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Old 01-25-2019, 10:59 AM   #1
Jeff1971
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1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

I have not seen much information on a detailed hatch repair so I wanted to put this in the record.

My hatch was in rotten shape when I got it. The window was broken. Mounts were either broken or rusted and there were multiple cracks and chips. After reading the reviews of the reproduction hatch that STILL has no hardware I decided as my first step of my Blazer restoration I'd do the hatch.

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First step was getting it out of the Blazer without getting stung. Even though it was frozen, the yellow jackets were still alive inside the hatch. I got it into the shop and all warmed up and they seemed to enjoy that.

The next step was removing all of the hardware.

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After the hardware was removed, the mounting plates were next.
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:35 PM   #2
Jeff1971
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Getting the side latch backing plates out was no problem because they will fit through the hole. The top hinge and lower handle plates removal was a bit harder. First you have to remove the pop rivet heads with a large drill bit. Go slow and soft, they are aluminum. Use a 1/8 punch and tap out the rivets. Once the plates are loose they're still inside the fiberglass shell without a way out. I used a multi-tool with a plunge blade to split the seam between the outer and inner shell. Then I made cuts into the outer shell to remove a section of the fiberglass big enough for the plates to be removed.

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After the plates were removed it was quite clear that they wouldn't have lived long. There were multiple holes and missing sections of the mounts. If your hatch ever just falls off while going down the road, this is why.

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I made replacement mounting plates out of stainless sheet I had. I used it for the center latch handle plate and the upper hinge plates. For all of the side plates with backing nuts I just used .090 mild steel plate and flange nuts Tig welded to the plates. The side plates and the strut mounts were not all that bad but I didn't want to have to ever think about them so I just made new ones. The upper strut mount was hard to re-install because it's so far up there but if you just put the piece on a thin welding rod with duct tape then get it in position, start a screw , you can get the rivets in and your done.

Speaking of rivets. They are your standard 3/16 pop rivets. I used the 3/8 reach on all of the plates and it worked fine.

After the plates were reinstalled the fiberglass access hatch's had to be repaired. I used 1/16 carbon fiber sheet cut into strips to give me a mounting edge. After roughing them up with 60 grit they were clamped and glued using West Systems epoxy. West Systems epoxy is used for advanced composite construction of aircraft and sailboats so I'm confident in it's use.

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After it cured it was just sanded and filled with more West Systems to finish off the repair.

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All I need to do now is sand, prime and re-texture with the NAPA textured coating.
The original color of the top was black but that's too hot for me so the final color is still up in the air.

We will see!

Jeff
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:25 AM   #3
1rippen6
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Looks great!!
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:01 PM   #4
DeadheadNM
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Nice work. I wish I had those skills. Reminds me of 69-72’s thread here: http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=348769
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:58 PM   #5
Jeff1971
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

None of it would work without the multi tool and very thin plunge blade. I got mine at Harbor freight. It makes splitting the halves possible.
When you glue them back together just lay a couple strips of 1 inch wide fiberglass along the seam. That makes up for the lost material from the cut.

Too bad the reproduction hatch isn't a great option. Many tops probably have been scrapped due to no good alternatives.

Jeff
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Old 01-27-2019, 02:17 PM   #6
woodrow123
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Was just looking for information on this exact repair. Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2019, 11:35 PM   #7
NJKelly
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Thanks Jeff. I buy everyone I come across. Have two on tops of the 71+72 I own plus 4 more. This will be a big help. Thanks again.
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:28 AM   #8
scf100
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Good stuff as Iím in same boat
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:46 PM   #9
rayray767
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

I’ve counted four hatches last I checked my bone pile..
Can’t never find parts and pieces when you need them.
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Old 02-09-2019, 01:56 PM   #10
Jeff1971
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Re: 1971 Blazer Hatch repair/ restore

Iíve got it all sealed back up and itís got a fresh coat of NAPA 4003 Stone Guard.
The broken window was taken to a local glass cutter who made me a new rear hatch glass insert out of 1/4 green safety glass. Whatís strange is he told me that the glass that was in my hatch wasnít factory. He said it was a homemade with poor edges. I never had it all the way out of the rubber to preserve the shape so I never got to see the edge. With all new rubber for the top from GMC Paulís it should be good to go.

Anyway, Iíll go pick up my new rear hatch window on Monday.

My top was originally black but Iím not leaning towards that. Just too hot.

Iíll leave it unpainted until I make my color decision. Itís not going to rust!

Jeff
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