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What's the best body filler for a crack in v.w?


Buick35

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I know the best method is to replace with metal but I don't think there's not much metal to work with.Previous owner built up the area with a lot of body filler and it's a unibody fender.Fortunately the area is below the front bumper and isn't noticeable unless you look underneath.It's a crack about 5" long running from front to rear by the left front wheels opening. Dose the body filler with fiberglass in it work well or what should I use? I can try to get a picture.Thanks.Greg

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The glass filler is quite strong and a bear to sand. If you can groove it out you may get an acceptable repair. Finish with regular light filler. 

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A hack for using the "Tiger-Hair" (one brand name for long strand fiberglass filler) is to lay it on plastic film/wrap, mix it and then lay the patch over the hole/area and smooth it out as best you can so there is way less sanding involved. Let the filler dry.  Peel the plastic off. Yes, you do still need to sand all the surface to get the next layer, regular filler, to stick. Back in the 90s I used the plastic coated masking paper by 3M to do this trick. The paper made it stiffer and the plastic side just peeled off the Tiger-Hair (or the short fiber version).

 

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There are generally two types of fiberglass filler. Long strand and short strand. That refers to the length of the fibers in the product. The longer the strand the stronger the repair and the better it will bridge gaps but it also means it is harder to work with and sand. 

 

You also want to make sure you remove all the old filler. Regular filler is made with talc and will absorb water so leaving any of it on the panel could result in it continuing to absorb water down the road. 

 

You can also use fiberglass mesh drywall tape as a backer to help hold the filler in place or bridge gaps. It can then just be covered up with more product and left for additional strength.

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