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Old 12-26-2007, 11:04 PM
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Did I weld myself into a corner?

OK, here's the backstory...
About 10 years ago, a drunk driver rear-ended my dad in his MG Midget. It was about a 30 MPH speed differential accident that took out the driver's rear quarter of the car. Since then the car has been sitting on his back porch looking sadly out at the world, so this year while visiting for christmas I brought my old body tools along and went to town.

The brakelight area was mashed, and the fender had a tear which extended from the brakelight flange forward about 11 or 12". The metal all around the tear was peeled and bent out of shape, but aside from that the damage was actually minimal.

To date, I've straightened and smoothed the bent up metal and seam welded the tear back together. At this point there is a large blister (from the brakelight flange forward about to the front edge of the tear) due to the stretched metal, and the brakelight flange is not perfectly shaped yet. All that I can handle.

....OK, where I'm running into trouble is that if I lay a straight edge across the brakelight flange, the outer edge of the flange is roughly 1/4" too far forward still, so if I were to leave it, the brakelight would mount crooked... I THINK that if I can find the right technique, that I can flatten the blister in the panel and push that metal back towards the brakelight flange to move it to the proper position. But I'm out of skill here and need a little advice. If anybody can tell me how to go about flattening a high spot and moving the metal in a specific direction, I'll be forever in your debt!

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Old 12-26-2007, 11:50 PM
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Tailight flange

Two things I question here are how a 30mph impact doesn't hurt an MG worse, and how there is excess metal. In most occasions you would have a tougher time getting the metal close to the original length, so you might check to see that the 1/4 panel isn't a little lower than the other side. That may mean that the crown is a little down, giving you the extra length. Also, make sure the outward bulge of the 1/4 panel matches the other side, and that there are no buckles in the floor rails. Hope this helps. Any questions, just holler back.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:24 AM
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Regarding the amount of damage.... All I can say is that the brits used real metal in these cars. (Also, it was a glancing blow to just the corner of the car... Right front to left rear.) The panels are made out of heavy gauge steel and are surprisingly strong. If you look carefully inside the fender, there's a lot of bracing thats triangulated with additional braces at every opportunity..... Reportedly the other car (an old grand am or berretta) was immobilized with suspension damage, but the damage to the MG is cosmetic only.

The fenders are braced internally and the height of the damaged fender looks good, but the outward bulge of the damaged fender is greater than the other side (that's the blister I was referring to. Sorry if the language wasn't too descriptive). This bulge area intercepts the brakelight flange, which is also slightly more bulged than the other side. What I have to do is to hopefully translate that bulge back into a little bit of additional length at the brakelight flange.

I've robbed an image from google just to show the rear fender properly so you can see what the damaged area is supposed to look like.



Here's a photo of the damage



I think thay you can probably see what's stretched from this photo. Where the problem lies is that while the top edge of the brake light flange is about right, the outer flange is about 3/16" too far forward at the bottom, outside corner. I started out using a porta-power to pull the metal back into rough shape, but I really can't use it for to move the brakelight flange very well.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:00 AM
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that damage needs to be pulled. The metal is bowed on the 1/4 as you can see a large bow at the lower belt line in the picture. Minor pulls can be done with come alongs and Good pull clamps - Not c clamps from HD or Lowes. You will need to anchor the car in front dont use the suspension or bumper you need it hooked to the frame,to a post or pole and pull the rear 1/4 from another till you get it where you need it.
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Old 12-27-2007, 12:29 PM
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I was afraid that would be the case. I can probably handle that, but it means moving the car, which is going to be a lot of work. It's in storage on the back porch with a lot of other items right now. Just getting it into the garage will be a few hours work but I guess that's the next step.

Thanks, and by the way do you have any decent photos of the pull clamps in action? I'll do some searching a little later, but I really don't have a lot of time to fiddle on the computer. I've got everything else I need, but haven't had to do anything but the most rudimentary pulling in the past; so a photo-tutorial would be a wonderful help.
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Old 12-27-2007, 07:44 PM
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i would cut that out, and weld in a good section.
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Old 12-27-2007, 08:21 PM
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hal, you really need to trailer that thing up and take it to a
frame shop. a 30mph hit is pretty hard. there are bound to
be other problems. by the time you buy proper clamps and
chains and portapower and rig up something to pull it from.
the frame shop will be cheap.
stan g.
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Old 12-27-2007, 09:18 PM
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You have a lot of stretched metal there but with the right technique and enough time you can definately save that quarter panel. A good selection of clamps would be nice but if they aren't available there's another trick that will work to attach a pull on the damage. Find yourself some scrap 16 guage steel sheetmetal and cut off a piece that is the height of that tail lamp pocket. Tack weld the sheetmetal to the very outer edge of that lamp pocket flange so the sheetmetal is pointing rearward off the pocket, now attach a chain to that sheetmetal with a few bolts so when you pull on the chain it pulls on the sheetmetal. Pulling force can be as simple as a come-a-long hand winch attached to a tree or anything similar. Put some pressure on the pull and leave it on while you hammer the wrinkles out of the damaged area. As you work the wrinkles out, that pocket will pull back into position. The stretched area on the side of the quarter is going to take some work and it looks bad enough that I know some of it isn't going to shrink down enough. You'll hammer and dolly it back to shape but there'll be to much stretch for the panel to take it's original shape. One option it to cut an X through the stretched area and remove some metal then weld it back up, or section out the really bad stuff and make a new piece to take it's place. Plan on doing some shrinking to get this back to the right contout. When your pull is done just take a cutoff wheel and trim that pull plate off then grind your welds down. Take your time, look at all the damage-it needs to come out in the exact opposite direction of the force that pushed it in.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:14 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone... Unfortunately a frame shop is going to be out of the question due to the general lack of interest in putting any real money into the car. It's a time-only investment for the most part. FWIW though, The car has been gone through and it really is structurally sound and square. It was also driven about 1200 miles after the crash (to complete the road trip it had just started) prior to being put away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baddbob
A good selection of clamps would be nice but if they aren't available there's another trick that will work to attach a pull on the damage. Find yourself some scrap 16 guage steel sheetmetal and cut off a piece that is the height of that tail lamp pocket. Tack weld the sheetmetal to the very outer edge of that lamp pocket flange so the sheetmetal is pointing rearward off the pocket, now attach a chain to that sheetmetal with a few bolts so when you pull on the chain it pulls on the sheetmetal.
We actually came up with a similar solution to that. We cut a 1/4" steel plate the profile of the outer half of the brakelight area. That will get tack welded in behind the lamp pocket and the pulling tool can be attached to that. The biggest challenge now is finding two solid anchors the right distance apart.

Just looking at the profile of the fender, I agree that there's a LOT of shrinking to do here. I also think that I can handle it with my shrinking disc. But thanks for the X idea. If need be, I'll give that a try. I've honestly had pretty good luck with the shrinking disc, and I can say that my skills with it leave something to be desired in comparison to some of the work I've seen.

We actually considered welding in a new section for the fender. Even managed to locate the new section in good condition (not easy to do), but to really do the patch right looks like it would probably be no less work than repairing the damaged metal. I did a similar section replacement on my Mercedes, and to get things just right took far longer than I had expected going into the job. Then I used the damaged Mercedes panel as a practice panel to learn how to use my shrinking disc and I got results nearly as good in about 1/5 the time. Now I'm trying to do as much metal finishing as I can just so that I can develop some level of competency at it....
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:21 PM
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As an aside, the wreck the car was involved in happened on the freeway. Dad was driving along at about 4 AM on his way out of state for a seminar when a drunk came up behind him at about 90 and swerved at the last minute, clipping his car. Luckily he can outdrive me to this day and was able to counter-steer out of the spin that the other car put him in and avoid hitting the median barrier.

The drunk was uninsured and poor enough that the insurance company chose not to go after him. He got off with a ticket for reckless driving because he claimed to be too injured to stand and perform a sobriety test for the police officer.... but he refused medical help. Dunno why the cop bought the story, but he did.
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Old 12-27-2007, 10:42 PM
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re did i weld myself into a corner

I am fairly new to this site but i have done body work for years. I have read the other guys replies and it is all good advise. An old trick that was shown to me years ago was when you need to pull on some thing like what your neeeding to do and do not have access to a frame machine or the clamps and i willing to bet you don't have access to MO-Clamps commonly used on frame machines you can use the bung out of the top of a drum. Take any common old steel drum 55, 35 what ever you can find and cut the top out of it the part that had the cap screwed into it is called the bung. cut the top out trim it to fit what you need to pull and tack it on then run a chain or hook through the bung and pull as much as you want. you will rip it from what ever it is welded to before you will damage the bung. It is a poormans way of pulling on a body part that has been mangled as is the quarter of your car. Just a cheap Idea you could use.
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:05 AM
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Quote:
We actually considered welding in a new section for the fender. Even managed to locate the new section in good condition (not easy to do), but to really do the patch right looks like it would probably be no less work than repairing the damaged metal.
That would be my choice. With what you have and the amount the metal is stretched, by the time you pull it back out, weld it up, shrink it down, etc, etc, you would be way further ahead to cut it out and put in a new panel. Even if you did not have a new panel, I would cut it out and rough it back into shape, then reweld it in.
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Old 01-02-2008, 01:45 PM
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Well, for anybody interested, here's the resolution.....

I couldn't convince dad to just replace the rear quarter, or to pull the car off the back porch and move it to a place where we could clamp it down and pull the fender. Since it's his car that was the end of those ideas. So out came the 15 lb slide hammer and with a lot of work and the right swear words, we were able to move the lamp pocket and the back edge of the fender back out to it's original position. I ran out of time to do more before leaving town though, so the last of the smoothing and shrinking will have to wait till my next visit.

At this point it looks like smooth sailing (hopefully I didn't just jinx the job by saying that), with just the smoothing, grinding down of the weld, and shrinking of the panel to complete. Right now there's a soccer ball sized patch of the rear quarter panel (exactly where the original damage was) which is blistered out a maximum of about 3/8". I should be able to shrink that back with no major difficulties though. There's also a small crease just over the fender well which I'll need to pop out at a later date, but I have no concers about that. I think that the repair to the lamp pocket will be as good as or better than the original work. Due to poor welds there was a surprising amount of mud around that area right from the factory.

Thanks for all the advice everybody. Even though we ended up going a different route, I really appreciate the help.
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