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Automobile Door Damage Advice Needed

More of an art than a science - discuss metalworking and welding here.



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:11 pm
Have been reading this forum for a couple months finding it very interesting. Now need some questions answered on how to fix a long dent in the passenger front door! I've body worked off and on as a hobbyist for 20 years so it's not all new.

The car, an 01 Accord, was struck by another car backing up alongside it. Other car's left rear bumper gouged across Accord's passenger front and rear doors as it backed up--stopping about midway across the back door.

I shaped out the back door by the time the car was photographed so it looks kinda ok in the pic. This is as far as I am able to go and can't get the final gouge out. I know I can bondo and fill but would like smoother metal if possible. The dimples are stretched areas and get shrunk in last so not too worried about them. Have been using straightening techniques of Ron Covell and Kent White but they might disagree since I'm not having total success.

Heat was used very carefully yet has not allowed me to "soften" the metal to make it more workable. I water quenched; used a Victor 100fc with #0 tip. The paint is barely burned so you can see there wasn't much flame used, mostly to fix oil canning. Leaving flame tip on for any time only warped everything around.

The panel dent from the inside shows the metal was "hammocked" between the two inner tube supports and they are NOT bent. All the weird scratches are from cold galv spray paint I used last time's attempt; dark spots are where simple heating/quenching (no hammer work) was used for shrinking.

So, Can this repair go further as far as straightening metal? Would more heat do and what about the rest of this panel in that case. Is the metal work hardened? Can it be annealed? I'd like to bondo as little as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Last edited by Restoration Ahead on Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:30 pm
If the last picture is the damage to start with and the first picture the stage you're at now I'd say you've done pretty well to get it into the shape it is now.



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:06 pm
Tks, DAZ, Thought i put up the pics in the right order but did not.
Kinda worn down, forgot to mention i also used the the Key to Metal Bumping, 4th ed by Frank Sargent and have read Rock's excellent long column w/pics.
BTW, @Rock, don't have a stud gun but if fairly adept at welding do I need it? Have migged and used a fabbed puller (from an old drill chuck) but never perfected using it and wasn't happy with the results.



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:22 pm
Looks like you have made some very good progress Resto, I'm glad the system worked for you. If the stud welder fits within your budget you will not regret the purchase, I cannot duplicate it with a welder except for welding plates on for bigger pulls. But there is still more that can be done on the doors with a hammer and dolly. There is stretched metal from the impact, so a stud gun would be very helpful.

You can build up something to lay on your back, so that when the door opens it rubs on your stomach, then you will be able to reach up and through the access hole with the dolly and get the lumps smoother. It may take something to pry with against the supports to put pressure on the low spots as you tap the highs with a hammer. When you get the dolly or pry bar in position and put force on it, use the hammer to lightly tap around to be sure the dolly is where you want it, then tap the highs. Just try to avoid stretching.

You have a good start and that is going to be a very good repair that you can be proud of.



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:30 pm
Before you get carried away with more hammer and dolly work you need to put a straight edge on all your bodylines where there was damage and compare to the opposite un damaged door for a reference to make sure they are out enough.When dealing with damaged panels that severe you must have perimeter alignment first,then get your body lines out,then work out the damage in the flat areas.
In your 3rd pic your bodylines where the molding goes still look in to me,keep at it,youll get there.



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:29 am
:goodpost:



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:22 am
Jayson m said, "you must have perimeter alignment first, then get your body lines out,then work out the damage in the flat areas. In your 3rd pic your bodylines where the molding goes still look in to me,"
Perimeter alignment--is good, door latch was removed so door is only rested closed.
Body lines--good eye! not there yet. the door-latch end of door is also not yet 'out', haven't worked it enough.
Damage in flat areas--not there yet, they're not doing what I want.

The Rock said, "If the stud welder fits within your budget you will not regret the purchase, I cannot duplicate it with a welder except for welding plates on for bigger pulls." Bet they are of use and I'd like to see one used other than on youtube! Will check studgun....I had a quarterpanel damage, top to bottom crease that was not accessible 100% inside. Where needed, I mig welded rib-shanked nails every inch or so and used a fabbed, drill-chuck-to-slide-hammer tool. Did loads of pulling but was amazed how the metal wanted to STAY PUT on the 1982 Ford Granada. Maybe shoulda used your idea of welding plate?

The Rock said, "It may take something to pry with against the supports to put pressure on the low spots as you tap the highs with a hammer. When you get the dolly or pry bar in position and put force on it, use the hammer to lightly tap around to be sure the dolly is where you want it, then tap the highs. Just try to avoid stretching..."
Good point, may need to use "something" different to dolly with, to work out ridge inside the door (valley outside the door). It's close to the horizontal tube support. Yet I need ask, IS THERE A POINT where the metal has had ENOUGH? Where the damage needs annealed!? Dread the warpage elsewhere, and the oxidation, after annealing and so don't think it a reasonable tact here, maybe i'm wrong. :worthy:



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:40 am
They say you can just keep stretching and shrinking the metal until you get what you want. I don't know for sure if that is correct or not, but I think annealing is something done more often on aluminum to make it easier to shape and less likely to crack. I could be wrong on that, and if someone else can shed some light on it, please let us know.

Also, maybe one of the collision guys can tell us more about the high strengh steels used in the more modern cars, which I know very little about. I think there could be some problems with too much heat on them.



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:59 pm
The Rock wrote:They say you can just keep stretching and shrinking the metal until you get what you want. I don't know for sure if that is correct or not, but I think annealing is something done more often on aluminum to make it easier to shape and less likely to crack. I could be wrong on that, and if someone else can shed some light on it, please let us know.


Well, they seem to be right. I did all the polite stuff to remove the "channel" in the outer door skin to no avail. Finally got out the big rubber mallet and the apostrophe dolly and wham!!! Channel gone. Will have to shrink, of course. The metal here is quite malleable but approach made the difference.

While welding and metal fab may seem the wrong place for this post it was the stubborn channel dent. It threw me and many times people who work right with a material know better its nature. Many thanks to you guys.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:50 pm
If that was my job,,,I would have replaced the door..

But you did a good job! How many hours did it take you?
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