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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    bremerton washington
    Posts
    21

    Talking Mig welding auto panels in Place on vehicle

    hey guys,,,I know this is an old subject for most all of you but,,
    I am attempting my first auto panel restoration and I need some basic info.
    I want to cut old panel sections out on the vehicle and mig weld the new panel on . I have obviously never done this before.
    I have asked this question once before and many ideas were presented back to me concerning whether or not to leave the Battery connected while welding. However,,, I did not get any concrete tips on doing the welding on the panels in place on the vehicle.

    I assume there is no problem doing so given all the general precautions regarding keeping the gas tank well insulated from sparks, do not weld if fumes are present,use some backing materials to prevent excess sparking,etc.

    Any professional input is welcome.

    Oh yeah,,,humor and sarcasm is OK too,,, as long as the advice is good!

    Real determined to progress my skills!!!
    Mulu

    Miller Dynasty 200DX Tig/arc
    Millermatic 180 Mig
    Miller 375 Extreme Plasma
    Victor OX/acetylene
    Cutting and grinding tools enough for newby shop

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
    Posts
    1,270

    Default

    No it shouldn't be a problem as long as you follow all of the precautions that you mentioned.
    Body shops weld on vehicles all the time unless the panel is a bolt on replacement, or plastic!!!
    Good luck, have fun and stay safe!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Somers
    Posts
    5

    Default

    I have welded sub-frames on my Mustang without any problem. I followed the same safety precautions that you mention. I disconnected the battery because I was worried about having some affect on the car's computer or electrical system. I would recommend, though you probably already realize, that you should be careful to get a good ground as a further precaution in protecting the electrical system.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
    Posts
    2,239

    Default

    Check out Miller's archives for an article written by one of the NASCAR teams regarding tack welding body panels.

    Has some good tips regarding volt setting and wfs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vero Beach, fl.
    Posts
    761

    Default

    Are you replacing full panels or just patching them in? Give us more details so we can help better with your questions. Some pictures would be helpful too.

    If you are replacing body panels such as quarter panels, rear body panel or trunk floor some precautions need to be made to insure proper fit up before welding. If that is the case I will go into more detail but if you are just patching panels, work in as small an area as you can and stagger your welds through out the panel to minimize warpage. Always check behind the panel you are working on as many of them have sound deadeners, insulation, seam sealers and other flammable materials glued to them. A fire extinguisher is a must have item when doing this kind of work, doesn't hurt to have a fireman (extra person just in case) standing near by either. Another suggestion is to get some Cleco fasteners to hold your panels in place while you do your fit up before weld it out. If you don't know what Cleco's are I will go into more detail there as well.

    Door skins are different in the way they are installed as well and can also give more detail if necessary.

    One big mistake I see quite often when working on body panels is that the car is jacked up on one corner where the work is being performed. All chassis will flex when jacked and the entire vehicle needs to be placed on stands UNDER the suspension (all 4 wheels) so that the car sits natural as if it where on the ground. If the car is not supported in this manner the once nice fitting panel will not fit so nice when placed back on the ground.

    BTW, preparation is the key to a good fit up and final end product, it is where the most time should be spent. Trying to cut corners will only come back and make ten times more work to straighten out what should have been done to begin with.
    Last edited by dabar39; 09-19-2008 at 07:20 PM.
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

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