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CoolHandMoss Reader
6/28/22 4:05 p.m.

Gladly. I don't see any remnants on mine of the molded panel like piece that adheres to the bonnet to secure your frame. Maybe they ran out of that part or, more likely, this frame has broken off before and been crudely re-attached. Speaking of differences, is the gel coat on your bonnet grey? I have a white gel coat body and grey bonnet. 

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
6/28/22 5:45 p.m.

That looks about ready to fall off.

My gel-coat is clear, which is my understanding of how they came from the factory.  It's a little hard to see - sort of a different look than the regular fiberglass.  Maybe they used some opaque gel-coat and you got that?

I played around with the penetrating epoxy today:

It is indeed very thin, and a little bit goes a VERY long way.  They say to add some acetone to allow it to penetrate even more.  I used a cough-syrup cup to mix 15 ml of resin, 7.5 ml of hardener, and another 7.5 of acetone.  Plus a few drops of the blue dye.  I left probably half of that in the cup as waste.

Here's the front-lower side of the hood right near where the big chuck was broken away.  Lots of spider cracks:

I did try following individual cracks with the syringe, and that does work pretty well.  For larger areas like the above I just squirted on a bunch and then rubbed it in really hard with my gloved hand.  Then after a few minutes I wiped off the excess with a paper towel.

Seemed to do the job pretty well:

If this works it's way easier than chasing each crack with a dremel tool!

I'm going to get some more epoxy dye in a contrasting color with the hope that I'll be able to see a color change on the topside cracks that I already dyed blue.  Or I'll just fill them and get on with my life.

CoolHandMoss Reader
6/28/22 6:22 p.m.

My gel coat is definitely white on the body. When I sand through the white I get to glass fibers and when I sand through the grey I get to glass fibers. So it appears there is no correlation between color of gel coat and the body parts! Very strange. 

The penetrating epoxy looks effective. Maybe a second coat with little or no acetone would hold it together nicely? 


Stampie MegaDork
6/28/22 8:37 p.m.

In reply to TVR Scott :

So that epoxy can take care of your issues?  Let me know when you're ready to do an Europa body.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
6/28/22 9:04 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

I thought it was the Vette you wanted me to work on?

Stampie MegaDork
6/28/22 9:17 p.m.

In reply to TVR Scott :

Either or ... just realized I'm getting a lot of fiberglass in my life lately.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
6/28/22 10:16 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

Just got the itch, I guess.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
7/18/22 11:21 a.m.

Update time:

Quick note: turns out the penetrating epoxy cures to a flexible state.  Not sure how I feel about that.  Might try thinning regular epoxy to see if it'll wick into the cracks.

Got the driver's side wheel-well area reinforced:

Leftover tacky-tape does a really good job of pulling off old paint from tight crevices.  Honestly, duct tape would probably work just a well.

I'd been stressing over the chin repair on the hood, since getting good compaction and structure there isn't easy.  I had to take of my aerospace-composites-engineer hat, and embrace Sofa-King's philosophy: treat this E36 M3 like paper-mache for grown-ups!

Here's the starting point.  The goal: glob it on and get the initial connection made:

The stir sticks are hot-glued in place. 

This is after the initial cure.  I've blocked it down with sandpaper a bit.  Mostly just giving thought to the overall shape, as I build up the thickness.

Next layer went down yesterday:

I covered it with peel-ply this time, so that I wouldn't have to do quite as much bond-prep for the next layer:

And here's where I'm at this morning:

Thanks for following along!

Stampie MegaDork
7/18/22 11:24 a.m.

I always love when this comes back up to the top.

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/18/22 2:24 p.m.
Stampie said:

I always love when this comes back up to the top.

Agreed! Great to keep seeing progress, that fiberglass work looks like it requires the patience of a saint, guess I'll have to stick to metal cars smiley

Stu Lasswell
Stu Lasswell Reader
7/18/22 2:47 p.m.

   Yeah, I'm glad SOMEBODY's actually making progress.  I guess I'm stalled mostly by a lack of willpower rather than any real obstacle. I should just bite the bullet and jump in to the bodywork, as you have done.. Soon, I promise!

JoeTR6 Dork
7/18/22 10:31 p.m.

Keep at it, Scott.  This isn't the fun part of the project IMO, but you'll look back on it and be glad you did all of this work.  Seeing this car running with paint on it will be amazing.

CoolHandMoss Reader
7/19/22 10:34 a.m.

Nicely done. That is a pretty tough spot to rebuild. I'm sure it's better than new. 

Dirtydog (Forum Supporter)
Dirtydog (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/20/22 7:46 a.m.

This is one of my favorite reads.  Happy to see you're still plugging away.  This forum is GREAT for vicarious living.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
7/20/22 9:06 a.m.

Thanks, guys!  Always great to hear your encouragement.

So, I think I'm going to backtrack a little on this one.  I did some more measuring and the new piece is installed probably 3/16" too tall.  I don't think it will match properly with the original, even when body-worked.

So I'm going to cut out a lot of this and redo it.  It's really not a big deal, and I'm certain I can make it match better.  Stay tuned!

Slow_M Reader
7/23/22 10:40 a.m.

Great to know you’re moving forward on this awesome project! 

TurboFource New Reader
7/27/22 5:46 p.m.

Any update on the spider crack repairs in the fiberglass?

Something I am not looking foward to on my Europa......

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
7/27/22 5:54 p.m.

Thanks for documenting all this 'glass repair. There's a lot of really practical, useful stuff here that I've never seen before (not that I've seen a bunch). I'm not sure exactly when I'll wind up working with this stuff, but I'm sure it's in the mail...

TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
7/28/22 5:22 p.m.

Whew!  Lots of responses and questions!

Stu, good to see you chiming in!  You are right in assuming that ignoring the car will not fix fiberglass problems.  I've tried.

TurboFource said:

Any update on the spider crack repairs in the fiberglass?

Something I am not looking foward to on my Europa......

This is still a bit of a work-in-progress.  As far as I've found there are two different kinds of cracks that I'm finding:

There are small, short random cracks that look to just be the gel-coat aging.  These seem to be fairly uniform in spacing and direction.  I think I'll either grind these out or fill them with the penetrating resin.

The second type is the stress-cracks.  These are the long, thin cracks that I've found in areas of high stress.  These tend to be deeper and are often in multiple parallel groups.  These are the ones that I was dremeling out all winter.  As deep and compromising as they are, this is probably still the best way to go.  Even though it sucks.  I think these high stress areas will get a surface layer of fiberglass cloth.  I don't want to just leave the old surface to crack again.

I also have been adding the carbon reinforcements to known weak areas.  I think this will help quite a bit.

I've got more pics of current work, but will download and post later.


TVR Scott
TVR Scott SuperDork
8/1/22 1:06 p.m.

More pics of last-week's progress.

As promised, I did cut off my template piece for repositioning.  I moved it down maybe 1/8".

Tied back in:

And back to fully supported:

I'll do some clean-up and reinforcement on the inside too.  Not bad so far, though:

Here's the same after a bit of sanding.  The shape is coming in pretty well:

I've since connected that gap, though I don't have a pic.  I'm pretty much using fiberglass as bondo at this point, but it'll be way stronger and more uniform in structure.

I also filled in some of the damage on the other side.  The driver's side had a pretty good hole from abrasion, though not impact damage like the passenger's.

That's all for the moment.

CoolHandMoss Reader
8/2/22 4:40 p.m.

Looking great. The contour on that front edge is shaping up to be spot on.

I am really looking forward to seeing your plans/progress on how you rebuild the bonnet hinge system! 

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