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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a rookie restorer, and my welds are butt ugly (no pun intended). I'm attaching patch panels to exterior panels, and I have ended up with valleys due to distortion, some pits and even a couple of holes. The guys on YouTube are good welders and don't seem to have these problems, so there's not much out there on what to do next. I feel I should stop putting heat into the panel in question, but before I epoxy prime, should I add some short-strand fiber glass to smooth out the valleys/pits/holes? One guy on YouTube is a big fan of fiberglass, but others are dead set against. Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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My advice would be to do a test piece and then see how strong it is. If it's a "cold weld" it will snap apart easily. If you got good heat in the joint (with some holes) it will be strong enough to hold up and just cover/smooth with kitty hair and Bondo. Thin (and OLD) sheet metal requires a little practice to weld. Take the time to practice and you will be rewarded with al much smaller bondo bill. Lots of us have been there, not just you.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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Here are a few links for you. "Basics of Basics" Gas or TIG Butt welding panels.


There are no photos in this, but some great info. Print it out and read it a few times while relaxing on the couch. Some good understanding of welding! "Basic of Basics" Welding - How do I repair...

I posted here but I can't find the post once when my daughter was 8 years old and I explained to her basically what is in that previous link about the basics of welding and how it works. After 15 minutes of explanation I put the welding jacket, gloves and helmet on her and she welded in minutes a number of plug welds and beads that would have passed an ASE test, NO KIDDING! I wish I could find that thread, the photos of her are so damn cute I love seeing them! But no kidding, in 15 minutes of training in what is in that last link she welded some perfect welds!

Brian
 

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I am in the same boat. I have welded for years but never anything this thin. It has been mostly farm equipment 1/4 and thicker. I just bought some .23 wire and a liner for my Miller and plan to do some experiments. So far I am about to fine someone to do it for me. I actually hate to have someone else do it so will try try again.
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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I am in the same boat. I have welded for years but never anything this thin. It has been mostly farm equipment 1/4 and thicker. I just bought some .23 wire and a liner for my Miller and plan to do some experiments. So far I am about to fine someone to do it for me. I actually hate to have someone else do it so will try try again.
Read the links I posted, you CAN do this! You simply need to "move into the neighborhood" and you WILL be able to weld this metal easily. It really is easy, just move into the neighborhood and you will be doing it in no time.

Brian
 

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The big problem is corrosion. Fiberglass ( polyester) filler , sooner or later will loosen from the metal , especially if there's a way for moisture to get in through openings in the steel ( from the back side). Epoxy filler forms a more permanent bond , but is VERY expensive ! IF you can seal the repair area from both sides , the repair will have a better chance of surviving .
 

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More for Less Racer
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I am in the same boat. I have welded for years but never anything this thin. It has been mostly farm equipment 1/4 and thicker. I just bought some .23 wire and a liner for my Miller and plan to do some experiments. So far I am about to fine someone to do it for me. I actually hate to have someone else do it so will try try again.
Make sure your feed rollers on the welder also have a .023" wire groove....many only have a groove for .030" or .035" and .045" wire and trying to use those to drive .023" wire results in skipping and popping welds as the rollers slip while trying to feed wire at the correct rate.
You may have to buy another set of feed rollers for your machine if you don't have the .023" groove.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys. Lots of good stuff here. I'm going with the fiberglass after sealing, and will seal again before paint. On the welding, I guess practice is the answer. I'm going to stay with lap welds until my butt welds are more consistent. Thanks again.
 

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Make sure your feed rollers on the welder also have a .023" wire groove....many only have a groove for .030" or .035" and .045" wire and trying to use those to drive .023" wire results in skipping and popping welds as the rollers slip while trying to feed wire at the correct rate.
You may have to buy another set of feed rollers for your machine if you don't have the .023" groove.
Yep bought the rollers when I got the liner
Thanks
 

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Practice on aluminum cans and junk steel to get a feel for what heat/speed works for you to get good penetration without burning through. This will get you close.

Then sacrificing a piece of material will get you closer before moving onto tacking.

You can move back and forth a bit then once things are solid with the tacks a inch.or so apart you can go through and tack over tack several times to fill in the gaps while still moving around.
 

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Well I'm about to upset a lot of people here. Welding sheet steel with a mig is butchery. They are NOT welds they are TACKS. A whole row of them that have to be ground down and Tacked over the missed bits. This is not welding. I know there's lots of "experts" on youtube doing this method, because it's quick and nasty. Covered up with bog. Have you ever seen the back side of these experts' welds ? NOPE. Because it's crap. Tig and Oxy-Acetylene takes practice. Both of these produce a far better result. I'm old school and every time I see this TACK method I'm upset and amused at the same time. They won't last long. Body work used to be an honourable skill. The craftsmanship was respected and appreciated by those that didn't have those skills. Now It's those that don't have those skills call themselves craftsmen. ( they are TACKERS and Cake decorators ) ;):LOL:
 

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If you do it right they will last.

I have tacked up a panel before to find out I was 1/4" off. Grinded down the welds smooth then started grinding into the welded area. Yea it will last.
I ended up cutting it a inch back from my welds and adding a section.
Once it was grinded skim layer of putty and the seam was not noticable. Black paint.

It takes pratice. But guys been mig welding panels on since lead went out of style.
 

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If you do it right they will last.

I have tacked up a panel before to find out I was 1/4" off. Grinded down the welds smooth then started grinding into the welded area. Yea it will last.
I ended up cutting it a inch back from my welds and adding a section.
Once it was grinded skim layer of putty and the seam was not noticable. Black paint.

It takes pratice. But guys been mig welding panels on since lead went out of style.
Yep you put bog into it. Not really a dressed panel. Lead hasn't gone away. Mig is 70 odd years old. It was designed for heavy fabrication not sheet metal. If it was meant for panel work . How come it's only been used lately. Sorry in my opinion it's lazy , crude and crap. What do your welds look like on the back side ? send some pics.
 

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Rod...from a Chrysler?
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Yep you put bog into it. Not really a dressed panel. Lead hasn't gone away. Mig is 70 odd years old. It was designed for heavy fabrication not sheet metal. If it was meant for panel work . How come it's only been used lately. Sorry in my opinion it's lazy , crude and crap. What do your welds look like on the back side ? send some pics.
I agree that MIG is not ideal for body panels.

Not because the back side has boogers or the front side needs more grinding.
Only agree because the weld is more brittle and cannot be worked as much without cracking.

Do you believe hobby guys can pony up a couple of G's for a Miller TIG machine?
Oxy is the best, but there's no way I would take time to learn it. It would be a PITA to me.
 

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Rod...from a Chrysler?
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To the OP.

You're getting bad advise about using filler to cover holes up.

Post some pics of your mess. Let's see if we can guide you in the right direction to fix what you have, using the welding machine that you have.
 

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Thanks guys. Lots of good stuff here. I'm going with the fiberglass after sealing, and will seal again before paint. On the welding, I guess practice is the answer. I'm going to stay with lap welds until my butt welds are more consistent. Thanks again.
I'm currently restoring a 1965 falcon convertible total rust bucket but when I started doing all of my welding I was trying to use my miller matic 211 with .023 wire but it kept birds nesting on me so I switched to .030 wire and fought it for months. I had loaned my little 120 volt lincoln to a friend 3 or 4 years ago so I told him I needed it back and my god it welded the thin metal like night and day I kick myself for not getting it back sooner I surely could of done a better job and I would of saved a ton of time. I'm not a professional welder just a hobbyist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm currently restoring a 1965 falcon convertible total rust bucket but when I started doing all of my welding I was trying to use my miller matic 211 with .023 wire but it kept birds nesting on me so I switched to .030 wire and fought it for months. I had loaned my little 120 volt lincoln to a friend 3 or 4 years ago so I told him I needed it back and my god it welded the thin metal like night and day I kick myself for not getting it back sooner I surely could of done a better job and I would of saved a ton of time. I'm not a professional welder just a hobbyist.
OK, OP here. I've attached some pictures per request. The first one .. hand held .. is the first weld that was so bad I cut it out (obviously) and wrote my note to the forum. The other photos are welds I'm keeping. There are some good things and there are some bad, like
Automotive tire Wood Gas Auto part Artifact
Brown Air gun Wood Shotgun Trigger
Automotive tire Wood Gas Metal Automotive exterior
distorted valleys, some pits and holes. Some background ... the part in question is a Jaguar XKE front wing. So, not structural but will flex - that's why I'm leery of filling with anything that's not flexible (short-strand?)
 

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Brian Martin,Freelance adviser
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First off it looks like the gaps in the panel is a little big. Cut it more accurately so you can have no gap. You can "plannish" the seam tighter by putting a flat dolly on the back (well as flat as the panel is there) and using a body hammer strike the metal right there at the seam and it will thin the metal a little spreading it into seam closing it up.

So that's your first thing, to close that gap up. Another thing that doesn't look right are the holes in each of your welds. Be sure the metal is clean on both sides, clean around those areas so when you weld you aren't getting contaminates in the welds that can make them not want to melt but to blow up with gas in it.

Having the heat too low or the wire speed to low can do that too as the wire isn't being "pushed" into the weld and it simply blows apart because of the current going through it. So try upping the speed too.

But do test welds, don't test your welds on the project, get pieces of metal and weld them together and learn before you get into your project.

Brian
 

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Rod...from a Chrysler?
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Sure hope you're not leaving this corner like this.
A Maserati doesn't deserve this kind of repair.
Building a corner or edge with fiberglass will be a failure not long from now.

614480


For this corner, you could take a piece of round rod to use as filler "patches". Cut about an 1/8 of the wire edge you see off square to the panel and tack a piece of rod with the same size radius as the rolled edge, If needed, another piece could be added on the other edge.
The rod is solid, so when done you could grind a nice radius on the corner and it would look factory.

Take you time and complete all your tacks. The bottom right gap can be filled. You're not taking you time to hold the wire aiming exactly at the crack between the two pieces. Rest the nozzle on the fender, then aim, then zap the trigger.
I use a zip cut disc, (a used, smaller diameter one) to carefully cut the proud off the welds without digging below the metal's surface.

Is that metal galvanized steel or some kind of plated metal? What's the coating?
If it is some kind of coated stee, you need to grind it off before welding as it will spit and spatter
all over.
Or, did you put weld thru primer before welding?
If so, you're using it wrong. It's used on overlapping pieces that you cannot get to after they are joined.
If you can get to the pieces, like a butt welded patch as you're doing, it's not needed.

You need to practice on scrap as mentioned.
 
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