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broncosbybart 01-24-2013 10:28 AM

Starting body work- help requested!!!
5 Attachment(s)
Now that I got your attention- thank you all for a great and informative website! This is my first post here- wanted to get some answers before I dig in too deep and get in over my head. BTW, found your site on another forum.

I am working on a 77 (early) Ford Bronco. It was a crawler for a while and has its share of scrapes, dings, and dents. I don't have much body work experience (other than piddling with it). After reading the info on the SPI paint forum about their epoxy, I'm considering using it. My plan is to sand to bare metal, pound some dings out, epoxy prime, fill, prime, then epoxy prime again before top coat. From their website, it sounds like not much (if any) sanding is required. Is this accurate? Also, can the epoxy be laid on the bare metal and left for a month or so before body work is done without changing that strategy?

A few questions. The body is dented. How close do I need to get it (how much bondo is good vs. bad)? Some of it was filled already and I've run across about 1/4" of it in spots.

Next, should I take it all to bare metal? Why or why not? I have been using aircraft paint stripper and then a DA with 100 grit. I'm concerned about the aircraft stripper screwing with the new paint. What is the best way to neutralize it? I am planning on using the water based SPI prep-sol.

I am planning on replacing this tail light bucket as it is dented and the metal behind it isn't straight. I'm not sure that it is able to be fixed (by me) without fixing the metal behind it and then welding a new bucket in place. Your thoughts?

Finally, I plan to do the mud work and priming here. I just have a few HF HVLP paint guns. Nothing fancy, nor do I have a way to keep the dust/gnats out of the finished product. Do most paint places make me use what they want, or can I bring paint/material to them? Not looking for something super fancy, nor will I spend 100's of hours on it. I do plan to try and get it pretty flat using a long board, but I don't really need it to be perfect. It will see trail use.

Oh, and who makes a good filler? I have used some that don't harden well, others that don't spread well, and I always seem to get air bubbles in it- my fault there. Do you guys mess with any sort of glazing compound/icing overtop of the bondo? Any tips are welcomed!!

broncosbybart 01-24-2013 10:33 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Here is another shot of that 1 tail light bucket. It is pushed both forward and in toward the tailgate. One fender was pretty clean and came out decent. It will need some attention though. The other fender had previous dent repair done, as did one door. The repairs still had about 1/4" of bondo over them. What to do...

Some more pics:

OneMoreTime 01-24-2013 10:59 AM

The big deal is being patient and being mindful of how the metal moves when pounding out dents. A shrinking disk can be your friend when try to get those last little dents out..As far as leaving it in epoxy until you get aroudn to painting we do that all the time. I shoot for no more than a 1/16 fill and use Marson Platinum filler when I need to..Just me as otheres may have thier input..


tech69 01-24-2013 11:15 AM

I totally agree. understanding how metal reacts is key. i see way to many guys coating stuff then getting out their pecking hammer after each's not guide coat! or they'll find a stretch and shtink it before working dents out properly, which will usually tighten it back automatically. I've tried both ways and when you properly work the metal all you coats will be thin, which means less pinholes underneith.

I notice when I try to half arse the metal work I will over work myself in filler, and remember, there's no dust fixing metal. I've also noticed I too will be pecking away between coats and at times just to get it right you will be taking away some of the true shape.

so take your time in metal. you can shrink it, stretch it, bend it, and cut it. in practical terms when you pull up a dent you should already know where the brow is that surrounds it. you want to roll your metal out not just yank it up with your pins, this is NOT how you fix it right. what i mean is push your lows up while you are pushing down on your highs. the damage is like that cause it reacts to impact like a drop of water in a bucket. the general rule is work the dent in reverse order of how it occured.

tech69 01-24-2013 12:01 PM

you will probably want to get a stud gun and if you get a stud lever is a great tool for studs and helping you roll out the the damage. It keeps your other hand free to hammer down while you are pulling up. I use this on about 95% of all small stuff I'm pulling up on with pins. I rarely use the slide hammer stud guns come with anymore.

broncosbybart 01-24-2013 05:24 PM

I have a HF stud gun. Never tried the stud lever. I'll have to check into it. My metal working skills are horrible. Guess I have to start somewhere.

Another note. The grille that I have appears to have been stripped chemically. I don't know if the stripper was neutralized. It almost looks like it was just left there. Most of the grille was bare metal, but some paint is left. Now it is a mess of surface rust and leftover paint. What would you all recommend to do? The grille has a lot of hard to reach areas. Thanks all.

bk005 01-27-2013 03:30 PM

Im rebuilding body on a 77 currently to, and just finished putting on new tail light buckets. That one is going to be some work, Id weld in some angle iron braces to the inside of the bed corners for bracing, and then start trying to pull out that bucket, and the inner corner that is bent as well. The newer replacements are ok but the lower rolled lip that meets the cuarter panel bend/curve does not perfectly line up. If you change buckets, then I would put new lower quarter panels on while your at it to.

I still say strip it first see whats bent and rusted, and try and use original if possible.

Good Luck.

tech69 01-27-2013 05:12 PM

never tried those lil clamp thingies you have holding up your sheet metal, but I have been curious about them. Seems like they set you up with a nice gap.

MARTINSR 01-27-2013 05:21 PM

That's the problem, you don't want the gap. The larger the gap the more the metal moves. They "work" yes, but if you want to learn metal shaping metal finishing you don't want to use them.


bk005 01-27-2013 08:03 PM

I only use them for set up and when Im holding a gap that needs to be larger than normal. I myself like a bit of gap in the metal, after it cools its going to suck up and when I weld acorss all the curves across a quarter like that it could be bad news. Plus I have to take them and grind the clamps surfaces flat before using them, they not very square, and if you use them when you shouldnt can screw you up more than they help you.

Lizer 01-27-2013 09:42 PM

I really like the Marson Platinum filler too. I also use Evercoat EZ Sand for a glazing putty to fill in small pin holes, scratches, etc as needed.

The epoxy can sit indefinitely, but after 7 days needs to be lightly sanded if you want to apply anything to it. If recoating or applying within the 7 day period then sanding is not necessary.

Don't exceed 1/4" of filler, and stripping to metal is always my preferred choice but is a lot more work as well. It depends on how you want your final product. If you're going over an area that doesn't have any filler on the original finish, you could do some light sanding then epoxy without going down to bare metal.

I used to use those butt welding metal clamps too. Did them on my quarter skin seam, but we all know how that turned out...

tech69 01-27-2013 10:11 PM


Originally Posted by MARTINSR (Post 1639430)
That's the problem, you don't want the gap. The larger the gap the more the metal moves. They "work" yes, but if you want to learn metal shaping metal finishing you don't want to use them.


I also don't like too much gap as it will want to burn away but I also don't want it completely touching cause one side of the panel will either want to go high or low, and it will be apparent when you grind your welds away. But you can help it out by stretching it back to avoid the metal bunching up. I'm never afraid to ask the questions so that's why I'm asking, metal master. :D

broncosbybart 01-29-2013 06:13 AM

Thanks for the advice so far all. I haven't been working on the body a whole lot but am still sanding away on panels.

Another question: I plan to paint this thing a stock color. Atomic orange as found on the 07-08 Corvettes. In the past I've used Omni or Nason. I don't really need a high dollar finish. Yeah, I know that you guys do things the right way here, but any advice as to what to get for materials? I'd like to be in it for about $200 for base and clear. Not sure if that is even possible nowadays. It has been a while since buying paint.

tech69 01-29-2013 08:02 AM

you might as well go single stage if you want to budget.

demarques_191 02-03-2013 12:02 AM

before ever applying body filler to bare metal, make sure your metal is straight as possible... all high spots are knocked down .... better to have small in-dents then dents that poke out (outtie's) then use your entire hand to rub over the entire body panel to make sure all waves, dents, dings are fixed... whats worst is to apply body filler then 5 inches down from the work area there was another dent lol

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