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Old 12-26-2002, 02:57 PM   #1
dead-eye
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Default Seam-welding questions

What's involved? How much would it cost? Advantages? Disadvantages?
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Old 12-26-2002, 05:16 PM   #2
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wrong forum, I would say...
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Old 12-26-2002, 05:50 PM   #3
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Well, you need to gut the interior. Then you need to gut the engine bay. And the rest of the drivetrain. Then all the electrical wiring, and brakelines, and gaslines. Basically you need the shell of the car. Then you take it to the local acid dipping place, and they acid dip the whole car to get rid of the paint and rust and sound deadening material.
Then you get to seam weld everything, re-paint the car, and re-install everything you took out, hopefully getting right the first time around.
Sound like a big PITA? Well, it is a huge PITA. That's why places charge an arm and a leg to do it.
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Old 12-26-2002, 06:48 PM   #4
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Most shops quote this at around 50 hours times their rate. Most of the time is spent gutting everything under the dashboard and all of the electrical harnesses. If you provide the shell only, then you pay for stripping the seams with a wire wheel, welding, and re-painting for les than half the cost. I had a quote done for me once and it was like $5000. I thought that it was way too much, so I'm waiting to put a cage in at the same time for an extra $2000.
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Old 12-26-2002, 07:06 PM   #5
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ok, n00b question, what are you seam welding and why?
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Old 12-26-2002, 08:00 PM   #6
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I want the car to feel more solid and hopefully rattle and squeak-free . I don't like the idea of a roll cage since I do have passengers once in a while. I also don't like the idea of having f/r strut-bars, v-braces, lower arm bars etc. I realize that $5000 is a lot of money (I was thinking it would cost double that) but it's not something I plan on doing next week; I'm currently investing money into my practice so any serious car mods will have to wait for at least 1 year (most practices take about 1-2 years to become viable).
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Old 12-26-2002, 08:07 PM   #7
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Kinda off topic but you know what would be cool??


[ghetto]
After they seam weld everything and the paint is still off you have the entire shell chrome dipped instead of painted. That would be soo bling!!
[/ghetto]
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Old 12-26-2002, 11:35 PM   #8
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I actually saw a Jaguar XJR in Autoweek that was polished and it looked pretty cool.
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Old 12-27-2002, 02:26 AM   #9
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Ron it's actually a very good idea but it's VERY labor intensive and requires quite a bit of time. and you seam weld the frame to make it stiff as hell. But adding a bar between strut towers is never a bad idea. I want to seam weld my car.

jeremy
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Old 12-27-2002, 02:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by rhdude
ok, n00b question, what are you seam welding and why?
Basically, a factory car is typically spot-welded sheet metal. The spot welds aren't very strong, and they leave lots of places(everywhere there isn't a spot weld) where the sheet metal, which is pretty flimsy, only the folds and joints give it strength, can bend and stretch. Seam welding more solidly connects all the seams of the load bearing metal of the car so there are no places where it can bend and stretch.
The short version is, if a cars body is flexible anywhere where there isn't a fold or joint, and you can't realistically add fold everywhere, make it a joint. That's seam welding
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Old 12-27-2002, 02:52 PM   #11
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-usually performed on the "body in white" - the bare chassis before the car is constructed, and usually accompanied by a full, welded-in rollcage. Prohibitively expensive. Not to mention prohibitively uncomfortable. Unless you're building a real rally car, you probably wouldn't be happy with the time, expense or discomfort. PLUS you'd still have to refit the car with components that reflect the seriousness of such a modification, ie bushings and suspension. It would be a totally different car afterward. Whether that's good or bad would depend wholly upon your skills as a race engineer, or your ability to pay for one.
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Old 12-27-2002, 03:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by cvalle-sd
-usually performed on the "body in white" - the bare chassis before the car is constructed, and usually accompanied by a full, welded-in rollcage. Prohibitively expensive. Not to mention prohibitively uncomfortable. Unless you're building a real rally car, you probably wouldn't be happy with the time, expense or discomfort. PLUS you'd still have to refit the car with components that reflect the seriousness of such a modification, ie bushings and suspension. It would be a totally different car afterward. Whether that's good or bad would depend wholly upon your skills as a race engineer, or your ability to pay for one.
another reason to do it i need to get another car so that my RS is no longer my daily driver, but definitely all good points. and addition to the cage i'd only do a 6 or 8 point, don't want to alter the crush zones in the front end.

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Old 12-27-2002, 04:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by cvalle-sd
-usually performed on the "body in white" - the bare chassis before the car is constructed, and usually accompanied by a full, welded-in rollcage. Prohibitively expensive. Not to mention prohibitively uncomfortable. Unless you're building a real rally car, you probably wouldn't be happy with the time, expense or discomfort. PLUS you'd still have to refit the car with components that reflect the seriousness of such a modification, ie bushings and suspension. It would be a totally different car afterward. Whether that's good or bad would depend wholly upon your skills as a race engineer, or your ability to pay for one.
what discomfort? I see no reason a stiffer passenger compartment(due to seam welding, cage I understand) would cause any more discomfort than some extra vibration from the road which would probably be ALOT more affected by stiffer springs and lower profile tires
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Old 12-28-2002, 05:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by mrbell


what discomfort? I see no reason a stiffer passenger compartment(due to seam welding, cage I understand) would cause any more discomfort than some extra vibration from the road which would probably be ALOT more affected by stiffer springs and lower profile tires
because he's assuming that anyone willing to spend the money to do this is going to have a fully prepped car which in tern will lead to more driver discomfort and more road feel. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just that anyone spendign 5k to get something like this done more then likely will not be your average every day enthusiast.

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Old 12-28-2002, 05:38 AM   #15
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Does anybody really have any first hand knowledge or where the most weak areas are? Areas to focus on? If I end up getting my car sprayed I'm going to strip out most of the interior and the engine will be out anyhow so welding up some of the weak areas wouldn't be hard at all.
-Brad
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Old 12-28-2002, 01:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChicksDigWagons
Does anybody really have any first hand knowledge or where the most weak areas are? Areas to focus on? If I end up getting my car sprayed I'm going to strip out most of the interior and the engine will be out anyhow so welding up some of the weak areas wouldn't be hard at all.
-Brad
every seam in the body, anywhere there is a spot weld you can weld and it's potential weak spot.

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Old 12-28-2002, 02:55 PM   #17
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That's not what I was asking Jeremy! I wanted to know, based on the structural integrity of the frame which areas were put under the most stress and would thus benefit most from the seam welding. I don't want to do any unnecessisary work, cause I'm LAZY

Quote:
Originally posted by HndaTch627
every seam in the body, anywhere there is a spot weld you can weld and it's potential weak spot.

jeremy
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Old 12-28-2002, 08:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChicksDigWagons
That's not what I was asking Jeremy! I wanted to know, based on the structural integrity of the frame which areas were put under the most stress and would thus benefit most from the seam welding. I don't want to do any unnecessisary work, cause I'm LAZY

pooh!!! do it once....do it right, and i was being serious, in a wagon i would guess the C and D pillars to be the weakest.

jeremy
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Old 12-28-2002, 09:31 PM   #19
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I was only assuming that the seam welding would be done because it was required by the intended use of the vehichle There'd be no reason apart from bragging rights, to prepare the car in such a manner for anything less than the rigors of competition. If you want a stripped-out go kart for commuting and errands, fine. If you're doing it beacuse you've given up on the car as a daily driver, then the costs of welding would probably be only a fraction of the sum needed to bring a road car to race spec...If seam welding is an example of the degree of preparation being considered. It's not something you do if your're putting the car back on an AGX/Eibach setup with all-season tires and stock seats, for example. The various braces and whatnot would almost certainly be more than enough for everything up to and including hardcore track days.

long story short - you're wasting your money unless you're preparing the car to a degree that'd make it mostly impractical for daily use (trailer queen)...but that depends on what you do everyday
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Old 12-29-2002, 08:08 AM   #20
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Jeremy: Thanks man, a good answer! If I was going to start welding seams I would go buck wild and start welding anything that looked like it could need it.

cvalle-sd: You're kinda right about that. Whats the point if its not going to be truely raced, etc. However, thats like saying it's pointless to turbo a car to 350hp, because that's not necessary to run to the grocery store. While I guess it's true, what fun is it? Some people are all about power, some are about the total package.

I think seam-welding a car would add to it's overall package. Make it feel more solid, with basicly no cost to me if I had the car stripped apart for painting anyway. Seam weld it, spray it down with sound deadener inside and the car probably wouldn't feel like a 5 year old car anymore.

I think it's safe to assume that every car would come seam welded from the factory if economics allowed. It's darn cheaper to spot weld 400,000 cars than it is to fully weld every joint.
-Brad
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Old 12-29-2002, 08:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChicksDigWagons
J


I think seam-welding a car would add to it's overall package. Make it feel more solid, with basicly no cost to me if I had the car stripped apart for painting anyway. Seam weld it, spray it down with sound deadener inside and the car probably wouldn't feel like a 5 year old car anymore. -Brad
I agree there - if you had the car stripped down anyway - go for it. You could drive that bad boy forever, and it sure as hell would be like new, re-welded and sound-deadened.
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Old 12-30-2002, 07:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by cvalle-sd


I agree there - if you had the car stripped down anyway - go for it. You could drive that bad boy forever, and it sure as hell would be like new, re-welded and sound-deadened.
Exactly! It would add very minimal weight. I don't think a gallon of deadener is even 10 pounds, and thats before it dries. If it took a few gallons even I would be looking at maybe 20-25Lbs distributed evenly all over. And the welds are darn near negligable.
-Brad
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Old 12-31-2002, 05:34 AM   #23
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Seam welding is a hella work. I did it on my first Impreza. I would definitely NOT recommend it for anything but an all-out race car.
Problems include:
1.)Cost, even though I did all the work. Acid dipping is passe, it weakens the metal although it lightens it. Chemical stripping as well as freezing is used now.
2.)NVH, who ever thought it might make thier car quiet, reconsider. The whole car acts as a single unit, the slightest vibration in one spot is felt througout the whole car. That simpley translates into alot of noise. You can actually feel the fuel slosh around the baffled fuel cell,
3.)Replacing parts damaged in accidents. Now you have ALOT more cutting and welding to do which again costs more money,
4.)Time, it takes about 2 weeks to properly weld & reinforce an Impreza shell (twice what it takes in a honda or mazda shell)
5.)Subaru metal still rips under bending forces, but not so much on the new chassis, but still happens. I got a car back for repair after a hill climb race. There was stretching in the floor pan just in front of the seats. Stock metal is mostly strong b/c of its shape.
6.)Weight is weight, there are many places were reinforcement (read extra metal) in necessary to properly do the job. I never weighed the difference but I'd be willing to bet I added 45kg(>100lbs), before we put in the FIA rollcage.
7.)Safety in a crash. One might thing that a"stronger" car is a safer car. When used w/ all FIA race quality restraint equipment, it can be. But NOT w/ manufacturer's OEM equipment. ALL modern cars are designed to crush in order to deflect collision energy away from the occupants. You lose all of that.

I sold the car luckily enough & won't do it again to a street car, comfort is a virtue. You could just concentrate on areas where some reinforcement might actually help handling but not detract from the overall enjoyment of the car.
Places to reinforce include:
1.)Inner wheel wells where they meet the floor pan,
2.)Entire rear bulkhead behind rear seats leading up to C-pillars,
3.)Firewall - engine bay side & lower portion in the cabin,
4.)Top & bottom of the B-pillar,
5.)X-brace the roof panel - very difficult to do even w/o sunroof.

FWIW - It became a GroupeN rally car.

BTW - I gallon of professional "sound deadener" weighs about 18kg (>40lbs) before spraying. Rubberized coatings weigh much less b/c they have air mixed into them. It takes about 3 gallons to professionally "deaden" a car the size of the Impreza for sound competitions, not including the doors, trunk lid or bonnet/hood. Only about half that w/ rubber coatings.

Some of you might want to rethink the "strengths" of seam welding?

Last edited by damianq; 12-31-2002 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 12-31-2002, 07:04 AM   #24
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My point of the matter is that I'm not interested in creating a race-ready frame, I simply want to reinforce areas that are particularly weak to add to chassis rigidity (not make it completely solid) nor do I want to go all out to deaden it to sound competition levels. Just a little more rigid, little more tight, and a little more damp (??? ). 40 pounds/gallon is excessively dense, thats close to Iron. The stuff I use is 11 pounds including the bucket, it may not be the best but it works.

Quote:
You could just concentrate on areas where some reinforcement might actually help handling but not detract from the overall enjoyment of the car.
Thats precisely what I'm talking about. It's akin to bolting on a stut-bar instead of putting in a full cage. Not all out, just focus on trouble areas!

Otherwise you were stealing my aspiration, that's mean!
-Brad
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Old 12-31-2002, 11:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by damianq
...
2.)NVH, who ever thought it might make thier car quiet, reconsider. The whole car acts as a single unit, the slightest vibration in one spot is felt througout the whole car. That simpley translates into alot of noise. You can actually feel the fuel slosh around the baffled fuel cell,
3.)Replacing parts damaged in accidents. Now you have ALOT more cutting and welding to do which again costs more money,
...
5.)Subaru metal still rips under bending forces, but not so much on the new chassis, but still happens. I got a car back for repair after a hill climb race. There was stretching in the floor pan just in front of the seats. Stock metal is mostly strong b/c of its shape.
...
7.)Safety in a crash. One might thing that a"stronger" car is a safer car. When used w/ all FIA race quality restraint equipment, it can be. But NOT w/ manufacturer's OEM equipment. ALL modern cars are designed to crush in order to deflect collision energy away from the occupants. You lose all of that.
...
First of all, I'm not planing on doing any seam welding, tho I still think it would be nice, but I'm going to annoy you with something that people like to say alot lately and it annoys me. Correlation does not equal causation.

So for number 2, I would have to say that has alot more to do with attachments onto the body more than it has to do with the shell being more rigid. There were probably many other changes on that car that had more effect on NVH than the seam welding. And for most people on this board, who seem to be running silly low suspenion and big BOV's and loud exhausts, NVH doesn't seem to be an issue(I'm not one of these people, I do like my car somewhat quiet.)
On to number 3, dont' get in a wreck
(yes, that was me being a smartass )
Number 4, I'm not sure what you're trying to say... "The car is weak, and if you make it stronger it will get worse"? If you put a non-prepped car in the same conditions you put a prepped car in, I will guarantee the prepped car will weather it better. You may see more localized damage in the prepped car, but the road car will obviously get torn up all over and be worse off.
7, I agree and disagree. Yes road cars are designed with crumple zone, but the passenger compartment should never be one of these. All the energy absorbtion and crumpling should occur outside the cabin, and in the impreza's case, that pretty much means outside of the areas that are stressed while driving. There is a tiny area in between the strut tower and the front firewall that COULD be a crumple zone, but since the wheel well extends into the footwell of the cabin, I would think this would be a TERRIBLE place for it. Seam welding only between the strut towers, where I would think it would make the most difference, could could really only increase the integrity of the cabin and therefore the safety of the passengers.
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