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Old 09-01-2004, 02:48 AM
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Suggestions for a novice

I have a sizeable dent i the rear quarter panel of a subaru wagon. The damaged area is approximately 12in x 12in and severely crinkled and creased with some spots being 1in-2in deep. I would like to repair the area myself and I am not too concerned with it looking like new. I just want it to look better or so it's not so noticeable. I have plenty of time, but a limited budget.

SO, here are my questions:
1. how do I sandremove all the paint in the folded or low pockets of the crinkled areas?
2. Can I just apply several coats of filler to make it as level as possible?
3. TO help hold the filler, could I screw in some screws, but leave the heads portruding a bit so the filler has something to hold on to...kind of like rebar does for cement?
4. How thick is too thick for fillers or how many layers could i apply?

Thanks for your help!
Charlie

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Old 09-01-2004, 09:30 AM
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Well I'm a novice as well but I have done many bondo repairs over the years. My advice: bondo sucks unless it is used just as a thin coat!

1. how do I sandremove all the paint in the folded or low pockets of the crinkled areas?

Well the easiest way is with some aircraft stripper. You can also use a 90 degree die grinder with a 3M green rotolok disc on it. You can get into tight areas and strip down to bare metal and leave a nice finish behind. Actually I guess you can just put a rotolok disc on the end of a drill but you will have less control.

2. Can I just apply several coats of filler to make it as level as possible?

Yeah you could but don't get too much bondo buildup. I would suggest getting a body slidehammer, drilling holes along the creases and pull them out to somewhat level condition. Note: do not try to pull the whole crease out in one swoop, take it slow and steady, a little at a time. Once you get the creases close to the original height of the panel, then use the bondo to smooth things out.

3. TO help hold the filler, could I screw in some screws, but leave the heads portruding a bit so the filler has something to hold on to...kind of like rebar does for cement?

NO, you don't want to do that. Bondo will stick fine as long as it is a thin coat. Actually the holes you put in to pull out the creases alone will act as a 'grip' for the bondo as well.

4. How thick is too thick for fillers or how many layers could i apply?

1/8" is too thick if you ask me. If you insist on going thicker, use a fiberglass as the filler and just a skim of bondo overtop.
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Old 09-01-2004, 10:02 AM
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Your going to have to pull the dent out as much as possible to keep the filler as thin as possible...period!

Can you post a picture of the dent? If we could see it we can advise better.
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Old 09-02-2004, 07:40 AM
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Read Centerline's post FAQ #2 above^- it will help you out!
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Old 09-03-2004, 12:40 PM
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dents

I have bought many cars for rebuild and sell. Some have had bondo as much as 2 inches thick, and had been that way for many years. I agree that a thin skim of bondo is much better.

If it is at all possible to remove inner panels to get to the area, try to pop the dent out first. The slide hammer is an old fashion way to pull a dent, but it does work. If you have access to a welder or torch, you can attach a nail to the low parts of the dent. Then use a pair of vise grips to pull it while tapping the area around it to reshape the metal. when done the nail can be ground off.
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