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Old 01-03-2008, 04:44 PM
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limits of doing body work in cold weather

hi
i am new here, and have a milion questions about body work . i personally am an amature , just been learning this by myself , with a dozen or so jobs that came out good , ranging from cars to partial repairs to a motorcycle...... ect ect. i have a project that was on hold for some 3yrs and now i can get back into working on this car. i do have apx 10 yrs working in dealerships as a tech but this body work stuff is at times difficult and i have no one to point me the right way most of the time.

so my question is what are the limits of body working in cold weather? i am closing on a home in 2 months with a bigger garage and more heat but im stuck in this one for a while. is it ok to apply bondo in a real cold garage? warm the peices up? , whats the limit of spraying any primer ? can i get by doing some other technique? i dont want to just stand by , i want to work on this car its been so long , can anyone give me any advice?

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:29 PM
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Not a good idea all the way around. Most products depend on temperature for proper crosslinking and cure, and are designed to be used in a certain temperature range.
. Plastic filler should not be applyed over a cold surface or metal. Besides being slow to cure and remaining tacky for a long time It could lead to a poor bond, trapping of solvents in the resin or condensation. Prime or paint over too soon, and could end up with staining, mapping, sandscratches appearing.. Add excess hardener to try to speed up the cure, and can lead to pinholing, and excess harder can make polyester resin brittle. You should at least warm the metal your applying filler to, and if you can, keep some heat on it for a little while after applying.
Some products like epoxy primer can actually go dormant in too cold of temperatues, then never properly cure. Epoxy should have metal temps above 60 and ability to maintain it for around 4 or more hours afterwards.
Some products may eventually cure when brought into warmer temperatures and be okay, but could also mean not haveing a fully cured product. Using products over a cold surface and in cold temps is not a real good ideas, and can be a recipe for failure.
Surface temperature and keeping the product warm whats important, not the temperature of the shop. Some penny pinching owners like to keep the shop cold, or have you come into a freezing shop in the morning.

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:58 PM
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re: limits of doing body work in cold weather

Iv been doing my body work for the last 5 or so years in my cold garage. I use two 500 watt lights that i put about 12" away from the area that im working, mix and apply my bondo and then leave the lights on for another 2 or 3 hours. Have never had a bondo problem yet. Keep the bondo no more than 1/8" thick. I try for about 1/16", but you need to do alot of metal work to get it as dent free as you can. I do have a wood stove in my garage, but only use it on weekends when my brother is in the shop with me, as im almost blind and am scared of having a fire. But yes you can do it with heat lamps. Im not a pro so some may not agree with me, but i know it works for me. My Model T had alot of body work i did on it, and its still in the same condition today as it was 4 years ago and no cracks anywhere. But i may have been lucky all these years, so get more info from some of the others on this site as they are good and know much more than i do. But give it a try on some scrap sheet metal. You will like a heated garage when the day comes. Good luck on your project, and get us some photos posted of it. Start you a journal.

Last edited by Mrwood; 01-03-2008 at 09:01 PM. Reason: left out words
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Old 01-05-2008, 02:08 AM
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It depends on what your car needs done, but I'd stay away from bondo or finishing any exterior panels. Leave that until summer.

I'm in a similiar boat myself...but I don't even have a garage! AND it rains for 4-5 months out of the year! Vancouver Island, BC Canada.

My 69' El Camino rust bucket needs ALOT of work...the entire car must be stripped to bare metal; so, I've been grinding away at the interior metal (I'm almost done), rust converting it (the damp atmosphere actually helps) heating it up with lamps, spray bombing it with Dupont etching primer, then applying another coat of cheaper primer. I will sand all this down in summer and spray a proper 2 part epoxy primer when the weather heats up.

I started with the interior ceiling and made my way down around all the interior metal to the floor. I will continue to the engine bay soon, and then lift the body and start the underside. I will get a bit of surface rust in some areas, but again, I will be re-sanding and priming, so it's not much of a bother really.

I work ALOT in summer, so I have to do what I can now while I have the time off work. It may not be the best way, but it's better than not at all.

Don't forget, you can always rebuild you dash, interior, suspension etc while you wait for summer.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:54 AM
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The most important thing to remember if you are painting in cold conditions.

Preheat the metal with lamps or by letting the car set 3-4 hours with normal heat running, be it a space heater of some sort.
Remember unless you are applying heat right on the cold metal just pulling a 45 degrees metal car in the garage or shop can take 3-4 hours for the metal to reach 65-70 degrees if the shop is 75.
Buy a Lazar temp gun, they are cheap and this will take the guess work out of the equation.

The very worse scenario for any product is have the shop 80 degrees and the metal temp 40-55, that is a long term blow up waiting to happen.

Preheat the metal, shut heat off and say for example paint the base, by the time your done with last coat the outside air may be 50 degrees, so watch flash times but metal temp is still warm. When done with base fire heat back up and let base set awhile.

Can be done with some thought ahead of time.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:46 AM
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Steve
The spec sheets will tell you the temp and humidity limitations of the products. Also be aware that even if the company says you can use it in a temp. range the products characteristics might change if you use it at the extreme end of the range.

For example the company I get my fast cure epoxy from tell me that I can use it above 40 degrees, but the laminate will take twice as long to cure than if it was at 60*. This will result in a much more flexible laminate which in most cases is not what I want.

Here are a few tips I wrote for a friend of mine a while ago about heating a garage, you might find something that you can use.

Some ways to save on time and money in the garage.

Two of the most obvious ways are insulate the ceiling and the door. I used the regular FG type insulation for the attic and foam boards (pink stuff) from Home Depot cut them up and placed them in the garage door panels. Hanging a heavy drop cloth across the door will also help.

If you heat the garage up only when you use it the next best thing you can do is insulate the floor (Unless of course you have hydroponic heating and a heated slab!! Ahh, luxury). The concrete slab has enormous thermal mass and you will waste time and money heating this up every time you want to work. A very good temporary way is to use corrugated cardboard taped down to the floor and covered with a drop cloth. Much more comfortable to stand and lie on too.

While the heat source may be electric, oil or gas (don't forget the carbon monoxide detector) - with conventional convection heaters itís the air that does all the work and circulates around the room heating everything up. I remove everything I am not using from the heated space; there will be a lot less work for the air to do. An empty room will heat up a lot quicker than a full one. The time it takes an object to heat up varies with itsí cross-section and conductivity, metal sheet is quick to heat, fiberglass is slower (especially a sandwich laminate), a gallon of water is very slow. Incidentally a gallon can of paint will take many hours to change temp. - much longer than say a stripped body, I keep all paint, resin, hardener etc. in my house at room temp. so they are ready all the time.

(If you turn of your heaters when you paint removing everything from the heated space could be a disadvantage. The objects that took time to absorb the heat, this includes the slab, when you were heating the room will now radiate their heat back into the room thus slowing the cooling process.)

If you place the heat source too close to the part being painted you will get large variations in temp. over the body. Let the air and convection/conduction do the work. Placing a thermometer under the car will give you a better idea of the actual temp. than hanging it on the wall 6 feet up in the air.

Radiant heaters are difficult to control, while ultimately they still will warm the air via the objects that they are aimed at, initially the part that faces the heat source will be warm but the back of the part and the air might not (spraying paint through cold air on to a warm part might cause problems). Check all areas that you are applying paint/filler/resin on with a gun to make sure there are no hot spots, especially on Fiberglass parts.

Remember the laws of Thermodynamics state it is impossible for two materials in contact with each other (in this case metal/fiberglass/plastic and air) to be different but constant temps, they will always find thermal equilibrium.
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:21 PM
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thank you everyone , i drive a truck now instead being a tech anymore, i was on a long run so forgive the long time to respond ,i actually read them 2 days ago. i guess that grey area to me if i can get away with some situations is just plain bad . i do have the spec sheets doanloaded from ppg . i guess i will read them more carefully and obey them more closely. i do have a laser temp gun also . they last time i shot anything was probably some work i did to the fenders , around september it was in the 60s out side . as for the bondo i am using rage extreme , i try to get any low spots out to the point where i cannot feel them with my hand or just barley . im am pretty sure thats not close to 1/4 to an 1/8 of an inch deep. this garage is heated with a electric air heater. i will take with me , but it really needs two of them to work good. i will definetly take steps to make my new garage easier to warm up . i didrun out and buy some of thoses lamps and i will take the steps neede to get that metal tempature to where it needs to be . lot of things i was not aware of but thanks for everyone clearing things up . feels good knowing some one will help me . i will get some pics when i close on my new home and start the move its just too crowded in there now . thanks again everyone , ill be back soon with more questions
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Old 01-09-2008, 05:55 PM
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re: limits of doing body work in cold weather

Sounds like your on your way. I do like the heat lamps, as they keep me going in cold weather. I also keep my bondo and hardner in my house so it is always at a good temp, and i dont mix alot at one time in the shop. I also have a small electric heater that i keep by the bondo in the shop so it does not get to cold on me, hard to mix if it is to stiff. Sounds like your working your metal to where you wont need alot of bondo, and that is good. Like i said this has always worked for me. Hurry up and get us some photos on here so we can see what you are doing.
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