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Old 08-28-2010, 03:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Fiberglass Geo Metro hatch

Well, I am looking to make my metro as light as possible so I thought I should replace any steel I could with fiberglass. My friend, Mike, and I started on it today even though neither of us have much experience working with fiberglass. How hard can it be, right?

First, we pulled the old steel (not as heavy as I had hoped) hatch and set it up on some saw horses so we could use it for a mold. Next, we tried and tried and tried to remove the window but sadly the bottom portion would not budge so we just left it on. Then we brushed on some mold release goop that I bought at TAP Plastics for about six bucks. Then came the fun. We set out a big piece of fiberglass cloth over the whole hatch and cut out the section where the window was. We did this because, with the window propped up a bit, we could get some fiberglass on the track that holds the glass. I though that may help to make it easier when installing a plastic window on the hatch later. I brushed on the resin while Mike used a scraper to thin it out. We found the the heavy cloth I used did not like to cling to the hatch and so we used a ton of clamps to assist in that department. After the whole thing dried, I put some fiberglass tape in a few areas and put more resin on to help make it a bit more rigid (I don't think it really did anything though). After the second bit dried, I removed it from the OE hatch and laid it upside down on the ground where I put spray foam all over the inside of the fiberglass. It is drying now, but I am hoping that this foam will help make the hatch a bit less flexible. Also, after evening it out I plan to lay more fiberglass on the inside using the foam as a structure. So that is where I am now, but it is time for bed. Hopefully I will have a little time to work on it again on Sunday. I attached a few pics from my phone so everyone can see kinda what I was doing. Please let me know what you think. Ask me some questions or tell me what I should do or have done. THANKS!

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Old 08-28-2010, 04:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Kamm Back

AS long as you are creating a NEW hatch
i would add in a Kamm back thing on the top , using rabbit wire as the base shape then adding foam and fiberglass to your own design .

can you weigh the finished version compared to the original ?
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good luck but I doubt if you can fabricate a door as light and stiff as the original steel door.particularly if you are looking for smooth.

I see you used spray foam to fill in. Companies like Aircraft spruce and Wicks sell a two part foam that works very well and is much stiffer and cheaper than the spray foam at the box store.

Your door would be best left a base for a more aero structure. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-28-2010, 08:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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How about replace window glass with Lexan? side windows are a simple shape.
Front window you have shape and safety concerns, rear window just a tough shape
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Old 08-28-2010, 10:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You might be interested in pics in my album, it's not fiberglass but does incorporate a partial Kammback extension that looks to be good for +3 MPG on my car.
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Foam used to mold a fiberglass tube does not need any further structural merit. The original frame is stiff enough to keep glass safe. With a plastic window, the whole affair only needs to be windproof. I could write all day about 'glass work, but the only other thing that jumped out at me is that these plastics don't "dry," they "set." And you could have used car wax as the release agent.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Is the rear hatch of the Metro normally structural? Cuz you'll probably lose that unless you pay close attention to how you're laying the layers of glass.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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mwebb - I do like the idea of a kammback, I will probably do one. I will definately weigh it and the OEM hatch after I am done.

After reading the rest of the comments, I have some other thoughts too. I am not certain that my fiberglass hatch will be really much lighter than the original, but I thougt it was a fun project to try out. I will use some type of plastic for all three rear windows, though I noticed the Metro glass is not really as heavy as I expected. I will post some new pictures after I get a bit further on the project.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Interesting. I'm curious what the original hatch weighed.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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cycleguy_GEO - '94 Geo Metro Base
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I forgot to weigh it before I put it back on. Give me a few more dAys and I will let you know the weight though.

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