If anyone was going to follow in my footsteps I would recommend the following:
Get your head examined.
Use aircraft quality epoxy resin dispensed via a metered pump from the start.
Do not use 2 part liquid foam to fill voids in the Styrofoam. Use micro-spheres mixed with epoxy. 2 part liquid foam will continue to expand even 15 years after “curing”. Perhaps the liquid foam could be used to glue the foams pieces together. Any significant amounts however would need to be replaced with the micro-sphere filler.
It would be very desirable to somehow have certain layers of glass have an epoxy colorant so to control the thickness of the fiberglass that remains. As it stands, there may be areas on my car that may have only two layers of glass – I can’t tell.
Fiberglass is not 100% stable over time like metal. Glass itself is considered to be a very thick liquid (old window panes are thicker at the bottom than at the top). Consequently under continuous load there may be permanent set. In areas of high stress, steel reinforcement may be required. Over time the hood lift springs caused my hood to flair out. Subsequent steel reinforcement has thus far proved effective. When exposed to heat, steel expands about at the same rate as fiberglass so this should be OK.
Fiberglass is known to have print through (also known as read through or telegraphing). This is when you can see faint images of the fiberglass weave through the paint. This is more noticeable on a hot day (where the panels could get up to 140°). It also appears to happen due to the exposure of the chemicals in paint. One technique industry uses to reduce this is to have the outside surface sprayed with at least 0.020 thick layer of Gel Coat. This material however has very little tensile strength and stress cracks due to deflection may occur.
Prime the car with PPG epoxy primer followed immediately with K38 high build primer. The K38 has superb chemical resistant properties. Be sure to clean you gun promptly as you will have a heck of a time removing the cured K38 primer.
The PPG base coat paint appears to be sensitive to coating thickness. It appears the base coat has very powerful solvents that can lift the paint below it and in some cases lift the basecoat itself. Have good ventilation and wait as long as possible between coats and certainly as long as possible before clear coating. PPG offers a hardener for the base coat that might eliminate this problem
Put thin layers of clear coat on. I noticed heavy coats caused what almost looked like solvent popping. In some areas there are extremely small bubbles in the clear. These can be wet sanded away but it is best to avoid them. Do two thin coats versus one heavy.
Get to know someone who has a paint booth that you can use. It will save you a fortune.
Don’t believe salesmen. Get to know folks that have a bit of experience in doing what you are thinking about. Learn from their mistakes – it is cheaper.
Don’t have a tight schedule. These projects take way longer than you can imagine.
Pick a design that you believe is timeless – one that you think is cool and will remain cool even after working on it for 23 years. You wouldn’t want to think your project is ugly after spending 7000 hours on it.
Take lots of photos and enjoy the journey.
Hosted by MagicWeb.us