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Hey guys. As everyone knows, the filler panels on these cars are just a piece of plastic and they ALL crack under the driver's side headlight. I bought a new one and I'm going to replace it on my '72 this Spring.

Anyone have any insight on products (i.e. sprays, dips, etc.) to use to reinforce it from future cracking, or is this just me day-dreaming of a perfect world? Haha thanks for any input!

-Kyle
 

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Hey guys. As everyone knows, the filler panels on these cars are just a piece of plastic and they ALL crack under the driver's side headlight. I bought a new one and I'm going to replace it on my '72 this Spring.

Anyone have any insight on products (i.e. sprays, dips, etc.) to use to reinforce it from future cracking, or is this just me day-dreaming of a perfect world? Haha thanks for any input!

-Kyle
I replaced the one on my last 72 and sprayed it Argent silver. Nothing much to for protection, but it does have a metal support under it.

Probably using the bumper jack would break it, which I didn't never use it. I think once you replace it you will be good for as long as you have your car.
 

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Hey guys. As everyone knows, the filler panels on these cars are just a piece of plastic and they ALL crack under the driver's side headlight. I bought a new one and I'm going to replace it on my '72 this Spring.

Anyone have any insight on products (i.e. sprays, dips, etc.) to use to reinforce it from future cracking, or is this just me day-dreaming of a perfect world? Haha thanks for any input!

-Kyle
Please post the replacement procedure as I have to do the same thing on my 68. I bought a new one last year and this is on my to do list also this spring.

I've thought about why they might crack but I'm unsure to exactly how this occurs.

One though is maybe it's just some bad plastic or not being thick enough but I don't know how much room is on the underside to do any reinforcing.

Another thought is if it is from body twist from possibly jacking it up with the factory bumper jack and if it's bolted on solid, the crack appears from not allowing the plastic to move any. Sorta like if you were to solidly nail your vinyl house siding to a house and now the siding has no where to go or be able to shift, and then it cracks. If it is something that needs to "float" on the bolts that secure it I wonder if a person could make some of the mounting holes larger to allow a short tube to be put in there and then with a fender washer on top and bottom of the filler, run the factory bolt back in tight to where now the panel would float sorta like a homes vinyl siding does.

Jim
 

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I would also like to know what processes and steps people did to replace the plastic bumper filler piece. What do you need to do to prep the piece before painting?

A friend of mine suggested scuffing it up with grey or red scotch bright then applying a plastic adhesion agent to it. Thoughts?
 

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I recently did the one on my 71. As far as replacement, you have to unbolt basically everything. Bumper, lower fenders, grill supports, and the filler panel itself. I was installing the support as well, so that added to the difficulties.

I had done this on my 70 about 10 years ago, and didn't seem to struggle as much being that car was completely together prior. On the 71, it was mostly unbolted already and missing the filler and support.

Otherwise, I can't add too much as far as advice on the install. As far as protection, I just primered mine, and it will be painted when the car is done. I did the same on my 70 and it's holding up 10 years later.





The 70.

 

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Mine is fiberglass but I bought it several years ago. It took a lot of work to make it and the metal reinforcement under it to all mate with the core support, fenders and grill. Holes had to be slotted, things notched and even reinforcements fabricated. I have to remove the front bumper for one final tweak and I will try to get a few snaps of the way I mounted it. I don't know about the plastic one but the fiberglass one really needed to be stabilized. there are 4 bolts in the grill and two in the metal reinforcement (I have 6 now) and when all that fits up properly where nothing is in a bind I don't think it would ever crack.





Steve
 

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I reused the metal support, just cleaned and painted like any other panel. From the factory there is 2-sided tape in two locations sandwiched between the plastic panel and the metal support, I used 3m 2 sided body tape. Plus, i used more tape than the factory. I painted mine argent silver like the factory did, love the look.
 

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Steve did you reuse your metal support panel that goes under the painted piece? On my plastic one nothing was needed it fit great.


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I did use the metal piece. Not to say that anyone necessarily should. That’s up to you.

I feel it is beneficial as it ties the fenders together at the front ahead of the core support. It also attaches to the support for and helps stabilize the hood latch mechanism. The painted piece attaches to the front of the metal support and also to the lower rail on the grill.

I went to fit the headlight bezels and they were all out of whack. I needed to pull the lower front part of the fenders in and had to slot the holes in the metal piece to do it as well as notch the inner lip of the fender where the painted filler attaches to the fender. This was born out of the fact that if you get beside the car and look forward about the height of the wheel bearings the front of the fender wheel opening did not have the same radius as the rear of the wheel opening close to the rocker. They sort of flared out. I know there are diagonal front fender braces that go up to the inner fender bolts on the core support but that still didn’t get the fender alignment right as far as the radius. Slotting and securing the metal support under the filler panel fixed all that and the bezels line up perfectly now. It’s so ridged I don’t even need the diagonal braces.

I know I am a little anal retentive when it comes to this stuff but I would rather do it in mock up than after paint. It’s important to me that all that stuff is as stable as it can be partly because my filler is fiberglass and any flex or movement will likely crack it. Add to that a 525 HP 383 with a 200 shot and solid motor mounts and I think my time is well spent warding off the effects of vibration.

If you look at the brown part of the forward edge of the fenders closely, just below where it is painted black, you will see the bolt holes for the metal piece. That really stabilized the lower part of the forward part of the fenders, all but eliminated the need for the diagonal braces, and established the correct radius as compared to the rear part of the wheel opening.





Steve
 
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