Stitch welding a long seam - 1966 Jeep CJ5

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

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Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:39 pm

PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2021 11:21 pm
Hi everyone. This is my first post here.

I’ve been restoring a 1966 Jeep CJ5, and I’ve made it through the frame and engine. The body is the last major phase, but I’m a total beginner at body work, and I was hoping I could ask for some advice and help on my project. In particular I’m hoping to get some advice with the part I’m working on right now which is cutting out rotten rocker panels and replacing with new steel.

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The replacement panels are stamped in 18ga like the original. They are flanged inwards at the seam so they slide in behind the original body metal. The weld seam can then have double thickness and be ground flush.

I have the RH rocker tacked in place where it goes, and I have to stitch in along the seam a dot at a time.

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The issue I have is that when I hold a straightedge along the seam it is currently high:

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hat I am wondering is what I can do to increase the chances of the seam being hidden with Bondo before I dot-planish-wait-dot-planish-wait (repeat) all along the seam? Is it worth trying to smack the seam down with a hammer and dolly before dot welding it? I’m trying to avoid ending up with a high ridge all along the seam and I actually want it to be a valley, correct?

Thanks. I’m wide open to any ideas and suggestions.

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Location: Pahrump NV.
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2021 10:58 am
Hi Truckee!
CJ5 NICE!!!!
I have a CJ7 I am planning to do if I ever get caught up around here and Get the wifes Jeep Commander done. Lots of Mods on Both! Plus paint and body.

Lap welds are well sorta a Band aid type repair easyER for the novice to perform BUT they have their short coming as you have discovered.
A proper repair would be BUTT weld the skins Much more difficult weld to perform tho! fit up of patch needs to be perfect and tight with zero gap! again a little harder to do.

There is a current rust repair thread going on an Import and the Guy shows how he is doing a Butt weld repair with those little panel clamps that set up a GAP between the panels and while there are many people that swear by those clamps and using a gap THEY cause a lot of shrinkage similar to the problem your seeing now BUT he doesn't show it with a strait edge like you did he snaps some shots of it Not up close and then Burys it under filler, I am not saying its the wrong way to do it but I like my repairs to be a bit more professional looking myself even when I screw it up at least I tried my best!
Thanks for showing the problem!

A lot of the problem when doing any welding of thin sheet metal is the weld bead draws together as the bead cools causing the bead to contract and pull on the panels being joined which causes tension and distortion between the two panels being joined which is why Beating the snot out of the weld bead is necessary, STRETCHING the weld bead out.
A zero Gap KINDA prevents OR keeps the shrinking to a Min. But it still does it as the weld bead and the panel metal blends together during the weld process But a zero gap keeps it to a min it does help a lot!
Beating on the Bead is still necessary to stretch the metal its just not as bad.

Seriously IF I were to do a Lap joint repair such as yours I would honestly use an Adhesive rather than welding No shrinkage no warping no heat issues and in all honesty almost as strong as welding in many cases, Today's panel adhesives are no Joke when used correctly! No welder required!

Other than that Ya your gonna be doing a Lot of Hammer and dolly work to get things back into shape. Remember Hammer ON Dolly STRETCHES metal Hammer OFF dolly Moves metal (BUMPING), Shrinking is a whole different ball game, I like to use a Shrinking disks when I need to Shrink OR make Tucks. You can easily get into a Oil can situation so remembering what you did where is important so you can reverse it if you have too!
I like to use Machinist blue or red dyes and Black markers when I do sheet metal work. A good Rasp file helps find Hi and low spots too.
You can Cut, Bend, shrink, stretch and weld metal with all those options their is NOTHING that cant be made from a Piece of metal anything is possible!!!!!!

Learning when to shrink, when to stretch & when to BUMP its a skill learned by doing.
I suggest a Book called "The Key to Metal Bumping" Its cheap less than $20 and its a short read half hour or less good pics & descriptions INVALUABLE information to the home DIY body man. More advanced stuff comes when your ready to search for it.

Keep up the good work and information for others to follow along and Post lots of pics for all us to follow along please it will encourage you and others
Have fun in the shop!
Dennis B.
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2021 6:46 pm
Here's a 67 CJ5 that I did for a guy a few years back.
He contacted me about a year ago and has since moved to California but said the Jeep still looks great.

1968 Coronet R/T

ACTS 16:31

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Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2021 10:39 pm

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:07 am
Thanks for the great info doright and '68 Coronet. Nice looking CJ7 you got there! I will be taking all of what you said into consideration this weekend when I have time to work.

I've done a few other panels already (tailgate, fenders, RH rear corner) with a small gap and butt welds and they came out decently enough for me. Doright you do make me think that maybe I should forego the overlap by cutting off the flange and welding the gap as a long butt weld? (like Fitzee does in these videos

The point of this project has been to learn, have fun, save a classic vehicle from the rust pits, and eventually to give my son the Jeep to enjoy one day. I'm not trying to flip it. It's going to get dirty and have bushes scratched down the side of it - not a rock crawler but a forest road cruiser.

The situation is that I have a great restoration body and paint shop in Reno (think Hot August Nights quality) on the line to help me finish the project by doing the prep and paint. The plan is for me to do the structural steel repairs and then hand it over to them for finishing the body work. As much as I want to learn this part of it I have no one to teach me in person here in our little town in the Sierras and I feel like body work is a skill learned over a lifetime that I can't read about on the internet and succeed at on my first try.

So what I'm really concerned with now is not laying big fat landmines for the Shop as I cut out the rot and weld in the replacement panels!

Here's the build thread I have over on with lots of pics if anyone is curious: ... od.131864/

Thanks again for the info!

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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:17 pm
Location: Pahrump NV.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2021 2:48 pm
Hi Grant
I skimmed over your thread over there Tried to click on Pics to make them bigger looks like you got to be member to do that. really like to see the Pics but Sorry I dont think I belong in a CJ5 forum.

I personally am not a Fan of Fritze he does a lot of what I call HACK work and promotes it as the way to do things, I do not condone Hack work in any way!
That said LEARNING and trial and error is best teacher so if you don't know any better SAY IT! But dont make a video saying this is the way to do it.
In that video he wants to Lay a Patch over rust and weld BIG NO NO!
THAT IS HACK WORK! Plain and simple.

But getting back to your Jeep If you can rebuild differentials Transmissions and your transfer case and Weld body panels You sure as Heck can learn to Block out panels and do some Paint work. Its not rocket science! Most important part is Sanding, Next is good reliable Air sorce with clean dry air.

Ya You gonna Have some problems and Ya your gonna learn some stuff along the way BUT seriously You can do this! You got too see it all the way through DON'T cave in and farm out and pay some one big bucks to do the Fun part!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's what this Forum is all about!

Besides Its a Jeep After Paint Its gonna see the Trails and Get custom pin striping! Dont worry! Its all good You can even do it in your drive way or in a Make shift tent Ya it might get a few Bugs or a little trash but a quick scrub with sand paper and a Buffer your good to go!

The Skills knowledge and investment will serve you well on your next project.
And you'll be one of the few that can Say "I did it ALL myself!"
Dennis B.
A&P Mechanic, FCC General radio Telephone Operator
Line Maintenance A&P Mechanic and MOC Tech specialist.

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