I'm glad brian brought up the backing plate butt weld ....the plug welds are important for strength,I think of them as the whole job the actual butt weld would be more cosmetic then structural..it gets all it strength from the plug weld. a sleeve is much better than no sleeve and a plug welded sleeve is how I've always done it , for the strongest joint and easier job ....One other thing about using the plugs,Punch the holes and use some drill screws (through the plug hole) to fasten everything down and draw the two pieces of metal together tight for a better weld that that wont blow through ...(the tighter the backing plate is to the skin the better the weld will be...The backing plate also absorbs a lot of heat but I always use a wet rag or towel about two inches away from the weld on both sides to absorb even more heat .
As faras the front pillars go I would use an 1/8 ' rod to determine the radius and make a nice curve and re make a whole new edge and pinch weld. Its only metal , you can make it do anything you want.so anything you can think up can be done.I wouldnt sweat the front pillars right now save them for last so you can concentrate on only them...That long roof seam will be a chanenge once thats done you'll feel like superman..and attact the pillars with a new vigor.
On that long seam, insted of a backing plate and a filler piece,I would use one piece of steel,(more like a flanged backing plate) ora (filler) with flanged edges) with plug welds in the flange,Plugs welded from inside the cab and lots of drill screws (through the plug holes)to hold it all in place before and during welding.when you pull a scew out to do a plug weld the hole the screw made is filled with weld...
I hope we havent overloaded you with information ,just trying to let you know all your options
Last edited by deadbodyman; 10-31-2010 at 08:12 AM.