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12/4/16 11:27pm - Original Message: 'Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10

Hi all,
I just joined the group. After 40 years of wanting a C3 Vette, I finally pulled the trigger!  I love driving my 81, outfitted with a 383 Stroker, 700R4 tranny and Gymkhnana suspension. The primitive, throbbing engine and feel of the vehicle really appeals to me. My wife's 2016 C7 Stingray feels like a family sedan in comparison... :-)

I purchased the car from a neighbor who purchased it new... as a teenager... The car is now in for repaint. I was planning to repaint the original factory job all along as there were defects in the paint, and it was tired looking. I also want to touch up stuff on the frame and get the vehicle ready for its next 35 years of life.

The surprise came when the paint was sanded off. We found that the body parts were bonded together with auto body filler. The paint defects essentially followed the filler. Here is a link to a picture:
http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/seams.jpg

My auto body guy has worked exotic cars and a few other vettes, hes never seen a car come out of the factory with this kind of work. The previous owner swears up and down the car has never been to a body shop. We figure the vehicle was probably damaged during delivery and the dealer handed it over to an inexperienced body shop to fix.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Were going to carve out the stuff and replace it with fiberglass.



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12/5/16 1:10am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 382
Welcome to the forum.

When I picked mine up, the driver's door was several shades darker.  Dealer claimed no knowledge. After I got the zone office to get another dealer to repaint it I never thought about it again.  About 13 years later when I was stripping the door, I discovered that the dark shade was on top of the original factory paint. There was no evidence of damage repair. It was then that I recalled my wife telling that she had seen a car hauler with a load of Corvettes laying on its side on the shoulder of the road.  She couldn't confirm mine was on it but I'm guessing that while it wasn't damaged, the door must have been scratched and that necessitated a repaint.

As far as yours goes, after visiting the factory in St. Louis I wouldn't rule out anything.

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1973 L-82 4 spd

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12/5/16 2:15am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10
The passenger door on my wonderful Vette has had three coats of paint on it! There are other quality issues with the rest of the body finish, including the hood, that makes you shake your head... but at least they are easily dealt with. The basic frame and everything else is sound. Doing a VIN check I see that my Vette was among of the last built in St. Louis.

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12/5/16 9:47am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
Redwoman Gold Member
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Bellingham, MA - USA

Vette(s):
1980 loaded red on red. 68,000 original miles. Second owner. Well documented with all original paperwork. NCRS Founders Award 9/27/14. NCRS Top Flight 10/12/14.

Joined: 6/23/2014
Posts: 171
When they came from factory the seems were bonded together just like on your picture. You can see where they are bonded together on original paint. 

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12/5/16 10:21am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
Redwoman Gold Member
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Bellingham, MA - USA

Vette(s):
1980 loaded red on red. 68,000 original miles. Second owner. Well documented with all original paperwork. NCRS Founders Award 9/27/14. NCRS Top Flight 10/12/14.

Joined: 6/23/2014
Posts: 171
Here is a factory photo. Hope it opens.

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12/5/16 1:53pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10
Thanks much for the response. I suspected that this could be factory because all the joints used that pink compound, not likely to happen with a repair. The question now is what to do with the stuff as it seems to affect the paint finish.

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12/5/16 5:53pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
Joanne Gold Member
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Joined: 11/30/2006
Posts: 441
factory filler shouldn't affect your paint unless it been contaminanted and sprayed over in the past.
paint stripper that was'nt clean off properly would do it.
afew coats of epoxy primer should seal it in.


|UPDATED|12/5/2016 2:53:46 PM (AZT)|/UPDATED|


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1979 Corvette
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12/5/16 8:22pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
manchestershark Lifetime Member
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Equinunk, PA - USA

Vette(s):
1972 conv, 4-speed, 350, 200hp, numbers match, rally wheels, war bonnett yellow w/white top. good condition, nice driver.

Joined: 10/31/2007
Posts: 1895
Your body is VERY normal. They are the bonding lines for assembly of the body panels. ALL C-3 bodies are assembled the same way, Clean up the joints and seal them and paint to your approval. They will last about 7-8 years and show up again, as the glue is very brittle and will crack unless you do a VERY deep and through job of repair.

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12/5/16 9:18pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10
I know squat about this stuff, but that's my body guys attitude as well; dig out the filler completely and replace with a fiberglass for a permanent fix. There are a few other less than ideal aspects of the factory body work to fix; there is a significant gap between the body and the rear bumper, it's always been there.

I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a long term facelift for C3's, but I gunna try. I've bonded with the car ;-), I'm willing to pay the bucks to not have to think about body work again for a very long time.

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12/5/16 10:53pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 382
 I have heard that the permanent fix is to break the bonding strips loose on the backside of the seams and redo all of the body panel joints.

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1973 L-82 4 spd

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12/5/16 11:17pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

Vette(s):
#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 19449
If your body man has never seen that on a Corvette, he's not very knowledgeable about Corvettes. Those are the factory bonding strips, and yes, they will eventually always show thru the paint. The panels are glued together with an epoxy, then filed/sanded down, and a thin layer of filler applied to smooth the seams out. IMHO, it's best to leave the seams as they are, and use a fiberglass compatible filler to fill in any low spots.
MANY new Corvettes were touched up at the factory before shipping, and many more were touched up at the dealership before delivery. At one time, there was a certain place on the assembly line that just about every stinkin one of the cars were being damaged as the line took a u-turn, and all of those cars had to be repaired.
These cars were never intended to be on the road after this many years....never meant to be "show cars" 20 years down the road....they were only meant to look good for a few years. GM's expectation was that you would replace the car with a new one every 2-3 years. Thumbs Up

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Joel Adams
C3VR Lifetime Member #56    
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12/6/16 9:20am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
Redwoman Gold Member
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Bellingham, MA - USA

Vette(s):
1980 loaded red on red. 68,000 original miles. Second owner. Well documented with all original paperwork. NCRS Founders Award 9/27/14. NCRS Top Flight 10/12/14.

Joined: 6/23/2014
Posts: 171
It is hard to find body men and mechanics to work on corvettes. What state and town do you live in? If we have that info maybe somebody from the corvette forums can recommend someone. You said you don't mind paying but you want to do it once! Look for a classic car restoration or even better a corvette restoration company. The car is all ready stripped that is huge step and will lower the cost of restoration!
THis is a great forum and you will have lots of help with info!!

Good Luck!!


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12/6/16 10:53pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10
I'm in the middle of BC, western Canada, on the 49th parallel.  Can you here the accent in my typing? :-)

The other body company in my small town worked on an early C3 and would not touch another one, for any money...
My body guy has worked on a 69 Corvette, the 81 is apparently different in that it uses SMC or sheet molded compound - fiber glass reinforced plastic... right? So the feedback y'all offered on the seems was very helpful.

The factory body work on this vehicle is less than stellar, waves, gaps and the seems were visible because of aggressive sanding and inadequate seem smoothing. The rear panels have no epoxy primer between the filler and the seem which he says caused problems in the finish later on. He recommends bringing the seems up to modern standards by removing the old filler and using SMC compatible filler to eliminate the potential for cracks forming. Here are a couple of links:

http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/filler_removal.jpg
http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/filler_removal2.jpg

Joel the filler is quite thick... is this normal?

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12/6/16 11:47pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
Adams' Apple Lifetime Member
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Duncanville, TX - USA

Vette(s):
#1-1974 L-48 4spd Cp Med Red Metallic/Black deluxe int w/AC/tilt/tele./p/w-p/b/ Am-Fm/map light National/Regional/Chapter NCRS "Top Flight" #2-1985 Bright Red/Carmine Cp.L-98/auto Member: NCRS, NCRS Texas, Corvette Legends of Texas

Joined: 11/8/2003
Posts: 19449
The amount of filler needed depended on how well the panels were bonded...as in how much "glue" was used. Also, the panels were set up in jigs, so they could at least attempt to make them as uniform as possible, but the panels themselves were not all that uniform, so one may have had more gap than the next one off the pallet. No two cars were ever the same, since this was pretty much done by hand. If what you are showing in those pics is actually "bondo"(plastic filler), then it does look to be kinda thickly applied....at least in that one spot, anyway. Is it "normal"? I don't think so, but, as I said, it all depended on the fit of the panels, and how much the operator had to drink the night before....or at lunch....LOL

Once the Bowling Green factory started up, the process may have changed. 

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Joel Adams
C3VR Lifetime Member #56    
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(click for Texas-sized view!)
             NCRS

"Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comforting to cry in a CORVETTE than in a Kia"
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12/6/16 11:58pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10
Well I'll continue taking pics and share.
This will cost more than anticipated... what a surprise. But it's worth it as this vette is in great shape otherwise.


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12/8/16 10:41pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 382
The filler thickness is going to be as thick as the body panel as it has to fill the gap back to the bonding strip.

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1973 L-82 4 spd

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12/10/16 8:04pm - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10

Body work is proceeding well. All the non-structural and poorly applied factory filler has been ground out and replaced with Kevlar reinforced and SMC compatible filler. Cloth was overlaid with a SMC compatible resin, sanded, filled and sanded again. The joints should now be stronger than the body panels!

http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/Filler_resin.JPG

http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/carved_out_filler.jpg

http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/SMC_filler.jpg

http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/cloth_and_SMC_resin.jpg
http://www.ceravolo.com/miscimages/filler.JPG

 




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12/11/16 2:30am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
73shark
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Overland Park, KS - USA

Vette(s):
1973 Orange Metallic Coupe (orig owner), L82, 4 spd (WR), PS, (A/C & PW (I installed from wrecked 73)), leather, AM/FM Stereo, ran with '65 FI unit earlier & will again some day.

Joined: 7/9/2003
Posts: 382
What, if anything, did they do to keep the dust out of the dash and instruments?

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1973 L-82 4 spd

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12/11/16 4:05am - Reply: 'Re: Use of autobody filler - paint defects'
PeterC Gold Member
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Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 10
He's doing the best he can. But it will be a job to clean the cabin as I can see dust getting in there. It is however the lesser of all evils...

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