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78 L82 Paint & Body - Project off a 20yr hold

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78 L82 Paint & Body - Project off a 20yr hold

 
Old 03-12-2019, 07:09 AM
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Khibbs
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Default 78 L82 Paint & Body - Project off a 20yr hold

Howdy to the group and I was lucky enough to joint the C3 family with a nice 81 about 2 years ago. I never thought I'd fall in love with it as much as I have. Speaking of lucky, I have a wife who is “understanding” of my love of cars and passion for diving head first into a seemingly overwhelming project. The last one was a stringer up rebuild and fitting of a small block and Berkeley jet drive in an 18' runabout which was a lot of fun. It taught me a lot about fiberglas which I think might come in handy here.




There isn't much to do on my 81 since I put in a fresh 355 and 700R4 combo last winter so I started to get itchy. When I found this 1978 L82 that had been on blocks for 20 years, I figured this was a great place to apply my love of bringing things back to life.

The short story is it's a NC car that spent a few years in CA and then made it's way to New England only to be prepped for paint and then put on blocks (and hold) for 20 years. A lot of new parts like bumpers, emblems, and weather striping were purchased but the project stalled. A rust free 4 speed L82 car in the Northeast that needs some love... count me in!


Recovery Day:


Back at the garage:









So now that you have the history, here's where I'm at. I'm all for doing my homework (which I've been reading a bunch in this section) and I have some basic questions to start. From there any guidance from those who have been here before would be much appreciated. I'm going to use this to document the progress with the car. It sounds like I'm going to be one of many who owes a big debt of gratitude to DUB if I'm able to pull this off.

The Goal:
  • I've got it running and driving and the mechanicals will come along pretty quickly
  • Get it ready to paint with the bumpers and body work that's required
  • POSSIBLY paint the car myself... not sure on this but I'd kinda like to try it on this one.
The Basics: THIS THREAD was helpful.
  • First step sounds like mounting the front bumper. THIS is going to be a BIG help! (I have a decision to make on which bumper)
  • Then some body work on the passenger's door and to match the bumper lines - VPA to blend the lines?
  • Then sounds like I should be using an epoxy primer
First Questions:
  • Since I'm going with fiberglass bumpers is there is reason to (or NOT to) fiberglass them to the body and eliminate a body line between the two? I've seem some people do this but I'm not sure what the best practice is.
  • The prep work that was done seems really good and the PO's friend worked at a body shop which is nice. I'm half inclined to give it a quick coat with rattle can primer just to put in all in one color but is that a bad idea? Should I just wait for the first coat of epoxy primer?
Well that's the start and thanks for any help as I get going. I love those who take the time to document and share as it's fun to learn from others and I'll do my best to do the same for the group.

KHibbs

Last edited by Khibbs; 03-12-2019 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 03-12-2019, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Khibbs View Post
So now that you have the history, here's where I'm at. I'm all for doing my homework (which I've been reading a bunch in this section) and I have some basic questions to start. From there any guidance from those who have been here before would be much appreciated. I'm going to use this to document the progress with the car. It sounds like I'm going to be one of many who owes a big debt of gratitude to DUB if I'm able to pull this off.

The Goal:
  • I've got it running and driving and the mechanicals will come along pretty quickly
  • Get it ready to paint with the bumpers and body work that's required
  • POSSIBLY paint the car myself... not sure on this but I'd kinda like to try it on this one.
Just be careful when messing around with oils and stuff when you have exposed SMC panels. OIL and raw SMC or urethane do not get along well and problems can arise if you drive it with exposed SMC.

I can say that I will NEVER tell a person that they cannot paint their own car IF they want to paint it.

Originally Posted by Khibbs View Post
The Basics: THIS THREAD was helpful.
  • First step sounds like mounting the front bumper. THIS is going to be a BIG help! (I have a decision to make on which bumper)
  • Then some body work on the passenger's door and to match the bumper lines - VPA to blend the lines?
  • Then sounds like I should be using an epoxy primer
Where you choose to start is up to you. And IF you are content in how the bonding seams are and can live with any ill effects later on due to NOT going in and reworking them....that is your call.

YES..I would apply an epoxy primer AFTER all of my body work is done and then apply a polyester primer on top of that. Now the rigid fiberglas bumpers you get from J&D Corvette do not need to be epoxied. They can have the polyester primer shot on them due to they are not SMC ....they are made out of a polyester resin and have gelcoat already on them.

If you choose to go with the 'flex' type bumpers...you are on your own on this one.

I DO KNOW I would take all of the paint off of this car and get it down to bare SMC....or at least make sure the entire exterior is free of paint and primer.


Originally Posted by Khibbs View Post
First Questions:
  • Since I'm going with fiberglass bumpers is there is reason to (or NOT to) fiberglass them to the body and eliminate a body line between the two? I've seem some people do this but I'm not sure what the best practice is.
  • The prep work that was done seems really good and the PO's friend worked at a body shop which is nice. I'm half inclined to give it a quick coat with rattle can primer just to put in all in one color but is that a bad idea? Should I just wait for the first coat of epoxy primer?
I WILL NOT bond on fiberglass bumpers to do away with the seam any longer due to people will not pay me for the time it will take me to do it due to issues that can show up in time and a ghost line will more than likely appear where the bumper meets the body. Integrity of the fiberglass bumper itself being rigid enough to mimic the strength of the SMC panel....and then dealing with the adhesive that is needed to do this. I can get really detailed on why this is a bad idea and the odds that it works out perfectly...are stacked against you. This is not a simple ...glue on and fill in thing and expect prefect end results. It can be a really time involved deal once I tell you and explain to you WHY. Once you see what I am describing ...it will make total sense on how this is not a simple job. If you want to do it. I can describe it out for you and then you can choose if you still want to do this or not.

There are some service operations where removing the bumpers is needed...but it can be worked around...but makes that specific service operation a nightmare to deal with due to someone just not being able to live with a seam at the bumper. Clearly a person choice there.

If you want to shoot rattle can primer on it ...that is your call due to you know what your shop conditions are and what you have to deal with.

I can say...that when you get started.,...hopefully your shop conditions and where you have the car stored are the best they can be and not left outside under a sheet of plastic. Allowing your exposed SMC to get diesel truck exhaust, the smoke from your charcoal grill when you have a cook-out when you are cooking chicken or steaks...or WD-40 spray when you are using it...or the 'tire shine' you spray on your truck tires when it is outside the garage AFTER you just washed it there with water misting all over the place....with the garage door open on a windy day and beign able to get on the exposed SMC is NOT GOOD. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

DUB
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:13 PM
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Default Thank you!

DUB - Thanks for your comments here and I greatly appreciate the guidance. I was wondering if I did too much a data dump to kick off the thread but I always feel context is a good when asking for advice.

After reading your thread about mounting the front bumper I am NOT going to consider bonding either the front or rear bumpers ... period.

Thanks for the tip on doing my epoxy primer AFTER all my bodywork.

I'm curious as to why the recommendation on removing all of the paint and primer. Again, newbie to paint but assumed (dangerous) that once it was totally smooth if I used the right primer I wouldn't need to take it down further as part of the prep. If it's a best practice, I'll bust out the DA and go for it.

The “shop” is pretty good. I'm lucky that it's clean, dry, and heated. No diesel trucks here and I guess that brings me back to my rattle can primer question. You said “that is your call” but would it help to cover up any exposed SMC for now? Or, would it just mean that I'd have to take it off before the epoxy and then polyester primers?

Thanks again for all of this and I'll send you a PM if that's ok on a front bumper recommendation. The ACI Glass one I have looks to be good quality and fits pretty well but since I have an 81, I'd kind of like to put the proper 78 nose back on this old girl. I'm ok with keeping the rear that's on there now.

Thanks!


Last edited by Khibbs; 03-15-2019 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Remove photos
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Old 04-04-2019, 03:40 PM
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The 80-82 looking front bumper is GONE and I'm going with a correct 78 front bumper from J&D Corvette. I've got some VPH on order as well and I'll see if I can follow DUB's instructions to get it fitting properly. More updates to come..
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:16 AM
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IF you run into ANY problems in getting the front bumper to fit up and be like the thread I created....do not hesitate to let us know.....so more detailed information can be given.

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Old 04-08-2019, 08:58 PM
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Default Thanks DUB

Thanks DUB and I hope you're feeling better.

2 Quick things for me to get in front of while the bumper is being shipped:

1) I don't have the plastic impact piece for the front. Do you still need those if going with a rigid fiberglass bumper?

2) I found these in a parts box for the car. I assume these clamped the original urethane cover on but won't help me with the new one. Should I just do the individual studs like in your write up?



Thanks,

KHibbs
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:01 AM
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In my write up...I DO NOT use the individual retainers that they sell. I re-use the factory retainers like what you have shown and braze the studs in place so they cannot spin or become loose. IF they are damaged . I knock them out and replace them with new 10-24 machine screws from the hardware store.

Also IF you do not have the correct nuts with the large spinning washers on them. Just make sure the washer you use CANNOT fall into the slot that is in the retainer that is attached to the body where the studs pass thought it.

AS for the plastic impact piece you have that is missing. I know I would HAVE to put one in due to it is a part of that impact system....regardless on how insignificant you may think it is....it was put there for a reason. All of those parts up front are there absorb impact that LESSENS what the occupants actually get effected by. I know if I did not put one in that was missing.... it could come back on me and I could be liable....so it is not worth it and I would put it in......even though I might need to shave on it a little bit...at least it is there.




The YELLOW lines are where I would cut the retainer.

The RED lines is where I would cut the retainer IF I could not get the bottom to link up to the lower valance retainer as required. You are missing it....and sometimes they do not fit. This lower bumper retainer has the nuts made onto it to all you need is the correct machine screws.

The YELLOW arrows is where I would drill for my countersunk pop rivets.

DUB




Last edited by DUB; 04-09-2019 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 08:58 AM
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Thanks for that info DUB and I'll modify the factory retain as per your recommendations and start looking for a factory impact piece.

My new front bumper came from J&D Corvette yesterday....

I ran down to the garage to hold it in place and quickly realized I've got a bit of a problem. Hopefully one that we can solve without too much trouble.

I've got about a 1/2 gap along the top line and after a bunch of investigation it looks like it's because there is an equal gap between the fiberglass body and the steel bumper structure. I can push down on the fiberglass nose and get 1/4" of flex but my plan was going to be to loosen the front bumper bracket bolt and see if I can raise it up that 1/2" so the cover will be close to the existing nose. There is already a nut missing on one side so I'm wondering if it slipped or was adjusted in the past.











Any other recommendations or tricks would be greatly appreciated. The bumper itself looks to be great quality and I know I'l have to do some fitment using VPA once I get it close.

Thanks!

KHibbs
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