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Old 06-25-2015, 02:47 PM   #1
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should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

As I was obsessing over the stupid hail damage, I noticed these fine cracks in the gel coat on the rear of the pop top around the tail light. I'm a little freaked out by this. The hail didn't do this and I've barely used the van (<8000 miles, and no 4x4).

Should I be concerned? Is this something I can fix, or will SMB need to do something?

Sheesh... I'm beginning to think I am don't have the patience for a rig like this (or a boat).

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Old 06-25-2015, 03:20 PM   #2
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

A fiberglass gel coat would be smooth and glossy, that looks more like a Line-X type material. I would be concerned if that is cracking. Here are the front cracks in mine before I Line-Xed it (2010)



and right afterwards, still no cracking of any sort after 5 years



Since that was applied by SMB based on the decal I would certainly contact them about it.
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Old 06-25-2015, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

We have similar cracks. I sent photos to Peter @ SMB; he said to epoxy them and didn't seem too worried. I have the epoxy waiting.

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Old 06-25-2015, 05:37 PM   #4
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

I thought the whole point of SMB offering the Raptor Liner option ($800) was so that it wouldn't suffer from the cracks that the gel coat suffered from...
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

I've never seen LineX crack, but primarily my experience is with LineX over metal. I could picture some very minor penthouse cracking of the fiberglass under the LineX, but not enough to cause the LineX itself to crack. I have seen automotive paint get very brittle if there's too much hardener in it, maybe LineX is the same?

I would definitely contact SMB about it.


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Old 06-25-2015, 07:37 PM   #6
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

I am not sure Line-X, which I had done locally, is exactly the same material as the SMB Raptor option. Line-X is an awesome coating- I also have some on my pickup truck.
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:37 PM   #7
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

Had mine Linexed over cracks and has been fine for over a year. Linex is tough stuff. The original coating was way thinner and weak. Mine was done locally to match the van paint and has a guarantee. I am very happy with it.
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Old 07-06-2015, 09:14 PM   #8
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

Sent an email to Peter at SMBW...

Hopefully he will have a good suggestion.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:59 AM   #9
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

Grumpy a few things cause gel coat cracks

Gel applied too thick or too thin
Not enough glass under the gel
Not enough support which allows the unit to twist beyond the gels limits

The gel keeps water from entering the glass which will break it down. Cracks should be ground out to where they are solid and filled with an epoxy filler. We use epoxy because gel will adhere to epoxy if the sheen is properly removed from the epoxy.

Any repair must be final coated for uv protection....ie paint, gel, or liner material.
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:23 PM   #10
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Re: should i be concerned with these cracks in my top?

Got a reply from Peter DT at SMB West...

"Those are settlement cracks that sometimes happen. They are not always in the same place, I have seen them on top mainly. I would not be concerned with leaks.

I can take care of repairing them next time you are in CA, it will be under warranty and can be whenever you are ready, no need to make a special trip."

Since I wrote this post I've noticed more cracks on the sides too. I am thinking Peter is offering some kind of quick filler fix, but I am concerned with how that will look, and mostly the underlying problem of why they are occurring in the first place.

As PatO pointed out... he had a proper Line-X coat done and has no problems after 5 years of use. Ummm... that tells me that either the coating SMB put on was defective, inferior, or both. I am going to ask that my top be re-done, but I am not sure what kind of reception that will get...

I'll keep anyone interested posted...
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