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Old 03-21-2006
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Gelcoat Cracks

HI, This is my first time here, so nice to you all. I have a 1987 Chris Craft stinger 202, the Gelcoat looks great except for the fake window which is just part of the boat, painted black to look like a windshield. Anyhow the Black part has small cracks all over, looks fairly deep or at least all the gelcoat, How do you repair this. Can I just fill it with duraglass or do I need to grind each crack out and then fill it in. Thanks

Ben
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Old 03-22-2006
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heat is the likely cause?

I'm not sure what the best fix might be..
but it would seem to me that heat is the likely cause.. if it's exposed to the sun and painted black, it probably heats up and expands more than the other white areas..
I would think that you might want to fix that issue while you fix the cosmetic damage.. I don't think you'll want to paint it white (although probably the best fix), but maybe there's a special gelcoat sealer for high heat / expandability..
just a thought..
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Old 03-22-2006
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Best bet is to V each crack open, If you just try to smooth on some gell coat or resin without opening the cracks up you pretty much just put a light coat of paint over it, and they will open up again as soon as there is any heat or stress on the fiberglass.

Ken
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Old 03-23-2006
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Wow thats alot of work. Could I just use paint remover and take all the gelcoat off, put on a layer of cloth and Epoxy, then paint over that? I just think that removing the old has to be quicker then sitting for days tracking down each crack. Then using some epoxy which might hold up better.
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Old 03-23-2006
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Easier options

Grinding, filling, painting... sounds like a lot of work for something that doesn't sound overly structural on an older boat. Why not simply cut out some black plastic (something that won't disintegrate in the sun!!!) the right shape and glue it (epoxy would be fine if it didn't attack the plastic) over the old stuff? Makes it look even more like a window, and shouldn't take more than two hours, including buying the plastic.
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Old 03-24-2006
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Finding the cracks is easy if you wipe it with a dye. then use a dremel or similar tool to open up the cracks.

No idea how bad the cracks are so can't give any other recommendations.

You could grind off the gell coat and recover or paint, but that's a lot of work too.

covering it as suggested above would also work as a 'fix' but unless it was completely sealed down it would trap moisture under it and could lead to more problems later on

I recently had to run through and repair cracks in 48 (out of 52!) fiberglass tub/shower units in an apartment building where the installers decided to slide them 5ft off the back of the truck onto concrete putting stars in two corners each, then went ahead and installed them, they're the type that need to be installed before all the walls are up, so there was no option of pulling them. I wiped them down with red food coloring, then used a dremel with a clear plastic sleave over the end to control the depth to v the cracks. worked, wasn't fun.

Ken.
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Old 03-25-2006
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just ran into

www.boatus.com/boattech/TipGelcoatCrazing.htm

Which has a quick and easy repair listed, sounds a lot easier.

Ken.
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