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Backed into a tree on trail and crunched the hardtop a bit. Any advice to fix this up?

jessedacri

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Welp, I was doing some last-light exploration down a spur near Zion National Park to mark a few campsites for next time when I hit a tight dead end on the mesa spur. I backed around but miscalculated and crunched into a thick branch. It's not cracked on the inside, but the two cracks here are pretty gnarly and if you push on them you can hear crunchy fiberglass.


Now I know from the whole Bronco hardtop fiasco that exposed fiberglass will absorb water and bloat, so I'm curious what my course of action here is and if anyone's been through this before whether it be from a similar situation or worse. What do you think a fiberglass shop ballpark me for cost on something like this?


I was thinking of trying to just seal it up myself with some clear sealant but not sure how that'd pan out either as I've never worked with fiberglass and don't necessarily want to draw a ton of attention to it. I wheel this thing often so I'm not over here trying to touch up microscopic details, but this is my only vehicle and I want the hardtop to not turn into a permanently destroyed mess when it rains. Ugh - weird way to end a nice trip!


Jeep Wrangler JL Backed into a tree on trail and crunched the hardtop a bit. Any advice to fix this up? 280752140_312060667768565_7316589489477322043_n
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CaJLMetalHead

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I say you fill it with epoxy resin and touch it up...

BTW... from what I have seen online our hardtops are made with SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) .. here is a page with more details:

https://www.uti.edu/blog/collision/sheet-molding-compound

From that website:
What’s the difference: SMC vs. fiberglass?
SMC is a combination of glass-fiber and polyester material molded into panels using a compression process. Fiberglass is glass strands that are woven into cloth or matted together. The fiberglass matting or cloth is placed in a mold, then pure resin with a hardener is applied to form the part.


So I think is better if you get epoxy resin that is specifically made for SMC repair.. like this:

https://www.amazon.com/3M-08219-Fib...ocphy=9032050&hvtargid=pla-623685628967&psc=1


I found information about SMC hardtops while looking for ideas on how to convert my hardtop to a modular system... here is a link to someone to did the conversion of a JK so there is good information about working with a SMC hardtop:

https://www.expeditionportal.com/fo...g-a-factory-jk-jku-hardtop-to-modular.160775/
 

roaniecowpony

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If you go on Youtube, you can find fiberglass repair techniques. Basically, you need to grind out as much as possible without going through it. Then glass it, then do it from the inside as well. Grind all that down flush and paint. It sounds like a lot of work, but glass work goes fast. It's just dusty and itchy. Wear a mask for grinding and sanding it.
 
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jessedacri

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If you go on Youtube, you can find fiberglass repair techniques. Basically, you need to grind out as much as possible without going through it. Then glass it, then do it from the inside as well. Grind all that down flush and paint. It sounds like a lot of work, but glass work goes fast. It's just dusty and itchy. Wear a mask for grinding and sanding it.

hmm, may be outside of my wheelhouse but going to look into it a bit. I figure I'll get a quote from a couple shops and if it's not too bad I'll have them repair. If the price is crazy I'll kit up and try to do it myself. My main concern is getting the shape back to normal and the paint to a point where it doesn't look super DIY.
 

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roaniecowpony

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hmm, may be outside of my wheelhouse but going to look into it a bit. I figure I'll get a quote from a couple shops and if it's not too bad I'll have them repair. If the price is crazy I'll kit up and try to do it myself. My main concern is getting the shape back to normal and the paint to a point where it doesn't look super DIY.
A good place to start would be a shop that specializes in Corvette repair. You don't want some downstream body shop that has no experience in fiberglass work.
 

roaniecowpony

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Keep in mind that a used, good condition top is about a $2K item.
 

Jhawth

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Wear pants and a long sleeve shirt when sanding the fiberglass. I did some bodywork to my first motorcycle when I was 20. Went outside on a humid minnesota summer day is shorts and flip flops to sand down a bunch of fairings I fiberglassed. I was itchy for days lol, learned that one the hard way ?
 

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Don't be afraid to check with a marine repair shop. They do a ton of fiberglass work.
 

fat_head

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Man I'd grind that out and repair it DIY style before dropping 2k to replace it. Hell if you were in TX i'd give it a whirl for ya for some beer.
 

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jessedacri

jessedacri

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Man I'd grind that out and repair it DIY style before dropping 2k to replace it. Hell if you were in TX i'd give it a whirl for ya for some beer.
Is this really something people are thinking is going to cost in the $1500-2000 range? Man, I’ll dump some epoxy into it before I spend that on a crack.

Wish I was closer to TX!
 

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I had a similar mishap, unfortunately. What did you eventually do for your repair?
 
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jessedacri

jessedacri

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I had a similar mishap, unfortunately. What did you eventually do for your repair?

Took the top off for the summer and forgot all about it, lol. I just put the top back on in anticipation of a 5-day backcountry camping/wheeling trip in the High Sierras next week and was reminded of it as soon as I pulled out of the garage.

The vibe seems like the average repair is going to run $1k and hardtops are floating around on the used market (especially for 4 doors) for the $1200-1600 range. That puts me in the camp of probably waiting it out and doing a fix or replacement if things get worse than they currently are, as I really don't want to dump over a grand into what's currently cosmetic only. The cracks on mine don't fully penetrate into the interior, but are nonetheless pretty gnarly and are on the corners.

I haven't officially taken it anywhere yet, but now that the top's on I probably will see what the actual cost is. I feel like a self repair is a bit out of my abilities due to the fiberglass work and paint skills needed. At most, I might toss some sealant of some sort into the cracks if repair quotes come back high.
 

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Took the top off for the summer and forgot all about it, lol. I just put the top back on in anticipation of a 5-day backcountry camping/wheeling trip in the High Sierras next week and was reminded of it as soon as I pulled out of the garage.

The vibe seems like the average repair is going to run $1k and hardtops are floating around on the used market (especially for 4 doors) for the $1200-1600 range. That puts me in the camp of probably waiting it out and doing a fix or replacement if things get worse than they currently are, as I really don't want to dump over a grand into what's currently cosmetic only. The cracks on mine don't fully penetrate into the interior, but are nonetheless pretty gnarly and are on the corners.

I haven't officially taken it anywhere yet, but now that the top's on I probably will see what the actual cost is. I feel like a self repair is a bit out of my abilities due to the fiberglass work and paint skills needed. At most, I might toss some sealant of some sort into the cracks if repair quotes come back high.
I would put sealant, smooth it out, and hide with some decals.

maybe pixeldecals have some stuff you like
 

BXFXJeep

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oh, you can also look for a hard top with the rear glass missing, the rear glass is over $1,000, so chances are a hard top with a missing glass(broken) might go for dirt cheap.
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