Fiberglass repair on track bike- what to use?

Discussion in 'Exterior and Interior' started by duh09, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    Hey guys, I'm about to do some bodywork on my track bike and was wondering exactly what products I should be looking at getting and a little bit of guidance on the whole thing.

    The bike is a 2008 ZX6R. It is running complete track plastics, which are nothing more than fiberglass, not the original OEM plastics. When I first bought the bike, I dropped it unloading off the trailer (by myself in the rain whoops) and it took a layer off the front fairings and did a bit of damage I the tail as well. I'm fairly sure the damage on the front can be solved with just some filler as I'm pretty sure that's all that's come off. The tail will
    need some work but I'm not afraid to do it because worse comes to worse, a new tail isn't all that expensive but I'd like the experience. I'm assuming it will have to e built back up from resin and cloth and shaped up with filler. There are also some spots along the bottom of the fairings that need some attention. Race plastics are designed really to be used with cat less exhausts and since this bike is still running the factory cat, it's gotten hot and formed like heat bubbles in the fiberglass that are cracking and look bad. No idea how to tackle that.

    Anyways what are some good products to use for all this? I'll post some pictures up tomorrow when I get the bike pulled out and dusted off. I don't want to use the cheapest stuff out there (unless that's good enough) but I'm not looking to sink too much into this as some of this stuff ain't TOO expensive to replace. I don't mind spending a little more if it'll make the job easier and te final product better, but it will probably go down again so no need for top or the line. Any tips and suggestions will be appreciated.

    Thanks guys
     
  2. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Once you get some pics up I'll be more than happy to help. I do this sort of thing on a daily basis.
     
  3. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


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  4. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    looks like maybe some resin, filler and sanding and you will be good.
     
  5. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    There's some really crappy pics I tried uploading with my phone.

    The first pic is showing the front fairings, it's not distorted, really just looks like that top layer of fiberglass, filler, whatever, came off. Same story on the back side of that. I figured I may be able to get by with sanding it down and just using a filler with fiberglass in it (Kittyhair? maybe?) because I don't believe the exposed layers show any cracks or anything like.

    The rear tail of the pic is pretty messed up. I don't think there are any really missing pieces, so there shouldn't be any gaps or anything like that but where it goes up is cracked and along the side of it is busted up. There's a spot somewhere along the top of the piece too that looks like it cracked and distorted just a bit when the piece flexed. I was thinking on that, it might take some actual resin and cloth and a lot of sanding and shape with filler to get it right or at least closer to right. The piece itself is sorta rough (it is race plastics after all, not show piece) so I figured a good sanding and filler and lots and lots of sanding afterwards could get it looking a lot better.

    Can't really see anything in the last pic but hey look its the whole bike.


    I don't really have any big plans for the bike. I may take it out for a couple track days, may sell it, may paint it and pull it around to car shows, don't know but I figured it could be a fun project to get my toes wet in working with fiberglass and doing body work without having to really worry a whole lot about doing an entire car. But regardless, I'd like the bike to look better than it does now. I don't have any pics of the heat bubble spots but I'll do my best to get some of those and the rest of the damage tomorrow with my camera and hopefully get the plastics pulled off so I can show the back of this stuff as well.
     
  6. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    The big thing that causes weakness in glass is air. Air is difficult for someone new to see and get rid of, and after parts are finished down, it's easy to not notice. The way we check for air at work is with some delrin rods, and you basically beat the part. Sounds counter intuitive, but if there is an air pocket, it will expose itself, then you just fill it and finish it down.

    I cant see too well in the pics but it honestly doesn't look bad at all, maybe I don't have enough light though?
     
  7. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    The damage to the front fairing is def not too bad. The picture of the tail is a little misleading, but like I said, I'll get better ones tomorrow or soon at least.

    When you say air, I assume you mean like just air pockets in the layers? Would these air pockets be noticeable or lead to pockets/holes later on? The strength of the work isn't super important besides just holding it's shape if that makes sense. These parts aren't really holding anything together or really structural in any way, so I'm not terribly worried about the possibility of that area being weakened, so long as it will look good and not cause any issues later on. That sounds almost weird to say but the only time these sections will really ever even touch anything is if the bike gets laid over and if that happens, there's no way to prevent damage so not a huuggee deal.



    What are some good products to use for this sort of work? I work at Oreilly's so I get everything at store cost and I have access to a lot of automotive brands. I was flipping through the catalogs and I know enough to sell people what they ask for, but I don't know enough to know what I need for this. For fillers, would short strand or long strand fiberglass fillers be better? And would I need to do a layer of body filler on top of that as well? Any particular brands you guys would recommend? Besides sandpaper and sanding blocks, what else would I really need to do this right?
     
  8. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    These are not structural parts that will need to hold up to huge amounts of force unless it gets dropped again or your pushing on them, and while it is a race bike the difference in weight in a small repair would be minimal. Get some fiberglass reinforced bondo and fill the areas and you will be fine.
     
  9. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    yea, the bondo hair would suffice for your needs. It will just take some patience.

    I cant really attest to brands normal people can get since all the stuff I use comes from a big composite supplier and its all got some weird ass names nobody has ever heard of ;p
     
  10. rz5.0

    rz5.0 Legend

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    I use to do fiber glass repairs years ago.. If it was me. I would grind down the cracks and build it back up.. get you a roller and you can get most of the air out of it.. but that's just me
     
  11. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    If it were a structural piece that needs to support something more then just the wind on it at high speed(which granted can be high pressure depending the location but I don't see it in these locations) I would say get some resin and do a proper repair. If you were going to have a passenger on the back for example it might need the support but otherwise in the name of saving time just get the bondohair. I can show you what I have been using on my build for smoothing in the chin/deck lid spoiler.
     
  12. twovalveterror

    twovalveterror Active Member

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    off topic, but that bike is sexy. how much track experience do you have?
     
  13. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    Not a lick. I traded my wrecked 03 Z1000 for this bike with plans to start doing some track days but not sure how that'll play out.

    Thanks for the tips guys, got a guy coming to buy my car tonight so been busy messing with that and haven't had a chance to take any pics.
     
  14. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Roger that dude. [MENTION=12700]rz5.0[/MENTION] makes a good point, but I also agree with [MENTION=11896]ttocs[/MENTION] in that, this, as you said yourself, doesn't need to be overly structural, just more or less holding a shape.
     
  15. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    if this is really going to be a track bike there is a REALLY good chance that this will not be your last repair like this....
     
  16. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    Bought some stuff to get started. $34 in, gotta love employee discounts. Shooting to get started tomorrow maybe.


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  17. ttocs

    ttocs Legend

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    just need some sand paper and you can make a block/sponge to use to keep it even.
     
  18. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    MAKE SURE TO SAND! I've seen countless repairs just fall off because the person didn't use anything to give the material something to bite to. For something like that at work we would use 80 grit, so, take that for what its worth
     
  19. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    No worries guys, knew enough to know to sand. I share a shop with my dad who is a carpenter so there is sand paper a-plenty down here. Got the Kitty Hair laid on the tail and just did my first layer of filler on it. Nose section is currently on it's 2nd layer of filler, hopefully the last, but I noticed a couple little nicks I missed and I can't bring myself to leave them. About to drop the belly pan off and start filling the bubbles with the Kitty Hair. I used it to feel the small bubble piece on the tail, and then sanded it down mostly smooth and slapped some filler on it so I'm hoping that will work on these bigger heat bubbles. Only one way to find out. I'll have pics up later.
     
  20. duh09

    duh09 Legend

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    Can't get the pics to upload for whatever reason but made pretty good progress.

    The upper fairing is basically done for right now. The damage from the drop is fixed and smooth. Next step is to pull it, give the whole thing a good sanding and check for low/high spots and fix them.

    The tail fairing is close but not quite done. The piece was a lot more wavy than I realized but I think I've gotten a game plan down. Been filling the high spots in from the back with kitty hair and sanding down into it to get it flat and just sort of building it backwards. It's working out though and it may not end up perfect but it is coming along nicely and should at least be better than when I bought it. The damage on the tail is fixed as well. I was surprised by how well the kitty hair filled up the cracks and holes.

    The lower fairing was a disaster but I'm hoping I can save it. The heat damage is the worst problem as the lower 3-4" all around are wavy, bubbled up, and overall thin and weak. The whole piece was just floppy. What I'm doing with it is basically coating it in kitty hair to try and get it a little stiffer, and fill in the waves and low spots. Started out on the inside and coated it and have started on the outside and begun sanding it back down. The whole thing was also covered in these high spots that were about as big around as a pencil eraser. Going to take a lot of sanding to get it back down to where it should be but still have my fingers crossed that it is salvageable. Hoping to get this thicker outside layer sanded down, take care of any thin spots by coating the inside, doing a light layer of kitty hair again to catch any bad spots, more sanding, and finally taking the body filler too it and really smoothing it out.




    Overall, I'm pretty happy with how its all coming out. After I get the bodywork finished, I'm going to get the whole thing primered and plasti-dip it to get an idea of how I want to paint it eventually. Fun little cheap project.