Sunday, June 24, 2012

blowing hot and cold

Yay! Finally done with the welding. However, what I did discover after a couple of goes at patching the quarter panel was this: no matter what you do, when you do this much welding, some warpage of the sheet metal is inevitable. So, the next step was to do what I could to improve the situation with my body hammer and dolly. The answer is not much! In fact, the first thing I did was make the situation worse by stretching the seam and developing an "oil can" effect in the metal. Great.

I did some research on the net, and conferred with Sven (thanks again!), and I discovered that the modern method of dealing with stretched metal is a shrinking disc. The old fashioned method meanwhile, is to heat up the metal with a propane torch, and then rapidly cool it with a wet rag. The rapid cooling causes some shrinkage of the metal, which, after several applications, should be enough to eradicate the oil can effect. For me, the big problem with the shrinking disc was availability. I was trying to get going on the project and it would have taken me a week or so to acquire this I drove over to Home Depot and laid down fifteen dollars for a propane torch. I already had the wet rag on hand.

The metal shirking was actually a lot more simple than I thought it was going to be, and after a couple of hours of heating and cooling....and body hammering....and repeating...I was happy enough to start roughing up the surface ahead of the body filler.

After I got done with the body hammer I painted over the inside seam with some Zero Rust and then covered the entire area with seam sealer.

Here's my first bash with the body filler.

It quickly became apparent that (i) there were still a TON of high spots and (ii) I was going to have to skim the entire quarter panel.

Take two with the body filler. This is easily the most filler I have ever mixed up at one time. Good thing I bought a gallon of filler.

Getting there now, but still several more high spots to deal with.

Finally got it as good as I possibly could and ready for primer.

But...hold it right there! Before I got out the compressor and converted the garage into a paint booth, I wanted to prep a few of the other small parts for primer. I actually quite like the painting, but the biggest part of it is getting the garage, when the garage is in paint booth mode, I like to paint as much stuff as possible. I collected together all the parts that will (eventually) need to be painted body color that I had not previously worked on....except the hood, deck lid and fenders that is...and stripped off the thick, eggshell-like paint. This is quite easy with the aircraft stripper I usually use.

The fender extensions/headlight buckets were a bit more difficult to strip.

After stripping I gave everything a REALLY GOOD going over with water to neutralize the stripper, and then sanded everything to 120 grit.

Time to mask off the parts of the car than I didn't want to paint. I was taping off almost the entire car, so I did some of the masking with decorators plastic sheeting. This worked quite well as long as I used several layers and taped the sections together.

Allowing access to both sides of the repaired area meant the masking was a little bit more of a challenge, because I couldn't just close off the entire trunk/interior area. Also, I wanted to make sure there was no over spray on the underside of the car since that area has been declared finished.

The quarter panel got the usual epoxy primer treatment: two coats with about 20 minutes flash time.

I had plenty of primer left to lay down two coats on all the small parts too.


  1. Bravo! I go on vacation for a couple of weeks and YOU go about tackling that quarter panel like a pro! Great work!

  2. Err...well kind of: my blog has been playing catch-up just lately, the shrinking was actually done quite a while ago...(thanks for the fb though!)

  3. Nice work on the stretch and shrinking. That is a booger to get exactly to the profile you want. But the results look great. I'm looking at a similar step on the right rear quarter panel since a cow managed to tweak it while the car languished in Texas years ago.