubs available, and I would say mine is the lesser. The mounting points for the windshield (at the hinges) had cracked out from wind forces. The PO apparently was not bothered by this. I had to repair this area, and my windshield is braced by the A pillar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
The firewall and cowl seam was very poorly done and needed significant re-engineering to keep it together and make it so it didn't look horrible.
I thought this area was completely ridiculous on my tub! The two pieces are pop-riveted together. PO squirted Liquid Nails, or something, to make better adhesion. I placed a strip of glass along that seam and solved it. Solid and no air leak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
I made a template of the firewall of my steel body to help with cutting the fiberglass fenderwell and it helped but the thickness f the firewall still made it necessry to build custom brackets. I realize they now sell these that you then have to add.
I think that would be understood and expected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
I had to build custom rollbars. The OEM didn't fit between the fender rails due the body being narrow and the heavier lip wouldn't allow the angle iron to fit under it.
My factory rollbar was very, very tight, and I forced it out when I rebuilt the tub. Since it was for my kid there was no way I was going to let him roll down the hiway in a piece of glass without a cage. I didn't mind doing this, and a full cage EXPLODES the COOL factor by 1000!

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
Anywhere something mounts to the body needed custom backing plates for support - fenders, hood hinges, windshield hinges, dashboard, seat and seatbelt mounts, etc.
Also expected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
There was no bracket for the e-brake and no real way to attach a bracket to the side of the tub that either didn't look bad for the bolts goingthrough the body and the mass of glass that would have needed to be added.
Didn't install mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O1dSoldier View Post
I have no doubt fiberglass tub quality has improved since then and I find myself tryimng to decide again between fiberglass and steel as I plan a full rebuild. Cost isn't a factor anymore but time and effort is and after scouring everything I can find talking about both, given all the issues with the steel tubs I'm still leaning in that direction.
Love to see it when you are done.

Welcome to the Forum! Thank you for your service.
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Unread 11-12-2013, 12:27 PM   #83
O1dSoldier
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Skerr,

Yup, I've never liked the fiberglass tub, even after all the work was done. It's true that some things were to be expected such as building a ground harness but the poor quality of the seams, complete lack of rear mounting body to frame points, amount of flex at the windshield attachment points, etc. I did mine a long time ago (1990) when we didn't have internet and easy access to research, feedback, and multiple suppliers so as far as where mine sat the quality hierarchy I'm not certain though I have no doubt that quality and construction have improved. I do recall watching the installation video that came with it. It was not anywhere close to being as easy as they made it look but more importantly they had a segment on the manufacturing process and has I known then what I know now it would not have been surprising that the tub is significantly narrower than the OEM Steel body. Anyway, whether I go with steel (preferred) or fiberglass the current tub is going away.
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Unread 11-12-2013, 07:07 PM   #84
MrElPoderozo
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I have a 4WD fiberglass body that I got over 20 years ago and I don't re great buying it. I don't consider my jeep to be better then others who have steel tubs or the other way around.I know that my jeep can do the same things that a Jeep with a steel tub does or maybe even better cause of the weight reduction,then again that's just my opinion. I think if you have the money for a steel tub then you should go for a steel tub. Steel is stronger in an accident and usually the rest of the parts fit a little better and for some reason people like steel better then fiberglass when it comes to a selling point. For those who like steel tubs please take this in consideration;You will spend over $4400.00 Plus Tax & (S&H $350.00). Then once its at your home I am sure that you want to protect your investment the right way. So, a rust treatment its an order and there goes another $250.00 minimum depending on where you live and who does the rust treatment(or if you don't want to spend a lot of money then I guess you can go to AZ and buy cans of under coating but still be like $75.00).My point is that by the time you end up getting the tub ready to be installed most likely you already spend an easy $5000.00 and is not even on the frame yet and you still have to get it painted. Yes! the steel tub is stronger and has a tail gate that functions and Yes! you can also carry heavier loads in the back of the jeep and Yes! the steel tub can actually be better in accident by not giving up where the seat belts are attached to the floor like a fiberglass body would (if not done properly),but in this economy not a lot of people can afford a steel body,but if you can do all that was mention then why not? I have a fiberglass body and I haven't got no problems at all with it.No I don't have a tail gate but I can live with out it cause of the type of life style that I have I don't need it and my 35" spare tire covers that pretty good(spare tire is held in place by bumper in a swing away). My advice to those who want a fiberglass body is to do your homework really good and ask questions. Don't give your money away without knowing what you pay for and take a look at your type of life style,if you are not going to be doing a lot of extreme wheeling or carrying heavy loads or maybe you live in a state where the cars get rusty then maybe fiberglass is for you. In my opinion if you own a fiberglass body you are NOT any less then the rest of the jeep owners that own steel. I know that if I am driving around in my Fiberglass jeep and I see a jeep brother in need of my help I know that I will stop and help my brother out,regardless of what type of tub he has (steel or fiberglass). He is my jeep brother and where I come from that's just the way it is.No matter if you own a jeep wrangler, cj or a jeep Liberty we all care for each other like brothers,ITS A JEEP THING, right! Well that's just my opinion and I hope that nobody gets but hurt with my comment. :0)
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Unread 11-12-2013, 07:41 PM   #85
contdevelop
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The best reasoning so far! Touche!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrElPoderozo View Post
I have a 4WD fiberglass body that I got over 20 years ago and I don't re great buying it. I don't consider my jeep to be better then others who have steel tubs or the other way around.I know that my jeep can do the same things that a Jeep with a steel tub does or maybe even better cause of the weight reduction,then again that's just my opinion. I think if you have the money for a steel tub then you should go for a steel tub. Steel is stronger in an accident and usually the rest of the parts fit a little better and for some reason people like steel better then fiberglass when it comes to a selling point. For those who like steel tubs please take this in consideration;You will spend over $4400.00 Plus Tax & (S&H $350.00). Then once its at your home I am sure that you want to protect your investment the right way. So, a rust treatment its an order and there goes another $250.00 minimum depending on where you live and who does the rust treatment(or if you don't want to spend a lot of money then I guess you can go to AZ and buy cans of under coating but still be like $75.00).My point is that by the time you end up getting the tub ready to be installed most likely you already spend an easy $5000.00 and is not even on the frame yet and you still have to get it painted. Yes! the steel tub is stronger and has a tail gate that functions and Yes! you can also carry heavier loads in the back of the jeep and Yes! the steel tub can actually be better in accident by not giving up where the seat belts are attached to the floor like a fiberglass body would (if not done properly),but in this economy not a lot of people can afford a steel body,but if you can do all that was mention then why not? I have a fiberglass body and I haven't got no problems at all with it.No I don't have a tail gate but I can live with out it cause of the type of life style that I have I don't need it and my 35" spare tire covers that pretty good(spare tire is held in place by bumper in a swing away). My advice to those who want a fiberglass body is to do your homework really good and ask questions. Don't give your money away without knowing what you pay for and take a look at your type of life style,if you are not going to be doing a lot of extreme wheeling or carrying heavy loads or maybe you live in a state where the cars get rusty then maybe fiberglass is for you. In my opinion if you own a fiberglass body you are NOT any less then the rest of the jeep owners that own steel. I know that if I am driving around in my Fiberglass jeep and I see a jeep brother in need of my help I know that I will stop and help my brother out,regardless of what type of tub he has (steel or fiberglass). He is my jeep brother and where I come from that's just the way it is.No matter if you own a jeep wrangler, cj or a jeep Liberty we all care for each other like brothers,ITS A JEEP THING, right! Well that's just my opinion and I hope that nobody gets but hurt with my comment. :0)
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Unread 11-13-2013, 12:06 PM   #86
O1dSoldier
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I bought my fiberglass body over 20 years ago as well. I went with fiberglass primarily due to cost. Fortunately I'm not that 22 year old kid that was so broke I couldn't afford to pay attention anymore, I'm now in a place where the cost isn't a driving factor. I can think of things like time, effort, etc. so am very much interested in the amount and extent of work needed to make each one ready to go. There was a time that the quality of the steel bodies coming out of the Philippines was sketchy and required a lot of work to make them right. That's changed significantly over the last year or so and now the steel bodies are coming to be on par with the fiberglass bodies in terms of time and effort to prep. Both will require some work and likely always will but quality improvements are leveling the playing field in that regard and it's becoming more a question of cost and if that's not a factor for a particular individual it becomes one of preference. I prefer steel but am not 100% sold either way and still have some time to research and make a final determination.

Anyway folks, thanks for your input and for those of you also trying to decide which way to go, steel or fiberglass, good luck.
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Unread 11-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #87
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It is kind of a small observation, but I have noticed that some fiberglass tubs are missing the horizontal body weld line where the cowl wraps over to meet the side panel under the windshield. That body line ties in with the bottom horizontal edge of the hood.

To me, that missing body line just doesn't look right.

Other than this, I like fiberglass just as well as the metal body replacements.
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Unread 11-21-2013, 11:31 PM   #88
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OK, here's my deal. My little Bro put an AJ's Kevlar/glass/thick gelcoat tub on my rusted out CJ7. The 79 that I bought in 84. At a bar fight, somebody ran a knife along the sidewalls on the passenger side. As he made his 1st left they blew out and it went on its' side. He went thru some older, but metal, guard rails. Dropped perfectly level (on its' side), 3' down onto train tracks. When I got there I figured it was totaled. Most of it buffed out, and there are only a few small chips. Gonna fix it like a Bass Boat! I'll paint it to match the nose. At the time he had metal w-shield,fenders & hood....all ruined. Even the dash got tweaked just a tad near the VIN sticker, so yeah, the tub likely flexed, but no cracks! I have 2 sets of fenders that when buzzed down, turned out to be not too nice, or rather, not nice enough. Have 1 hood, w/rust pinholes along the leading edge(?). Hence me scouring for a Kentrol 1 pc glass nose. Scored one w/mount kit for less than $400 off CL.
Now originality. 1986 frame, D44 rear, '89 waggy 360 w/400+HP, Ford T-18, Wrangler cage etc...The only original part is the rebuilt Dana 20 TC!
Is it a kit car, bastardized junker no matter that it will be almost show quality when finished? Value? Don't care. It's MINE. FOREVER. If I'll never sell it, it has NO value at all.
Sitting next to mine, now @ my buds paint shop, is a Willy Overland bodied POS! the cowl is shifted to Port, it's wavier than any glass I've seen. It'll end up w/more tweaking than a trailer park when "the checks come". Put a 6' level across the bottom of the door openings and they aren't level! But This cat wanted steel 'cuz it's getting a 468 Chevy and being shipped to Mexico when finished. He's gonna have about 70% of what he paid for it in shop time getting it straight.
0727121945a.jpg   0728121326a.jpg  
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