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Old 05-05-2005, 04:46 AM
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Gibbon body woes :pain:

Finally at the point in my 34 project where I am satisfied with the front fender, hood, and grill fit. I have started on detailing the body getting it ready for paint sometime this summer. Area of first attention is the front windshield opening. I had noticed some small voids in the gel coat. Turning my attention to those, I started dressing them for filler. Turns out the little pin holes and voids are just the tip of the iceberg. The front windshield opening is full of voids hidden by only a very thin layer of gel coat. Once I open one pinhole enough to take some filler I discover a tunnel that sometimes extends several inches along the windshield opening.

The more I work on this Gibbon body the more I wish I had purchased a different brand, Outlaw, and Redneck come to mind .

Vince

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Old 05-05-2005, 06:49 AM
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I thought Gibbon was usually mentioned up there with the better bodies. Not the best but not the worst kind of thing. Could be mistaken about that. Whatever the case, it's a real bummer to hear all the work you're going to have to do just to get the thing into the shape it should have been in when it was delivered. I think glass body makers should be required to put a warning in all their advertising, "This body requires 500 hours of labor to finish properly." Too many of us have the mistaken impression we can buy one of these today, bolt it to our chassis tomorrow, and get the candy ready to spray on Friday.

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Old 05-05-2005, 06:56 AM
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The more I work on the body, the more I loose respect for the GIbbon name. I made the mistake a lot of people make when I made the decision on which body I was going with. When you see a flawless glass car and ask what body it is and evaluate it on that aspect only, it is not really an accurate evaluation. Nine times out of ten the owner of that flawless glass car is not the builder. One really needs to ask the builder what it took to get the body into that flawless condition. And yes, 500 hours may not be too far fetched IMO.

I would definitely advise anyone in the market for a glass body to avoid Gibbon. I just wish I could go back and edit my company review.

Vince
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:31 AM
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It would be interesting if you went back to Gibbon to discuss the issue to see if they make any kind of "adjustment" on the price. Rather than editing your company review would it be possible to do another review?
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by advanced design
Rather than editing your company review would it be possible to do another review?
I tried, it will only allow you one review per company.

Vince
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:13 AM
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Ah, the joys of working w/ 'glas! I have that problem even in the parts I make out of my own molds. As long as a company is hand laying the 'glas there will be voids. Unavoidable especially on a part as big as a body. The only way to prevent them is to use a process called vacuum bagging where the uncured layup is placed in a big plastic bag and a vacuum is drawn which sucks out all the air and excess resin.

A good habit to get into when prepping a fresh 'glas part is to go around it with a screwdriver or putty knife and aggressively probe suspicious areas like pin holes, dips, molding joints, etc. Hit 'em pretty hard to expose as many divots as possible. Pay special attention to sharp corners where the majority of these voids exist. A quick pass with the tool and digging out the complete extent of the voids doesn't take all that long. Fill them all w/ Bondo, sand them to shape w/ some 80 grit then you can continue with the rest of the body prep. Not really a big deal, just the first step in the 'glass finishing process.

Look at it this way - that's the equivalent of rust on a steel car and you would be spending A LOT more time repairing the cancer on any sheet metal you can scrounge up these days.
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willys36@aol.com

Look at it this way - that's the equivalent of rust on a steel car and you would be spending A LOT more time repairing the cancer on any sheet metal you can scrounge up these days.
I hear ya Willys, but you would think that with the body number of my body #2164 that Gibbon would know where these areas exist and make an effort to minimize or eliminate them by now.

I have been doing the probing you mentioned, but the extent of the voids around the windshield in my opinion is excessive. Has me a little "gun shy" about other areas. Will I have a body when I'm through?

Vince
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:15 AM
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Good help is hard to find! I agree, Gibbons should know about these problem areas and have taken precautions. If I were making bodies commercially, I would do the screwdriver walk on every body B4 it left my shop. Their quality control appears to be way too lax.

If you are careful to do the inspection routine, you should have no future problems.
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:02 PM
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Hey Willys (or another knowledgeable volunteer who was done this from A-Z), I would think a good Knowledge Base article or Sticky would be "Prepping Your Glass '32 When It Arrives From the Factory". I would guess we get a lot of "lookers" on this site who are contemplating a glass body purchase and it would be a great service to let them know what they are getting into. Like I mentioned above, I think there is a common misconception that these bodies are ready to go when you unpack the crate. Sure would save a lot of disappointment if the buyer knew in advance what would be needed to get the thing ready for paint. I haven't done a glass body since my T in 1963 so I'm as much in the dark as anybody about the current generation of glass bodies. Maybe in your...uh...er...spare time...you could whip up a good run down. (I just LOVE volunteering other people for hard work.)

And speaking of the Knowledge Base, I just checked the "Body/Exterior" and there are now 160 articles listed --- In Random Order. Seems like time for a little house cleaning to get these organized under some descriptive sub categories. The amount of great knowledge on this site is becoming more unwieldy by the day.

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Old 05-05-2005, 12:03 PM
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Gibbon bodys were made here in Gibbon Ne. about 50mi from me. (i think the quailty was better then too) but now i think there made in NC.








Mustangsaly
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
Hey Willys (or another knowledgeable volunteer who was done this from A-Z), I would think a good Knowledge Base article or Sticky would be "Prepping Your Glass '32 When It Arrives From the Factory". I would guess we get a lot of "lookers" on this site who are contemplating a glass body purchase and it would be a great service to let them know what they are getting into. Like I mentioned above, I think there is a common misconception that these bodies are ready to go when you unpack the crate. Sure would save a lot of disappointment if the buyer knew in advance what would be needed to get the thing ready for paint. I haven't done a glass body since my T in 1963 so I'm as much in the dark as anybody about the current generation of glass bodies. Maybe in your...uh...er...spare time...you could whip up a good run down. (I just LOVE volunteering other people for hard work.)
Dewey
Sounds like a perfect job for 302/Z28 since he is deep into it already! How about it 302/Z28, have you been taking photos so you can work up a 'how-to' Journal or sticky thread on the 'glas body prep routine?
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:46 PM
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Laminating tricks

Yeah I hear ya guys..layups in a tight corner can be a caution..

What to do? soak small pieces of 3/4 or 11/2 ounce mat and poke it down into the tight areas..use a disposable brush or get some of the glass rollers..

Glass rollers look like little metal paint rollers and are used just for the task of laying down and rolling out the glass to eliminate voids in the layup..keep a can of acetone handy to dump your roller in when done..Should help your layups..

The thing to do is to go around the mold getting all the tight corners filled well and then proceed with the big areas..

One of the more difficult kinds of areas to do would be a fin..like say the rear fin on a 57 t-bird..very tight in the mold and hard to get the f/glass down in there well..the outlined technique helps..

OMT
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Old 05-05-2005, 02:00 PM
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On my molds I fill the tight corners w/ Bondo after they have been gel coated. Then the cloth/mat will lay across and conform better, usually avoiding the void. Another method is to cut mat to a sharp edge and butt two pieces together @ the corner which reinforces it very well and any bubble under subsequent layers can't get through. Fiberglass supply houses sell narrow precut tapes that can be soaked in resin and formed into the corners, effectively getting rid of any possibility of voids. Point is, they should be addressing the problem, not just laminating over it, hoping for a miracle.

On your T-bird fin problem, my approach would be to make a multi-piece mold so I could accurately lay up the two surfaces then bond them together to finish the part. Here a couple of pictures of a mold for the Mysterion headlight pod that I made just that way. It would be nearly impossible to get a good layup on that thin wing if I did it in one piece.

Rough pattern;


Finished pattern;


3-piece mold;


Finished part, made in two pieces, top & bottom. Glue line is visible;

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Old 05-05-2005, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willys36@aol.com
Ah, the joys of working w/ 'glas! I have that problem even in the parts I make out of my own molds. As long as a company is hand laying the 'glas there will be voids. Unavoidable especially on a part as big as a body. The only way to prevent them is to use a process called vacuum bagging where the uncured layup is placed in a big plastic bag and a vacuum is drawn which sucks out all the air and excess resin.

A good habit to get into when prepping a fresh 'glas part is to go around it with a screwdriver or putty knife and aggressively probe suspicious areas like pin holes, dips, molding joints, etc. Hit 'em pretty hard to expose as many divots as possible. Pay special attention to sharp corners where the majority of these voids exist. A quick pass with the tool and digging out the complete extent of the voids doesn't take all that long. Fill them all w/ Bondo, sand them to shape w/ some 80 grit then you can continue with the rest of the body prep. Not really a big deal, just the first step in the 'glass finishing process.

Look at it this way - that's the equivalent of rust on a steel car and you would be spending A LOT more time repairing the cancer on any sheet metal you can scrounge up these days.

Willys,

Thanks for the information. This was something I was unaware of. While I've never worked with a 'glass car I have read plenty of articles about fiberglass bodies yet somehow this void issue was never discussed. At least not that I can remember.

As cboy suggested a knowledge base article would be very beneficial. Hopefully someone can put one together.
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Old 05-05-2005, 04:07 PM
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Yeah Willys I have been taking pictures of the body as I make progress. I just got to the point where I was satisfied with the front components fit. I have had the front fenders, hood, grill on and off so many times that I am literally dreaming about it in my sleep . The last step in firming up the front end pieces was cutting the rear edges of the side panels of my four piece Rootlieb hood to match the body line. I have put off that step so many times while having the front end pieces on and off, as once that is done there is no undoing it . Finally got the cahoonies to do it, and it came out great .

I had to remove quite a bit of material from the body in front of the base of the front windshield on both sides where the body rolls over to the sides. This area didn't really match the hood as it rolled over to the sides. Luckily Gibbon provided enough material in this area to do this. The body was about 1/8" above the hood line.

After I got both sides of that done is when I started on the front windshield opening and I discovered all the voids. I think the rest of the body is in pretty good shape with fewer voids. I have an issue with the gas tank cover not fitting the rear body lip very good. The tank cover is lined up with the rear edge of the rear fenders, but there is a 1/4" gap at the top edge of the tank cover. My tank cover has the recess for a license plate, but it is a standard present license plate. I will be using a restored 34 Texas plate that is narrower and longer. The plan is to split the tank cover length wise, fit the top edge, position the lower piece so it matches the rear of the fenders. Then glass in the open section. At the same time I will be modifying the license plate opening to match the 34 plate. Lots to do to try and paint it this summer.

Vince
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