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Old 05-01-2008, 07:49 PM
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33 Ford door bottom repair question

The previous owner of my 33 Ford 3W coupe did a poor job of repairing the lower portion of the door due to rust I assume. There was no attempt whatsoever to hammer/dolly the repair area to a shape close to original - so it was covered in about 1/2 inch of filler. I purchased new lower door repair patch panels & as you can see there is a gap between the new panel & original door. The gap is 1/2 to 5/8 inch. The upper portion of the original door is caved in some & needs to be pulled out. I am not sure on how to approach this repair. I want to metal work it as much as possible. I have some thoughts but wanted others to weigh in on this prior to me doing something I might regret.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:24 AM
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Here is what I would do. First get some butt weld clamps and use them along with some c clamps to bring the two panels parallel with each other. You may have to use a torch to shrink the orginal door panel to match up smoothly with the new patch and then tig weld the 1/2" piece in to fill the gap. I would then cut the skin off 1" below the body line. Starting just below the weld and working up I would run the panel back and forth thru the english wheel(this is why it must be tigged as a mig weld will crack). You would be surprised at how fast the english wheel will bring the orginal panel back into shape. Just keep the pressure low as not to stretch the panel too much, you may need to do a little stretching where the 1/2" patch is. This procedure works great for damaged original panels as long as there not rusted.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:00 AM
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Quote:
and then tig weld the 1/2" piece in to fill the gap.
I think 33mopower is thinking your patch panel is too short to reach? However, from what you say and show, I think you are talking about the inward bowing of the original door skin.

That lower edge of the orig door is stretched from welding/brazing. It needs to be shrunk. I've never had much luck with shrinking hammers/dollys, or slap files. Most people use some form of heat & quench. It's a little daunting at first, but it does work.

Being that I don't do shrinking every day, PLUS the fact that that door is "quite valuable", I'd brace the edge first to keep the entire panel from going nuts. I personally would try using two long strips of 1/8" to 3/16" flat stock on either side of the skin, clamped together about 2-3" up from the edge. These will/or should, bow a little to follow the correct curve of the door, plus they will stabilize & also create a heat sink. Then use a torch & wet rag to gradually shrink a little at a time. Once you start getting it close, then keep test fitting the patch panel to get it near perfect.

Then when it's time to weld, also use a damp rag to keep the panel cool. But, try not to "quench" the stitch welds too much while welding, because that will over-shrink the seam. I'd just tack it slowly and allow tons of cool down time before stitching some more.

These are just my thoughts; there are others here with more experience in advanced metal working
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:29 AM
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door panel repair

F&J,

You are correct - my patch panel is not too short too reach. The previous repair left the original panel bowed inward.

Thanks for the comments - I had thought I needed to shrink this some, but as I rolled this over in my mind, I wasn't quite sure.

Thanks for your response. I have a metal shrinking disk that I have used before that works quite well, but I have never used it on such a large panel.

Thanks again
Mike.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:38 AM
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Mike,

I may be way off base here (and these other guys could be correct), but you said that it had a 1/2" of Filler to match the contour of the Body, correct?

If you shut the Door without the Patch Panel, does it meet the contour of the other Panels? It sounds like it is low, and to me, looking at the pictures, it looks like it might possibly be low.

If that is the case, it's possible the previous owner has already shrank the Panel too far causing the low spot.

Can you tell us if the Door fits the contour of the Body when the Door is shut? (sure would be nice to have some radius gauges here)-

Crazy as it sounds, I use a regular Square to check contour if I don't have the proper radius gauge-almost every Panel on most every Car has contour, and rolling it over the Panel will not only show low, but it will show flat spots-
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
it's possible the previous owner has already shrank the Panel too far causing the low spot.

That is possible; meaning that by welding the prior patch on with long hot beads, it has shrunk the parent metal. John Kelly on HR (who makes & sells shrink discs) wrote a post about welding panels and ending up with shrinking in that area. He went on to say something like the shrunk seam now causes the metal above the seam to look like it is now raised up or stretched. So he said rather than making the mistake of trying to disc the area a few inches up from the new welded seam, you should stretch the welded area.

I just assumed Hot Rod Mike has already tried to dolly the loose edge?? I think it is hard for us to tell if it is shrunk or stretched, just looking at that pic. To me is looks stretched, and it's not uncommon to have a loose edge bow inwards OR outwards
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:59 PM
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33 ford door bottom repair

Hopefully the extra photos show you more of what has happened to the passenger door. The door fits the opening fairly well, & seems to match up w/the contour of the rear quarter & front cowl section. The drivers door also needs the bottom repaired, but the inward bow of the drivers door is not as bad, so I am using this door to judge how well the passenger door fits.

The lower piece of the door I removed is flat - no contour at all. Both my doors seem to have approx. 1.5 inches of contour as near as I can measure.
My guess is the previous owner forced the upper section of the door to match the flat panel that was used & welded in, & appears a lot of heat was used which bowed the panel inwardly.

All said & done, it is hard for me to determine if I need to stretch the upper, or shrink. I did try a little hammer & dolly work, but the upper section is flimsy & I did not see any improvements - could be I didn't stay @ it very long.

There are a few pro guys in the area - I may have to get one to pop over to give me some advice. I'm not sure if you can tell what's going on without being here. Thanks for the help !!

35 WINDOW wrote :" Crazy as it sounds, I use a regular Square to check contour if I don't have the proper radius gauge-almost every Panel on most every Car has contour, and rolling it over the Panel will not only show low, but it will show flat spots " Yeah, I discovered this tool, too, not so long ago when I was chopping the top. Sure helped out in the rear section of the roof as I moved from side window to rear window.

Thanks,
Mike.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:17 PM
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panel repair

Hey guys.... I would have fixed by now. I would use those 2x4's I see layin in the car and make wedges of them and begin to work the original skin out to match the replacement section being careful to maintain the contour of the replacement panel. When I had that done correctly I would drill some some pilot holes in a few spots and drop in some small rivets. Then I would spot up a few spots on either side of my rivets and work the seam until I felt it was correct and stabilized. Then I would drill out the rivets, use a pointed end body hammer, hold my dolly behind and give those rivet holes a slight depression. Then spot up the rivet holes and finish.

I will admit that the original door looks rather streched from folks using too heavy of a hammer to beat out dents. Very common problem on these older cars because they have usually been repaired numerous times. It appears that the replacement metal is thicker then the original and I don't think this process will allow distortion if handled moderatly. Start screwing with a torch without the proper knowledge and you will for sure have a mess..... Surf's up dude! It will look like an ocean.

Not too worry, Coddington coated all of his cars with bodo before finishing to make them smooth and unwavy. Bodo is not a sin. Too much is!
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:00 AM
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Yeah you might be right it may need to be shrunk but if you cant push the original panel out and past the new panel then it more than likely needs to be stretched. The weld from the original repair surely shrunk the original door. My guess is if you press the panel out it won't quite reach the new panel right? If so its going to be hard to stretch the panel on the car. If you have a shrinker/stretcher you could use it on the edge without the patch in place but it will be hard to use without its stand. Any which way you look at it will be hard to stretch on the car. You could start at each end and start tacking the two panel together working toward the center. Then Hammer on dolly to stretch it slowly working toward the center tacking as you go. Same procedure for shrinking. The local pro's will suggest you pull the skin.
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:31 AM
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Mike,
the guy did it wrong from the get-go...

that lower patch should have a approx 1" wide off set lip so that it fits "behind" the old metal for the length of the overlap....


we don't weld on patch panel or skins at all any more...
"panel bond" adhesive!!!!
no warpage/no welding seam rust thru/no burn thru on the old metal/and water proof/and ready for sanding and fill when cured...

(hard to judge from the pic' but) how far in the old metal is bent look about right for "holding tension" while the overlap glue cures....
???depends on how strong/what guage your new patch panel is....

ps: the guy did you a big favor by "not" welding that overlap
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:36 AM
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Another thing to consider is the shape of the patch panel. Are you sure that it has the right bow in it? It looks good on the bottom, but are you sure that the top is not more than it is supposed to be? I would make some kind of template from a known good area and compare it before doing anything. If that panel has the right shape, then make sure that you cannot just push out on the original panel to make them match up. With the shape of those panels, it would be natural for them to curl in when cut.

Aaron
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:44 PM
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33 door bottom repair

The door patch panel came from Steve's Auto Restoration in Portland. I would think they should be very close to exact. The panel is 9 inches high - if it was 13 inches or so, it would blend well w/the original door contour. The drivers door is not as bad as far as being bowed inward.

Thanks to all for responding - some very interesting comments & tips !

Thanks,
Mike.
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:13 PM
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Keep in mind that the parts are made from samples of originals. The precision of the original can have a big effect on the reproductions. I see brand new OEM parts that don't fit right, so am never surprised when repro parts don't fit as nice as you want.

Aaron
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