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Old 06-10-2010, 09:25 PM
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Help with Oil Canning Quarter Panel

I've been trying to remove a dent in the quarter panel on my '55 Chevy. It's right in the middle of the panel behind the wheel opening. Someone had previously repaired it but not very well. It was kind of wavy so I've had to work the metal quite a bit. I've been using a slapper with a dolly behind (no issues with access to the back of the panel). I have then used a shrinking disk to take down some small high spots. I now have it pretty darn straight looking.

But, if I press the spot lightly with my hand, it will oil-can in (about an 8" circle) and stay that way. When popped out (it will stay that way too), the panel looks and feels straight.

I'm not that experienced with this kind of thing and need some advice or the tricks to solve this problem.

I hope I am being clear on how I am describing the problem.
Help will be appreciated.

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Last edited by roger1; 06-10-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 06-10-2010, 09:42 PM
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Here is what I have done and it does work. Using a stud gun without a stud in it make a series of welds in a spiral working from the outside of the area in a spiral towards the center. This shrinks the area and stiffens it up. another option is to use a shrinking disk. The stud gun method has worked for me but I don't have much experience with the shrinking disc. Hope this helps.

Kurt
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:15 AM
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"It's right in the middle of the panel behind the wheel opening. Someone had previously repaired it but not very well."

the panel is held to the car with flanges all around, when you dent the panel, it pulls in on all the flanges. they need to be pulled back to where they should be. You may need to pull down on the wheel opening OR tap it back up with a rubber hammer when the oil can is popped out, you will see which way as you do it. The panel is still stressed but I can't see it from here, you will have to try both up & down and watch the result, just go easy until you figure which way to go with it.

Last edited by oldBodyman; 06-11-2010 at 08:16 AM. Reason: spell check
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:36 AM
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oldbodyman , that is the first real old school knowledge i have seen here. i makes me happy to know there is a real bodyman on here that understands how a dent happens and how to fix it .............. thank you
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldBodyman
the panel is held to the car with flanges all around, when you dent the panel, it pulls in on all the flanges. they need to be pulled back to where they should be.
No flanges even remotely close to this area on a TriFive quarter.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:07 AM
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roger, the qrt is one piece attached to the hull. if the car is hit in front of the wheel well it pulls the jamb back. if it is hit behind the wheel it can pull the tail light in. you have to look at damage and see how it happened and where it went or came from . it may stretch the metal but it also can pull metal in . if you have done a lot of hammer work it is stretched and just needs some more shrinking.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:19 AM
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oldbodyman is on the right track. You may be able to stop the oilcanning by tapping around the inside of the wheel opening. Easy does it you don't want to make more damage. Hopefully Shines advice will work first. A torch and some shrinking may be the last resort.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:42 AM
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your shrinking disc should pull it tight .
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:58 PM
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All sound advise but you could also shrink it using the mig welder. Just make a few small spot welds starting from the center and leading out in a spiral. Cool each spot weld with the air hose or a rag soaked in water, grind them down smooth, dolly as needed and the oil can will be gone.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shine
your shrinking disc should pull it tight .
I'll give it shot tomorrow. Only thing is that the pressure from the disk pushes the oil can in. Ain't that a catch-22.

I'll keep messing with it until I get it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 07:27 AM
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This might help:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnvcqbAh78g

John
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Old 06-12-2010, 08:24 AM
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oil can trivia

69 or 70 Torino fastbacks built in Atlanta used to get an oil can in the roof after they came out of the paint ovens. their factory fix was to insert a wedge made from clear no knot california redwood. when the roof was welded on and leave it there.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:55 AM
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"oldbodyman , that is the first real old school knowledge i have seen here. i makes me happy to know there is a real bodyman on here that understands how a dent happens and how to fix it .............. thank you"

Thanks, it IS nice to be appreciated.
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldBodyman
Thanks, it IS nice to be appreciated.
Thanks for the sound advice OBM. I'm getting this, but very slowly and it is a learning process for me. I just solved another oil canning issue and am going to go back to the one on the rear of the quarter now. I guess you've never worked on one of these babies before (its a '55 hardtop, btw). The quarters are one huge piece of sheetmetal. No flanges to have to straighten or pull is a plus. But it is also a negative since there is not much to go by for knowing when it straight except for your eyeballs and touch.

I think I've found a little trick for the oil canning. If you pop it in, then push the panel all around the outside of area a few inches, you can find a place or 2 that will relieve the metal and pop out the oil can. If you then shrink a little in those areas and re-test, it will start to fix the issue.
I think that's what the guy was doing in that YouTube video that John posted a link to (thanks, John).
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:08 PM
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Hi Roger,

That was me in the youtube video : ) Here is something I wrote a few years ago about oilcans:

First, make sure that you are reading the panel correctly. You must get the contours right to see where the metal needs to be before addressing the oilcan. This means using a template of the contour up and down as well one side to side, or front to back. Otherwise you may be working on smoothing before you have the metal where it is supposed to be. It can be as simple as bumping the metal out from behind with a dolly.

What helped me work with oil canned panels is to address the perimeter of the panel first, and work your way into the middle. Think about the crown in the metal (both directions), and the smoothness of the surface working together. You must make the panel smooth to read it. If this means making it have a little too much crown in it, so be it. You can easily shrink it back down. The crown a panel has puts just the right amount of tension in it to hold it in place without being so floppy as to pop in and out. Try pushing in on various spots around the perimeter of the area with your thumb while popping the oil can in and out. Once you find a spot that helps stop the oil can popping, check this small area for smoothness. You may need to hammer and dolly to get it back to a smooth but slightly high condition, then shrink to get the tension just right. There may be several areas that need this attention. It is easy to overlook a spot that is affecting the panel and spend too much time playing with the oil can itself. You can also try pushing out instead of in at various spots on the panel to see the effect on the oil can. If you are going to use a torch to shrink, try heating the metal to less than blue heat blue (no color change) certainly not red. It will shrink with very little or no hammering, and stay a bit more workable than metal that is heated to red. A shrinking disc is the best way to shrink an over-stretched panel because it heats just the high spots without over-heating them. You can stretch with the hammer and dolly and shrink with the disc many times without damage to your panel until you get it right. This allows you to free yourself from worrying about over use of the hammer and dolly which can keep you from getting the job done.


John
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