Jeep Hardtop Repair doesn't have to be hard. It just takes an understanding of the fiberglass materials used to repair Wrangler Hardtops. Fiberglass isn't difficult to work with. The only hard part is the timing and understanding of the resin to catalyst ratios and when it should be adjusted.
First allow me to give you a brief history of myself. On YouTube, Jeep Forums and FaceBook Groups everyone knows me by my YouTube Channel Power Addicts. Before I got into building Jeeps, motorcycles and other cool rides I worked in a few different fiberglass factories. The big names being Harbor Master Houseboats and Gibson Houseboats. I was one of the lead mold designers for Gibson Houseboats for a few years. I've built molds from raw materials such as plywood, sculpting plasters, body fillers, fiberglass, and Gelcoat just to name a few of the materials I used to create molds to build those awesome boats. Also, I've done private work for taxidermist creating molds for animal mounts. Not to mention years of experience in houseboat reconstruction/remodeling. Molding custom parts for cars and boats as well. Well .... do ya get the point .. I know fiberglass.
Now .. to be 100% totally transparent. I have worked and designed many many molds and fiberglass parts for many companies throughout life. But .. I owe my dad for teaching me the art since I was a young child. I've worked with many skilled fiberglass craftsmen. Not saying this because he is my dad .. but I've seen him turn raw materials into art!!! He is the best that I have ever seen!!
Well kinda sorta ... I'll link the YouTube video playlist below to allow the videos to teach you about the procedures and methods to repair a busted up Wrangler Hardtop. It will show the video on "CJ7 Hardtop on a YJ". Click the list icon in the upper right corner to pick the video to fit your hardtop repair needs.
This article is more about explaining the ratios of fiberglass resin and catalyst ratios to keep from regurgitating the same spill on every video. I really would like to keep the video time length to a minimum to prevent from boring you to death. So hopefully this article will give you enough information to give you an idea to start mixing your own fiberglass.
The fiberglass resin to catalyst mix ratio can mean the difference between a busted Jeep Top being fixed or a cobbled up mess. Meaning .. get the ratio wrong .. the resin cures too fast before you get the fiberglass worked into place .. you got a mess.
Now, don't let that scare you. Even if the resin hardens before you get the Jeep top fixed it is not the end of the world! Simply sand down the hardened resin and keep repairing the hardtop. No big deal!!
With fiberglass repair, there IS a bit of a learning curve. Keep trying till you get it fixed! Your Jeep Wrangler is worth it ... right?? Yea ... that's what I thought!! Keep learning that new skill!! Ya never know, keep practicing you can get good enough to earn a good side income fixing Jeep hardtops.
Trust me ... Dad and I both have made a VERY GOOD living off of repairing boats! Now .. I do Jeeps :-)
These products I am presenting are good for the consumer looking to do fiberglass repair, whether it be Corvette bodies, boats or repairing a Jeep hardtop. I do have my own supplier for my materials being that I purchase in bulk. With that being said, I do feel comfortable recommending these products to you.
For a container to mix it in .. just use any paper or plastic container. But ... DO NOT use any type of foam cups or containers!! Well, unless you want a mess and wasted resin all over the place. Trust me .. just use paper or plastic and you will be fine. What to stir it with? Heck, I'll pick a stick up out of the yard if its close.
This is the fiberglass kit I feature in most of my videos. The catalyst that comes with the kit seems to be the slow acting kind. This is a good thing for the beginners because it gives you a bit more time to work before it starts hardening. This kit is actually a great value for the money. It comes with a gallon of resin, catalyst and 15' of fiberglass mat. That is typically more than you will need to repair a hardtop. I'll comment more about this kit later in the article.
This kit is what you typically find on your autoparts, hardware or department stores. Its a good kit for small repairs but it does not come with the chopped mat. DO NOT buy just fiberglass cloth. Fiberglass cloth by its self is very weak. It has got to have the mat beneath it. I'll add recommended fiberglass mat next.
For optimal strength in Jeep Hardtop Repair your MUST use fiberglass chopped strand mat. Even used by its self it is strong! Use it below fiberglass cloth for a strong yet cosmetically pleasing repair to work with. Cloth is a "pretty" layer, it isn't worth much else.
This little tool is a MUST when working with chopped strand fiberglass mat. Yes, you can tamp the air out with a cheap paint brush. This roller does what the paint brush wishes it could do!! I have several different sizes for different purposes. This particular size is pretty much universal for most repair jobs.
These cheap little disposable chip brushes are what I use to wet out the material and even remove air in some places. You can get them at any hardware store but the prices through Amazon are kinda hard to beat honestly.
I'll write more later and even add a handy little mix ratio chart for you to download. It is 1:30am, I'm tired and I have to work tomorrow. Not to mention I got to pull that mold off the side of my hardtop before I go into work ... subscribe to my YouTube channel and you will see what I'm talking about.