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Old 02-18-2006, 11:20 AM
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66 Vette Gel coat or not?

I've been getting conflicting info on gelcoating parts of my '66 Vette. The paint had been stripped and sanded through the gel coat in places. Some are saying that there is no need to use gel coat on these areas as a good epoxy primer sealer works just as well.

I just recieved a new replacement quarter panel, and the tech bulletin that came with it says definitely don't use epoxy primers on bare fiberglass as the heavy solvents will migrate out later and cause blisters. This same bulletin says to use 2-3 coats of gel to achieve 20 mil cured thickness. Also says gel coat will not cure properly if not sealed from air, and needs to be sprayed with a coat of PVA (poly vinyl alcohol) which in turn must be washed off after 48 hrs. Is all this really necessary? Thanks
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Old 02-18-2006, 03:19 PM
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I think polyester primers like Evercoat's Feather Fill G2 are excellent on fiberglass.
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Old 02-18-2006, 04:54 PM
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Corvettes did not come with a gelcoat from the factory. So you didn't sand through it unless someone else applied some. The factory just layed up the glass in a mold and the resin in the glass naturally gets smooth at the mold surface. Gelcoat has very little strength since it's just colored resin. There's no reason to use it in manufacture unless you want to use the colored surface as a final surface ie, no paint. Like a boat.
I think this gelcoat usage came along because 30 years ago it was the closest product we could get to actual fiberglass that had some filling characteristics and sandability. Now you have lots of polyseter products that don't need PVA or wax, have great filling characteristics, and sand great.

Uhm, I mean I wouldn't use it. There's better products.

Larry
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Old 02-18-2006, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badazz55
I've been getting conflicting info on gelcoating parts of my '66 Vette. The paint had been stripped and sanded through the gel coat in places. Some are saying that there is no need to use gel coat on these areas as a good epoxy primer sealer works just as well.

I just received a new replacement quarter panel, and the tech bulletin that came with it says definitely don't use epoxy primers on bare fiberglass as the heavy solvents will migrate out later and cause blisters. This same bulletin says to use 2-3 coats of gel to achieve 20 mil cured thickness. Also says gel coat will not cure properly if not sealed from air, and needs to be sprayed with a coat of PVA (poly vinyl alcohol) which in turn must be washed off after 48 hrs. Is all this really necessary? Thanks
8************************************************* **8

Its going to be a tough decision on your part as no one is going to give the same advice you just got from the last person.

I will say this, I have either number 79 or number 80 corvette in the garage now and over the years have bought $100 of thousands of dollars in parts for these cars and NEVER have I received a body panel with instructions like that.
If I did, it would be on the next bus back to them.

If you do keep the part, I have one question and that is how can the gaps, creases etc even be half way right after you start with 20 mils and have not started primering or painting yet?

Edit:
Since Ibell101 and I posted the same time, the last person was not meant at him but what I meant was, in short no two answers will be the same.

Last edited by BarryK; 02-18-2006 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 02-18-2006, 06:48 PM
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I agree with Barry, that information you got with that part is way off the mark. There are few things that are better on bare fiberglass than a good epoxy primer. SPI's is one of the best I have used.

Vince
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Old 02-18-2006, 08:46 PM
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Thanks, but more confused than ever......

Is this voodoo or what, every Corvette expert seems to say something different. I have read Ekler's book on fiberglass repair (who I consider to be reputable as they have been doing it for over 30 years) and they definitely say gel coat. I have also heard that only the very first Vettes were actually gel coated. Whether my '66 is gel coated or not, whatever holds the fibers together in spots has been removed.

As for the replacement panels that someone suggested I return, they are press molded from Corvette Image, who I understand supplies most of the Corvette supply companies. If you can recommend a better brand, I'm all ears.

So far, Eklers says gel coat, and the replacement panel manufacturer says gel coat, both reputable. I wish somebody else with early vette experience would give an opinion. Maybe I should post on a Corvette forum, but there always seems to be some professionial painters on this forum so I thought I would ask. Thanks
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Old 02-18-2006, 09:04 PM
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I'm no glass or Vette expert,BUT,
I do know that BarryK KNOWS Vette's AND paint. If HE tell's you something about either, It's as good as it get's.
I'm sure some other Vette guy's will answer you so check back later.
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Old 02-19-2006, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badazz55
Is this voodoo or what, every Corvette expert seems to say something different. I have read Ekler's book on fiberglass repair (who I consider to be reputable as they have been doing it for over 30 years) and they definitely say gel coat. I have also heard that only the very first Vettes were actually gel coated. Whether my '66 is gel coated or not, whatever holds the fibers together in spots has been removed.

As for the replacement panels that someone suggested I return, they are press molded from Corvette Image, who I understand supplies most of the Corvette supply companies. If you can recommend a better brand, I'm all ears.

So far, Eklers says gel coat, and the replacement panel manufacturer says gel coat, both reputable. I wish somebody else with early vette experience would give an opinion. Maybe I should post on a Corvette forum, but there always seems to be some professionial painters on this forum so I thought I would ask. Thanks
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++

Your 66 was not gelcoated, period.

I have bought a lot panels from Ecklers and never have been told to gel coat. Why would you gelcoat a new panel? Only if its crap made, as far as I can tell. I think your misunderstanding something.
They told you they make they panels for Ecklers? Funny, I started buying from Ecklers when they were just starting up in business.

If your going to gelcoat the new panel why not just fix the old if your going to all that work.

I would diffidently go to the vette forum so you can get advice that agrees with what you want to hear.
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Old 02-19-2006, 11:22 AM
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gel coat is the same chemical mix/reaction resin "glue" that was originally used to lay up and bond the glas fibers so it's the most compatible for re-glueing down exposed cloth,

it also has the same (crummy but more than plastic filler?) flex characteristics as the original glas and not great as a moisture barrier and you need a gel coat gun to spray it and it's very temp/humidity/pot life sensitive

you can buy plastic fillers with glas strands in it for reinforcing (duraglas etc.)...kind of proves plastic filler works fine

the 20mils gel thickness (max) is for mfg mold finishing, you spray 10- 20 mils of gel coat on the male mold model, then lay glas on the gel coat, then detail sand finish the inner gel suface for a finished female mold

it sands pretty easy so helps get panels flat...but so does plastic filler

the pva is sprayed on immediately to form a moisture and atmosphere barrier so that the gel chemical cure is protected, literally forms a "condom" on the gel surface, you can peel it off like sun burned skin

how many mils do you need? enough to get a smooth surface plus a little more cause it shrinks, shrinks to far, use plastic filler on top

didn't fill every pin hole in the cloth, you will have pin holes in the gelcoat to fill with plastic

my bodyshop buddy just finished/shipped a 54' vette, the owner had had it media blasted which due to the totally de-graded resin glueing the cloth it was a total mess, took 3 gallons of gelcoat to get it back to a workable "glued" surface....so glad I only did mech work on that car, he was about 700 hours when done....in black
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Last edited by red65mustang; 02-20-2006 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 02-20-2006, 06:12 AM
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the media was more than likely type3 which is way harsh for glass. it will knock hairs out and pit the glass. i have a 57 i'm doing now that was attacked by homer and jefro with grinders and da's. it must have sat a while sanded because the glass had cured out to a brittle mess. i'm doing repairs with duraglass and blocking the surface with 100 grit to get down to virgin resin. so far so good. i have not decided yet on what i will resurface with. i have gelcoated vettes before but they were rebuilders with lots of damage. i am considering the following

ecklers gelcoat
rust defender by zchrome
featherfill polyester
vinylester tooling gel

i will know soon as the car will be ready in about a week.

Last edited by shine; 02-22-2006 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:26 AM
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Shine, Have you tried the FiberTech from Evercoat?
I've used it on glass repairs and it does a great job. Still a PIA to sand but it is a lot easier to spread.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:48 AM
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correction/clarification?: glas cloth wicks up and holds moisture (tiny resin voids during lay up)....gelcoat sanded thin is a poor moisture barrier, (but so are the edges of the filler you used)

Last edited by red65mustang; 02-20-2006 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 02-20-2006, 08:08 AM
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Woven cloth must do something like that as I see the weave in the paint on alot of Vettes. I won't use it - only matting. It's not like we are looking for uni or bi directional strength in a car.
If I'm working with someone elses repair, I always grind down the surace and do a couple layups even if it looks good. The ratio of resin to cloth should be low. Squeegy out as much resin as possible after wetting out. The strength is in the fibers. Pooling of resin can't be good. I usually use a peel-ply on top as well (dacron) to aid in squeegying and gives a nice pre-feathered edge.
As I stated earlier I won't use gelcoat as newer products are better. A nice vette gets epoxy/urethane primer. A mess gets Rust Defender/ urethane primer.

Larry
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Old 02-20-2006, 09:41 AM
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Thanks Red65Mustang

I appreciate your very informative post. What you say finally makes sense. The new panel I have is gel coated, never said it wasn't, BarryK is jumping to conclusions. I appreciate you explaining the process and helping answer my questions, instead of telling me what #corvette you have or how much money you can spend on it.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:37 AM
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The only time I have seen gelcoat used is in molds, as the second step after PVA and before the "chop gun". So it seems weird to me that anyone would spray it on an existing part. I'd like to see that someday. The gelcoat I remember had hellacious orange peel as sprayed, and was pretty hard to sand. Not an ideal choice for a surfacer, IMHO.

I would wager that any high-build 2K primer will work just fine. Everyone has their own preference.
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