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Old 09-09-2005, 06:44 PM
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Tip of the Day #....5 is it?

I have found that old computer cases have the perfect guage steel for patching body panels and other uses. The paint on these are tough which helps with rust protection too. You can get old computers from all sorts of places for free.

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Old 09-09-2005, 07:10 PM
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Yeah I agree, I think anyone who has done this work has used some odd sheetmetal at one time or another. I patched the floor on my first car with a STOP sign, seen a friend of mine make a doorskin for a 34 Ford coupe out of refridgerator metal-and it turned out nice! Clean new metal sure is nice to work with though with no cleaning for welds, etc. Lets hear some more patch panel stories , ttt.
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:28 PM
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I was restoring a 69 Roadrunner and it needed a rear valance panel.The piece that goes under the rear body and is behind the bumper. No one made a repro at the time so rather than build one from scratch,it was a weird shape, i looked through our extra parts bin for something to use. I ended up using an inner rocker from a 00 cavalier.It was a dam close match.Only needed a little modification.
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:33 PM
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patch panels

I remember when i was younger watching my dad make an oil pan for a motorcycle out of a pie tin .No one made any parts for that bike.
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:37 PM
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Old a/c units are a good source for metal as well. Most were 18ga and some of the really old one's had some 14ga top's & base's. I've cut up a bunch of them for patch's and other projects as well.
I did this practice piece on an old late 60's model Carrier a/c access panel which is 18ga,the hole's along the bottom were where it screwed on.The slice you see missing is some I cut off for a patch piece on a 69 Chevy I redid.
Patch metal is everywhere if you just look.
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Old 09-09-2005, 09:38 PM
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I was working on a honda crx at a dealership in 1992 and the bodyshop manager claimed he couldn't get a replacement panel (think he didn't want to). The quarter panel on the car was really rusty, wheelwell and all under the bumper cover gone. Looked through the pile of fenders and other sheetmetal and I think it was an aerostar fender then was close to the wheel well shape I needed, that along with a bunch of other sheetmetal pieces formed and welded together and a fair amount of filler and it was patched. I've used old stove pipe (thicker stuff) once I got from my uncle for nothing, but that really doesn't work very good, didn't form very good. I usually just go down and get a 4'x8' sheet of 18 ga from the steel supplier when I need it, but steel sure is pricey these days. A guy that works at a tractor place brought a piece of steel from a tractor, but it is way too thick.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:11 PM
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I used two old riding mower fenders to create a new panel behind the fender where all the metal had rusted away.

Well I just successfully replaced my first rocker panel on my 72 Capri tonight. The lip to weld part of the panel was eaten away with rust. I managed to cut back all the rust and weld in computer case steel and then had a solid flange to attach to. This is the most extensive metal work I have ever tried. I have never done anything like this before.

I have a couple of questions though because I will be doing the other side of the car too.

The panel was thinner metal than the original. The lip I was welding to was as thick as two pieces of 18 guage steel. I don't have access to a spot welder so I punched holes in the panel and welded through the hole building the metal out. When the metal reached the outer panel, I got burn through sometimes. I varied my wire speed and current, but still had the problem. Some welds looked great while others not so much.

How do I get penetration in the thicker metal without burning the outer metal when the molten metal reaches it?

Is it my method?
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:20 PM
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While in Germany a few years back, the old BMW I was driving failed the German inspection system for rust holes in the lower rear quarter panels. They check for corrosion by tapping at the rust with a small hammer, which he did, leaving holes. I didn't have mucho dinero so I grabbed a couple of cokes and drank them down. Using tin snips and a sander to clear the rust from the car I bondoed the coke can patch in there, sanded and painted. Passed, no problems! When I was reassigned I sold the car for $50 more than I paid for it.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:00 AM
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How do I get penetration in the thicker metal without burning the outer metal when the molten metal reaches it?
Frank, There is a wealth of welding post's on this forum and just do a search on patch panels or even mig welding and most every question on how,what, & why will be answered for you.

It's always tough joining 2 different thickness metals. Your spot welding in this case which usually is not too hard as long as the metal is CLEAN in that area and they are tight to each other. Sounds like you have too much heat if your melting the top (lighter) piece. Or staying on it too long.
Most nubie's,not sure in your case of your experience, try to run beads which isn't really the case with body panels. A series of spot welds or short beads along the length of the repair joint is the way to go.Jumping around to keep the heat build up is key to prevent warping. Along with plenty of cool down time between weld's.

What gauge wire are you using? Smaller wire like #24 is best and there are smaller dia. too. I just have 24 and it does fine for me.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:39 AM
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i have found that a great source of sheet metal is the roofs of cars. my dad will get a car once in a while to haul to the junk yard and if they have a flat roof i use the sawzal to cut the sheet metal skin off. sometime there is insulation glued to the other side but can be scraped off with a putty knife. well thats my source and hopefully it may help any of you out to.
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:00 AM
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I found a lot of times when you need a quarter patch like over the wheelwell,look at the front fenders. A lot of times it is the same shape.Like the older Chevy trucks/Blazers,even the old camaros and mustangs. That is assuming you have an old fender laying around.
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Old 09-10-2005, 11:31 AM
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Frank, I think this will solve your problem, you just have to try this stuff to believe how good it works

www.jwharris.com/images/twentygauge.pdf

Last edited by oldred; 09-10-2005 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:12 PM
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I heard a lot of good things about the twenty guage wire so I had my supplier order me in a 1 lb spool for a test run. I'm sorry to say I wasn't impressed one bit. Talk about some dirty welds and extra splatter! No better flow IMO compared to the regular .030 wire I was using. I yanked it out of the machine and now it's being used for mechanic's wire. I was very disappointed after all the good things I read about it on this site. Bob
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Old 09-11-2005, 11:21 AM
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Bob, I am not sure what happened in your case but that wire is about the smoothest welding, most spatter free wire I have ever used it is a real problem solver. Are you using flux core? If so did you change the polarity? For years we used .023 solid at my shop for really thin stuff like ventilation duct but after finding the Twenty Gauge we never use solid any more since it will easily do things I found very difficult or nearly impossible with solid wire. The Twenty Gauge MUST run reverse polarity just like solid and requires C/25 gas, straight polarity or pure CO/2 will cause the problems you mention. This wire will weld sheet down to about .015 with almost no spatter and a very flat weld that is far less likely to burn through and with far less warpage since it uses less current and as an extra, for this same reason, it makes 110 volt welders far more useful. If you still have that wire you might try it again since I am sure something was just not right I have used many pounds of it and it works better than any solid wire I have ever used regardless of size and it has become quite popular with everyone I know who uses it.
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Old 09-12-2005, 05:31 AM
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I guess I need to try it again and this time switch the polarity. I didn't know it required the polarity to be switched, . I always use the Co2/Argon mix. Bob
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