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Matt K. Thu Nov 09, 2006 6:54 pm

I want to cover a little bit of the "Basics" of bodywork. Now everyone has a different way to do it and mine may not be the best but it does work. This is for the person who maybe wants to do bodywork themselves but is not sure of what the steps may be. Although it takes awhile to learn it can be very rewarding when you do the work yourself. The first thing people really notice about a vehicle is the paint and body.


Here is what we are starting with, my 57 D.D. Panel. We are looking at the right rear quarter and usually on busses these are dinged up over the years. What you see is the obvious, the crack in the paint and missing plastic filler. I plan on doing a piece at a time in my spare time stripping the bus to metal, reworking the body, fixing the rust and giving her a decent paint job...not a show winner but something nice.

Notes On Paint Stripping:

Chemical Paint Strippers work but they are very messy and can burn your skin and will usually only make the body filler soft- not remove it. Depending on the ammount of paint that is on the vehicle it may take several times to remove the layers of paint.

D/A Sanding is effective but it can be slow and tedious work whether it is an air or electric D/A.

Media Blasting is very effective but it can be costly. Medias such as walnut shells, plastics and glass beads work great while Soda blasting is popular as well. Most shops do stay away from sand on body panels as sand generates heat and the heat will warp body panels, the other medias run much cooler and provide excellent results.

Here are some of the tools we will need to strip off the paint and filler to get to the root of the problem. I would however like to have this one media blasted but it really has only been painted twice so it is not that bad.


(L-R) Buffer with 40 grit velcro disc, electric drill with small 36 grit disc and a grinder with a wire wheel attached. Note: these are all electric for those who dont have air and you can get inexpensive tools as well.


Next we start stripping the paint and filler off with the buffer, i wear a dust mask, face shield and ear plugs...then i start taking the paint and filler off down to metal being careful around the tailight hole and edges because the wheel likes to grab those areas. Try to work different areas of the panel until you get the hang of it you do not want to stay in one area too long to generate too much heat. If your buffer has adjustable speed then around 1500 rpm will be sufficent.

Here we see how water has come in and settled on the back of the filler and surface rust is forming.Over time the filler actually looses its grip and begins to come off.


The last pic shows the panel down to metal. Now you can see the damage, it may look bad but its an easy fix. Notice the holes, they are from one of those screw in dent pullers...now if you had to use this fine but when your done you need to weld up the holes otherwise this is what happens...the water enters the back of the hole, the filler acts as a sponge
and then there is moisture between the metal and filler...not good.

All the filler was applied over paint...........you never want to do this. plastic filler should only be placed on bare metal its first coat and a heavy scratched surface so it has something to "Bite" into. Polyester putty is fine over paint as long as the surface is prepped correctly and the putty is not very thick.

The sad part is the backside of the panel is wide open to fix the damage but the inexperienced person that performed the work just filled the dents with filler......The filler was over an 1 1/2 thick in areas.....way too much.

coW Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:06 pm

Please do!

Just keep in mind that some of us (well, me) are newbies at bodywork so take nothing for granted. We (well, me - again) know exactly bupkis.

KevinBug Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:16 pm

Matt,

Thank you for posting this great information. Please keep it up; I love the step-by-step of how bodywork is done.

Kevin

Matt K. Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:16 pm

Ok so lets talk about some body tools.There are in fact many many tools for this type of work. Hammers, Dollies, Slapping Spoons, Shrinking tools Etc. But we are going to make it simple and go with the basics.

Here are some basic body tools that you should have. From L-R, Slapping Spoon: good for slapping dents, adjusting gaps on doors, fenders, prying corners of doors and fenders ETC. Dollies: Half round(TOP) and Heel dollie(Bottom), these are used as a way to disperse the blow from the hammer, usually held in one hand on either side of the panel while hammering. I also use Dollies to shape curves in metal and knock out dings they are good for alot of different tasks. Lastly, Hammers: there are all types of hammers, peck, blunt, edge....some are small, large, short or long, wood or fiberglass handles. I have a huge assortment but i will pull out some basic tools to show how they work.On the hammers that i will be using, one end has a semi flat head while the other has a point or a flat edge on it.

You can buy a starter kit that contains these items from such places as Harbor Freight or Eastwood and starter kit is fairly inexpensive.

Matt K. Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:29 pm


The BodyMans best friend....The Uni-Spotter or "Nail Gun".....this is an awesome tool here is how it works.


Here is a dent that has a support brace behind it so i cannot get to the back of it. Now the dent must be down to bare metal. I load a copper nail into the gun, place the nail in the center of the dent, push the machine down to make contact, pull the trigger and count one-one thousand and release trigger and it has welded the copper stud to the metal.


Next i attach the puller to the nail and pull on the puller to remove the dent.When i get the dent out i gently tap the surrounding area of the dent to reset the metal. Then i remove the puller and remove the nail by twisting it off with pliers. If the dent is deep or it is a crease it may need multiple nails............... This machine takes a little time to get used to but it is a great time saver and will help tremendously in repairs....This starter kit goes for around $200

Matt K. Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:36 pm


As you can see it is coming along, most of the damage has been tapped out from the back side with a hammer or a dollie the re-worked from the front side. The battery tray has separated and needs to be welded up and the holes from the previous bondo master need welded as well before i can continue. Basically i started with what i could get at from behind, i tapped out the dents then put the dollie on the inside and shaped the metal..........then i used the same buffer with the 40 grit attached to knock down the high spots and show me the lows. Once i get the battery tray welded solid again i will be able to finish of that ugly area.

..............Its looking better.................stay tuned...

hpw Sun Nov 12, 2006 6:44 am

Matt K, Thanks for taking the time to post this and I'm like Cow,

Details, details....

Lee. Sun Nov 12, 2006 8:37 pm

Good thread Matt, this will be helpful.

coW Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:56 am

Matt, when you have some time, could you explain how one beats out a dent in - say - a fender or something like that?

I've read that you're supposed to do it in reverse order of whatever caused the dent, but how do you determine that order?

Great job, Matt!

Matt K. Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:10 am

coW wrote: Matt, when you have some time, could you explain how one beats out a dent in - say - a fender or something like that?

I've read that you're supposed to do it in reverse order of whatever caused the dent, but how do you determine that order?

Great job, Matt!
No Problem, i will explain and show the steps, will take some more shots tonight on this.

Matt K. Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:05 pm


Ok so now moving over to the left quarter, this side had the obvious cracks especially around the tailight hole. So once i stripped the paint and filler off you see what i have to deal with.....The filler was over 1-1/2" thick in areas and the filler was applied directly over paint........this is very bad.......filler should be placed on bare metal with the bare minimum of 80 grit scratches in the metal for adheasion purposes.


So i am starting with the tailight hole as i do not like filler around any type of hole like this because it will lead to cracks.

I start with my dollie on the outside and i slowly tap the metal outward with my hammer using the wide face of the hammer. I am using the dollie as support for the metal because i do not want to "Stretch" the metal by just banging away, i use the dollie to help deaden the blow from the hammer.

Dont just get the hammer in there and brute force it, take your time, you will see how little force it takes to get the metal to move. Patience is critical here as this will be your "Foundation" and you want to take your time and work it to get the metal back into shape.

I just continue tapping the dent back twords the dollie and use the dollie to help flatten the metal, i am trying to get the majority of the dent out by using this method. The better you get the metal to come back straight again the less filler you will need to fix the little imperfections.

Matt K. Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:22 pm


So now i turn the dollie and hammer around when i feel i have the majority of the dent knocked out from the backside, here is an example of how they are held. The dollie held on the backside and the hammer flattening out the metal ( its really good to be ambidextorus).


I will go back and forth with the hammer and dollie, rubbing the area with my hand as well as looking at the area to make sure that it is straight up and down and side to side. When i feel that it is close i will take my buffer with the 40 grit on it and smooth out small high spots.


Then i will take the tailight and make sure it fits properly.

As you can see we will need the "Nail Gun" to finish off the area on the other side of the tailight hole as a brace runs through that area.

Matt K. Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:26 pm



Here i am gently flatening out the metal that surrounds the tailight, it may not look as though i have accomplished much but considering the ammount of filler it took to make it straight this is a dramatic improvement as the tailight will be sitting staright, flat and on metal again.

Matt K. Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:31 pm


Ok this is bad, this is the lower part of the left quarter panel where it meets the rocker. This is a lazy mans rust repair, never do this, filler does not make rust go away..........it makes it worse. I am replacing the rocker anyway so i will slice this out and replace it...............you just never know what you will find. Over the years i have seen some very creative ways to fix rusty metal, from screen door and tin foil to drywall tape and stucco screen........sometimes i really wonder about these people that fix cars like this.............More to come.

gmag69 Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:42 am

Matt K. wrote:

Here i am gently flatening out the metal that surrounds the tailight, it may not look as though i have accomplished much but considering the ammount of filler it took to make it straight this is a dramatic improvement as the tailight will be sitting staright, flat and on metal again.

This is a good thread and you're doing a good job. It takes alot of patience to do this type of work. I have done this kind of work and it can get stressful at times.
Congrats and can't wait to see the end result.

crewlvw Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:42 pm

WILL YOU CUT OFF THAT LOWER PIECE OFF BELOW THE TAIL LIGHT?AND REPLACE IT? YOU CANT REALY GET TO THAT WITH A HAMMER.WILL YOU HAMMER IT OUT OFF THE BUS? AND WELD IT BACK ON.I DONT THINK THE STUD GUN WILL WORK TO GOOD ON THAT CRUMPELD METAL.

Matt K. Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:39 am

crewlvw wrote: WILL YOU CUT OFF THAT LOWER PIECE OFF BELOW THE TAIL LIGHT?AND REPLACE IT? YOU CANT REALY GET TO THAT WITH A HAMMER.WILL YOU HAMMER IT OUT OFF THE BUS? AND WELD IT BACK ON.I DONT THINK THE STUD GUN WILL WORK TO GOOD ON THAT CRUMPELD METAL.
Caps off please. One step at a time. In the event i do need to cut it off i will replace that section with a fresh section................i would not save it if turns out to be that bad.

John Miller Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:04 pm

Thanks to Matt for taking the time to post, this is the greatest thread ever. :D

Matt K. Wed Nov 15, 2006 8:33 pm



Well as you can see i spent so more time with it using the methods i showed above. I could reach about 90% from the back which makes it alot easier. Doing this type of work is all about patience, dont get discouraged it takes time to learn.

As you can see in this pic i have pretty much got the overall shape back to where it needs to be. I have set the tailight in place to check the fit now the flash of the camera make the dings on the metal appear large but in fact they are shallow, when i finsh they small ammount of welding i have to do i will address the dings.



In this pic you can see the apron set in for a test fit, the seal gutter is some what straighted out and the shape is looking like it should.



Here is a straight on shot showing the fit of the apron, incidently the corners of this apron were folded around i had to straighten them as well. The tailight fits nice and the bottom shape is just about there.

Now i just need to weld some holes and a few spots that came loose to give it its strength back, then i will finish off the last of the little dips and fix up the welds and then we are set to put a skim of filler on it to make it nice again. I always look at the surrounding metal when i am doing a repair like this. These are old vehicles and over time cracks form in the metal, spot welds come loose ETC and these should be welded back together to give the vehicle it structural integrity back............plus it is much easier to fix now...........then after it is completely painted.

vdubvr6 Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:34 pm

Matt, these illustrations are perfect! i am about to start some body work tomorrow on my project '64 bug. today i purchased a begginers body kit from HF for 17.99 and it came with 7 pieces; 3 hammers and assorted dollies, and all in a neat little plastic storage case. luckily for me, none of the pieces that need work look anywhere near as bad as that left corner of yours! but it's looking to really take shape now. i'm not one for being that patient, but i really want to learn how to do this for myself and to help out others in the future. thanks for your inspiration! keep on teachin'!



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