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Old 04-24-2005, 03:12 PM
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butting or overlaping panels

we cut out some panels on my 74 camaro the other day and we was wondering what would be the best way to weld the new ones in. My dad and i don't have much experience with body work, but we would be able to weld in the new ones. is one way better than the other or is just personal perference? thanks for any info anybody can give us
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Old 04-24-2005, 03:54 PM
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Hi, Harbor frieght has a flange tool for about 40.00 that will flange the panel or punch holes for spot welds. It works pretty good. I do paint and body as a hobby but I'm a welder by trade. An overlap will provide more strength and reduce the chance of welds cracking.
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Old 04-24-2005, 04:54 PM
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Craftsmanship

The real artisans butt weld the panels..check posts by Randy Ferguson or go to http://www.metalmeet.com and get some tips on how to fit and weld panels...Might as well learn the good way now for future projects...

OMT
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Old 04-24-2005, 08:23 PM
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i agree with OMT. i am not a professional welder by any means but have always been taught when doing bodywork to butt weld the seams. why, i'm not sure but i can imagine that an overlap joint will be a nice area to hold moisture and rust out.
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Old 04-24-2005, 08:28 PM
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Overlapping the metal may be easier to weld, and make that area stronger, BUT it will also trap moisture which will lead to rust.
Butt welding the panels isn't that hard. Just take your time and cut out and fit the patch panel so that there is no space or a small gap between. The mig wire can fill small gaps, especially if a copper plate is used to back up the metal.
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Old 04-24-2005, 09:36 PM
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If done properly, a butt weld is stronger, will last the life of the parent metal and will not show a line where panels overlap. Search the forum for other posts I've made on this topic for more info.

Randy Ferguson
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:48 AM
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You guys are probably right about butting body panels being the perferred method. Considering the possibility of trapping water. But you will never convince me that a butt joint is stronger than a lap joint!
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Old 04-25-2005, 08:32 AM
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There is no doubt about it, a butt weld is the way to go if you want to join two pieces of metal for an invisible joint.

The debate of lap over butt has gone on and on and on. I look at it exactly the same as using filler. Metal finishing is better than using plastic filler, however it is not "better" for every person or every job.

There has not been a single butt weld, not one single butt weld in 99.9 of automobiles made anywhere in the world in the past fifty years!

That 74 Camaro is made up of hundreds of lap type welds, there is not one single butt weld on it. So one more isn't going to be any more moisture collecting, ugly or what ever than the rest of the hundreds of welds it is made up of.

I much rather see nice lap welds done by a guy for his first projects than for him to be all stressed out trying to butt weld.

Now, before someone takes this the wrong way, PLEASE understand my point.

If you want to learn the best way, learn to butt weld and do a perfect job. If this is one of the few cars you will do and you want to be able to move on and get the car done, lap welds will get done faster. They are recommended by all organizations "looking over" the autobody industry as the way to join to panels. Not because it is the best, but because the guy doing it is WAY more likely to make a strong, quality joint.

If everyone could weld a flawless butt weld, that would be the standard in other words.

Brian
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:54 AM
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I butt welded my Mustang's

If you'd like to see how I did it ( and I NEVER did it before!) chk my website.
www.longbros.com/richjr
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:22 PM
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The Factory Way

Brian is right, the factory laps everything:
  • Because they mostly do automated spot welding, not that much mig/tig/arc
  • When they do mig/tig/arc, they want to do it fast (e.g. 60 seconds)
  • The people doing it are concerned about getting out in 8 hours more than looks.

I recently did a butt weld section replacement, my first, and it wasn't great but I learned something and the next will be better.

So I would butt weld if I was willing to take the time to get it right. But the factory makes lap joints and so can you if you want. There is no way you can do butt welds on a production basis, it requires time and attention that you just can't get dozens or hundreds of people to do.......
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:28 PM
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thanks for all of the info, i think we might go with doing a butt weld but ill have to talk it over with my dad
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:08 PM
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Yes the factory used lap joints all over this car when it was constructed but they are on the edges of the panels except where the sail panel joins the roof. Lap joints will work but you need to pay close attention to the void left between the two layers of metal-this is the area most people forget about long after the finishing work is done and paint is applied. Later rust forms and expands and pops showing the seam for all to see. The use of weld through coatings prior to welding helps just a little bit, a good cavity wax spray can sometimes seal the seam by filling the void with a rust preventative coating. Usually the amount of metal and stress from the lap joint will show the seam after the car experiences a few good heat cycles in the hot summer sun- this can be a nightmare on a black car.

For best results-butt weld your patches in and grind the welds down as close to perfectly flush as possible. Fitting the panel is the single most important step with a butt welded patch-make it fit as close to perfect as possible with no stress- the patch should not have to be contorted and clamped hard into position to make it fit. Once the fit is good tack weld it in place all around the perimeter, then continue tacking untill it is completely welded, grind your welds and inspect, tack weld any areas that were missed. A hammer and dolly or pry bar can be usually used to make any slight adjustments needed during the welding process if necessay. Make sure all your weld areas are perfectly clean prior to any welding- unclean metal is a major cause of welding blowthrough with a mig. Anybody that can lap joint a patch in can definately butt weld with just a little more effort during the fitting stage IMO. Butt welded joints are easy to finish off on the front and also the backsides where accessable, they have no voids to hold moisture and the backsides can be prepped for primer easily.

Just about every factory lap joint I have ever taken apart has had some degree of corrosion-even the factory had trouble treating these areas. Ramble, ramble, JMO's Bob
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:55 PM
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Bob,
You can ramble ANYTIME,ALL THE TIME.

Just get some 18-20ga scrap and PRACTICE. If an idiot like me can do it ANYONE can.
It helps to start on the new and stitch up to the old metal generally.
An auto darking type helmet with a delay "off" helps ALOT...
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:58 PM
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Bob, all very good points.

Brian
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Old 04-26-2005, 03:39 AM
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I'm convinced to try a butt joint next time. Welding it isn't the problem, fitting it is obviously the most important part and time consuming.
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