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Old 11-16-2014, 07:27 PM   #1
Bad Noodle
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Default Project Widebody Wagon - slowly moving towards success

EDIT: Originally i started this thread to get some help dealing with body work issues. but its becoming more clear that this project will test my patience, will, and budget so I figured I could gripe about it on the internet. **** it, why not.



Background:
I purchased a set of rear cut fenders from an 06 wrx sedan that I will be using in my wide body wagon conversion. After I started cutting and trimming the fenders I found that one of them was a replacement and the body shop that did the work did not do a good job. To merge the new fender with the old on the door jam, they put a piece of metal behind seam and welded it like a second grader. Then they did some bondo magic to make it look good.

I ground off their welds and started cleaning it all up and ran into some issues.
- the metal is warped from all the heat they used
- they left lots of holes to be filled
- the metal left is so thin that welding to close the holes is near impossible. With every pull of the trigger the hole edge goes further than the fill.

During fill:


After some work and primer


There are still pin holes and little voids. But before putting on the primer I stripped, sanded, wire wheeled the surface clean.

So what's the best way forward from here?
Fill everything with metal fully?
Bondo over whats been done?
Strip the primer than bondo?

I want to get it as close to done the "right way" as possible so it doesn't rust under the paint.
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Last edited by Bad Noodle; 11-18-2014 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:33 PM   #2
Bad Noodle
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Two more pics



And the underside


Kinda afraid of this thing becoming one big spot weld
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:22 PM   #3
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Id take it to someone that can weld it with the right equipment/ do a better job
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:46 PM   #4
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I would grind it as smooth as possible and use 3m panel bond as a skim coat on both sides. Then continue with a very thin coat of filler.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:57 PM   #5
Bad Noodle
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Good idea on the seam sealer. Will it work under filler? Would it be better to do the underside with seam sealer and filler on top?

Also is there any special kind of primer to use? I'm planning on using "weld through" primer on parts that will be welded together and but for parts that won't, I used "Rustolium etching primer" is that good enough or are there pro grade primers out there that will do a better job at preventing rust.

Also, I'm not too worried about how the panels look now. They were originally welded together at a ****ty angle that no matter what you do will require a good amount of filler to look right.

Any filler recommendations? Thinking of using 3m, is there anything better?
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:47 AM   #6
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Damn that body shop did a number there. I'm not to familiar with bondo but I've done a lot of sheet metal work and that doesn't look like a terribly difficult piece to replicate. I'd opt for making a template of the piece you need to replace and making a new one. Doesn't have to be perfect either. Hit it with a coat of filler afterwards.

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Old 11-17-2014, 08:30 AM   #7
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^that's another good option. I don't have an english wheel or any other equipment needed to make a flat piece follow the same arc.

This is kinda of a ****ty situation because as soon as I get a shop involved the costs of the project will skyrocket, the result will be questionable, and the diy factor goes down. Unfortunately I'm confined to one man and a garage of tools type of operation... results won't be perfect but will be much better than 90% of shops.

But I'll do some more smoothing, grinding, to try and get it as nice as possible. Are there any primers better than others at dealing with rust? I'm sure I won't be able to get every impurity in the metal, so I'm hoping there is a product out there that will prevent rust from building over time.
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Old 11-17-2014, 12:51 PM   #8
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Just to be sure you understood what I meant. I did not mean seam sealer, rather panel bond. I have never encountered an issue with using it in the manner, other than its a pita to sand. I use Dupont 615s for an etching primer. Lately I have just been using Rage gold for filler. It sands easily and you end up with minimal pits so long as you mix it correctly. Not sure if your garage space is heated, but that will make a difference in how easily the project goes. Most body fillers and paints/primers do not like cold climates.

Link to the one of the first Google searches for panel bond.

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/trm-8115

Be sure the surface is completely clean.

I used it for my flares on the topside and glassed them from the back. Then just a very thin skim coat of filler before high build primer.


Last edited by 2006whitesti; 11-17-2014 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 11-17-2014, 01:10 PM   #9
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^Yup, got it. Thank you for specifying the products you use. That helps quite a bit. I'm planning on visiting napa to pick up supplies so at least I know what to look for.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:32 PM   #10
2006whitesti
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Your welcome. Just for reference, I can lift the side of my car by just grabbing the flare and picking up. No flex what so ever. 3m makes some good stuff.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:43 PM   #11
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^ cool, can I ask you one more? :

What's the best way to cover the back side of the welds? I'm planning on cutting the stock fenders and welding these into place. I'm guessing seam sealer, but all of them come in caulk gun formats, so I dunno how to get that into tight places. Are there any tools or products that make the job easier?
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:40 PM   #12
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Depending on how tight of space you have I always just put on a glove and just use my finger to run the sealer. Always worked well when sealing up mini tubs and all the tin work when doing back back halfs. Can be a real pain to get into some spots.

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Old 11-17-2014, 11:45 PM   #13
2006whitesti
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Yup, gloves and fingers are about your best option. Even if you use an applicator gun you will still want to run your finger over the bead to make sure you get even adhesion on both sides.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:26 PM   #14
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^ Cool, thanks for the advice.

So got some more stuff for the project:



And I didn't think too much of the fender being messed up because I was planning to use a sti fender flare to cover the arch. So I bought some off ebay. I bought replicas rather than genuine because I was planning on sending and molding them into the body anyway. Unfortunately, it turns out they're garbage:



This is how far off they are:



That's not gonna make life easy in any way. I hate ebay. Somehow the ones they pictured fit well...
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Old 11-20-2014, 01:10 PM   #15
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Today's purchase:






Next, time to start taking the car apart.
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Old 11-22-2014, 12:40 AM   #16
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If you want to give it a try I know some old body guys use a 1/8 thick brass or copper plate held behind a hole when filling it in. Saposedly the weld doesn't stick to it and doesn't blow through.
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Old 11-22-2014, 07:01 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerousatom View Post
If you want to give it a try I know some old body guys use a 1/8 thick brass or copper plate held behind a hole when filling it in. Saposedly the weld doesn't stick to it and doesn't blow through.
Thanks for the idea. I did try the "welding spoon" thing and it does help quite a bit but because the surface is so bumpy and the spoon is flat, you can't hold it right against the hole. So you clamp it in place and either the metal gets distorted because it is thin or there is a gap between the hole and spoon. So you end up putting a lot of filler material in until the puddle reaches the spoon and then starts filling the hole. But it is much better than working without out it.

I read a bunch of good reviews on the rage gold 2006whitesti suggested and that might be the way to go to fix this. I'll be using it on the flares anyway.

But I'm all ears to any other advice you guys have. So thank you for bringing up the spoon idea.

and a pic of the fenders getting ready for test fitment:

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Old 11-22-2014, 09:16 AM   #18
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BN -
I have some 1/4" thick copper bar that I use for filling holes in aluminum. It pulls the heat out of the aluminum so it doesn't just get saggy.
When you say pull the trigger, were you trying to mig this? That thin, a tig welder is really the way to go.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:25 AM   #19
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You are correct, was trying to mig. Was using a Lincoln that's good down to 24ga with 0.28 wire and gas. The complication is that the metal is variable thickness due to the previous work. As far a I can tell, I'd have to fill the whole area with wire or weld in a plate underneath. So that's why I'll just fill it I think.

Where did you get the copper plate? I read about people hammering a pipe flat. Is that what you did? I'd love to have one.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:53 PM   #20
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A crappy iphone pic of the first test fit:



The door jam looks like:



I haven't cut the wagon yet, so this might look better after that happens. I cut the sedan fender around the reinforcement for the door latch which is why the cut looks the way it does

And from the back:



Some things I noticed:
- The door jam part follows the same contour. So you can push the new fender into place, mark, cut, and weld and everything will be fine. There is no wiggle room to mess up.
- The back part towards the lights, nothing really lines up back there. As you can see the sedan fender is a little longer than the wagon so you kinda need to free hand something back there as there are no alignment marks.
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Old 11-23-2014, 01:24 PM   #21
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And for those that are curious. The sedan fenders are 0.63" wider than the wagon.



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Old 11-24-2014, 01:07 PM   #22
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Some more progress:







I cut the fenders this way because then you can tack the wheel well to the fender and run some sealant down from the trunk.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:25 PM   #23
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More pics







This one is important because it shows the taper from sedan width wheel arch to wagon rear.



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Old 11-24-2014, 06:17 PM   #24
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that is looking great thus far!

reminds me of one of my buddy's subaru's; it's a 02/03 WRX wagon, with a 05 STi sedan front clip (including motor) and rear fenders added on. really unique and the sedan fender flares look SO great on a wagon.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:05 AM   #25
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So question for you guys:

I'm having some trouble filling holes in the sheet metal using the lincoln electric handy mig welder with gas and 0.28 wire.

The issue:
- takes a "while" to get a good arc
- Heats up the metal and burns through in the mean time

When Ipull the trigger, it seems to go: blip, blip, bzzzzzzz. Or two quick splatters then starts welding. In order to keep it from burning through (even with the spoon) I would need to reduce the trigger pull time, which means I don't get a good puddle formed, just two quick splats.

Here's how things are going now:



So is this normal or should I go about looking to fix something with the welder? I have it set to the recommended settings for 24 ga steel. Low power and about 4.5 on wire feed speed. The wire comes out pretty slow though.

EDIT: It seems that a copper backing plate is a must for this job... any thoughts on how to get it behind the door jam?

Last edited by Bad Noodle; 11-25-2014 at 10:18 AM.
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