What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A
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  1. #1
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    What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Well I am going to learn to weld. Got to start somewhere... I've had a handful of around the house stuff that has made me think the thought, "If I only had a welder". And now I've got two vehicles that are slowly rusting away in my driveway. They are both 84's and are diesels (GMC 6.2 Diesel Suburban, and Mercedes 300d turbo diesel) that run great but like anything old that's been kept outside and driven in winters, they're slowly fading away because of rust and I'd like to squeak another 10 years out of them.


    All that said, I'm excited. I'm 28 and have been interested in welding since I was a kid. I'm pretty mechanical and am an Electric Engineer by degree. I've always been a get it done kid. Make it if you don't have it or rig it if you can't afford to fix it with a new part.

    So... a welder is going to a invaluable tool!! Time to get one.

    Anyways, here is my first project (rusted wheel wells on the MB and rusted out hole in the door panel on my suburban). Where do I start?

    Here are my questions:

    1. From reading, I'm guessing MIG is the easiest form of welding for body work. I've also read Oxy Acetylene is what people used in the olden days. That is also something I may be interested in because I can pickup an old rig (estate deal) locally for around $350 (tanks, torch, hoses, regulators). But I've also read it's hard to do. I don't know much about it.

    2. If I do go MIG, I'm guessing I need something that'll be low AMPs for that thin of material. I also only have a couple 220V connections so 110V may be easier for me. But what do I need if I go MIG? If I buy used, should I expect problems if I buy a major brand (Hobart, Miller, Lincoln). I'm guessing I'll have to spend another $100-200 in tanks hoses etc. Should I expect to pay around $700 when all is said and done if I get a 130A - 140A model? That's expensive for me, maybe I could get by with O/A??? Can I do heavier steel with O/A than I could do with a 110V MIG

    3. Where do I get steel stock? Sheet Metal for the car?

    4. What kind of basic tools would I need to shape the metal?


    Thanks so much!!!! I'm very much looking forward to learning the trade!
    Nick

    lastly... there are also rust holes in the floor board (almost like a line was cut out along the front edge of the back seat and the line continues along the edge of the floor near the passenger door). It's about a 10" line on both openings. A big L shaped rusted out.
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    Last edited by nicksorenson; 08-11-2008 at 09:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    You can do all your light auto work with a 110v mig. It is really well suited for it. You can find them with a bottle used for a couple hundred bucks, and they usually last and are very reliable machines. Use.023/.025 wire, it will make smaller beads for you, less grinding work. As for metal, any metal supply shop will have sheet for you to buy, many times in the scrap pile for cheap!! For metal tools for shaping metal, the sky is the limit. Small stuff, dead blow hammers, leather hammers, anvil, vise, hand benders, snips, etc. And from there it goes to english wheels for bigger shaping jobs. You can find the tools at many metal supply houses, and online. For metal work, look up Ron Fornier?? He is the metal working guru. I have no idea if he's the best, but I know he has several videos online, so that is a start at least!! Good luck, Paul.
    I think she is Bi-polar. She is a bear sometimes. Does this make her a BiPolar bear????

  3. #3
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Where in Missouri are you?

    It is good to put your city in the Location so'z members know where yer at- someone may be close to you-willing to help out or have a machine for sale.

    You can probably snag a Door or Body panel from a Junk yard to practice on.
    Ed Conley
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  4. #4
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Try Tool King for re-conditioned Hobart units.

    http://www.toolking.com/category/too...d-welders.aspx
    HH 140 ( 120v) $415.00


    If you can find a good deal on a used 120v it would work for the body.

    Although I would suggest looking at a 240v machine as you'll get twice the machine for just a fraction more $$.

    It will allow you a little more room for other projects. It will certainly work for the body & Floor pans.
    Ed Conley
    http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
    MM252
    MM211
    Passport Plus & Spool gun
    TA 185
    Lincoln SP135 Plus- (Gone to a good home)
    Miller 125c Plasma 120v
    O/A set
    SO 2020 bender
    Beer in the fridge

  5. #5
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    Where in Missouri are you?

    It is good to put your city in the Location so'z members know where yer at- someone may be close to you-willing to help out or have a machine for sale.

    You can probably snag a Door or Body panel from a Junk yard to practice on.
    This is great advice. Maybe the best thing I have ever read about practice on bodywork welding!! "Wanna know how much sheetmetal distorts when you weld on it??? Get a cheap junkyard door/ panel, and burn it up." No fear of ruining it, and you can learn exactly how much is not enough, or too much. It would also be a good way to practice some bondo/ shaping work!
    I think she is Bi-polar. She is a bear sometimes. Does this make her a BiPolar bear????

  6. #6
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    MIG would be the easiest process to use, oxy fuel and/or TIG offer more benefits for restoration but only if the user is skilled at metal shaping. Learning how to use oxy fuel properly would benefit you LOTS- you'll end up more skilled as a welder and a fabricator/metal shaper

    Tools,... welder aside pretty much anything can be accomplished with a few hammers/mallets and dollies, some tin snips and time. Larger tools like wheeling machines speed up the process- depending on skill you can either make panels OR scrap more quickly. The only time saving tool i'd bother splashing out on initially is a mechanical shrinker

    Before you go any further i'd have a REAL good poke around that Merc if you haven't already. The W123's rot well and from the look of the lower rear edges of the front wings i'd be concerned about the front of the sills around the jacking points and nearby box sections. Front bulkheads around the battery tray are another favorite rot spot

    Leave things like door skin repairs for now, low crown panels are harder to repair well as they're FAR more prone to distortion. As Broccoli said, grab yourself a scrap panel or 2 to practice on- cut out a section and weld in a replacement, wail on it some and then straighten with hammers/dollies

  7. #7
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Oh, and bear in mind that rust is always MUCH worse than it appears to be!

  8. #8
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Ditto what Hotrodder posted,
    O/A has deffinate advantages, and is why its preferred by the high dollar professional shops. Invaluable for hot-working , forming, welding, brazing, etc. Not to mention the welds are much softer and easier to work out. Body tools....Ive seen some of the best work ever done, with simple hand tools. Power machines are for speed, not accuracy.
    Kent White is one of the best metalmen I know, he has a pretty good video on patch panels sold from his side company www.tinmantech.com.
    Oh on the torch, stay away from the "railroad" size, get something small like an aircraft type ( smith aw1a, harris 15, victor j series) or a Meco Midget. The henrob doesnt offer much advantage over a nice normal torch, just more expensive.

  9. #9
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Quote Originally Posted by hotrodder View Post

    Before you go any further i'd have a REAL good poke around that Merc if you haven't already. The W123's rot well and from the look of the lower rear edges of the front wings i'd be concerned about the front of the sills around the jacking points and nearby box sections. Front bulkheads around the battery tray are another favorite rot spot
    Thanks! I have no idea what keeps my car structurally in one piece. I take it you're talking about watching for structural rust. Where do I look? I see that the jacking points are pretty rusty. But is there channel pipe that is the structure? What do I need to be concerned with structurally?
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  10. #10
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    All Super advise here.

    I do a lot of body and sheet metal repairs and I prefer the 110 mig for the job.
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  11. #11
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Quote Originally Posted by nicksorenson View Post
    Thanks! I have no idea what keeps my car structurally in one piece. I take it you're talking about watching for structural rust. Where do I look? I see that the jacking points are pretty rusty. But is there channel pipe that is the structure? What do I need to be concerned with structurally?

    I find that the rusted area is always larger than it appears when you arer looking for solid metal to weld to. Also their are always hidden areas and panels that will not allow to get to the back off. This can make reapir difficult. It is very inportant that you be able to seal the back side of all your repairs with paint and or some sort of under coating. Using zink based primers is also a good idea for preping patch panels before welding.
    Miller DVI2
    Lincoln Precision Tig 225
    Thermodynamics Cutmaster 38
    Everything else needed.

  12. #12
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    Re: What type of welder for this auto body repair? MIG or O/A

    Quote Originally Posted by nicksorenson View Post
    Thanks! I have no idea what keeps my car structurally in one piece. I take it you're talking about watching for structural rust. Where do I look? I see that the jacking points are pretty rusty. But is there channel pipe that is the structure? What do I need to be concerned with structurally?
    Well for a start the jacking points and sills are structural. There is no seperate chassis as such, sheet metal is formed into 'box sections' (often complex, comprising 2 or 3 individually folded pieces) at various places around the car- look underneath/in the engine bay and you'll see these box sections, there's a chassis rail running along base of the inner wing for example

    W123's rot pretty much anywhere but favorite structural places are the bulkhead (rotten battery tray is a bad sign). The front jacking points/sills, adjacent box sections and front chassis legs are all prone. The rear of the car fairs better but have a close look at the wishbone mounts

    Rotton floors suggest leaks, if it has a sunroof chances are the drains are blocked

    Front wings bolt on (pattern wings are rubbish, poor steel and they don't fit properly) which can make life easier access wise

    These cars are pretty worthless in the UK, i certainly wouldn't bother repairing one with structural rot as a clean W124 can be found for a few hundred pounds.

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