With the body panels removed from the camper, it was time to start the repair. We carefully fit the panels back together like a puzzle and used painter’s tape on the front side of the panel to hold everything in place.
Then we used the same 50/50 mixture of MEK and ABS plastic pellets that we did for our roof repair. Mr. TypeTwoFun wiped the back side of the panel down with MEK and brushed the MEK/ABS mixture onto the the cracks, making sure to fill them well. We painted it on pretty heavily, as we wanted to make sure that this panel didn’t crack again.
We let the MEK/ABS “goo” dry for about 24 hours. This was longer than we let our roof repair dry, but we applied the goo pretty thick. We wanted to make sure it was completely dry. Once we were sure it was ready, Mr. TypeTwoFun removed the painters tape and started sanding the front of the panel.
You can see that the MEK/ABS goo filled in the crack pretty nicely, but there was still a lot of visible cracking on the front side. We knew that the Grizzly Grip would fill in all those little cracks and make the panel even stronger, so we weren’t too concerned. Grizzly Grip does a great job of hiding imperfections. We just wanted to sand off any ridges or bumps left by the repair that might be visible under the Grizzly Grip. We also wanted to give the whole panel a light sanding to prep it, just like we did with the roof. Mr. TypeTwoFun used 220 grit sandpaper and then wiped everything down with MEK. Just like any painting project, preparation is key, so don’t cut corners on the prep!
Remember that MEK is nasty stuff, so be sure you have the appropriate safety gear when working with it. Gloves, eye protection, and a ventilation mask are a must. Applying it in a well ventilated area is best, too. I was far away and using my zoom lens to snap these pictures, in case you were wondering. 😛
Once the panels were wiped down, we gave them a coat of our favorite Grizzly Grip. We initially bought one quart of fine textured Grizzly Grip in Snow White. It didn’t end up covering enough surface area, though, so we had to order another quart. Because we had to wait a week in between coats, we wiped the panels down with MEK again in between coats. If you buy enough materials, you shouldn’t have to do this step.
When our second quart arrived, we hit a couple of snags. The new Grizzly Grip texture didn’t match the first quart. We contacted Midwest Chemicals, and they were amazing. Apparently, some of the course material had gotten mixed in by mistake. The guys at Midwest Chemicals went above and beyond to make sure that the problem was corrected. We were sent out a new quart, and the rest of the repair went off without a hitch! The panels turned out perfectly.
As we were moving the panels, we turned them over and noticed a bit of cracking on the repair. To add durability and protect that ABS repair, we gave the back sides of the panels a coat of Grizzly Grip as well. The MEK/ABS mixture is excellent for repairing cracks, but it doesn’t provide a lot of strength. Coating the back side with Grizzly Grip will help reinforce the panels and prevent future cracks.
We are beyond pleased with how well our body panels turned out. Repairing the panels cost a fraction of what new panels would have cost us, and they look brand new! Before we put the panels back on, we gave the tongue and bumper a coat of Rustoleum spray paint, and it really makes a difference. Once the rest of the body is painted, it’ll look like a whole new camper! 🙂
That about wraps it up. Let me know if you have any questions or if you’ve taken on a body panel repair yourself. We’d love to hear about it!