Automobile Door Damage Advice Needed

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



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:53 pm
Thats good news, but keep in mind what Jason said about the body lines. When a body line gets pushed in its like a crease, and you shouldn't be doing your final straightening until the body lines are out where they should be, because they will change the shape of the surrounding metal. Its the same as getting the crease out first. You don't want to do any metal finishing work until all the creases and body lines are out.

By that time you get the body lines established, you will have smoothed out a lot the metal, just be relieving the stress to allow the body lines to come out. Same as pushing out on the crease and tapping on the high areas to allow it to come out.



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:21 pm
Sorry to miss you yesterday, OldDupontGuy. Thanks for the compliment.

How long did it take? Maybe how long should it have taken. To go through it again would take about 3 days for the straightening alone, I guess. I'm not equipped with a major tool assortment, suppose that makes a difference. Hammers, dollies, slappers, pry bars and lots of stuff to improvise with. It took me two different tries in two different week timeframes. :knockout:

This stuff helps: have done lots of reading and viewing over the years of the sources mentioned in earlier posts under this thread. Another to mention is Ron & Sue Fournier's 1990 Mental Fabricator's Handbook. It takes an in depth approach in a serious and intensive, yet friendly, vocational training style manner; an excellent book to get acquainted with metal in nearly every way.



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:50 pm
The Rock wrote:Thats good news, but keep in mind what Jason said about the body lines. When a body line gets pushed in its like a crease, and you shouldn't be doing your final straightening until the body lines are out where they should be,


Here's where the last photos left off: a big dent still in the latch area and crooked body line there.
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Here it's coming out:
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Now out:
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Well, it's not that good, yet. Here's a close up. Will need to smooth out the waves.
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The Rock wrote:By that time you get the body lines established, you will have smoothed out a lot the metal, just be relieving the stress to allow the body lines to come out. Same as pushing out on the crease and tapping on the high areas to allow it to come out.


Yes. btw, I didn't intend in an earlier statement to say I BEAT the metal. In one instance I did using a large mallet and apostrophe dolly only because nothing else would knock down the ridge. The result was the ridge was driven into the valley in one whack. It usually doesn't work that way! Beating sheetmetal is damaging!



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:03 am
Trying to get caught up, here's more of the panel straightening.
Attachments
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Door weatherstrip pulled back. Pushing from inside for hard-to-get low; door latch is removed. There is no room for a mini ram-not that I have one.
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Inaccessible: Fabbed tool used to push. Pry bar used to "pry-push” but with care, it can quickly stretch the metal making more work. Aim was to unlock a door edge crease while dinging outside the door. This low was brought up about 50%.
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Moulding shows body line is wavy.
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Highs and lows are marked, stretched or shrunk as needed. Tubular supports inside hindered access.
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Panel straight, next is to "tighten" the repair area.



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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:47 am
If you have a welder you can tack unibody studs if you need to get the rough out done well,but looks like you have access but not leverage I use a 10" ss shrinking to combat stretched metal, make not doubt about this work it isn't as easy as it looks, use a body file to check this stuff, a few people indicated getting your crown lines out and any edges that have rolled.Use filler with zchromates in it, try to keep filler minimum



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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 12:23 pm
Thanks, Pistolnoon. By 10" ss shrinking you mean a shrinking disk if I'm right. You are right about access versus leverage! Just as soon as I get done on this car I'll update on the panel straightening. Had lots that went wrong, much of it having nothing to do with the panel, but I'll discuss panel errors that I made. It's all part of the project. The last caveat is one of the door moulding attachment (rectangular) holes developed a 1/8" hairline crack topside from the straightening operation.



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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:27 pm
Start a project thread, we would love to see your progress and learn from your mistakes. :goodjob:



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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 6:46 am
Thanks, Rock, do intend to. A couple bigger items right off for things to go wrong are: improper assessment of (1.) heat helping or hurting (2.) pulling to help in straightening (3.) like Pistolnoon says, access vs leverage.
HEAT In the middle of a panel it is fine. Overstretch or overshrink and the action is reversible. On the end of a panel where access denies leverage, the shrinking (at least with a torch) is not do able. As I've never used a shrinking disc, I'm old school on this one. So, the metal is stretched then what? Fill. Knowing this I chose on the front door to fill at the pillar end where door latches. But, on the back door, at the hinge end at pillar I tried shrinking after pulling. Could not gain access without taking out the window motor/regulator. Had to fill due to heat warpage. In both front and back door the inner frame supports are a big interference hassle.
PULLING Don't have a stud puller yet so don't know how non-distorting to panel it is. Had to replace the 30 yr old Craftsman 1 hp for a 5 hp air compressor so other expenses are on hold. Used a Victor 100FC torch and 0 (zero) tip which is sold as for 1/32" metal but that's overstating and burn-throughs are likely if not in ideal conditons. The heat I set into back door panel with this setup scratched the idea of pulling, especially where the metal cannot be accessed to shrink.
ACCESS/LEVERAGE This needs to be carefully looked at to determine what approaches will be taken for each section of the damage. What works in one section will absolutely not work for another and vice versa. All the urgings to practice on a scrap fender or door are well served and there's not the tension of perfection!



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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:26 pm
As the number of views increases I get concerned some might go right into a damage before I can get time to add some things learned, pictures, and mistakes made. A couple more things...

BIG MISTAKE: getting carried away with the heat. The torch works best I found when put in the middle of the "oil can" unless the metal feels hard at that point from being overworked. Possibly the source of the flex is a side, so to speak. Draw an imaginary "frame" (to whatever circle, square, etc., matches your damage area) around the center of your oil can and the "side" of the "frame" that is damaged/bent/stressed is the other place to look for a shrink point. Back to heat, though. It doesn't take much. This is not The Key to Metal Bumping anymore! You are not dealing with 16 or 18 gauge like they were but 22 guage which is 1/32'' inch. If new at this you are working slowly so IF you have been modest with the heat there is little or no need for water quenching. Go ahead and do your hammer/dolly shrinking and likely you will fine the panel is already cool and there is no need to quench. Cool the panel lightly as needed but more with a wet cloth that doesn't drip all over the place! There's a fine line but you'll get it. Why not water quench all the time? My guess is the gauge of metal today is so thin and heat used is so little that the heat more or less dissipates. Keep in mind the dolly and hammer absorb heat as well. What about a hardware store propane torch??? Forget it. Flame front is too broad, fire is therefore too cool, and there is not precision core to work with. Propane can be used to expand an area but usually the expansion is too much and even more shrinking is needed.

Getting carried away with the dolly and hammer. It doesn't take much force to straighten automotive sheetmetal unless the metal has been work hardened. A strong hit will lower a hardened ridge but as I found it seems to move the hard metal to a new position. The metal still wants to resist being worked with. For straightening use several small taps. If the metal is not moving the work area needs re-assessed for why it isn't cooperating.



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:09 pm
Here's more. Don't mean to be phony giving advice after asking for it. I've hobbied at metal working for some years but don't know anyone locally who does it, or of those who do, anyone giving much advice. What was most confusing is learning that metal work hardens. This makes further work nearly impossible unless the metal is annealed (softened) so that it may again be stretched and shrunk as needed.
Attachments
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Guide dust shows progress. In foreground is deepest low, still only measures 1/32'' depth. This would be filled as there was little access to allow shrinking. It could also have been pulled using pins & oxy-acetylene in my absence of a stud gun.
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Straightening done, I was hoping to surface when I noticed a topside crack in the second, door mould, clip-bay. A touch of the 0 (zero)-size welding torch makes things worse. Welding chart says a zero tip can handle 1/32'' at it's minimum, it didn't say you better be good at it, vertically. Inset: That scrap, practice fender comes in handy. Mine was free at a nearby parts yard. Sheetmetal welding was practiced before going onto the accord's door.
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Left: Patch was cut from the scrap fender above, set in place, and welded. Rivets are holding a copper backing piece that helps support the fit-in patch, contain the weld, and dissipate heat. Right: weld area ground smooth and copper backing removed. A great book I used for learning about designing and making metal patches is by Ron & Sue Fournier, "Metal Fabricators Handbook" revised 1990. While it may be dated to younger ones, I can't speak enough about what this book can teach. I do not know the authors so am not promoting. Also helpful, Ron Covell's "Basic Techniques for Working with Steel" and Kent White's "Shrinking Magic".
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Here's the weld from the inside of door. Temporary, black paint was wire-brushed off for the picture. I try to avoid leaving raw metal unprotected beyond a few minutes--zinc coating was lost in the welding process. 1/8'' steel rod was used as opposed to brazing for reasons of strength and reversibility if the job ever needs redone.
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Heat induced into the panel called for a new round of shrinking/leveling. Drawn water drops are where water was dribbled to help keep panel cool during welding. It worked, sort of.
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