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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
Does anyone know if the ENTIRE Solstice will be fiberglass?


Thank you for your time,
Tony
 

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I had heard sheetmetal as they were talking on one show about how they were using hydoforming techniques to make the hood. It couldn't be done with the mormal stamping process as it would have involved too much stretching of the metal.
 

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Want to make this car faster GM, fiberglass. It's been used on the corvette since it started. I might just buy some aftermarket fiberglass body panels to lighten it even more. Maybe for a future supercharged version?
 

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Sure fancy hydro-formed bodypanels may look good, but fiberglass is light and if i remember right, cheaper. It's something to think about, less about color and licenceplates.
 

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wezzrocks said:
Want to make this car faster GM, fiberglass. It's been used on the corvette since it started...
If you want it light then they should use 6010 or 6111 T-6 Aluminum. If you want it cheap then they better stick with steel.
 

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If it was cheaper then why don't wee see it on cars besides the much more expensive Corvette then? At least thats what I'm hypothesizing. Also, have you ever seen what happens to fiberglass when it gets hit? It's nasty, it doesn't dent, it rips or shatters. It's really hard to patch up too. You pretty much have to replace, and repaint entire panels.
 

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It is really hard to "repair" fiberglass. It's tough to build up the strength in the damaged area without making a bulge of new 'glass. If you try to keep it thin for looks it doesn't have the strength and cracks. I'm fighting this problem on my car now and it's pissing me off as repainting all the time is not cheap! LOL

Oh yeah, did I remember to say "thanks Honey!"? LOL
 

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wezzrocks said:
Sure fancy hydro-formed bodypanels may look good, but fiberglass is light and if i remember right, cheaper. It's something to think about, less about color and licenceplates.
Lori Queen (is that her name) the small car VP for GM in charge of the Solstice, had done an interview regarding the body panels shortly after the Detroit NAIAS. I forget where I saw the interview, and couldn’t dig up the article in a quick google search. But essentially she said that they had considered using plastic panels (Reaction Injection Mouldings and Reinforced Reaction Injection Mouldings, straight fiberglass is old tech now and no longer used) but that they would have been more expensive to produce than going with the hydroformed steel panels at this volume. The hydro formed panels were cheaper to do at the Solstice’s expected volume, so that is what they went with.

I take that to mean that the dies for the plastic panels must have a much higher initial investment that needs a greater volume to cover its costs, since it cannot be that expensive that they have use plastic on everything from Saturn econo cars to the Cadillac XLR.
 

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Just an observation: RIM has been used on not only high volume cars like the Fiero and GM Minivans but also the Buick Reatta which sold barely over 20,000 cars in four model years. ZOf course RIMwas high tech in the eighties so is probably not any more.

Went through a number of uncertainties in my job which are now ironed out and hopefully the hurricanes are over for this year.

BTW I wonder if any dealer would be willing to swap a new fully equipped Solstice for a documented 1970 Judge.
 

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RIM is still viable and in relatively high use. It is slightly more expensive intially as compared to TPO's (the other high volume exterior plastic), but more durable and marr resistant. TPO's are also recycleable while RIM is not, except as filler in a new molding. Injection molding tools have the benefit of being able to take significant design changes without creating new tools such as with stamping, as far as I know. *not that familiar on the metal side* One of the downfalls of plastic however, is that the process is very repeatable and can't not be changed through force. In other words, if the gaps between a hood and fender are not engineered with a very tight tolerance, you can not 'massage' a plastic fender during assembly to match up to the hood as you could a metal stamping.
 

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Fibreglass

When I was @ the Woodward Dream Cruise and looking @ the Solstice on display, I got talking to a guy that worked for GM in the fibreglass area of the company. He was lamenting that the body should have been made of fibreglass because he said they bid on the Solstice but were beat out by a lower cost to do it in hydroformed metal.
 

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GreatWhiteNorth said:
When I was @ the Woodward Dream Cruise and looking @ the Solstice on display, I got talking to a guy that worked for GM in the fibreglass area of the company. He was lamenting that the body should have been made of fibreglass because he said they bid on the Solstice but were beat out by a lower cost to do it in hydroformed metal.

That explains why GM claimed it was cheaper! They found a supplier to do hyrdroformed for less. I would have really liked plastic to prevent door dings, but otherwise it doesn’t make a big difference to me. I’ll likely park it in strategic locations anyway!

I wonder how resistant the panels might be to light dents and dings. The idea of going to hydro formed frames is that they are more rigid. Might a hydro formed body be more rigid too?
 

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Fformula88 said:
...
I wonder how resistant the panels might be to light dents and dings. The idea of going to hydro formed frames is that they are more rigid. Might a hydro formed body be more rigid too?
The Solstice's lines are so clean that it would be a shame to have them disrupted by multiple door dings. I would have preferred plastic body panels. Need to locate a good paintless dent removal shop just in case.
 

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tcl said:
The Solstice's lines are so clean that it would be a shame to have them disrupted by multiple door dings. I would have preferred plastic body panels. Need to locate a good paintless dent removal shop just in case.
Its going to mean long lots from the far end of the parking lot, and absolutely no grocery stores! Grocery stores are the absolute worst between other cars parking close, carts, kids, kids plus carts. *shudder*
 

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This is why I always take a bunch of pictures of my new car the day I bring it home, so I can remember and reminis about the way it once was. :cryin
 

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Fiberglass

the Corvette is build from fiberglass, I assume, to be as light as possible without spending money on aluminium panels. Otherwise the use of fiberglass is idiocy since it does not crumble on impact. Fiberglass splinters and does not absorb much of any of the impact energy. You want that body to fold and crumble on impact.... for that you need metal. I don't know what hydroforming is, but wrt the shaping difficulties when stamping, can I point to the Karman Ghia from the 60's/70's which managed to have a beautiful curved shape without fiberglass and hydroforming. How did VW do it?

- cheers
 

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tcl said:
I would have preferred plastic body panels.
I was reading an article in Automotive Engineering International and it was all about the hydroforming process on the Solstice. I'll see if I can make a PDF of it and make it available for people. Pretty informative article. In there they broached the subject of the plastic panels and said that they were thought about for a while but disregarded because of complaints with Saturn's body panels not having consistent body gaps. They didn't want to sacrifice the minor details like having mis-matched body gaps, thereby giving the car a "cheaper" appearance, just so the car would be ding resistant. They mentioned something about why they didn't go with fiber glass as well, but I can't remember it right now. I'll definitely see if I can copy that tomorrow at work.
 
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