Body/Resto Questions and Advice Needed (1 Viewer)


I break things.
Aug 14, 2006
Oceanside and Encinitas, CA

I have had 40s for the past 20 years and have done a ton of wrenching and modifications. I am a wrench and not a welder and it is now time for me to finally get the body on my 1981 BJ44 back into safe and rust-proofed condition.

I want to take the body off and blast it down to bare steel, repair all rust with new panels and steel patches. I then want to seal the living crap out of the body and protect it from future rust as much as humanly possible. Right now I am leaning towards POR-15 or a high quality epoxy primer, PPG paint, and then LineX on the underside of the tub and firewall. I am also thinking of doing lineX smooth inside the tub in high wear areas. All LineX wil be body color matched to white.

I digress... The first thing I need to do is to find places to blast and weld the new steel in. I am brand new to welding and not sure I am up to the task of the metal work needed to fix the rust issues I have. So how does one choose a good body shop/fab shop to take on something like this? Is there anything i should be asking about or looking for, or any red flags I should look out for?

Any and all advice would be helpful as I want to do this right the first time and have peace of mind for another 20 years...

Thanks in advance!


May 19, 2009
Boise, ID
Welding and grinding skills are inversely related. Expect to do a lot of grinding regardless of how good you can weld. Heat is your enemy. Use a copper spoon to help (magnetically attached frees up a hand) with burn through. The more patient you are typically the better results. Lots of fitment prep and measurements, checking for flatness and right curvature etc. You can definitely do it. It is very time consuming work. My build thread was initially a question on how to do body work so the first couple pages have some great advice (see my sig, tilt your phone if you don't see the sig).

Look for shops that specialize in restos most make more money from insurance jobs. Once you find one ask them where to take your tub. Or just do a Google search. I think there are better media than sand. I'd suggest you do the body work it will be insanely expensive if they do it for you. $50/hr.
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Apr 29, 2019
Niceville, Florida
I made a large semi industrial sandblaster over the summer for about $350. I sandblast everything down to bare metal using fine commercial grade sand and then clean and prep the metal. I than paint all metal with epoxy primer. I usually put about 3 coats on as most of the hard work has already been done. Painting is the easy part. 3 coats gives me peace of mind that the rust will stay away and it also fills in alot of imperfections.
Jun 7, 2011
East TN
The good news is that for anything behind the front fenders, almost everything can be fabricated from flat sheet metal.

I've been welding for over 40 years and still burn through sometimes welding sheet metal, especially if it has some rust on it.
There were a few areas on my 40, like between the inner and outer rockers where in order to avoid making long welds or risking warping the panels I used body adhesive. It comes in tubes for a caulk gun.

In the pictured example I still used welds at the ends where the panels meet the body and a few tacks along the length to supplement the adhesive.
For welding sheet metal you won't start at one end and run the length of the seam.
You'll do it with a series of short welds that are spaced, let the metal cool and repeat until the length of the seam is complete.

I prep everything with phosphoric acid, Jasco metal prep to kill the rust prior to painting.
It converts iron oxide to iron phosphate so it is stable.

If you don't have a welder, it's a great tool to have in the arsenal.

I have a 240 volt stick welder for metal up to 5/16" and a 110 volt MIG for sheet metal and finer work.
I would recommend a 240 volt MIG for all.




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