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Thread: Fiberglass body

  1. #1
    Registered wearethebucs's Avatar
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    Icon5a Fiberglass body

    I am going to 4WD this weekend to pick up a fiberglass body kit. Has anyone ran into any serious problems while swaping for a glass kit? I have mainly heard about the grounding systems that are needed. Anything else that could or is a PITA.

    Thanks for any and all posts!
    1979 CJ-5 - 38x12.50 TSL's, DIY beadlocks, SOA, Waggy 44, 14 Bolt, 4:10's, 360, T-150 soon to RIP, Dana 20.

    "Those funny lookin' square headlights just make me giggle"

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    Registered DISLSMOKE's Avatar
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    I did one on my CJ-7. The biggest pain is coping the old firewall to the new glass wall. Take alot of time in doing this. I used a huge sheet of cardboard and traced all the holes. Watch the width of the glass body and the windshield frame. Mine wasn't a 4wd tub, the body was wider than the frame so I had to notch out my hinges for the windshield. The other pain for mine was where the fenders mount to the firewall. One thing I have learned from the whole glass class, take your TIME, walk away from it when it doesn't go right. MEASURE, MEASURE AND MEASURE. ARe you getting the glass mounting kit? You will need it. The one set of existing body mounts will not work with the glass that is why you need the kit unless you can fabricate. If you need some picts of mine let me know. Good luck and keep us posted.
    85' CJ-7 (No drive line in it yet, swapping in 360,T18,D20) 33's, 4" skyjacker, custom built everything else.

    Custom Dashs for CJ and YJ built to your specs. Dislsmoke@gmail.com

    website: http://sites.google.com/site/doubledfab/

  3. #3

    Default that's about it!

    grounding the jeep is the only problem. It's not really a problem... It's more of just a pain. All I did was: I made four grounds that go to the frame using big wire. Then I ran all the little guys(wires) to the big ones! but I did so that one grounding point was: the front headlights, turn signals, electric fan, the next was the motor and all it's hardware..., the next under the dash and in the jeep, the nest rear taillights,turn signals..That way if you have a bad ground you know where to find the grounding points! I have seen guys try to ground each area of the jeep and they end up having like 10 or more grounding points, and when stuff doesn't end up working they are running around the wiring harness looking for the ground!
    -77' Jeep cj7, 360/t-18/dana20/hp d60's arb's 4.88/
    39.5 tsl's
    -85' Jeep cj8 ,*(project justed started)*

  4. #4

    Default 4wd fiberglass bodies!!

    4wd fiberglass bodies are the best, everthing is already done for you! All you need to due is paint it, wire it, and bolt it for the most part! None 4wd fiberglass bodies suck, and take a lot of time to make things look right. Like they say you pay for what you get!!
    -77' Jeep cj7, 360/t-18/dana20/hp d60's arb's 4.88/
    39.5 tsl's
    -85' Jeep cj8 ,*(project justed started)*

  5. #5
    Registered CJinPA's Avatar
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    I am 85% done with rebuilding my 84 CJ-7 with an AJ's fiberglass body. I put just about the whole Jeep together so I had all of the holes in the fiberglass cut. I then took it all apart to get it painted. I am now in the process of putting it all together again. The only PITA is that when you cut the fiberglass the fine pieces of fiberglass that land on you are itchy as a SOB.
    84 CJ7 Northstar 4.6L V8.
    91 YJ Renegade
    97 TJ

  6. #6
    Registered wearethebucs's Avatar
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    Glad to know its not as hard as I once thought it was going to be! What should I do for the rollbar? Its the earlier style that just sits on the tub. I was tossing around the idea of tying it into the frame and getting a front bar as well. I have heard that the front bar keeps you from opening the glovebox door and makes the E-brake harder to get to. Is this true?
    1979 CJ-5 - 38x12.50 TSL's, DIY beadlocks, SOA, Waggy 44, 14 Bolt, 4:10's, 360, T-150 soon to RIP, Dana 20.

    "Those funny lookin' square headlights just make me giggle"

  7. #7

    Default yup!

    well if you buy one, unless otherwise told...Yes you will have those problems!
    but I have seen guys get their front hoop of their roll bars bent so it is easyer to use your e-brake/glove box. That is going to be my winter project! a full roll cage!
    -77' Jeep cj7, 360/t-18/dana20/hp d60's arb's 4.88/
    39.5 tsl's
    -85' Jeep cj8 ,*(project justed started)*

  8. #8

    Default

    Im about 98% complete with the swap.

    Its not the fiberglass that is making me throw fits but all the other little things that keep popping up. For instance, I had all the lights, turn signals, and brake lights working correctly a week ago..... checked this morning after mounting the flares and none of the lights worked right. I had not changed anything in the wiring in that time period!!! AAARRGGHH !!!


    patience, patience, patience..........
    MARINE CORP

  9. #9
    Registered jeepfever's Avatar
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    I did my fiberglass tub swap on a CJ5 about 18 years ago. I'm sure that there have been some major improvements made during that time, but there are a few things that stand out for me.

    1. Grounding This is the biggee. It's easy to overcome if you have an aptitude for electricity, but if you don't then it can be a bear. Take your time with every electrical connection, and make sure that there is a return path to every device as you install it. Take nothing for granted. It could come back to haunt you if you don't. I had problems with my grounds, and it caused the electrical system to do some really screwy things. It took a while to get all sorted out, and I used to make a living troubleshooting electrical problems. I'd also run a grounding buss in several convenient places on the Jeep.

    2. Roll bar I had a six-point cage fabricated for mine. My tub wasn't designed for the two extra bars in the front much less the bars on the rear fender well. I knew that if I ever rolled it, then the fiberglass would break away and the cage would never protect me. I'd recommend taking the bars/cage to the frame. There are some good examples somewhere on JU forum, but I don't remember where. If I remember right, then Cjsixer has pictures of his build, and he has his cage tied to the frame. You might be able to see how he did his.

    3. Seat belts Make sure that you have them somewhere that is reinforced. If you take them to your roll bar, then make sure that the roll bar will not only stay in place but that it will protect instead of injuring you in the event of a rollover.

    4. Fiberglass reinforcement I can't remember where I got my tub, it was so long ago. I think it was from 4WD. The tub was reinforced with wood encased in fiberglass at the critical points. Personally I never liked that. I think that the better tubs are reinforced with steel now, but you can still get some of them with wood. If you drill into the fiberglass and wood at those critical points, then you will be exposing the wood to moisture which leads to rot. If they are still making tubs like that, then I would recommend treating the wood so that it isn't exposed if you have to drill into it. If yours has steel reinforcement that you drill into, make sure that you treat the metal before you run a bolt through it. This is just another point that will either rot or rust if left unattended.

    5. Seat brackets I had to completely fabricate my seat brackets for the front. The floor pans were different, and nothing lined up.

    6. Wallering the screw holes Anywhere that you have a screw (not a bolt with a nut) that is going to be periodically removed, you run the risk of wallering it out. I had this happen in a couple of places, and I never found a fix for it back then. There was a post a few months back about something with bikinki tops, and it was recommended by LilRocky to use nutserts. That would have solved the problem that I had, and it's one that you too will encounter. I'd get them and use them wherever I could if I were installing another fiberglass tub. One of the problem areas was where my snaps went for the Bestop Supertop. Nutserts would have resolved my issues.

    7. Tub weight The fiberglass tub is a lot lighter than your old steel tub. Your suspension may give you a harsher ride as a result.

    8. Rockers My tub didn't have rocker panels on it, and it became and area that was quick to chip and get beat up. I had 3" nerf bars on it, and the rockers got abused because of my boots. The bottom of the rocker is pretty flimsy and needs to be protected.

    9. Antenna Don't forget about a proper ground when you run your antenna for your radio and CB. Also, don't forget to ground the radio and CB themselves. This is often overlooked and may cause you static from your ignition.

    Sorry for the long list. I've thought about these issues for a lot of years. There are more, but this is just what comes to me immediately.

  10. #10
    :banghead: techwrtr2's Avatar
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    I copped out and put a YJ tub on mine. AJ's is gone now, I forget who bought them out. I wasn't super impressed with them at the time, didn't seem to fit well.

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    [QUOTE=techwrtr2;7890433]I copped out and put a YJ tub on mine. QUOTE]

    X2. I know a couple guys with 'glass tubs, I'll stick with steel. I met one guy that installed his tub, his passanger side door wouldn't fit in the opening. The opening was just a smidge too small. I've seen 'glass cars in accidents, if I ever get T-boned at an intersection, I like knowing the steel will slow the other vehicle down a bit before it hits me or the frame.... All depending on the speed of the other vehicle of coarse.
    .



    84 CJ


    5.7 tbi, sm465, d-300, M20, D30.

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    When I have bolts that would need to be repeatedly removed from my glass tub, I glass in helicoils. The helicoil is a perfect product to insert into the fiberglass and take the stress of the bolt threads. As example, it's what holds the Hard Top to the body, as well as the dash to the tub.

    As for strength in a side impact... I'll take the fiberglass any time over the metal. The 18ga metal tub isn't as strong as you'd expect. Also, in most cases Jeepers with metal or fiberglass tubs install rocker armor (I use 4"X4" angle iron) that would take a lot of the impact.

    Grounding is simply done with a few good grounding bars and runs of large gauge wire from the front of the tub to the back, to the dash and the engine compartment. IMHO, this is a plus. One of the problems with metal tubs is that the Jeep uses the frame and the tub as the ground return. This return circuit becomes compromised with rust. This circuit is almost invisible to most owners because they think... "Hey, it's metal." and overlook ground problem. A Jeeper using a glass tub can not overlook this, and the electrical system can actually become more robust and reliable.

    Wood reinforcement is not a good thing. Wood rots with moisture and this type of reinforcement will become laden with moisture and rot. If you've got wood glassed over, when ever you drill through it...glass the sides of the holes to decrease moisture entrance.

    Kevlar is not a good reinforcement. It is hard to bond to fiberglass and become delaminated. This weakens the tub.

    Metal reinforcement is best.

    Who's the best tub maker out there? Well, AJ's used to be the top of the line with 4WD a close second. I have heard about problems with 4WD tubs. They're subject to manufacturing errors just like every other tub maker, but they've been rare. I have a 4WD tub that's been holding up fine for over 9 years, and it was used when I bought it.
    I met one guy that installed his tub, his passanger side door wouldn't fit in the opening. The opening was just a smidge too small.
    That surprises me. I'd like to see that problem.

    There are glass tub differences, so buyer beware.

    Just in case anyone want's them, they're pricey, but available, Full Fiberglass Hard Doors:



    If I could afford a set, I'd have 'em hanging on the Jeep.

  13. #13
    Registered wearethebucs's Avatar
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    Icon5a Nida-Core......?

    The 4wd tubs are reinforced with "Nida-Core" and its not supposed to rot like plywood. The firewall is reinforced with 14 guage steel and is pre-templated. I HOPE the Nida-core is as good as they claim it to be, although I would much rather have steel at the body mounts and other important places.
    1979 CJ-5 - 38x12.50 TSL's, DIY beadlocks, SOA, Waggy 44, 14 Bolt, 4:10's, 360, T-150 soon to RIP, Dana 20.

    "Those funny lookin' square headlights just make me giggle"

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    Default Steel tun

    I have good steel tub for sale if you are interested....see the for sale section

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    Size the body mounts longer to help with a slight body lift. Here is a shot of my 4wd body, fenders and hood. Running a nerf bar which is welded to the frame for some additional protection. Remember to tie rollbars and safety equipment to the frame.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/veneris...7602137201319/

    tim

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    Registered jeepfever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearethebucs View Post
    The 4wd tubs are reinforced with "Nida-Core" and its not supposed to rot like plywood. The firewall is reinforced with 14 guage steel and is pre-templated. I HOPE the Nida-core is as good as they claim it to be, although I would much rather have steel at the body mounts and other important places.
    In addition to the Nida-Core, the description in the 4WD catalog also states that the tubs are manufactured with extra blocks of # 1 grade pine at the body mount positions. You'll be drilling into this area and exposing the pine to moisture. This is the area that will rot if not treated.

  17. #17
    Registered wearethebucs's Avatar
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    How would you recomend treating the wood?
    1979 CJ-5 - 38x12.50 TSL's, DIY beadlocks, SOA, Waggy 44, 14 Bolt, 4:10's, 360, T-150 soon to RIP, Dana 20.

    "Those funny lookin' square headlights just make me giggle"

  18. #18
    Registered jeepfever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wearethebucs View Post
    How would you recomend treating the wood?
    I asked a couple of guys that do fiberglass hull repair for boats, and they both told me the same thing - use an epoxy resin. You can use a syringe to get it into the areas that you need. It will bond to your existing cured fiberglass, and it will flex with the tub. Once the resin cures, you can smooth the finish as you wish.

    I wish I had known about this when I put my fiberglass tub on.

  19. #19
    Registered Mayberry's Avatar
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    Boat builder here! When drilling through wood coring, the best thing to do is to drill your hole about 1/2" oversize. Pack the hole with a thickened epoxy mixture (use microballons, cab-o-sil, or another thickening material, and add to make a peanut butter (bondo) consistency), then drill the hole to size (after the epoxy cures). Moisture should never be a problem if you do this. It's a pain, but worth it. Nida core is good stuff, it's a plastic honeycomb kind of stuff. No rot ever. It's pretty strong when fiberglassed on both sides, I've used it for decks on boats with excellent results. It's not really strong enough for body mounts tho, it would crush, that's why the wood is there in those fiberglass tubs. Watch cored areas for cracks that may develop and allow water saturation though. And DO NOT overtighten bolts running through fiberglass, it'll crush or crack. Don't count on fiberglass to hold a screw, through bolt everything. Finally, it's always a good idea to "bed" fittings and fasteners passing through fiberglass in a good marine sealant, such as 3M 4000, or any pliable polyeurethane sealant. 3M 5200 is legendary stuff, but designed for underwater hardware so it isn't UV stable. It will also darn near permanently glue together whatever you apply it to. 4000 stays pliable, and is UV stable.
    Craig
    '82 CJ7 all stock (for now) with 4" lift

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    such as 3M 4000, or any pliable polyeurethane sealant. 3M 5200 is legendary stuff,
    Keep buyin' those 3M products!

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