How to Make Custom Body Kitsby Quyen Tong
Installing a custom body kit your your vehicle can give it the appearance and aerodynamic benefits of being lowered, without altering the suspension of the vehicle. Vehicles that have body panels lower to the ground benefit from being more aerodynamically efficient by having less wind sliding underneath the car. Aerodynamic efficiency translates into better fuel economy and faster acceleration with less strain on your engine. Buying custom body kits from retail stores can be expensive, so an alternative is to make your own at home.
Use manufactured body kits as a frame of reference for your own design. Pay careful attention to dimensions of the areas where the kit will connect to your vehicle. Any slight miscalculations will make installation more difficult and possibly render the piece useless. The length of the side skirts must be exact in order to sit flush with the wheel well of the vehicle.
Glue several foam blocks together in order to form a piece large enough to use a mold for your custom body kit. Cut the foam into the specifications of your design using a razor or a knife. Once the foam is cut, use 180-grit sandpaper to smooth the foam into a usable form.
Cover the foam with body filler and let it sit for two hours to dry. Sand the filler with 220-grit sandpaper to remove any undulations and bumps. Spray three coats of polyester primer directly on top of the body filler and follow the on label directions for drying time. Once dry, use 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the primer. Continue to sand with finer grits such as 400, 600, and 800, and conclude by wet sanding with 1000-grit sandpaper.
Allow the mold to sit for three to four days while waxing it once a day. Wax the mold as if you were waxing a car by applying the wax and allowing for it to haze before buffing it off with a soft cloth.
Spray tooling gel onto the mold in one even coat and wait until it is tacky. Depending on which brand of tooling gel you purchased, the time in which the gel will get tacky will vary. For most tooling gels, the wait should be around 15 minutes.
Brush one even coat of resin directly on top of the tacky tooling gel. Break the fiberglass mat into separate pieces of fiberglass and set it on top of the resin. Roll the air bubbles out of the resin using a fiberglass roller. Place five more layers of resin and fiberglass on top of the existing layer.
Once the resin has cured and dried, use a wooden mixing stick to pry the body kit out of the mold. You may shave off the excess fiberglass strand stocking out of your body kit using a razor.
Things You'll Need
- Polystyrene foam
- Body filler
- Polyester primer
- Molding wax
- Polyester resin and hardener
- Tooling gel
- Fiberglass roller
- Fiberglass mat
- Razor blade
- Wooden mixing stick
- Use eye protection to protect your sight from chemicals and debris.
- Perform work in a well-ventilated area.
- Follow label instructions and warnings on all products.
- Use a mask to keep from breathing in hazardous fumes from the resin and primers.
- Always wear gloves when dealing with fiberglass -- it can cause itchy rashes.
- All steps should be performed or closely supervised by adults.
Quyen Tong began writing professionally in 2006 when he launched a nutrition information website named Complex Nutrition. He has graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautical engineering and has submitted technical papers regarding the NextGen project and future flight trajectories for air travel within the United States.