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Body Tub Guides

A Quick and Easy Fix for a Damaged Body Tub

Unlike in other cars which consist of several body panels, Jeeps and other similar utility vehicles consist of a single body tub. And while its distinct design makes it attractive to many enthusiasts, body tubs are also notoriously prone to rusting which, if left to deteriorate, can leave gaping holes in the body. The relatively thin metal found in earlier and low-end models also makes it vulnerable to punctures and dents from collisions.

Fixing holes and dents in the body tub can be expensive, but if the damage isn't that extensive you can save some money by repairing it yourself.

Difficulty level: Moderate

What you'll need:

  • Car shampoo and wash mitt
  • 180/200-grain aluminum oxide sandpaper
  • Rust treatment solution
  • Hardener/filler compound
  • Fiberglass/aluminum screen or fiberglass patch kit
  • Putty knife (optional)
  • Perforated file
  • Sand block
  • Primer and automotive spraypaint

Step 1: Clean the tub thoroughly with your preferred car shampoo and warm water. Make sure that no traces of dirt, loose paint, rust, and car wax remain on the surface. Rinse well.

Step 2: Sand the area until the surface is even and free of paint. Use 180- to 220-grain sandpaper and work inward from the edges of the dent or hole to avoid enlarging the damaged area. For rust holes, spray the surface with a rust treatment solution first before sanding. Leave the rust treatment solution overnight if the corrosion is particularly severe.

Step 3: For holes, place the patch beneath the hole in order to keep the filler in place. You can either use fiberglass screening or fine aluminum chicken wire, although this will only work for standard steel tubs. For fiberglass body tubs, you will need to use a special fiberglass patch kit.

Step 3: Start mixing the hardener/filler. Make sure to follow the mixing instructions in the kit. In most cases you'll be mixing two parts: the body filler putty and the hardener cream. Take note that the filler must be applied within 30 seconds before it dries.

Step 4: Apply the filler onto the damaged area using the applicator provided in the kit or a putty knife. Slowly spread the filler onto the dent or hole without going outside the damaged area. If a patch will be added, spread the filler on the edges of the screen and the edges of the area to be patched in order to hold the screen in place.

Note: If the filler is applied correctly, the filled portion should be slightly higher than the surface around it.

Step 5: Once the filler starts to harden to the consistency of hard cheese, use a perforated file to sand the filler down to almost the level of the paint. Let the filler dry for another 20-30 minutes, then sand the area with medium-grain sandpaper until the filler is flush to the rest of the body.

Step 6: Prime the area. Apply several layers, sanding each layer of primer with the sanding block until the surface is smooth and small holes or other irregularities are removed.

Step 7: Paint the damaged area with a color matching that of the body tub. Make sure to use only paint designed for automobiles. Spray several layers until the color matches the rest of the tub, then finish with a layer of clearcoat

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