Hardtop side panels

Now that the interior is mostly finished, I started with the left overs; the hardtop and doors. The status of these was still half finished; already did the necessary welding on the hardtop side panels 2 months ago, but put those one on hold, so I could start assembling the finished parts first ( was a good idea to stay motivated ).

The left over jobs for the hardtop were: removing the windows, leveling/filling up the welded parts with Debrasel (some sort of liquid metal bondo) and sanding it smooth so its ready for its first layer of epoxy primer.

I was kind of anxious to remove the windows, because I’ve seen some horror pics of Ih8mud members who cracked their windows by removing them. Others stated that removing them involved cutting the weatherstripping, something I didn’t like, because new window weatherstripping costs a fortune. I knew the dangers of using a screwdriver because its tip is to sharp and can put too much stress on the glass, resulting in a cracked window. Fortunately I found a tool at the workshop that did the trick. No idea what its name is, but you can see it in the pictures.
I pried under the weatherstripping from the inside, starting in a corner and then worked my way around.

After that I sanded the panels with 120 grid paper, no need for higher grids at this moment, because the epoxy primer needs something to hold on to, and has enough filling capacity to smooth out the surface. I use Debrasel for the welded parts next, because its as strong and hard as metal, bonds better with a clean metal surface (will never fall off or crack) and reduces the use of regular bondo/filler in a later stage. The Debrasel needs to be sanded to an even surface. The filler is now only used for filling up the small holes/air bubbles left in the Debrasel layer.

At last I fitted the sides on the cruiser, mainly because I had to drill a mounting hole in the lower corner, where I replaced the rotted sheet metal with a new piece, but also because I liked to get an idea where I’m heading to…

See the pics for the results.


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