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What size of wire to use?

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I'm starting replacing body panels on my 48 chev. I also bought a new wire feed welder with gas. What size of wire works best, .030 or .023?
Any ideas will be helpful.
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My advice would be to use the .023 and run the welder at a lower heat. That way you won’t have to worry about warping the panels.
I use .035 and have had no problem. The key to not warping panels is to spot weld until the seam is complete. I usually bounce from side to side. I have never done it, but I have read that heating the weld seam with a torch and using a hammer and dolly to flatten the weld will help relieve the warping. You have to have a torch stand and I have not made one to try this.

When replacing sections, you do not need to completely weld in the replacement metal. Tack weld every 1/2"-1", then grind the welds flat and use your filler like normal.

I have a question on the wire feed welder. Can I use just a wire feed welder or is it better to use a mig? what is the real differance?? I have a wire feed welder but was going to buy a mig for body work. should I for go the expense for the mig or am I fine using the wire feed I already have?
A MIG is a wire feed welder. Could you possibly mean a tig?
hammering on the weld only works with gas weld mild steel, mig wire is harder than the hinges of hell and won't work the same done that thanks bob
Mig is wire feed. Your best bet is to have one that has a hook-up for gas (argon) This will make for a lot cleaner weld. Also to not weld in a continous line. Jump back and forth one side to the other welding a 1/4"- 1/2" at a time. Let cool in between. It will be somewhat time consuming but will minimize warpage. Better to spend time letting it cool than to spend time trying to straighten a warped panel. Personally I would weld until it is solid but others do as 41willys does. It's all preference.

I believe my brother uses a damp rag to cool the "hot spots". I'm not sure how he uses it but his panels always turn out perfect. He also only does "spots" when welding, .023 is what he has on his welder with argon (he doesn't like flux wire). :)
Originally posted by Harlequin:
<strong>A MIG is a wire feed welder. Could you possibly mean a tig?</strong><hr></blockquote>

I have a wire feed wilder but was told by a friend that runs a body shop that it would not do in welding body panels in place. He also said that I needed to to buy a MIG welder. I have a TIG welder that I can use anytime I need it.(it belongs to my dad).So going buy what you are saaying is that all wire feed welder are migs??
Mine has the hook upps for gas.
I am sorry if this sounds like I am not a welder I stopped welding about 25 years ago and a friend sold me the wire feed welder I have for 50.00 caaause he needed the money.I have only used it once.
Yes, wire feed welders are migs. The hookup for gas is for a 50/50 mixture of CO2 and Argon. If you’re going to use the gas, you’re going to have to get different wire at your local welding shop. Right now since your not using gas your going to be using a wire called Intersheild(aka flux core). The flux creates a slag on the weld that has to be removed. When using the copper wire with gas there is no slag that is left behind, hence, a cleaner weld. Hopes this helps! :p
Harlequin that helps alot I guess my fiend was wanting me to waste money I do have the tanks that came with it but I need to get them filled and since I now know that it is the right welder I will learn hhow to use it. I am use to stick welding so I am sure I can pick this up.
I have a Lincoln mig welder that I just converted from internal flux,.035" wire feed to .023", argon/CO2, mig service. I am welding a lot of sheet metal pannels together with it and having surprising success. Penetration is great but the weld is extremely hard as mentioned by other posts. As mentioned in one of the posts above, multiple spot welds are much better than trying to run a bead of any length. You can gauge if you are going to have panel warpage by the blueing of the metal aroud the weld. By spot welding 1" apart, then 1/2" apart, then 1/4" apart and so on, the blue area on either side of the weld bead is almost non-existant, thus I have achieved zero warpage in large relatively flat panels. However, if I try to run a bead of any lenght, the blue zone goes to about 1/4" to 3/8" and I end up with warps. They are not as bad as with a gas welder but still there. Since I am the worst metal finisher in the history of the world, avoiding warping in the first place is my only hope.
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I have a Miller Mig. Love it! I use .023 on sheet metal. I use CO2 for my gas mainly cause I own two restaurants with my brother and we have the CO2 tanks readly avaliable for the coke machine. Plus the tanks are shorter. It shelds the arch just fine. Spot welds is the way to go I let the wire come out bout a inch and half on the gun. The longer distance seems to do better to prevent it from burning a hole in my work. Even on the lowest power setting. I turn the gas pressure up a little more also. Practice and trial and error is what it took for me to get it right.
Good luck!

I have both MIG & TIG welders. I'm certified on both.
For doing body work on a car the MIG is best for a amatuer. I use 0.030 wire set fairly hot(for spot welds you want to get on & off quickly).The weld is hard & not easy to form w/a hammer & dollie,but there is no warpage. I use the MIG 95% of the time. If after welding you can work the metal by heating w/a torch & hammer welding it.

I use the TIG when welding critical areas - like steering. Then I have it magnifluxed however, I use it mainly on alum & SS. Not very frequently I'll use the TIG on body work where I have to work the metal a lot(like choping tops), but I get impatient with the slow speed.......I would suggest you go to a local trade school & take a welding course. Don
Don; Good point. I got my start in welding with two semesters at the local junior college. Can't beat the price, convenience, and the good instruction.
thanks Don for the advice I am taking classes from a friend of mine that is a welding instructor for the pipe fitters. because I do not want to have someone else do the work. I have chopped a few tops back in the day but I used a touch to do it. I think when I start the body work in the spring I should have the knowledge to do it right. Also reading the post on this board gives me more insight in the proper way to weld body panels.
thanks for all the help and knowledge all of you have shared with me
Our shop has the same set up as Maverick. Think on this. We have started doing bigger panels by using a bonding agent that you can get from NAPA. Clean the metal and spread the adhesive. Use cleco's to hold in place and also tack weld the panel in a few strategic places. This keeps the warpage down to a minimum and finish work is a breeze. We have done panels as large as the rear quarter on a 72 Caprice Ragtop. That's over 8 ft of rear quarter with no worries.
Iknow from expirence, being from the humid south they make a special wire that will not get rusty as fast as regular wire. You are not supposed to lube the wire, and after regular wire gets a little rust on it(like mine because it sits mosy of the time) it starts to clog the liner in the handle, and cause the wire not to feed, as far as size goes I use .025 on modern day cars.. I bet that old chevy is thick
Rust? What is rust? Oh yeah, I forgot , I live in California!
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