How to Repair and Paint a Fiberglass Hood

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Introduction: How to Repair and Paint a Fiberglass Hood

About: With a background in architecture and construction, I enjoy tackling projects around the house and helping others learn in the process.

Hey everyone, welcome to Homes for Beginners where I show you how to do repairs around the house yourself. In this video I will be showing you how to repair any light damage and paint a fiberglass hood for a lawn tractor. Fiberglass is a form of plastic, how it used a fiber cloth which makes it much stronger than a traditional plastic hood. This is more on the budget friendly side, if done right you can achieve excellent results. This can be used on other forms of fiberglass panels as well such as boats, snowmobiles, other recreational equipment, etc.

Supplies

wax and grease remover

isopropyl alcohol

clean clothes

sandpaper rubber backer

220 grit sandpaper

320 grit sandpaper

400 grit sandpaper

respirator

safety glasses

gloves

high build primer

single stage paint

two part glazing/spot putty

Step 1: Removing the Decals

First was fitting the hood, this is a John Deere STX46 which comes factory with a plastic hood that are known to break. A new replacement is close to the value of what this tractor is worth, so instead, I have a 170 hood that came with the tractor that I will be fitting. Remove the old decals, this can be done with a heat gun if you’re having problems. However I found picking at a corner, then pulling it back, they came off cleanly. Any leftover adhesive can be cleaned up in a moment.

Step 2: Fitting the Hood

The hood does get pushed back so it sits around the steering column. Then using a square, I marked out the cut lines. I did this for both sides. The bottom edges and angled portions were also trimmed up to allow for engine airflow and reduce the chance of the hood rubbing on the body.

Using an angle grinder with a cutting disc, next is cutting off the portions I marked out. Make sure you are wearing a mask and safety glasses. This will leave a cleanup, fiberglass is very easy to cut with a grinder. If there’s any access material, it can be touched up with the grinder and a flap disc, a power sander, or even a file by hand. Remove any leftover residue from the decal using a wax and grease remover. The rest of the hood can also be washed to remove any contaminants if you wish.

Step 3: Block Sanding the Hood

Now it blocking the hood with 320 grit sandpaper. When sanding fiberglass, I would highly recommend wearing gloves and a respirator. I have a flexible rubber backing pad on the backside of the sandpaper to keep a smooth sanding surface so I don’t create any deformities.

Work in multiple directions, perpendicular to each to ensure the surface is evenly sanded. Careful around any body lines or edges, this can be done by hand after. The hood is only a small surface so there’s no need for any power or air tools.

Use compressed air to remove any sanding material from the surface.

Step 4: Repairing Light Surface Damage

As you can see we have a couple of damaged spots, just light surface damage but it will be visible in the paint if not repaired.

Use 220 sandpaper by hand to remove any loose material in these areas.

Then clean the area with a wax and grease remover. A wax and grease remover is used to remove any contamination which may create adhesion issues for the filler.

There was light surface damage on other parts of the hood, so these were also spot sanded with 220 grit sandpaper. There’s no need to cover the rest of the hood with 220 grit sanding marks as it’s a good base. Using coarse grit would require sanding with a finer grit after and if not done correctly, can be visible in the final paint finish.

Step 5: Filling the Surface Damage

I’ll be using a two part spot or also known as a glazing filler. This is used for light coats and can have the edges nicely feathered in. A two-part product is a much better quality where it’s easier to work with and doesn’t experience shrinkage like a single part product. Always refer to the product’s application guide for mixing ratios of the filler and hardener. I dispensed my required amount of product onto a piece of cardboard with wax paper. Don’t use strictly cardboard or other porous forms of surface which can soak up the resins in the filler. Then applying the hardener, then using a plastic applicator, drag the filler across the surface to mix. Do not stir the filler as this can create air bubbles. It’ll be ready to apply once the filler is a consistent color with no streaking.

Push the air out of the hardener tube, reinstall the cap, and need the hardener. Hardener usually separates after it’s sitting, so this will help mix it before use.

For any tight or small areas, instead of a plastic applicator, a razor knife can also be used.

Apply the filler with the plastic applicator. This type of filler should only be applied in very light coats, it’s only intended for light superficial surface damaged. It’s not intended for structural repairs. If you don’t get all the areas the first time around, don’t worry, more filled can be fixed up after.

Let the filler dry, it usually takes about 30 minutes but this can vary depending on how much hardener was applied and temperature.

Step 6: Sanding the Filler

The type of filler I’m using is easy to sand, so excess material can be removed easily and the edges can be feathered in smooth. To sand the filler, with this being a thin coat, I’m using 320 grit sandpaper with a rubber backer to keep the surface free of any waves. Work in multiple directions if needed. The base below the green paint was showing in some spots which isn’t an issue, primer will be applied before painting.

Clean the hood with a wax and grease remover again, both on the inside and outside. Any cut edges were sanded with 320 grit sandpaper too.

Step 7: Applying Primer

Next is applying a primer. Primer is available in a variety of colors, a primer color can affect the final paint color too so be mindful of that. This is a high build primer which is great for filling in any sanding marks or slight imperfections that I may have missed. Start with lighter coats first, then medium coats after without causing any runs. All spots with filler have primer applied, otherwise you’ll be left with outlining or ghosting in the final paint finish. The cut edges also have primer applied. The cardboard does help control any overspray, the whole hood will be sanded before painting anyway. Typically you’ll need to wait 10 minutes in between coats, however this can vary based on the thickness of primer applied and temperature.

I left the hood for the next day until sanding. Using 400 grit sandpaper, again with a backing pad, the whole hood is sanded. Removing any overspray and orange peel left being from the primer. Work in multiple directions, ensuring the whole hood is sanded and you have an even surface.

While I’m finishing up the hood for paint, I watered the grass where I’ll be painting to keep the dust down so no debris is blown in the wet paint.

Step 8: Applying Paint

Clean off any sanding debris with a clean cloth, then finished wiping down the surface with a lint-free cloth isopropyl alcohol. Both the inside and outside of the hood were cleaned. This a milder form of cleaner than compared to the wax and grease remover, so it won’t attack the primer which may potentially cause issues for the paint. All the cleaner to evaporate for about 10 minutes.

First is painting the inside, the part which you’ll want the nicest finish will be left for the last. Mix the paint accordingly, there is a variety of paints available on the market. For this, I just picked up the cheapest John Deere paint I could find. This is a single-stage paint, so no clear coat is needed. A two-stage paint could also be used which is a base and clear coat and you can even have custom colors mixed based on your project.

Again the cardboard is used to help catch some of that overspray. The first coat will be light, try to get the hard to reach edges first and direct the spray in such a way where you’re pushing the overspray away from a newly applied coat, this will help minimize overspray and orange peel.

Wait about 10 minutes in between coats, this can vary depending on your paint thickness and temperature. Always ensure the can is mixed. Three coats were applied on the inside, first was the light coat, then was two medium coats. More coats may be needed depending on the quality of coverage and color. If you are noticing outlining the base, more coats are needed then.

I let the hood dry for about 30min, then flipped it over. I have a stand that only had contact on the center of the hood where no paint was applied.

The hood is cleaned out the outside again with isopropyl alcohol just to be safe.

Mix the paint accordingly again, using the same process, apply a light coat hear starting with the hard to reach edges first, then finish up on the large exposed areas pushing away the overspray from the newly applied paint. The cardboard is used to control the overspray too.

For this hood, I was able to do this in two spray cans.

Again wait 10 minutes in between coats, three coats were done here as well. First was a light coat, then two additional medium to fully wet coats, allowing the paint to flow while avoiding any runs. When done, I placed the hood inside the shed to avoid any moisture exposure which may occur overnight. Moisture exposure on fresh paint can cause the paint to become hazy and unfortunately, this can only be repaired by repainting. Dry times do vary, I left it for 48hrs before installing it back onto the tractor. I also painted the grill and gave the rest of the body a quick polish.

Step 9: Done!

Once done, here you can see the final finish. Decals can be installed if you wish, however I would let the paint cure for at least a couple of weeks before that is done.

If you found this tutorial helpful, please don’t forget to give it a like and drop a comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more home diy videos, thank you.

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