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1st TIME WELDER: I WANT TO WELD BODY PANEL ONTO A JEEP WRANGLER: PLEASE ADVISE

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  • 1st TIME WELDER: I WANT TO WELD BODY PANEL ONTO A JEEP WRANGLER: PLEASE ADVISE

    I AM A FIRST TIME WELDER AND I NEED SOME ADVICE FROM THE MEMBERS OF THIS FORUM:

    I have a 1991 Jeep Wrangler that purchased 2 years ago and I have tried to do many of the repairs on the Jeep myself and with the help of some family members.
    I have a couple of rust spots that need to be repaired, I looked on Craigslist and found a brand new aftermarket Jeep CJ 5 driver side body panel< its doesnít exactly fit my jeep but parts of this body panel COULD be welded on to replace some of the rust holes that exist on the current body panel.

    I talked to a couple of people about taking it in and getting the work done, this is super labor intensive and expensive. I have more time than money, and I think I will feel a great satisfaction if I learn how to weld, cut out the existing rusted panel, cut up the CJ Body panel and weld it to the 1991 Wrangler.

    I have been told that it will be impossible for a guy like me to complete such a project. This makes me want to learn how to weld all that much more

    1. WHAT KIND OF WELDER WILL I NEED? 110 MIG WELDERS?
    2. WHAT KIND OF TRAINING WILL I NEED? CAN I GET A DVD + WATCH THAT
    3. DO I REALLY NEED TO TAKE A 16 WEEK WELDING COURSE?
    4. ARE THERE SHORTER MORE SPECIFIC CLASSES I COULD TAKE 6 WEEK COURSE?
    5. COULD I JUST BUY A USED/ OR RENT A 110 MIG WELDER + PRACTICE ON SCRAP METAL?
    6. I LIVE IN THE CHICAGOLAND AREA, IS THERE ANYONE WILLING TO SHOW ME HOW TO USE A MIG WELDER? AS A GOOD DEED OR WE COULD FIGURE OUT SOME SORT OF PAYMENT

    PLEASE ADVISE I AM LOCATED IN LAGRANGE PARK ILL

    I APOLOGIZE FOR THE LENGTH AND IF I WENT INTO TOO MUCH DETAIL ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED

    Sincerely GLOCK

  • #2
    On the bright side....

    Doing a good job and making undetectable repairs on Auto sheetmetal is not as diffucult as some may make it sound.BUT it takes a lot of practice and effort. You are going to need to start from the basics if you dont have any experience. A very good place to start and get info from Auto body pros who will answer any of your questions is www.autobodystore.com . Thanks Mike

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey GLOCK,
      I'm going to respectfully challenge Mike(crawdaddy) a bit regarding his response.

      1) You will definitely need some schooling, albeit, adult welding class, vo-tech, or a college welding program to get a basic understanding of the welding process & infinite issues that can/will arise.
      2) Welding auto body panels is a VERY difficult procedure for a newbie. The thin sheetmetal(18-22ga) of autos can be a nightmare of burnthrus & warpage. Knowing the parameters of heat/wirefeed/gas/flowrate takes many months of dedicated practice. I know, I've been doing it for over 30yrs & you're not going to learn it from a forum.
      3) The person who told you it will be impossible for a guy like you to complete this project is quite correct. You need to take the first steps to learn the welding arena.....SCHOOLING......PRACTICE! Not gonna happen without it.
      4) No one can recommend a unit to invest in as no one knows, including yourself, the entire gamut of what you want to weld now & IN THE FUTURE. Make sense?

      Start with some schooling, then try to find a mentor who would be willing to guide you. We ALL make/made mistakes when we learned.....it's the teaching tool that makes you better.

      Denny

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Denny,

        I too will have to respectfully disagree.There are plenty of bodymen out there who learned by trial and error without the luxury of a school.And welding auto body sheetmetal is actually VERY easy if you #1 Are patient and dont rush the work #2 make sure your donor panel metal is clean with no rust at the joints #3 Minimize total heat buildup into the panel.The most diffucult part of welding auto panels for me is the fit up.#4 Do your welding as a series of tacks around the panel allowing plenty of cooling time between welds and hammer and dolly your welds while hot to minimize warping gradually joining the tacks until entire seam is welded closed.If you use a backing strip of sheetmetal on the backside of your joints it can help the amatuer because now you will have additional steel to weld into to help prevent burn through. Dont forget when doing auto panels you also have the luxury of using body filler along with block sanding to get the panel to the proper contours.IMO you will spend FAR more time mastering the finish work and body filler blocking than the panel replacement. I dont want to discourage any one but the OP'S first project will most likely be less than stellar.But the more you persevere the better you get.It sounds like the OP has the motivation and drive thats the most important thing.This is something that can be learned from books forums or friends without formal classroom training.There is plenty of living proof of that BUT you will shave years off the learning curve with a knowlegable mentor. Mike

        Comment


        • #5
          I somewhat agree with both of you.
          I don't believe that Jeep would be anything anyone would want to brag on if it is a first project.
          I would personally recommend an autobody class over a welding course. It will do you MUCH MUCH more good. Most welding courses will barely even touch on sheet metal that thin, if they even do at all.
          There are some really good forums out there for this very thing, I am certain.
          I would have to start by asking,
          #1 "Are you mechanically inclined" to begin with?" ( maybe even artistic)
          #2 "Do you have an automotive background?" (you know, did you have hotrods and dirt bikes etc...)
          #3 "Do you have a decent place to work ...inside preferably?" (like with concrete and decent power and an air compressor)
          #4 "Do you already have a vast amount of power and hand tools?"
          If you answered yes to the first 2 then you chances are pretty good for doing this on your own, and if not then it will be much more difficult. The last 2 questions can be overcome if the answer is no, providing you said yes to the first 2.
          You need to be honest about this especially if you cannot afford to loose the vehicle. Your friends have already told you it would be impossible, which to me they are somewhat judging YOUR ablity.
          If you have just decided that the looks of your Jeep sucks and have never done anything with cars or other projects then unless you get some decent schooling I would say you have about a snowball's chance in he!! at getting this done even close to nice.
          The very fact that you even need to ask is making it somewhat suspect IMO

          And then also....what do you have to loose??? If your answer is nothing, then go for it. (bondo can cover a lot of horrible metalwork)

          Also I might add that if you come back and post more and get involved in some discussion and maybe even post a few pics of what you wish to repair, there may be a better chance of this being worth discussing. Otherwise we are simply debating the crying out of one more "one post wonder"

          Comment


          • #6
            Respone from 1st time welder/ glock

            Thank you for all the responses, I have received many of the same reactions advise, all appreciated. There is a huge rust hole that needs to be filled on the driverís side and when I took off the plastic fenders along the base of the driverís side body panel there was all kinds of rust.

            I want to learn how to weld pieces onto the body panel or completely replace the body panel myself because I have done most of the other work to the jeep myself.

            I have a brother in law that is helping me and is also a Union Pipe Fitter, he isnít the best welder and isnít sure how to weld body panels in particular. I stopped in at an Auto Body Shop and the guy quoted me some insane price, if that is the case then I can easily buy a decent welder and take a class on auto body work and or welding.

            The satisfaction comes from completing the project I and not having someone else do the work for me, I look forward to the challenge and I have absolutely nothing to lose as the current body panel looks terrible. Any kind of great strong weld that will patch the rust holes is the ultimate goal, if there are welds that may not look clean all the better - itís a JEEP . I want to learn how to weld and I have all the time in the world. I will seek out a mentor that sounds like a great idea, and I will read up on new mig welder auto body technology.


            I appreciate all the feedback this is exactly what Iím looking for, and ideas as to what type of welder I should look for on Craigslist. I am only going to use this welder to patch holes on a body panel or to replace a body panel. I think the body panels are 18 Gauge steel. So whatever kind of welding I need to learn to weld some 18 Gauge steel together.

            I am located in Chicago so if anyone is in the Area that would be interested in pointing me in the right direction and maybe showing me how to weld I would really appreciate it.

            Thanks for all the help to everyone who has responded! Have a great weekend


            Thanks, GLOCK

            Comment


            • #7
              It sounds like you have your heart set on it, so a 110 MIG welder will work fine with some .023 wire. Make sure you use shielding gas and not flux core wire. Don't waste your money on the CJ-5 panel if you are just going to cut it up to patch some rust holes. Get some pieces of sheet metal the same gauge as the existing body panel, probably 18 -22 gauge steel (but I doubt it's as thick as 18) Practice on the sheet before starting in on the Jeep. Here's a link to my photobucket account: http://s255.photobucket.com/albums/hh140/rivanisko4380/ I've been working on my CJ for years and there are a few pics in there of patching rust holes, welding in a new gas tank filler from a crotch rocket mc and even making some tube fenders. As Fusion King said, bondo will cover many sins, but most bondo jobs are a sign of poor workmanship. A true craftsman can weld in patch panels with little or no body filler, and that is what you want to strive for.

              Good Luck

              EDIT: You might also want to take a look at some DVD's (Paintucation- by Kevin Tetz) available through the Eastwood Company. Good information not only on paint and paint prep, but on patch panels too.
              Last edited by nocheepgas; 11-10-2010, 05:22 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                lots of good advice given to you but there is more to it that just cut, fit and weld. what about fire, will you be welding by the plastic gas tank, will you be shooting sparks into the rafters, or under the dash board or peppering the windshield with grinding or welding, catching the seats, carpets and any thing else flammable on fire. knowing how to weld is a wonderfull thing but knowing what is happening all around you when your hood is down is priceless, only time under the hood will give you what you want, i say go for it, thats what jeeps are for, but bone up as much as you can and practice on scrap in all positions before you tackle the jeep. there are many nice people on this forum willing to help you out , dont be shy about asking questions. good luck kevin

                Comment


                • #9
                  Auto body Panel welds are generally just a series of dozens and dozens of "tack" welds. Tack one spot, go to the complete opposite side, tack there, and alternate all around the panel, giving a few mins or more of cooling time in between when the welds are less than oh say 10 inches apart..... TAKE YOUR TIME, and give LOTS of cooling time, otherwise you will end up with an abortion of a warped panel and LOTS of frustrating burn-thru...... ANother important note is to make sure the battery is disconnected on any vehicle you are welding on, as it can burn up the ECU (engine control unit, or computer) for the vehicle among other things.... Ask around, I am sure SOMEBODY will let you observe them putting a new panel on at a body shop or friends/friends' dads shop, etc.... As was said above, Autobody welding is a complete different animal from regualr welding, as, in my opinion, in most cases there are VERY FEW acutal "welds" over 1/2"-1"in most cases.

                  Good Luck, I admire your ambition. Just take the time to do your research, learn, and take the time to DO IT RIGHT.

                  Rudy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You might look around at some jeep suppliers,4wd hardware and Quadratec come to mind. They usually have pre-formed replacement panels if you need some.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nocheepgas View Post
                      It sounds like you have your heart set on it, so a 110 MIG welder will work fine with some .023 wire. Make sure you use shielding gas and not flux core wire. Don't waste your money on the CJ-5 panel if you are just going to cut it up to patch some rust holes. Get some pieces of sheet metal the same gauge as the existing body panel, probably 18 -22 gauge steel (but I doubt it's as thick as 18) Practice on the sheet before starting in on the Jeep. Here's a link to my photobucket account: http://s255.photobucket.com/albums/hh140/rivanisko4380/ I've been working on my CJ for years and there are a few pics in there of patching rust holes, welding in a new gas tank filler from a crotch rocket mc and even making some tube fenders. As Fusion King said, bondo will cover many sins, but most bondo jobs are a sign of poor workmanship. A true craftsman can weld in patch panels with little or no body filler, and that is what you want to strive for.

                      Good Luck

                      EDIT: You might also want to take a look at some DVD's (Paintucation- by Kevin Tetz) available through the Eastwood Company. Good information not only on paint and paint prep, but on patch panels too.
                      Nocheepgas pretty much hit it right on the head..........I have a dedicated 110 welder just for sheetmetal setup with .023 wire .......it never gets touched.....it's dialed in .Gor for good fit for your panel....I like to fit oversize.........,cleco in place then trim the body to fit the patch and weld flush as I go along.......takes a little practice but I end up with a nice flush weld area when done.I'll post a couple pics ..JimName:  12b7e2f26185d2976a321a65d2d8d60f.jpg
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                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kevin View Post
                        lots of good advice given to you but there is more to it that just cut, fit and weld. what about fire, will you be welding by the plastic gas tank, will you be shooting sparks into the rafters, or under the dash board or peppering the windshield with grinding or welding, catching the seats, carpets and any thing else flammable on fire. knowing how to weld is a wonderfull thing but knowing what is happening all around you when your hood is down is priceless, only time under the hood will give you what you want, i say go for it, thats what jeeps are for, but bone up as much as you can and practice on scrap in all positions before you tackle the jeep. there are many nice people on this forum willing to help you out , dont be shy about asking questions. good luck kevin
                        Auto body Panel welds are generally just a series of dozens and dozens of "tack" welds. Tack one spot, go to the complete opposite side, tack there, and alternate all around the panel, giving a few mins or more of cooling time in between when the welds are less than oh say 10 inches apart..... TAKE YOUR TIME, and give LOTS of cooling time, otherwise you will end up with an abortion of a warped panel and LOTS of frustrating burn-thru......

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I respectfully challenge the notion that this takes vo-tech, college, or months of dedication to get a basic...


                          I say it's very do-able for anyone who is even slightly above average with their hands and has a bit of finesse. The key is patience.. as was mentioned- tiny spots scattered with plenty of attention to heat accumulation. Primary goal: avoid warp. Getting the patch in place is almost like the secondary goal, if that makes sense.. that's how important it is to control heat.

                          I suggest you start your training by cutting a bunch of strips 1" wide by ~12" long and turn them into half as many strips 2" wide by 12" long.
                          Buy or make some panel clamps like THESE then practice a bit and report back before you touch the car.

                          Keep in mind this weld is only required to hold light weight material together under a low load demand.
                          It's not a critical weld so a few defect areas of porosity or slightly cold (incomplete) fusion don't matter.

                          Comment

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