One of the projects that every restorer of an old Corvette eventually has to tackle is a crack in the fiberglass. Corvette bodies are made entirely of fairly thin fiberglass, and the sensuous curves of our cars are what gives the bodywork some cross-section to maintain its rigidity. So it feels like the bodywork is more substantial than it really is. Yet when you're driving, your Corvette flexes all the time. Eventually it can crack. Cracking is virtually assured if your body mounts are compromised or the car has been hit. Wheel arches are always in danger of cracking due to stones that get flung up by your tires and hit the fiberglass like bullets.
This project fixes a crack in the fiberglass bodywork of our About.com project 1977 Chevrolet Corvette. The crack is up on the top of the right rear fender. The crack is in the actual fiberglass panel, so it must be repaired and cannot be smoothed over with filler. In fact, someone did smooth it over with filler in the past, and the crack has continued to worsen under the paint!
To do this job, you'll need a Dual-Action Sander and sanding discs in a variety of grits from 80 to 200. You might also need a 4.5-inch body grinder, depending on how much bondo has been used in the past. You'll want a long board hand sander, and a bunch of sandpaper again from 80 to 200 grit or so. A halogen shop light is handy for both light and heat. And you'll need a plastic spreading spatula for bondo, as well as scissors, brushes, a fiberglass roller, and some disposable cups for mixing fiberglass resin, bondo, and the like. You'll want a supply of fiberglass cloth, resin and catalyst, bondo, and high-build primer, too.
This project takes several days to complete, but can be done in perhaps 8 hours of actual work. You need to leave time for the resins and bondo to harden between steps. You can choose to do this work yourself, but many readers may review the procedure and decide to leave this kind of work to the Corvette body and paint professionals. In that case, you'll be able to talk about the work knowing what's really involved in the process.