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MGB Snugtop Hardtop Fiberglass Repair Help

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spikerj Avatar
spikerj Josh Spiker
Santa Clarita, CA, USA   USA
1973 MG MGB MkIII "Little Red"
Hello everyone!

I just recently bought a snugtop for my MGB. I'll be going to Utah in the fall for college, and since my MGB will be my daily driver, I figured it would be good if I had a hardtop in the snow and ice.

The hardtop is in pretty good condition, with no serious problems except for a large crack where the hardtop is supposed to clip to the windshield. The crack goes all the way through the bottom layer and the fiberglass is hanging to the top only because of the seal. I'll post a picture of the crack.

Right now I am debating if I should do the repair myself or take it to a boat shop that works with fiberglass and have them do it for me, as long as it is not above $60 or so. I haven't worked with fiberglass before, and so far I have been getting mixed responses from people about how easy it is do. I am leaning towards doing it myself, since I like the idea of learning how to work with fiberglass and doing my own repairs.

How would you guys go about repairing the crack?

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OldDuffer Avatar
OldDuffer Silver Member John S
Eugene, Oregon, USA   USA
1970 MG MGB
1979 MG MGB "Mae B *SOLD*"
I'm certainly no expert with fiberglass. The one repair job I did was on a lower valance on a van and it went well. The problem you have as I see it is that there will be a lot of stress on that area so it will need to be reinforced to cope with that stress. If it were me, I'd get an estimate from a pro first. Perhaps one that will let you do the final finishing after the fiberglass repair is made. So maybe a little filler, sanding and painting for you. My 2 cents



I was addicted to the hokey pokey but I turned myself around.

RKM Avatar
RKM Richard Marcks
Palm Desert, CA, USA   USA
1973 MG MGB
There is a lot of stress on that latch, better be well reinforced.

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phatt Paul Hatter
central california, USA   USA
Believe it or not the broken part needs to be cut out and the edges trimmed. It needs to be reinforced from the back. I don't know you would do that without taking the top apart. That's if you want it to look nice. If you don't care how it looks, you will have to clean the crack extremely well. You cannot use water to clean it as you will end up with water inside the top. So you will have to use a solvent and allow it to dry completely. It may attack the fiberglass and soften it. After all that it will most likely crack again. Sorry paul

PetesMG S P
Worc., MA, USA   USA
1977 MG MGB
I hope you got the top cheap - even in good condition they can be had for $250 or so.

Go get some quotes to have it professionally repaired, but I'm afraid you'll find that $60 probably won't get you very far.

If I were in your position, I'd probably take a shot at repairing it. You can't really make it worse.

Get some fiberglass cloth and some resin. Watch some YouTube videos. Lightly grind out an area each side of the crack, so your patch has something to "grab on to". Like an inch or two either side. Blow it all out with compressed air so there's no dust to contaminate your patch. Try to position the broken piece at the same level as the surrounding material. Do a few layers of glass and resin... fill in the crack with chopped cloth and resin.... then cover with a wider cloth and resin over your roughed up areas....tamp it all in good so it gets good contact.... follow instructions......

Grind smooth and finish as best you can.

No promises it'll work and I'm no pro, but I'd surely try it after researching.

Good luck with your choice.
Pete.



'77 new-to-me MGB
'70 XKE FHC,
'79 MGB (previous),
'74.5 MGB GT (previous),
'30 Model A hotrod,
Jeeps, Suburban, ...too much stuff.

Mrblowhard2U Avatar
Mrblowhard2U Glenn Wellington
Eugene, Oregon, USA   USA
1973 MG MGB "Irene"
Josh: I would first remove the bracket and ascertain how it is held in place. I imagine that there may be some kind of brace that runs the full width of the Hardtop that the bracket is attached to (I don't think they would just have attached it to the fiberglass). Find out the cause of the crack first and then decide whether to fix it yourself or farm it out. You don't want to pay a bodyshop to pull it apart just to find out you can't afford to pay for the fix. The bracket could also have been attached to a plate (wooden or metal) and fiberglassed to the inside of the Hardtop and needs to be reattached. There are plenty of How-To videos on fiberglassing on YouTube. Anyhow that's my opinion....(that'll be $60 , please). Glenn

Soling2003 Avatar
Soling2003 Gary M
Pahoa, HI, USA   USA
As a fiberglass guy, your $60 will get it prepped, maybe. You are looking at a couple hundred $ all done.

But like was said before, you really can't make it any worse.

If you just want a patch for now to get you going-
Feather down all the edges around the cracks. Remove the bracket and sand the top and bottom with 80 grit paper too.
Blow clean and wipe with acetone.
Position broken piece in place. You can duct tape it and we've it in place somehow.
Start wit some small strips of mat and glass in along the cracks using a 2" paint brush. Push down with the brush to get rid of all air bubbles and extra resin.
Make three more layers, each layer 1 " wider than the next.
Start with one layer of Mat that is as wide as the repair job.
Do 2 more layers, again, each one 1" bigger than the previous one.
One layer of cloth, slightly larger.
Do basically the same on the inside.
Let cure, sand, fill, paint, re install clamp.

You can always drill a hole for the clamp and use a flat head bolt going in from the top to fasten it.
There will be a slight lump where you did the repair, but at least it will be strong and smooth, just not fair.
To do it right will take more than I can write here, but you will basically have to cut out the old piece, feather the edges, build up new area, sand, paint

Good luck

spikerj Avatar
spikerj Josh Spiker
Santa Clarita, CA, USA   USA
1973 MG MGB MkIII "Little Red"
Thanks for the advice everyone. At this point I'll probably do the repair myself, mostly since I don't want to spend to much money repairing it and it'll be good for me to learn.

The crack is not visible when you are looking at the top from the outside of the car, so I'm not to concerned about making the patch job look pretty, as long as it works.

Right now the fiberglass piece the bracket is attached to has already separated from the top, and is hanging by the header seal. I'll post a picture of it.

Pete,

I'm thinking that I'll probably do something similar to what you suggested. I'll separate the fiberglass with the bracket from the seal and cover up the hole with a couple of layers of fiberglass. After the hole is covered up, I'll attach the fiberglass piece with the bracket to the new layers of fiberglass with some epoxy and from there follow what you suggested. That way the patch would be reinforced from both the inside and the outside.

I ended up buying the top for $200. I definitely wanted to get it a little bit cheaper, but the guy wouldn't lower his price and I didn't know when would be the next time I saw another hardtop for sale in my local area so I ended up buying it. I had been looking for a good few months before I found this one. It's in good condition other then the crack, so after I fix that it will be road worthy.

Glenn,

Interestingly enough I think the bracket is directly attached to the fiberglass, and if not that then a small piece of metal that is embedded in the fiberglass, considering how the fiberglass with the bracket has completely separated from the rest of the top already. I measured the thickness of the broken fiberglass and it gets thicker as you get closer to the bracket and thinner as you get farther away from it. It looks like the manufacturer may have made the fiberglass go to thin to quick and should have made the surrounding area around the bracket thicker to better cope with the stress. The crack could have happened when a previous owner was trying to put the top on and the stress just proved to be to great. Since this probably is an inherent weakness in the top, I might reinforce the other bracket with some fiberglass mats to ensure that one doesn't break in the future either.
And $60 per piece of advice! In that case I owe in total a few grand because of all the posts I've read on this forum..........haha


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GMB3 Avatar
GMB3 George Badger
Soquel, CA, USA   USA
1968 MG MGB "1QUICK B"
Try to find a body shop that works on Corvettes. They will have the fiberglass expertise to effect the repair properly. You'll probably have to spend ~$1K to repair & paint the hardtop. =!8^(

In reply to # 3513359 by spikerj Hello everyone!

I just recently bought a snugtop for my MGB. I'll be going to Utah in the fall for college, and since my MGB will be my daily driver, I figured it would be good if I had a hardtop in the snow and ice.

The hardtop is in pretty good condition, with no serious problems except for a large crack where the hardtop is supposed to clip to the windshield. The crack goes all the way through the bottom layer and the fiberglass is hanging to the top only because of the seal. I'll post a picture of the crack.

Right now I am debating if I should do the repair myself or take it to a boat shop that works with fiberglass and have them do it for me, as long as it is not above $60 or so. I haven't worked with fiberglass before, and so far I have been getting mixed responses from people about how easy it is do. I am leaning towards doing it myself, since I like the idea of learning how to work with fiberglass and doing my own repairs.

How would you guys go about repairing the crack?



---
GEO

spikerj Avatar
spikerj Josh Spiker
Santa Clarita, CA, USA   USA
1973 MG MGB MkIII "Little Red"
And thanks Gary for your advice as well. I didn't get the chance to read it before my previous post. I'll make sure to follow it when doing the patch job.

dcraddock43 Gold Member Dave Craddock
Redford (Detroit), Mi., USA   USA
$1000. ? ! maybe if you had Chip Foose do it...LOL
Dave


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Marc2 Avatar
Marc2 Gold Member Mark Hoefle
Richardson, TX, USA   USA
1972 MG MGB "Green Machine"
This comes with the materials you would need to do the repair yourself, along with a pretty good guide.

https://www.westmarine.com/buy/west-system--105-k-fiberglass-boat-repair-kit--12954095

http://newcontent.westmarine.com/documents/pdfs/OwnersManuals/MAINTENANCE/12954095_105-K%20Fiberglass%20Kit%20Instruction.pdf

Also, a good alternate to using an (expensive) fiberglass pro at a Corvette body shop, is local boat shops - they do fiberglass repairs all the time.

GMB3 Avatar
GMB3 George Badger
Soquel, CA, USA   USA
1968 MG MGB "1QUICK B"
I have no idea who Foose is, but to repair and paint, that would be about right. Ah, I live in Califas, a bit more expensive than MI. lol

In reply to # 3513872 by dcraddock43 $1000. ? ! maybe if you had Chip Foose do it...LOL
Dave



---
GEO

Marc2 Avatar
Marc2 Gold Member Mark Hoefle
Richardson, TX, USA   USA
1972 MG MGB "Green Machine"
In reply to # 3514022 by GMB3 I have no idea who Foose is

http://www.chipfoose.com/ws_display.asp?filter=OVERHAULIN%27_Landing



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-05-18 11:40 AM by Marc2.


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Emil Wojcik Avatar
Metuchen, NJ, USA   USA
I've done lots of custom fiberglass fabrication and repairs over the decades, too many to count. It wouldn't be hard to repair without separating the outer and inner layers, but I wouldn't even know how to begin explaining the process to a novice since it will get pretty complicated (not hard, just complicated) and this is a structurally important area. Even if I could figure out how to describe the process, I would still be reluctant to do so--this is not a repair for someone without experience. Take it to a boat repair guy. It will be easy for him. Just tell him you don't care what it looks like inside, your only concern is it be structurally sound, and it should be reasonable.

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