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Old 11-30-2005, 06:13 PM
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spot weld

I just my first real bodyshop job last monday. My project is a early 80's bronco. I'm R/R both quarter panels. I was told a trick on finding the factory spot welds by one of the other techs. He said use a torch to burn away the factory paint and primer and then brush the area with a wire brush. The tip worked out great, but I was wondering are there other tips/tricks on finding these things faster. This is a fast pace shop, and I'd like to keep up. So far they are quite impressed with my work. I'm actually surprised my self since I've only did a few cars as a hobby and most of that was from asking ya'll questions like this. If you can give me all the tips and tricks I'd appreciate it.


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Old 11-30-2005, 08:48 PM
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Good for you taking a shot at something you like to do anyway. Best advice is going to be the usual show up on time and do the best you can with whats in front of you.
If you can get some pictures of your projects in progress everyone here will surely help where they can .
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

When changing a panel , have a look first at the new panel when posssible to see where/how it attaches ,,then you'll have a idea where to cut or find the hidden bolts..
Sometimes you can cut all but the strip that has the welds on it away with a air chisel and then roll the last bit off with vise grips or pliers like a old stlye sardine can chiseling as you go ...
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Old 11-30-2005, 08:58 PM
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Corey, I was taught years ago to rub a piece of sandpaper over the pichweld areas to highlight the spotwelds. Believe me though, after you do this for awhile the spotwelds no longer become hidden-you'll see them more easily as time goes on. Make sure you've got good lighting, good ear and eye protection and also wear a dustmask all day long. If you're not killing your ears and lungs your productivity will go up bigtime. Long exposure to loud noise levels will drain you.

An air chisel can really speed up production as well, but can also make a big mess until you learn how to use it properly. If you've got a sharp, thin, wide chisel bit and good variable trigger control many pieces of sheetmetal can be removed quick and clean. Be forewarned though- if not used properly an airchisel will destroy sheetmetal with ease. Bob
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Old 11-30-2005, 09:21 PM
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My method of finding spotwelds varies by what they are coated with. Sometimes they are covered with sealer and undercoat which necessitates the use of a scraper then a wire wheel. if the spots are simply in a painted area, sometimes something as simple as glass cleaner and a rag will be enough to reveal the welds quite well. Sometimes an in-between case will just need a wire wheel. As baddbob says, good lighting really helps. I avoid the use of the torch except when it's really needed, since burning paint etc. releases toxic fumes, so you need a real respirator to do this, not just a dust mask, and I like to save my respirator "hours" for painting. Usually I will use a panel ripper like the one shown second to left here to cut away the major portion of the panel except the pinch weld. Then the spot welds can be attacked with various methods. I'm sure each of us has our favorite. Welcome to "the biz"!

Last edited by crashtech; 11-30-2005 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:51 AM
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One of the best ways to learn this biz is to watch the people around you. I have found that most good techs are more than willing to help a "newbe". One tip though. Don't ask one for advise, then go right to another and ask them the same question. Your information source will dry up fast.

Many if not most shops will have a "butcher" in them. They will try to weed them out, but it may take a while. The other more experienced techs will know who that is. Avoid the "butcher" as much as you can.

I know that you got into this biz with the hopes of making good money. Most all of the shops in this area pay commission on the hours on the estimate. That means the more hours you turn, the more you'll make. I try to turn as many hours as I can, but the most important thing to me is the quality of the work. Some will say that I am slow, but I have been recommended for 2 jobs because I am slow, but thorough. If a car comes back with a problem, you will be working on it for free that time. The customer may also be upset because there is a problem, and cost more work. Doing it right the first time will reduce that problem, and get you a good reputation. There is an old saying in racing, "sometimes you have to go slow to go fast".

Good luck with the career. It gives a great feeling at the end of the day when you can look back and say, "I did that, and it looks great".

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Old 12-01-2005, 11:18 AM
Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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Originally Posted by adtkart
One tip though. Don't ask one for advise, then go right to another and ask them the same question. Your information source will dry up fast. Aaron
Oh my God I HATE THAT. I have an apprentice that I mentor, the guy will ask every friggin guy in the shop and do "something" that one of them says. Even after a couple of the best techs in the shop tell him another way! Then wonders why I don't want to help him as much as I use to do.

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Old 12-02-2005, 03:53 AM
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Brian, When someone asks me a question, I feel that they value my knowledge and experience. When they then go to someone else with the same question, I feel like they either don't trust me, or are testing me. In this job your abilities and knowledge are constantly tested with the jobs you do.

If you want my advise, ask for it, and I'll give it. If you don't trust my advise, don't bother me! We had a "junior" tech the other day complaining that our "most senior" tech knows alot, but won't share his knowledge. the "junior" tech gets that treatment for just that reason.

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