Welding Body Panel Advice (1 Viewer)

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Jan 3, 2019
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127
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Virginia
I finally took the aluminum diamond plating from the P.O. off the body a few weeks ago and of course there was a lot of rust and holes underneath. Really I need a 3/4 body tub because a lot of the inside tub and wheel wells are "custom," but I don't think I have the means or space to get that done yet. I'm wondering if I can get y'all's advice on how to patch things up.

Here's what I'm working with. 1974 FJ40

IMG_4508.JPG
IMG_4507.JPG
IMG_4506.JPG


Things that the photos may not be clear about:
-I'm pretty sure most of the rocker panel is bondo and filler, but haven't gotten around to grinding that down yet.
-The rear sill is "custom" and the ends of it that remain are rotten.
-The only good original steel in the tub is the dash and firewall

I think here are my 3 options, in increasing immediate skill required, original steel removal, and cost (or let me know if there's another option you advise):
1. Bondo/paint and drive it until I can get a 3/4 body tub (at least 2-3 years)
2. These 3 patches I think would cover most of it, and weld the other pokeholes shut
-Quarter Patch
-Wheel Well Patch
-Outside Rocker Panel
3. Quarter Panel and Outside Rocker Panel

Any advice for a beginner welder would be appreciated. Let me know if there's something else I need to take photos of for better info. Thanks in advance.
 
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Joined
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Stanwood, WA
Need inside pics and up underneath also for better advice.
I would replace that whole quarter panel, not just a patch. From looking at just these pics and what you’re saying, I’d replace a lot. Take a ton of measurements of everything. Then I’d start on the inside and work my way out. So, brace rear opening, door jambs, etc from the outside since you’d leave that metal for now. Then cut out internal floor pieces that will be replaced; I’d guess rear sill and cover, probably part of the floor. Once those are solid, then do 1 wheel well at a time. After that, brace the inside to keep all openings and move to the quarters. I like doing 1 quarter or wheel well at a time if it’s the whole thing. Keeps a reference on the other side and it helps keep things sturdier.
I’d get a look at the rockers too because that may change the order. Or, if they are toast and the floors or support structure are pretty shot, really consider if all the work, time, money and frustration are worth it vs trying to find a complete and better tub.
 

reddingcruiser

Practicing for retirement
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This may sound a little out in left field, but for as much metal work I have done in my life (I'm old), I have learned some pretty cool metal working tips and tricks from the TV series 'Bitchin' Rides'. While I appreciate cool cars, I really appreciate the process of 'sculpting' metal to the finished product. Body filler is for perfecting the finished surface before primer and paint, nothing more.

Advice the beginner:
  • Sheetmetal is a structural component of the vehicle. If you start whacking stuff off, you need to compensate with temporary structure to maintain alignment of the remaining components.
  • Fitment is key, if it takes all day to get a piece to fit right, that's what it takes. Rushing and forcing it will likely mean doing it over.
  • Heat is your enemy. When you are working with sheet metal, you have to learn to manage weld heat, relieve stress and control shrinkage.
  • The correct welder is worth it's weight in gold! The amperage dial is there to be adjusted, experiment on scraps first to get it right.
  • A TIG welder is not a necessity, but it sure is nice because it allows amperage adjustment as you weld.
  • If you can, invest in a set of Cleco fasteners. You can get a starter set for less than $50. They beat trying to get clamps around big or bulky structures.
  • Buy a spot weld drill bit.
  • Most importantly, when you are frustrated or your plan isn't working learn to walk away and start fresh tomorrow.
There's more, but this is a good start
 
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Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Messages
127
Location
Virginia
Need inside pics and up underneath also for better advice.
I would replace that whole quarter panel, not just a patch. From looking at just these pics and what you’re saying, I’d replace a lot. Take a ton of measurements of everything. Then I’d start on the inside and work my way out. So, brace rear opening, door jambs, etc from the outside since you’d leave that metal for now. Then cut out internal floor pieces that will be replaced; I’d guess rear sill and cover, probably part of the floor. Once those are solid, then do 1 wheel well at a time. After that, brace the inside to keep all openings and move to the quarters. I like doing 1 quarter or wheel well at a time if it’s the whole thing. Keeps a reference on the other side and it helps keep things sturdier.
I’d get a look at the rockers too because that may change the order. Or, if they are toast and the floors or support structure are pretty shot, really consider if all the work, time, money and frustration are worth it vs trying to find a complete and better tub.

Thanks. I'm mostly taking this to mean that I should temporize the current state and wait to get a better tub. The floors, wheel wells, and the supports were replaced by the P.O. to some custom sheet metal.
 

alberta mac

addicted but not cured
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Paradise Calgary Alberta Canada
It would be worth looking at the integrity of the metal on your body mounts, typically under driver passenger seat that metal gets pretty rusted. An easy spot to over look. I'd hate to replace a partial tub or rework fender skins then the body falls on the frame.
Your other option is always a Fibreglass tub by Gozzard Composits or an aluminum tub by Aqualuu.
 

rkymtnflyfisher

Big Government Sucks
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Read through the first part of my build thread, there is some solid advice from some skilled hands in there. A long list of advice for body work.
 

Jdc1

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Sep 9, 2013
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Akron, OH
This may sound a little out in left field, but for as much metal work I have done in my life (I'm old), I have learned some pretty cool metal working tips and tricks from the TV series 'Bitchin' Rides'. While I appreciate cool cars, I really appreciate the process of 'sculpting' metal to the finished product. Body filler is for perfecting the finished surface before primer and paint, nothing more.

Advice the beginner:
  • Sheetmetal is a structural component of the vehicle. If you start whacking stuff off, you need to compensate with temporary structure to maintain alignment of the remaining components.
  • Fitment is key, if it takes all day to get a piece to fit right, that's what it takes. Rushing and forcing it will likely mean doing it over.
  • Heat is your enemy. When you are working with sheet metal, you have to learn to manage weld heat, relieve stress and control shrinkage.
  • The correct welder is worth it's weight in gold! The amperage dial is there to be adjusted, experiment on scraps first to get it right.
  • A TIG welder is not a necessity, but it sure is nice because it allows amperage adjustment as you weld.
  • If you can, invest in a set of Cleco fasteners. You can get a starter set for less than $50. They beat trying to get clamps around big or bulky structures.
  • Buy a spot weld drill bit.
  • Most importantly, when you are frustrated or your plan isn't working learn to walk away and start fresh tomorrow.
There's more, but this is a good start
Kindigs shop turns out some pretty nice work. They did put filler over bare metal on one of their builds. Fantomworks is a great show too, they even have a few 40 builds lurking in the background.

OP, @rkymtnflyfisher has a great build thread with a lot of good tips. So does @vaevictus
 

1MOA

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Warrenton VA
As a beginner.... I would pass on that as your first bodywork. That is a LOT of work there and i don't even see pics of the underside. I would go sort it all out mechanically and run it for a while with that trash body and once it is reliable start looking at a new tub either from a donor or a 3/4 Aqualu tub
 
Joined
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As a beginner.... I would pass on that as your first bodywork. That is a LOT of work there and i don't even see pics of the underside. I would go sort it all out mechanically and run it for a while with that trash body and once it is reliable start looking at a new tub either from a donor or a 3/4 Aqualu tub
I agree with this statement- especially getting it running the way you like first. I rotted tub can be driven for the time being while you get the mechanicals sorted. I would include getting any mods done before hand. By the time you’re happy with those, you’ll have a better idea of how bad the rot really is and how you want to fix it.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Virginia
I love the responses. Thanks everyone for your input. I like the idea of temporarily painting the bare metal and working on other stuff for now. I think I’d rather drive around rotted body panels than putting the diamond plating back on
 
Joined
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Messages
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I love the responses. Thanks everyone for your input. I like the idea of temporarily painting the bare metal and working on other stuff for now. I think I’d rather drive around rotted body panels than putting the diamond plating back on
If you don’t have road salt or live by the ocean, then the rust spread shouldn’t be to rapid. If you wanted you could apply a rust inhibitor, it would at least slow even more. Rust repair is not something to idly jump into, there’s more than you think and multiple ways to do it. I’m having to do some now and its going to be a while for it to be done(hopefully this winter).
 
Joined
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Stanwood, WA
“Rust repair is not something to idly jump into, there’s more than you think and multiple ways to do it.”
That’s the truth. There’s ALWAYS more than it looks like. Using something like Ospho would stop it from continuing so you could still drive and enjoy it. If you’ll replace the panels anyway, there’s no additional harm in putting the diamond plate back on or just skin the quarters with thin sheet metal and tack it in place and paint a matching color.
 
Joined
May 16, 2010
Messages
92
I took a measurement on my 73, it is 54 1/4. Still original unreworked tub. I am about to do the rockers and front pans, as well as the rear quarters, but I am doing it a piece at a time, not a 3/4 tub. There is a 76 tub for sale near me that has had all the metal reworked, waiting on the guy to send me pics. I will let you know when he does.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
296
If your welding new rear quarters in you will want to get a ton of 11 in clamp and a 4-6 18 inch clamps. get a least 2 grinders It will help a ton so you dont have to keep switching back and forth sanding disks and grinder wheels to wire brushes. I have 3 , save a ton of time. After your done welding make sure you seam seal up joints and seams ....ASAP Get a good welding helmet. also learn how to body work , understand the difference between body fillers, and glazes. Know when to use etching primer and such... theres a ton to learn take your time, this is a marathon if you own a 40. There are guys on here who are on there second rolling Restos. There is no 100 percent way to eradicate the rust areas, atleast in the northern east coast. the advice of drive it and have fun is the best advice one can give. Enjoy, and good luck. as for painting use a 2 k epoxy primer sealer On the bare metal. Ectching primer does not prevent rust. Then paint the color of your choice
 
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