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Old 01-21-2006, 10:12 AM
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Question for Corvette restorers

I'm working on the body of a 66 Corvetter roadster. The front clip has been hit and repaired so much over the years that it just makes sense to remove it and replace all the fiberglass from the cowl forward. The question is what is the method you use to seperate the glued fiberglass clip from the cowl area, door frame and so forth? Are there any tricks or is it simply a matter of cutting off slightly away from the joint and grinding/sanding down to it?

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Old 01-21-2006, 10:21 AM
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I know little about corvettes. Only one I ever did anything to was an 84. I know Barry K likes his vettes from what he has posted on here. I am sure a few people have quite a bit of experience with them and they will chime in. This is just my guess, but I would think some heat may help though. I know when we replace fiberglass panels at work we warm them up with a heat gun, and seperate with a putty knife, but that is panel bonding adhesive. Heat softens up the glue. I have no clue what they use to bond an old vette like that. If your weren't trying to save the piece cut and grind and sand I think would be the fastest.
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Old 01-21-2006, 03:23 PM
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Won't want to save any pieces so destruction of the parts is no problem. Just don't want to destroy the mating surface that the new front clip will bond onto. I certainly can see if heat will soften one of the joints in another area that won't matter. I'll putz with that this afternoon between blocking sessions on the 68 Camaro. Speaking of which, did I ever mention how much I hate longboarding roofs. What a PITA!!!
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Old 01-21-2006, 03:25 PM
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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick WI
I'm working on the body of a 66 Corvetter roadster. The front clip has been hit and repaired so much over the years that it just makes sense to remove it and replace all the fiberglass from the cowl forward. The question is what is the method you use to seperate the glued fiberglass clip from the cowl area, door frame and so forth? Are there any tricks or is it simply a matter of cutting off slightly away from the joint and grinding/sanding down to it?

Before you do anything you should wait for Barry to post because he has done a ton of them. But I have done a few and I did try an old trick which was to simply bag it with a hammer and I did have them break loose. However, since then, I have done a number of similar jobs like the glued on rad support on a GM EV1 and I just cut on each side with a die grinder and cut off wheel and then ground the area thin using a small 3" grinding disc on an angle grinder. Just simply ground off all the glue down to the part I wanted to save.

Brian
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:19 PM
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As Brian said the nice part about the old adhesive GM used a sharp rap would break them loose, now that is not an option if the panel was redone with some of the newer adhesives like Duramix, Fuzor etc.
If it looks green or like bodyfiller (FE Vette Bond) smake it once.

Other than that I cut the panel by the bond and use a cutoff wheel to cut through the seam and sometimes will just take a 3" 24 grit grinding dic and start grinding the panel off at the seam. Just depends on area as witch is easiest.

Just measure twice and cut once!!!!
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Old 01-21-2006, 06:37 PM
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Yeah any kind of sanding is not the funnest thing to do. I get lazy on everyday cars that are nothing too special, and grab my viking airfile to board out the primer. Got pretty good with it working for a used car dealer for 3 years. But something like a vette, probably a few rounds of long board blocking. How straight is that old corvette fiberglass from the factory anyways? The 84 vette I worked on was a theft recovery we did in tech school. We were learning smc repair. I was the one in our group that worked on it that got to paint it. Everyday when driving it in the shop, I was dying to quick open the doors and take it out to the street before anyone could stop me. Roofs are the part I like painting the least also, don't really know why. Its where I start my painting. Speaking of roofs, I remember my first screwup in the first shop I worked in. I was repairing hail damage on a car, got the entire roof blocked out and straight, except for the fact I was leaning on the edge of the roof with my elbows, and didn't notice it till I had it in the booth putting on paint. Oops, live and learn, never do that one again. Like you really want to repaint and fix more dents on a car that you just took a ton of them out of.
Thats whats nice about having the internet and this forum now. When you haven't run into something before, someone else likely has, and you can get in touch with them fast.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:17 PM
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Measue twice and cut once, that's for sure! These things are EXPENSIVE to restore. Thanks Martin and Barry. In a tepid way I'll try some areas with the ol hammer and see what I can come up with there, in a warped sense it will feel good after the grief I had with the teardown. These ol cars certainly have a ton of bolts holding them together which after sitting in a barn for what appears to be about 20 years has caused me to go through about a dozen whizzer wheels. Those front headlight buckets were horrible. That certainly is an interesting engineering exercise. I'll be scratching my head long and hard on the restoration and replacement of those torpedoes. Even looking at the assembly manual on that part makes my head hurt.

Maybe around the windshield frame would be a place to try the hammer seperation. I was figuring in my head that I'd end up cutting it out as you both mentioned as there just didn't seem to be many other options. I suspect this will be one of those putzy jobs that you just sit back for a day in the shop and just plug along.

Ken, the roof I'm working on is on the 68 Camaro. the ol air file just vibrates the roof (replacement panel) so no shortcuts here. Just have to longboard it with no pressue and 80 grit over and over and over and over and over and over again.

I'd say the flatness of vette panels is none too peppy from what I see so far, after stripping it all down. Appears it's going to take time to get the glass in shape. It will be a cool car though for the wife when it's all done. We call it the Barbie car.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:21 PM
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Barry, one other question. I was planning on just ordering the complete, CORRECT, front clip for the Vette. Where would be the cheapest place to order this from? Paragon so far seems to have the most "reasonable' prices. It seems the complete front clip might be worth it in the end versus buying all the pieces seperate.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:25 PM
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With freight, Paragon will most likely be best bet for you.

I get all my panel from Ecklers in FL because of shipping.

Don't overlook Mid America as they will fool you on some parts and other parts
you will wonder what planet they are on.
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Old 01-21-2006, 08:55 PM
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MidAm is a good idea. Hadn't thought about calling them. Your right on shipping, it's much cheaper for me to use Paragon than Ecklers.
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:17 PM
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Just remember one of the dead give aways of a damaged Vette is the lack of bonding strips under a new one piece front end. A buddy of mine remedied that by bonding OEM bonding strips on the inside of the new one piece clip.

And I have to tell you, don't remove a thing until you have the new parts. There shouldn't be any reason to not remove it all because any quality part is going to have the complete piece, but you NEVER KNOW. One of the oldest rules in autobody 101 is never cut off or discard a part until you are done with the job. I have seen it bite guys too many times to mention (including me).

Brian
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:39 PM
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OMG Brian, what I wouln't do for the old 68 rear quarters we discarded long ago on the Camaro I'm working on. It so happens that the drivers side quarter must have slipped in the die or simply wasn't stamped correctly in the jamb area. We have to section in a piece to get it to line up correctly with the door. It's just too short. What a deal.

My head is with you on the Vette though. I don't plan to start whacking off pieces until the crate is in my shop, opened up and I have checked it out.

I did play around the windshield though with your hammer idea and sure enough I go a system figured out. Tapping in a wide blade screwdriver into the glue joint every few inches crackes the seam real nice. It started to split right at the door frame area as well and then I stopped. So I think for a good part of the clip that will work well.

Funny though that nice green etch on the windshield frame is a nice shade of iron oxide under the fiberglass. Maybe I'll POR it..............NOT, NOT, NOT.

This car really needed to be rescued.

This front clip I am getting is not the 1000 piece that you see on some restorations it's a concours piece built to factory specs, including all the bonding strips. It's 4 to 5 times as expensive as the one piece deal. Seeing the prices off the BJ auction though it makes me feel a tad better spending that cash.
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Old 01-22-2006, 12:10 PM
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Rick,

Another thing to keep in mind is Paragon has a lot of used parts and body pieces that really are not advertised.

If your looking for whole front I would call and see about a used unit.
One thing I have found out in past about Paragon is its hard to get an answer out of them on a used part but they know their stuff and when it arrives, its everything they say it is.
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