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Refinishing Hardtop

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by Melloj123, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Melloj123

    Melloj123

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    I am in the process of re-finishing my hard top. What is the best way to remove multiple layers of paint to get to the fiberglass??

    Is there a paint stripper out there that won't damage the fiberglass.?

    The old paint is beginning to chip away and i would like to get it all off before the new paint job.

    Is sanding the hell out it my only option??

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. okie

    okie

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    be careful with fiberglass. I wouldn't even take a belt sander to it because the weight might mess it up. Block sand it and put support under it as you sand it.
     
  3. llih

    llih

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    How many coats of paint are we talking about? If its only the original, sand and feather, spray with a primer/surfacer (polyester), then block sand with a flexable block and some guide coat. You may need to use more than 1 coat of surfacer. If it is real pitted, use some glaze.

    If the top has lots of coats, I would sand using an electric orbital sander with some 60 grit. Porter Cable has a nice 1/4 sheet sander. Work up to 320 and you should be good to go for primer/surfacer. I would stay away from removers. Too damn messy for me.
     
  4. albee

    albee

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    Give me a break. If you dont have a clue then keep your fingers off the key board. No advice is better then bad advice.
     
  5. Melloj123

    Melloj123

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    Thanks for the advice. I will keep working on it a little at a time. There are at least three coats of paint on there. It is a mess, but winter weather is quickly approaching so better get back to it.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. spctrbytz

    spctrbytz

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    I'm no rocket scientist by trade, but most chemical paint strippers I have seen will munch fiberglas in short order.
     
  7. Texx

    Texx

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    Use a DA air sander (dual action) you can get one at harbor freight or similar for about 20 bucks, the dual action keeps from making gouges and ridges in the paint, strip all the flat part with 80 grit, hand sand the curves, run some 220 and then 360 over it and finish per instrutions above. Yu don't need to get "down to the fiberglass" at all..just to the first smooth layer of paint or gel coat. If you see actual fiber, you're going too far and causing more problems than you're fixing.
     
  8. AZkick-n40

    AZkick-n40

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    Couple of questions:

    Did the rivits show from the factory or was it smooth as silk? My rivits are showing but they are solid.

    AWhen using the gel coat is it self-leveling?

    Do you paint over the gel coat?

    Thanks,

    Brian
     
  9. Texx

    Texx

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    Rivets show, drip rails are partially filled with 3m sealer. While gel is self leveling, you should spray it on.
     
  10. Clutchee

    Clutchee I'm fun sized! SILVER Star

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    Go with Texx method.....the DA & 220 sand paper works GREAT. :grinpimp:
    Oh yea, use a mask TONS of dust. :doh:
     
  11. okie

    okie

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    haha. I have sanded complete cars before and i think i know what im talking about. 1. That fiber glass can crack under stress especially when you are pressing down on it when it is right side up. 2. WHen sanding you can warp metal, fiberglass on the other hand has a different effect if you can imagine.

    :cheers:

    wheres your advice?
     
  12. albee

    albee

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    Maybe I was a bit harsh Okie. My point is that when someone asks for advice, I think they are looking for it from someone who has done what they are asking about. Not a young girl who's mommy pays for all of the mod's on her first cruiser.

    With more then ten years experience as a commerical fishermen in Alaska, I feel comfortable saying that I have worked a little more fibre glass then you ever will. I do however hope that as you mature you will learn to work on your own cruiser, so you can add some useful information to this fourm. If you want to bicker somemore Okie P.M. me. Cheers

    Sorry for the thread high jack
     
  13. WaAkFJ

    WaAkFJ

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    I used an orbital sander and a DA sander on my hardtop. The DA is my prefered tool, but I also like my orbital sander. The DA sander is the proper tool for the job though.

    Your really not suppose to push down on a sander, so you shouldn't crack it like said above. I didn't crack my hardtop and I sanded it, pushing down sometimes too. I used 220 grit and then 360 grit paper.

    What are you planning on painting/refinishing it will? I am going to paint mine this next summer, haven't figured out what paint I'm using for the top yet though,
     
  14. ducktapeguy

    ducktapeguy

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    I just finished stripping the paint off of mine. I started out using the 3M stripping discs in an electric drill, it works ok, but it takes forever. Finally got tired after two days and took the belt sander w/80 grit to the rest of the top. Highly recommended. Use a light touch, keep it moving constantly, and don't create any ridges. If you're not comfortable with a belt sander maybe practice on a scrap piece of wood to get the hang of it, but it's pretty easy. With a little practice you could probably strip off one layer at a time until you get to where you want I still used the stripping discs for the curves and around the rivits, the belt sander only works on the flat areas

    How far are people stripping it down to, the original paint or all the way to fiberglass? I'm pretty sure my top only has one layer of brown paint on it, but right underneath it, it looks to be an off-white (maybe ivory?) color layer, than underneath that is completely white. I'm not sure if the ivory layer is a primer layer, or was the original white really an off-white color? Or maybe the original paint yellows with age? Either way, I'm also looking for ways on how to refinish it. I asked a couple of boat guys their opinion on the gelcote, and they didn't recommend it.
     
  15. rsc71

    rsc71

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    there are strippers out there that you can use on fiberglass
     
  16. toddslater

    toddslater

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    Most of the new generation "green" strippers are pretty much crap. The good stuff is methylene chloride (ex. Talstrip) based (not very "green"). If your not used to dealing with these...I'd advise you to stay away from them and your fiberglass. Methylene chloride based strippers work great but will attack the fiberglass...so if you use them get it off fairly quick and neutralize it with gun thinner and then water. I agree with what the others have said... use a DA with 80 grit and you should be safe...keep it flat and moving and don't stand it up on the edges. If you can swing it...get the 8" DA...it'll make the work go faster. If not the standard 6" DA is better for an all purpose DA. One last option is taking it to someone to have it blasted with walnut shells or similar media that won't attack the glass.
     
  17. missipboy

    missipboy

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    i hate it when you get a "green" stripper and she doesn't know what the hell she's doing.
     
  18. okie

    okie

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    For being a 19 year old girl starting out on this myself with no parents with any knowledge about any kind of mechanics, I sure have taught myself how to work on these cruisers including when i was 17 getting my first car ( a camaro) and working on that myself. I can safely say now with a full time job and school that i definatly have no help from my parents ( besides support and being there for me in which i am very thankful for) on any of this. I have learned most of my information from professionals and teachers willing to teach me a thing or two, but i have always been on my own ( asside from the local mudders that are willing to lend a hand).


    But i appreciate you TRYING to asses me... lets leave this forum to the people willing to help this guy out and stop trying to highjack another thread. ok?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2006
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