Quarter Panel Patch
Today I tack welded on my lower quarter patch panels and completed my outer rocker panels for my 49 chevy fleetline. I wanted to thank guys like MartinS, Randy Ferguson, BarryK, Troy and others for the help. Your ideas were very helpful and I am very pleased with the outcome so far with one exception. The guy who did some bodywork before me used a torch to do some welding, and I say torch for a reason. He must have used a cutting tip to braze with. There were massive areas of heat warpage and large areas of brazing pools with about 5lbs of filler per fender. I was so pissed and going at it that I did not wear a mask and I am still choking!:spank:
Anyway, I managed to cut out most of the really bad areas and replace them with the patch panels. On the area I thought would be the toughest, (the lower with the round fender hump) they turned out great, I mean really great. Take a straight edge, and maybe a skim of filler is all that will be needed, not much if any light passing through that straight edge at this point. I managed to get most of the previous bodymans warpage out using Randys suggested method, heck it almost felt like being at work just dollying away. Here is the kicker though. On a 49 chevy rear fender.(no digital..damn) there is a large section above and around the wheel wells that is fairly flat. It had massive amounts of filler and bad brazing warpage and some rust through, so here I go with another premade (Made-Rite) patch panel. I cut the area square to about 6" above the wheel opening and about 2 feet long(Used the patch panel as a template and marked it with a sharp scribe). So far so good, but the wheelwell is close to the inner side of the fender at the long cut seam. I manage to finally get the panel fairly lined up with some challenges. It went in with a bit of tension, so I trimmed it in. It did not fit as well as the others, as they were dead on. On this patch, I had tight areas to clean up and a couple of gaps up to maybe a 1/16". When I went along and tacked it in, tacks about every inch, I then checked in all directions with a straight edge. What I found was if you turn the straighedge vertically, I have a gap that goes from 1/8" to 3/16 of an inch that is deepest at the tack seam, OUCH!!!!! So, I look at it to see if I can work it and weld it and maybe dolly it flatter afterward, (no solid welding done yet). The problem is that the factory wheel well is right in the way so I cannot work it from the backside! At this point, the rocker is welded solid (not much of an issue) and the lower and upper quarter panel patch panels are all tacked together pretty good. The lower looks great, but the upper (wheel well opening) is my problem. How do I work it flat or flatter if I cannot get to back side to dolly it. There is about 2 inches of clearance between the wheel well and the fender on the inside. By the way these wheel wells are welded to the trunk and I think the gap is for body movement as it there is a large rubber type of gasket for sealing between the wheel well and inner side of fender and trunk.
I am using a mig welder and I do not think it is as much welding heat issue as something else. When I cut the original, it kind of seems to go inward toward the wheel from how it appears. Any ideas on how to correct this or flatten? I was almost thinking of cutting it out and maybe use panel adhesive on the top of the patch panel and weld the edges toward the bottom. I have some 3M 8115. But then how would I get a good clamp with maybe 2 inches of clearance not to mention how would I get clamps around everything. Kind of stuck and looking for ideas on this one. I really hate to cut it out as it seems to kind of get out of shape when you recut them. By the way, I have been using an air body saw and 3" angle grinder to do much of the work. The only other thing I could think of that gave me the problem was my annoying know it all neighbor who was giving instruction from behind me for about an hour. Of course this is the same guy who welds everything with a stick welder.:smash: Thanks in advance for any ideas.
You have to be resourceful and use a tool that will snake in behind the weld seam to give you the resistance from behind. When working a dent or weld, you shouldn't need to do any tapping from the backside. On a large dent, you can, but for the most part, you use the mass of the dolly to provide the resistance needed when tapping the panel from the face side. This will cause the metal to move outward, toward you as you hammer on it. In this case, if you can get something behind there that will resist the blows, the metal will move where you want it. Use your 3" cut-off wheel to remove all the proud weld bead except for just a few thousandths. The weld (tack) should only be very slightly above the surface of the surrounding metal. Place a dolly on the back side and gently tap with a fairly flat faced hammer, or better yet, a slapper. You will do this only on the tack welds. DO NOT work outside of the heat affected zone, only the tacks. In doing so, you will find that the sunken metal will quickly rise toward you and the slightly proud tack will be almost eliminated, as you will be cold forging it into the surrounding metal. This will make for a very strong weld seam. In fact, if it's done properly, it will just as strong as if there were never a joint there. It will be as one solid piece of sheetmetal. This cannot be accomplished with lap welding and especially not with adhesives. The adhesives on the market today are great, in their place, but this isn't one of them. I can assure you, that you will see the seam if you go the glue route. It may not show up immediately, but it will show up. Too many variables to deal with. Butt welding is the only way to fly when replacing exterior body panels if you want a high quality repair. All other methods are sub standard. This will get you started. If you get into any more trouble, let us know. Also, read the "Metalfinishing, Let's talk about it" thread for more info. The message I posted on mig welding the '39 Ford rear fender should give you the information needed to do this.
Metalshaping & Kustom Paint
Randy, you are convincing me :) When I read Rons post my first thought was pulling the low spot up, that was until I read your response. Ron "could" pull it up and get going with some filler. But there is ALWAYS a way to work it up properly as you have pointed out I guess.
I was thinking, I commonly cut an "access hole" in the rear to push out things with no access, this would be an option, you think?
If you CAN'T get behind do to limited tools, using a die grinder and a cut off wheel cut an access hole in the wheel well. After your outer quarter looks good weld it back in. Unless you are doing a full on show car where the wheel wells are perfect, leaving the weld a little after welding the piece back in wouldn't be a crime. :)
And Ron, PLEASE where the particle mask and eye protection. There are a LOT of guys who can't breath or see today because they "just had a little more work to do". Please, do it. When you are eighty and you are told you are dieing from bad lungs, it is to late to turn back and put them on. :welcome:
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