Patch panel or full quarter??
I posted this over at Chevelles.com but didn't get a response. Maybe my question was convoluted. I have a 64 El Camino and bought the remanufactured full quarters for both sides. The rust damage is typical, lower rear quarter and fenderwell lip. The full quarters are not OEM quality and although they look good by themselves, as soon as you lay them over the originals, it's aparent how "off" they are. The body lines and corners are soft and the gas filler opening is not even close. My orininal thought was to just use them as patch panels but a buddy of mine (restores top dollar, first gen camaros), who's opinion I respect sid that a butt weld down the three feet of open body is going to warp so bad that I'd be better off replacing the whole quarter. My question is; Can I reduce the chance of warping to the point that I can use them as patch panels and leave the remainder of the original quarter in place. Or should I heed the warning and replace the whole quarter knowing that I'm going to have to rework all the body lines and corners. I have MIG adn TIG and reasonable experience.
I would patch them as you originally planned. Take it slow and you won't warp it. I try to leave as much of the original metal as possible. You could take it extremely slow with the TIG and try to metalfinish it or you could speed the process up a bit and use the MIG. Either way just stick to jumping around with spot welds, keeping the heat down. I don't weld a spot in an area unless I can touch it with my hand. This method works for me. The key is to not get impatient. I also like the idea of patching a panel because you can leave the original gaps at the trunk lid and door, a big plus. Good luck.
Hi, what a great site, I read your article on the door patch using the backing strip and was wondering if a flange tool could be used to create the lip for the butt weld. I just received a pair of lower quarters from California cut from a car (belt line down) and I'am preparing to cut and weld but it will be about 7' of welding about 5" below the belt line. I was hoping to save a few steps with the flange tool since it will be alot of mud the length of the quarter anyway, plus I think it would help with the appearance in the trunk. What are your thoughts.
If you are referring to this article, then you are speaking of Len.
Len's Rust Repair on Door Bottom
I do not use the backing strip method myself as I prefer a butt weld. This is just personal preference though, and not due to any inferior strength results. The backing strip method was an I-CAR standard as I understand. It does however produce an inferior appearance that is more difficult to metalfinish. A flanging tool would work for installing a patch but then it would be considered a lap-weld. This is neither a butt-weld nor does it use the backing strip method.
Thanks for the reply Grant. What would you use to hold 7' of quarter in place when butt-welding :confused: I have seen some tools in Eastwood like little clamps that space and hold the two panels, have you ever used these before? And, do you use anthing on the back side of the butt-weld (copper?) to catch any extra wire or heat that might get through?
I totally agree. As long as the repairer has the tools and talent to produce a good quality butt weld then that could be the way to go. The backing strip method allows the repairer to have a gap between panels that can be backed by the strip while a gap in a butt welded panel can have problems if the fit isn't more accurate. However, you could try to cut the panel accurately for a butt weld and if the fit isn't up to par you could put in a backing strip before you start welding. Once the welding starts however it's too late to insert a strip.
Originally Posted by Stanger
Last edited by Len; 09-06-2006 at 08:39 PM.
Len hit it on the head. Accuracy is key when butt welding. If your gap isn't perfect then your done, no going back once you've gone too far. This shouldn't scare you away from it, just take your time. I have never used the butt-weld panel clips that you are speaking of but do know of them. Honestly I have never done a butt weld that was 7' long. I have done smaller butt weld repairs that were handled with welding clamps. Here is a small repair that I made a few weeks ago. It was butt-welded an partially metal-finished in this picture. Clearly I am no professional yet either as you can still identify the seam. Practice makes perfect though and thats what this is all about.
Here is a dedicated metal-working site that will be of great help to you. These guys can fix ANYTHING, and without plastic filler. If you have questions about butt welding and metalfinishing, these are the guys. This particular thread is of a '40 Willys being completely rebuilt by Randy Ferguson. Unfortunately there were some disputes on the board and some of the big name metalworkers no longer visit but there is still an amazing amount of information available. Here is the link to the '40 Willys having a partial roof replacement. Amazing work.
'40 Willys project
EDIT: To answer the question about using the copper, yes I have tried it. I do not care for it at all. I prefer to prepare the gap to the best of my abilities. Also, beware that the panel will expand as your welding heats it and the gaps will close. This means that you should weld the smallest/tightest gaps first so that they don't force themselves to overlap, leaving the larger/looser gaps for later, allowing them to expand a little.
Last edited by Stanger; 09-07-2006 at 05:22 PM.