How to weld body panels
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    1,738

    How to weld body panels

    Hey yall... Well, i decided that i wanted a project truck, so i bought this little old s10
    last night:



    Its got 324,000 miles on it, but runs and drives like a new one. It just doesnt look that new, its been mauled by a bear (my best guess atleast)



    run hard and put out in the rain:



    And theres a dozen or so little rust holes ill have to fix here and there. Ive never welded anything this thin before, but ive got my weldpak
    and im willing to try anything. Like welding up the tailgate for instance.

    Im making this thing into a convertible, and planning on putting a v8 in it, and id really like the smooth look on the back of it. How would
    one go about "shaving" the tailgate handle, welding it shut, and making it look like its meant to be??





    And the bed rust and the bear mauling... How would i fix that?? Ive got a totaled donor truck with the good cab and door parts
    (no bed tho), that i could saw out, and weld into the new truck, right? Or is that a bad idea? lol...

    Im pretty clueless here, so, does anyone have any advice for me??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    1,496

    Re: How to weld body panels

    Anybody with pro body work experience here, or simply a lot of replacement panel experience. I have done a few but would love to know the best and right way. I have used a die grinder/ cut off wheel to do my cutting in the past and but weld the panels. Shoud they be lapped, or butt? I also think I have seen a tool that depresses the edges of the cut out so when you fit the panel it laps but is flush with the adjoining surfaces. Would really like to improve the body work skills.
    "Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum"

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cassville, Missouri
    Posts
    2,116

    Re: How to weld body panels

    Lap or butt? That depends on wether you're replacing a full panel or making a patch. On full panel replacement you use a spot weld cutter to drill off the panel, then grind off the the remaining weld. Drill 3/16"-1/4" holes in the new panel flange about the same spacing as the factory spot welds. Align the panel, celco it in place and then plug weld the hole. If you have access to spot welding equiptment do not drill hole in the flanges.
    Patch panels can be flanged or butt welded. Butt welding requires much more experience in fitting and welding but give better results when done well. Less than perfect butt weld jobs will look like crap. Before trying a butt weld job get an old quarter panel or fender cut out a patch, and then weld it back in.
    Tough as nails and damn near as smart

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Sudbury, Ontario
    Posts
    742

    Re: How to weld body panels

    What tresi posted is on the money. The only thing I would like to add is a butt joint is less susceptible to corrosion than a lap joint. The lapped joint tends to trap moisture, the butt joint becomes essentially part of the panel it is welded into. If there is access from behind, some seam sealer/caulk will counteract this problem.
    "The reason we are here is that we are not all there"

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