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Fiberglass questions...

Well, the time has finally come to start my research.... and much research it will be.

This Fall I am transferring schools, so needless to say this Summer is going to be a busy one.

I've read the tutorial that has a sticky in the "Body Work / Detailing" area, but that seemed like it was more for audio boxes and such instead of dashs.

My first few questions should be pretty simple to answer, especially to you "more experienced" ( notice I didn't say older! lol) fellas.

The vehicle in question is a 1993 Ford Explorer

1. To fiberglass my dash, I know I will most likely have to do some prep work. I expect sanding at some point. I'm not sure what my dash is made out of, feels hard in most areas, but soft in others. Can I just sand this and fiberglass over it?

2. For the door panels, because they are plastic I expect I'll be able to just sand/scuff them pretty good and fiberglass those using the material and fiberglass, and then using bondo to smooth and shape it.

I'm ONLY concerned about fiberglassing the main dash, which is right under the window. At least for now. I'm painting/turning everything white with black accents, so color matching will be extremely easy.

Mods, if this is in the wrong forum, I'm sorry. I figured because it related to fiberglass which most bodymen use at some point they'd be able to give some insight.

Thanks,

-Josh
 


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Gator Jeff

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Are you trying to fiberglass over the whole thing or just imperfections? Or are you trying to make a full on replacement?
 




Blacksheep Josh

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Are you trying to fiberglass over the whole thing or just imperfections? Or are you trying to make a full on replacement?

This is a good point.

I'm looking to fiberglass my entire dash. I've thought about trying to make a mold, but I think it will be easier just to fiberglass the current dash (out of the vehicle of course).
 




IZwack

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I have a little bit of experience with composites like fiberglass, carbon, and kevlar.

The dash has a hard plastic base, with a thin layer of dense foam over it, finally covered with a somewhat rubbery material at the top. But why do you want to put fiberglass over the top? Its just going to make your vehicle heavier and resin isnt exactly cheap per gallon (even for the mid-grade resins like from West Marine).
 




Gator Jeff

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yeah, i don't know what you're expecting asthetically, but i'm thinking a dash made of aluminum, similar to that on a race car would be far better.
 




Blacksheep Josh

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I guess what I'm really looking for is how to get a smooth dash. It's currently the stock gray color with the 'textured' surface. Has a few cracks in it on the passenger side which I know can be fixed fairly cheap and simple. My buddy has a PT Cruiser with a smooth dash - I believe it's covered with fiberglass. That's what I want, I'm having trouble finding a good picture, but I want it to be perfectly smooth, almost like a mirror. If there's an easier way to do this that'd be great.

About the weight, not to worried about it. The explorer is heavy enough as it is and I'm putting subs in later on, so weight doesn't matter to me. When I go to school in the Fall the Explorer will be sitting 6 out of 7 days a week.
 




Exploderpilot

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brush on about 5 thick coats of polyurethane and then paint it.
 




Blacksheep Josh

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Exploderpilot

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yeah. Just clean it with alcohol, and the use hard coat polyurethane. it will take several coats to fill in the texture, and then you can just sand it smooth with 400 grit. then throw a coat or two of paint on it. I would spring for good paint though.
 




Gator Jeff

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brush on about 5 thick coats of polyurethane and then paint it.

You think he should perferate the soft spots on the dash so it soaks in and hardens those up?
 




Blacksheep Josh

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You think he should perferate the soft spots on the dash so it soaks in and hardens those up?

I was planning on using a sewing pin and poking small holes over the entire dash, nto a bunch, but maybe every 4-5 inches or so so it had something to grab onto
 




Exploderpilot

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The polyurethane is very hard, and very strong all by itself, and will stick to whatever. but you will crack it, if you hit it hard enough and what's under it is soft, holes or no holes. Remember, the surface of the dash is textured, which is plenty for the stuff to grab on to. as far as the actual padded stuff though, i don't know if you can do that.....
 




Blacksheep Josh

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Okay, my buddy's PT Cruiser is how i want it. i just called him and he's going to send me a picture of it. He's also calling his Father to see what material it's made of. When we knwo that I think it'll be easier. I also inspected my dash and the area I"m talking about, closest to the windshield, seems to be the foam wrapped in vinyl the entire way. I don't want to strip all that off and would like to keep the way it is now but white and smooth. Pictures coming, just got to wait on him.
 




Blacksheep Josh

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Don't know if this is a good enough picture. But you can kinda see the finish I'm looking for. The 'blue' area is the old dash before it was done.

2usebeo.jpg
 








BWilliams

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I'd wait for someone else to take another look at it, but to me, that almost looks like a plastic dash overlay, similar to what I got in a woodgrain pattern. The kit that I have is basically just a molded plastic with 3M tape over hte top of it, that goes over the stock dash/door panels... it looks the same as that picture you posted: reflective and perfectly smooth.
 




Blacksheep Josh

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I'd wait for someone else to take another look at it, but to me, that almost looks like a plastic dash overlay, similar to what I got in a woodgrain pattern. The kit that I have is basically just a molded plastic with 3M tape over hte top of it, that goes over the stock dash/door panels... it looks the same as that picture you posted: reflective and perfectly smooth.

yeah... i'm not to worried about it, i've tried explaining what i'm trying to do, and i'm not getting anything. i'm just wanting to make my dash look the same as it is now, but with the fiberglass/smooth feel to it.
 




xplorer03

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clean it good then put resin over the dash, sand it down, smooth it with bondo, prime it, sand it, paint it, clear it, wet sand it, buff it!
 


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Blacksheep Josh

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i just had a thought. i know i see a bunch of guys that use fleece as a "base" for the fiberglass to soak into and dry.

could you possibly use a spray adhesive to get the fleece to stick to the dash, and then fiberglass it using traditional fleece/fiberglass methods? there really isn't any reasons this should work. especially if sealed and adhered properly.

idea came out of nowhere, might be a new idea, not sure. but what do you think? to me it seems it would work.
 




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