Fire Damage...Best way to fix?

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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:28 pm
I just joined the forum and couldn't find anything specific to the problem I am working on right now. I am working on an old Jeep and the original tub is rusted so bad I don't think its worth trying to save.

I picked up another tub that has solid metal and no rust except for some surface rust where it was damaged in a fire. On the panels that were damaged in the fire, I can see that the metal is warped. Can I save these and work them back into shape? Or is it best to cut out the fire damaged metal and start fresh?

The budget is tight so I want to save whatever I can. I am new to body work, but I have done some welding.

Thanks for any advice!
Broke, but still find money to spend on the Jeep somehow.....

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Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 10:56 am
Location: Oregon
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:54 am
I always try to save whatever I can. I'm not a fan of replacing anything that doesn't absolutely need it, so I suggest working the metal. :D

Fire damaged metal is usually very rough from burnt paint, surface rust, etc. I sandblast and/or chemically remove the rust. Work out the warping with a hammer and dolly. You'll probably have to shrink any severely warped areas. I use a propane torch on areas that need severe shrinking, shrinking disk on minor waves and dings. Sand it and prep for primer.

If you don't have a lot of experience working metal, practice on some scrap panels first. ;) You don't want to learn on your 'good' body panels.



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Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 9:09 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:04 am
Thanks for the info. I will go the route of trying to save the panels first. So would the fire have caused the panels to expand causing the warped panel? Will there be areas that shrunk and need to be expanded?
Broke, but still find money to spend on the Jeep somehow.....

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Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 10:56 am
Location: Oregon
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 5:01 pm
Yes, Both. When a car is fire damaged all the panels have been expanded and contracted to a degree, in that area. If the car was on fire and somebody sprayed water to douse the fire, that will shrink the panel that's hot.

If you haven't dealt with shrunken/damaged panels or panels that have been work hardened by previous repairs - you might have a steep learning curve ahead of you. True bodywork (hammer and dolly, shrinking and stretching, etc) is an artform and takes time and skill to learn how to master. That's why a lot of panels get replaced or bondo'd over because guys don't want to spend the time. I'm far from a master, but I can work a panel that most people would throw away ;)

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