Repair The Broken Plastic Cladding Tabs on a GMC Syclone & Typhoon
Ok, so there are 3 things that make Syclones and Typhoons great and unique.
- Breakneck AWD Turbo V6 launches
- "I haven't seen one of these in years" limited production numbers
- The unique "get ready, the 90's are going to be wild" ground effects.
Those ground effects are effn' awesome. Unfortunately the thin little plastic tabs that keep it attached to the truck are hopelessly fighting a battle they will lose. And when they do, they usually take your wallet with them.
The plastic ground effects are made from TPU plastic. We really don't know exactly what the fillers are, but it's certainly become brittle over time.
There are a lot of different plastic repair adhesives out there, so it was difficult to choose. I chose this 3M kit as it came highly recommended by other SyTy owners and 3M knows their way around adhesives.
Clean the Plastic
Clean the plastic all around the tab with soap and water. Get all the dirt and grim off.
3m recommends using their General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner to finish preparing the surface.
Prepare the Surface
Sand all surfaces that you'll be bonding with 80 grit sand paper.
Make sure you work in circular motion. Sand the surface till it has a consistent, rough texture.
You'll want to sand about 1-2 inches around the bonding points in all directions, including the base of the tab.
Wipe away plastic dust with a clean dry rag and blow off with compressed air.
Test fit your tab in position.
Make sure you have it in the right location and facing the right direction.
Rip off a piece of tape log enough to hold the tab in place.
This is a little trick I learned from watching Adam work on surfboard repairs.
Mix The 2 Part Adhesive
Find a good sized piece of scrap cardboard or plastic to mix adhesive on.
Squeeze out about 1.5-2 inches of the 3M adhesive from tube A
Right next to it, squeeze out the same amount of the 3M adhesive from tube B
Using your spreader or some other mixing stick. Completely mix the two halves of the epoxy adhesive together. Make sure it's mixed completely and the color is consistent.
Final Set up and Adhesive
Spread a thin layer on the surface of the cladding and tab to 'wet' out the plastic.
I did this just to make sure I completely coated the surfaces with a very thin amount of adhesive to enable a wide and consistent surface bond.
Add a good glob of adhesive to the joint and set the tab in place using the tape trick we learned earlier.
Apply the remaining adhesive to the joint area, building up a bulk of material right at the joint and tapering it out over the sanded area.
Let the adhesive sit for about 10 minutes before the next step.
Keep testing any remaining adhesive from the mix till it no longer flows, but is mildly rigid and strong enough to hold the tab in place without support.
Bulk up adhesive to support the tab
Very carefully remove the support tape (again, only when the previous adhesive is stable enough to hold it).
Squeeze out another 2 inches of each tube and mix.
Add the remainder of the adhesive to the not-completely-cured first stage.
Build up some thickness to add strength.
The reason you don't want the first layer to completely cure is to allow a full chemical bond with the second application. If the first layer completely cures, the bond is purely surface and mechanical, which is much weaker.
Carefully re-apply your tape to hold the tab in position till it fully cures.
Finally, you may wish to sand and finish the adhesive after it's fully cured. It's going to be a pretty terrible looking pile of blue goop. Though, you really don't have to, you'll never see it from the outside.
This method can be used to re-enforce tabs that aren't broken yet. I went ahead and re-enforced the tabs on the entire arch while I it was off the truck.