How NOT to use body filler

Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
39
Location
Austin, Texas
This '72 FJ40 gets its turn in the shop. The customer wants us to repair the bad spots on the body. The cruiser doesn't appear to be in bad shape, with the exception of a couple of chunks of fiberglass resin body filler pieces that cracked and fell off the curved section of the driver's rear quarter, and a piece above and forward of the driver's rear wheel well. These pieces of filler were covering badly pitted sheetmetal, and were about 1/4" thick. The body looked straight, and it could have passed for a "no bondo" vehicle from 10 feet.

So we decided it would be best to take this one down to bare metal and see what exactly we're up against. I busted out the torch and scraper, and melted/scraped the body filler off the body, starting at the driver's rear quarter above the taillights. I prefer to cook the body filler off rather than sand/grind because it doesn't leave dust all over the place, and I don't have "Bondo Boogers" afterwards. Plus, the clean-up is easy with just a pile of filler on the floor.

It took over an hour to get through the uneven body filler off the driver's side quarter panel and rocker panel. This resulted in atleast a gallon of three(3!!!) different kinds of filler. Blue Dynalite type filler, Bondo Brand Pink Filler, and Gray Fiberglass resin/cloth filler. The pile of scrapings was insane. The driver's side lower curved section of the quarter panel was patched with a licence plate that was wood screwed to the rusted body, the screws and the plate were completely hidden beneath the body filler. Thanks to "DANZY" of Georgia, we now have a conversation piece to hang on the wall.

I moved over to the passenger side and found more big dents and massive rust craters beneath bondo. The doors didn't have any filler, as I checked with a magnet for pull consistency, but both nice appearing front fenders (with the exception of one dent) had loads of bondo hidden under the paint as well.

After a call to the customer to tell him about our findings, he decided to go with an aluminum tub. So it was on to remove the body.

The heads of the body mount bolts had to be plasma cut off if they didn't already break with the 3/8" air ratchet. The inner structure of the rear body lower lip was eaten through with rust, and the frame was filled up to the oval sllots with Alabama dirt.

With that being said, keep a magnet handy, and knuckle knock the panels before you buy something that you think you're getting a hell of a deal on. It might turn out worse than you could ever imagine.:doh:

Pics of the vehicle below...

Custom Georgia License Plate Quarter Panel Patch



Beneath the Mud...








Tubless...







Mud in frame...


Birds nest in rear section of frame, found an egg in it too.
 

dgangle

total rice
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2004
Messages
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Heart of Dixie
... but it's got the WallyWorld Everstart MAXX battery. Whoooopeee. Typical rust and PO syndrome for a 35+ year-old vehicle. By the looks of the rest of the truck the shabby bodywork is but just one of the many expensive and time-consuming needs it has. Hope the owner has 15-20 thou to fix properly.
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2003
Messages
5,025
Location
Meridian,TEXAS
Damn, Dude! :eek: What a project you got going there........

So whats the plan for the cowl and frame ?

Gonna strip her down and blast ?

OH! Welcome to Mud........:flipoff2:
 

D'Animal

Rescuer of Beagles & Landcruisers
Moderator
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
21,114
Location
Central California
Welcome to MUD!


Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures.

Looks like you found one or your customer found one with the usual rust of a 40 year old vehicle.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
39
Location
Austin, Texas
I was only planning to lurk on this board, but I couldn't resist sharing the unearthings of this cancer-ridden creature. As for the plans on this project...only time will tell. I might post progress updates on this build, but this post was about the bondo/rust, not about the build. Landcruisers are now my day job, and 20's-50's hot rods are my life, so I'd better get back to work on my own project and get off this computer before it gets too late.

PS: Bird egg is in a secure location, too small for breakfast, guess we'll have to see if it will hatch!
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
39
Location
Austin, Texas
Here's a few I forgot to upload... OK time for a Pabst and back to work on the hot rod.

4" tall swept up pile of shavings from the drivers rear quarter...



This is just a couple of shots to show how deep some of the filler was...


 
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
1,774
Location
Hagerstown MD
My lord theres nothing unusual about that body. Hell it's better than the one on my truck! please tell me it hasn't been taken to the scrapyard!!!! Dont you cowboys down there fix bodies?!!

Welcome to mud! Keep us updated on the progress of your toyota projects, we love truck porn baby!!
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
39
Location
Austin, Texas
I just installed rear quarters on another customers '79 FJ40 last week. For the record, the quarters fit terrible and it took some serious sheetmetal work and metalfinishing to get everything straight. Less than a month ago I went from building high-end, six-figure hot rods and customs to the world of Landcruiser restorations, and those simple FJ40 quarter panels were the absolute worst fitting, and most poorly engineered I've ever seen. I guess Landcruiser body part manufacturers think that bending a piece of sheetmetal over a jig and hammering the wheelwell flanges over, then grinding down the ripples is the best they can do, and everyone else has to live with it. I hope there are better quarter panel skins out there than the ones I used on that body.

On this FJ posted above, we needed to see what kind of condition the body was in before having the customer decide what he wanted to do. I was hoping for a tub replacement anyway, since the wrap-around lip at the top of the tub was rotted through and heavily pitted. It would have resulted in more labor in metal fabrication to repair the rust than the cost of a steel tub. Since this customer doesn't want to battle rust in the future, he opted for the Aqualu tub. And I'm glad!
 
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Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
1,452
Location
The West
looks like a tub replacement would be cheaper for the customer than the hours involved in trying to rework the body.

I think we would all love to see the body not get scrapped, but unless the owner has deep pockets thats probably not going to happen.
 
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D'Animal

Rescuer of Beagles & Landcruisers
Moderator
 
Joined
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Messages
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Central California
Just for a reference, this is the body filler depth of the one I'm working on.

I know what you mean about dust everywhere.
DSCF5244.JPG
 
Joined
Oct 13, 2008
Messages
301
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40x80 Shop
The rear sill on my 62 was covered with tin that was rivited on and then filled over. I am only into half of the body and will be intresting to see what else I find.
 

mmw68

CruiserCrap.com - pimping crap for your cruiser!
 
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Dec 13, 2004
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Welcome to IH8MUD! Keep up the good work!
We need a good paint and body guy in Texas.
 
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Gusb

 
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
1,209
Location
Redwood City, CA
Less than a month ago I went from building high-end, six-figure hot rods and customs to the world of Landcruiser restorations, and those simple FJ40 quarter panels were the absolute worst fitting, and most poorly engineered I've ever seen. I guess Landcruiser body part manufacturers think that bending a piece of sheetmetal over a jig and hammering the wheelwell flanges over, then grinding down the ripples is the best they can do, and everyone else has to live with it. I hope there are better quarter panel skins out there than the ones I used on that body.
I hope so too ... Just talked to someone yesterday who was complaining about the fit (or lack of) on a rear floor panel the shop is trying to install :confused:
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2009
Messages
39
Location
Austin, Texas
okie....exactly. The tub was the more cost effective way to go for this customer. He's keeping the original tub as well, I guess for something at his ranch or maybe yard art or target practice, who knows.

D'Animal, I feel your pain. Do yourself a favor and melt off the filler. You can see the pile I swept up is just chunks and shavings of bondo. You can use a propane torch, or oxy-ace torch to soften the filler then a sKraper (apparently the word "c-r-a-p" is prohibited here, so I will spell with a K, haha) to sKrape off the filler. Takes alot less time, and the "Bondo-Boogers" don't clog up your nose.

mmw68... I'm not a painter, but I paint my own cars. I'm more of a chassis-builder myself, and don't really enjoy sheetmetal work as much as chassis fabrication. But for me, I'd rather weld & hammer metal than do most other jobs.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Meridian,TEXAS
I just installed rear quarters on another customers '79 FJ40 last week. For the record, the quarters fit terrible and it took some serious sheetmetal work and metalfinishing to get everything straight
I hope so too ... Just talked to someone yesterday who was complaining about the fit (or lack of) on a rear floor panel the shop is trying to install :confused:
Care to drop a mfg name or elaborate so others might avoid despair............:hmm:
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
3,079
Location
Norfolk United Kingdom
dang!

Dang a new tub? or just another one I was hoping to see some good bodywork posting:p

I hear ya on the metal work--when I got my Harley rear fender replace it was cheaper to buy a used OEM fender already painted and smooth it down for repaint than to buy a brand new metal one ----because of the work to bring the brand new aftermarket fenders to an acceptable state

Fortunately my painter clued me in on that
 
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