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  • fiberglass or steel

    well when i get back from iraq im gonna start building a new c4 from scratch but one of my questions what does everyone think in gonna build a crawler
    but i want to know what would everyone recomend fiberglass or steel and what are the advantages and disadvantages
    thanks for the input

    jeep junkie

  • #2
    I got an all fiber tub kit and I am not a huge fan of it. I think I would have prefered steel. . Nothing seems to fit, parts were warped, itchy as hell when you have to cut into it, ground issues since most items are grounded to the steel body...and so on...

    One good thing....no rust

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    • #3
      did you ever think of considering aluminum? i didnt even know that they had these until i had a customer come into the showroom asking if we carried them, and he told me to check out this site.. http://www.aqualu.com/

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      • #4
        Ditto Aqualu...IF you were doing a restoration or a trail-rig/driver. 4WD doesn't carry them that I know of...only the "other" guys....(hint-hint 4WD)

        But, if you are just making an off-road only crawler, stay steel. Easy to work, easy to replace when it gets shredded and caved in. 'Glass will shatter and no sense in spending cash on either 'glass or aluminum if you are going to thrash it anyways.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sposato95YJ View Post
          did you ever think of considering aluminum? i didnt even know that they had these until i had a customer come into the showroom asking if we carried them, and he told me to check out this site.. http://www.aqualu.com/
          After I get married (in March of '10) and get the funds up I am going to put the aluminum body on my 7. I live by the beach and like to hang out by it so I am going this route. Kind of pricey though.

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          • #6
            There's more than meets the eye, when going with an aluminum body.

            Some people just install them, unpainted. 5052 aluminum is very soft, and will scratch very easily, even wiping with too harsh of a cloth. It can become a scratched-up mess, in no time.

            They're not as smooth as glass, from the manufacturer. The aluminum tub does not come shiny. It will be dull. There will be ripples, and little high spots, here and there, from the manufacturing process.. They're really meant to be sanded and finished, if you want it to really look good.

            If you don't coat it, and it comes in contact with different types of metals (steel, copper, etc.) galvanic corrosion can occur.

            Corrosion also occurs when aluminum comes in contact with salt (from the ocean, road salt, etc.).

            Aluminum is not rot-proof. It doesn't form the red rust that we are most used to, it forms white corrosion, that will deteriorate.

            If you do paint it, you must use a different primer, than for steel.

            If you DO ever dent it, or worse, how do you repair it? Even though I tig weld aluminum all the time, I would not look forward to welding in new metal, and try to make it look like it never happened. Aluminum buckles like crazy, from the heat of welding, especially in the center of a flat area..

            Unless I was building a show-type, or a strictly fair weather street vehicle, I would think long and hard about going with aluminum.

            As a matter of fact, for me, it would be my last choice.

            Rich
            Last edited by rixcj; 07-07-2009, 07:33 AM.

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            • #7
              def agree with Rick- the fiberglass isnt very tough at all and any rough contact with trees/rocks/whatever could cause it to spider/crack. the only good thing about aluminum is weight and unless you know how to tig, itll be a pretty penny to repair.. buy a steel tub and with the money you'd save over the aluminum, put it into undercoating/POR15/good paint materials

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              • #8
                on the steel...

                Yeehaw, if you're going to go with steel I have read that these guys offer one of the best products around: http://willysoverland.com/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cfitz View Post
                  def agree with Rick- the fiberglass isnt very tough at all and any rough contact with trees/rocks/whatever could cause it to spider/crack. the only good thing about aluminum is weight and unless you know how to tig, itll be a pretty penny to repair.. buy a steel tub and with the money you'd save over the aluminum, put it into undercoating/POR15/good paint materials
                  Seem people always rag on FG tubs without actually owning a good one. My 4WD tub has been through a lot of rough stuff and still is in good shape. One very cold winter night when i was plowing I backed into a 4' concrete barrier hard enough to flatten the tail light and bend the hell out of the rear cross member but didn't crack the tub. Another time I hit a deer around 60 mph. The hood and grill was all wrapped around the engine and the fiberglass fender was still attached to the grill and tub but I pulled it off and added a layer of glass to the bottom side of the wheel well and looks great to this day. The grill and hood whent into the scrap pile.

                  I have seen FG tubs that look like they can flap apart in the breeze but these clearly are not the good one available.

                  I still like it when I crawl under the jeep and don't have to worry about rust falling in my eyes. Grounding is no big deal. A lot of steel tub jeeps need better grounding also.

                  Steel has many advantages but were I live it's a no brainer to select something that wont oxidize in one winter. If I was living in the south or south west I would probably go with a Metal tub, Al or steel. If I only took it out on weekends I probably would go the same way but if I had to drive it daily all year around through salt and snow I would go with FG. How many rusted out Saab Sonnets have you seen or Chevy Corvetts?

                  As far as safety? I think both are loosers in that catagory. I'm scared in either with a side impact.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with John. Here in New England, fiberglass works for me.

                    Rich

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                    • #11
                      Aluminum corrodes and is hard to repair, steel rusts and when you bang it up you will have to use body putty eventually. Fiberglass, other than the gel coat cracking over time, will take a beating and if you break it you just pick up the pieces and glass them in again. Isn't that hard to work with fiberglass. Even have some wicked 2 part glue fillers for the stuff.

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                      • #12
                        Stick with Steel!

                        For rock crawling, I would think and old Wrangler steel tub would be best. I have done several fiberglass conversions and can only say that for a road vehicle, they're great. No rust!! Yeah! Off road, not so great. The constant flexing will cause the body to FG self destruct over time. Unfortunately, the fiberglass tubs at 4WD suck! They are not put together well at all, warped rear panels, warped firewalls, threaded inserts that weren't installed correctly or in the correct spots. I could go on forever about how bad these bodies are. I am currently trying to finish a conversion now that has had more problems associated with the FG tub than any other tub I've ever purchased. This is the first and LAST FG TUB I EVER PURCHASE FROM 4WD!

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