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Old 02-17-2017, 03:00 PM   #1
jkenna860
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Location: Merrimack, New Hampshire
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2002 Subaru WRX
Sedona Red Pearl

Default Body Work Questions/ Progress Log (bunch of pics)

Hello peeps of the NASIOC!

I really hope that this is an appropriate place, I am planning on welding and fabing up body panels.

Anybody who has some good tips on tackling all of these body projects that I want to tackle are more than welcome and is why I am even making this thread!
Professional or not, I am thrilled to see what kinds of tips people have from their experiences. I also want to note that I don't want this thread to just be one question and then get a couple of answers and die miserably. I want to ask my questions here and show what I have done thus far. Have I bit off more than I can chew? You better believe it! But, the only way to learn something is to ACTUALLY do it yourself. Now, onto the meat and potatoes.

So when I decided to finally tackle this, I knew it wasn't gonna be easy. If this was my daily driver still, then I wouldn't have even thought about starting a job like this. My radiator support was in horrible shape. This car has spent it's whole life in New England and has been through three other owners before me. Its a 2002 bugeye with 180,000 miles. The chassis is still in such great shape that I cannot part with it, I also love the car too much. I have invested a lot of time and money into COMPLETELY replacing every single part of the front end suspension including the front sub-frame. Since I had to pull the engine to give me room for the rad support. I have the rear sub-frame and all parts for the rear suspension too.

Now this is why I don't want to just 'patch' things up. I want to make it all look as factory as possible. After the body work and rear suspension, this car will officially be fully restored. Of course I will never be done and there will always be other odds and ends. With that said, I'm not looking to make my car show quality either. I just want to enjoy my car the way it should be, but just handle and look as good as new(ish).

For starters here is my current progress on the rad support:

This is what the old rad support looked like when I got it out:
As you can see, it looks like a mangled up mess...





So I have the two pieces that make up the radiator support, the center support that the hood latch is on, and the top piece as well. All brand new from Subaru dealership. To be honest, the price of all of them together was not that bad. Here's all the old ones, I am keeping them on for alignment purposes and will just work my way up from bottom to top.







This is a mistake that I had made trying to track down the spot welds for the radiator support. If you need to take out yours, then don't mess with these guys. I am going to just full them with the MIG welder when I start putting things back together.



For reference, this is the passenger side of where the radiator support goes. It has four spot welds, which I drilled out as you can see. The driver's side is a mirror image of this. If you want to keep it as factory as possible and use actual spot welds, then I would recommend drilling from the inside so that the old part has the hole in it.... live and learn eh?



So now here comes the questions:

I started repairing the rust that was behind the windshield before I even thought about buying a welder. So now that I have a welder, I am not so sure if this repair will really last. I am also not too sure on how well the new windshield will seal to this surface. I took a wizz wheel and wire wheel and went to town on it. I stripped and painted the whole mating surface, because the windshield guy who came by scratched through to bare metal using his tool. So i wanted to make sure no more rust appears underneath the windshield again. My questions are: Should I cut out that jagged part and weld in new sheet metal? and also: Should I scuff up the paint or something for the sealant to stick better? or just leave it?





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Last edited by jkenna860; 02-17-2017 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:09 PM   #2
jkenna860
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Merrimack, New Hampshire
Vehicle:
2002 Subaru WRX
Sedona Red Pearl

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The front of the Driver's Side rocker panel needs some attention. It is still solid metal, just needs to be grinded down and painted. I am thinking that when I am done with the rockers that I would coat the whole thing in POR-15. I mean its hidden by a plastic guard anyways...





Here is the absolute worst part.. It appears it was damaged by somebody using a car lift wrong. As you can see it has a HUGE dent. I couldn't get a shot that pronounced the dent, but it is much for profound than it appears in the photos. This massive hole was hidden by the plastic guard for who knows how long. Should I try cutting out just this section or replace the whole rocker panel?

Doesn't look so bad huh?



OH MY GAWD WTF?!?!





All these years of being lifted up with straight metal. Why can't everybody just use those pieces with the rubber surface on it?! So not too sure how to repair a pinch weld. I was thinking that I could get rid of the rust, bend it back straight, and then weld it back at the seam. Let me know what you think!





Here are the rear quarter panels. I paid a body shop to repair both sides. On one side, he repaired the whole panel with a new one. This all happened about a year and a half ago. That $1200 was not well spent. I got ripped off and tried to call him, but the place is closed now. Itís not really a mystery why. But got to cut your losses and move on. I want to fix this NOW so that it is just an easier job than it would be later.






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Old 02-17-2017, 03:10 PM   #3
jkenna860
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Location: Merrimack, New Hampshire
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Sedona Red Pearl

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That is all that I have for now. As I am a student, that investment is a vast amount of $$ more so that is priority #1. But, I will keep updating this thread. I won't let it die. This is my very first BIG thread. Let me know what you guys think of it! Until next time...

-Jon
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Old 02-17-2017, 03:58 PM   #4
Valarius Starchaser
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Hybrid Swapped WRB

Default Body Work Questions/ Progress Log (bunch of pics)

You have an interesting journey ahead of you my friend

Basically I will be honest the only way to really fix rust it to replace the whole panel in your case the rocker and quarter at the pinch welds to prevent any uncoated welds/seams this would need to be done with proper priming welding seamsealing windshield urethane metal prep "for the side glass" now before I get flamed let me say sometimes people get away with grafting in new pieces and spraying the back with wax coating which should be done on new panels as well but there's a much smaller success rate and as you have already seen the damage is much deeper then meets the eye

As far as the radiator support goes just replace it

The quarter rust when the quarters removed will show a panel behind it which will be rusted much worse and the true reason these cars rust in that spot due to salt/dirt getting stuck there even my friends car that had no rust visible had rust beginning when we removed the quarter after a deer ran into his original

As far as the shop doing both sides for 1200 I know one quarters short of 500 so think about the "quality " of work done there

If you just got a welder I would spend more time testing your skills to make proper beads and plug welds because without this any repair you do won't last or be safe in a collision

Sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear just sharing what I've seen and know from 5+ in a body shop

Last edited by Valarius Starchaser; 02-17-2017 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 02-18-2017, 12:50 PM   #5
jkenna860
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Sedona Red Pearl

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valarius Starchaser View Post
You have an interesting journey ahead of you my friend

Basically I will be honest the only way to really fix rust it to replace the whole panel in your case the rocker and quarter at the pinch welds to prevent any uncoated welds/seams this would need to be done with proper priming welding seamsealing windshield urethane metal prep "for the side glass" now before I get flamed let me say sometimes people get away with grafting in new pieces and spraying the back with wax coating which should be done on new panels as well but there's a much smaller success rate and as you have already seen the damage is much deeper then meets the eye

As far as the radiator support goes just replace it

The quarter rust when the quarters removed will show a panel behind it which will be rusted much worse and the true reason these cars rust in that spot due to salt/dirt getting stuck there even my friends car that had no rust visible had rust beginning when we removed the quarter after a deer ran into his original

As far as the shop doing both sides for 1200 I know one quarters short of 500 so think about the "quality " of work done there

If you just got a welder I would spend more time testing your skills to make proper beads and plug welds because without this any repair you do won't last or be safe in a collision

Sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear just sharing what I've seen and know from 5+ in a body shop
No, that's awesome advise man. I knew that this was not going to be easy from the start. Especially with body work, it never is. I am definitely going to practice for a while before i start putting welds on my car. MIG welding is the easiest there is though so, it shouldn't take me too long to learn how to get sufficient penetration without burning through. I do understand too that welding on body panels is also a slow process to prevent warping. I am not using flux core, I will be using solid wire with 75/25 argon/co2. I am going to look at where I need to cut one of these days. I may actually bring the car into a good body shop for the rocker, but I will figure that out as I go along with the other projects. I love doing things myself though, and I am eager to really get things started! For weld through primer i picked up some with copper in it or whatever. I forgot the name of it, but I will look through my garage to find it lol. I was thinking POR15 for the inside of panels instead of that wax? Idk ill research a bit.

Thanks again!

-Jon
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:43 PM   #6
Valarius Starchaser
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The wax is used after the panels painted and is the best you can do POR-15 would be painted on before welding and would deteriorate at the weld

I have never found a good weld through prime so when starting a bead remove a little to get going or remove it from your start are of a plug weld
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:17 PM   #7
jkenna860
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Sedona Red Pearl

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Update #1
Okay! Sorry that it has taken me so long to post an update. I have been too busy with the past school semester to be able to focus on the tasks at hand with this project. Plus, I was also apprehensive on starting it since I am not comfortable with body work yet.. (don't think I ever will be)

Any ways here are some pictures of me mocking up the radiator for alignment getting ready to weld in the support piece:





Had to bend some of the tabs out of the way to fit in the new piece..





So after I go it aligned enough as to where I was happy with it, I plug welded it in. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures as I was doing this process. The best way to explain is I drilled holes in the new radiator support where each tab has a hole as well. I put the ground for the welder on the bottom most piece of the frame. I then started a bead in the middle and slowly spiraled the puddle out the the edges of the other two pieces to make it one. They don't look pretty, but are plenty strong for me to be happy with it.

Also to note, I sanded off the paint on the face of each piece I joined and sprayed on some copper weld through primer on the inner faces that would be impossible to paint after they are joined together. When I clamp all of the pieces of metal together, I then proceed to wire wheel into the hole and around it so I can make good contact for the plug weld. The stuff has been working excellent for me. There is so much debate out there about it, so I decided to test it out myself. Only time will tell.










Last edited by jkenna860; 05-14-2017 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 05-14-2017, 03:18 PM   #8
jkenna860
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Sedona Red Pearl

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After the main radiator support was welded in and I was happy with the alignment, I proceeded to remove the upper tie bar. It was not a quick/easy task either. Here are some pics of where I drilled and what it looked like:









That is all for now, I will post another update tomorrow.

-Jon
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:46 PM   #9
jkenna860
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Sedona Red Pearl

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Update #2:

The welds are not that pretty on the upper tie bar, but they will do the job. I will need to do a bunch of grinding to clean it all up :/. As I did for the radiator support, I plug welded all of the holes from where I drilled out the previous spot welds.

I wish that I had spent the extra time to properly drill out the spot welds. So that I could use a spot welder instead. Hindsight is 20/20 though. Learn from my mistakes! Anyways here are some pics of the outcome:

As you can see on the far edges on both sides, I ended up burning through some parts of the original body panel. I think what happened was I went a little too crazy with the wizz wheel (60 grit sandpaper attachment) when I was prepping the surface at these particular spots. I wanted to remove all rust and dress the spots with weld-thru primer to (hopefully) help avoid rusting. Anyways I think I took off much more material than I anticipated. Whatever, I filled it in. Not pretty, but strong enough.















Definitely got the penetration I was after haha:



My next obstacle to overcome is this hole that I have to fill in. I was thinking of putting some copper on the inside face as a backing plate and then just filling in the hole. In theory the weld won't stick to it? Not sure. I may just end up cutting out a small square of sheet metal and just making it part of the panels. Check it out:

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Old 05-16-2017, 12:10 AM   #10
jkenna860
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2002 Subaru WRX
Sedona Red Pearl

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After I completed the upper tie bar, I test fit both front body panels. The hole on the upper tie bar for the front most bolt on the body panel fit in perfectly! I was really concerned it could be off. I was really paranoid about warping the pieces, so I took great care to not get them too hot.

Up next was the center bar that holds the hood latch/ braces the upper tie bar to the radiator support. It took me a long time to figure out how I was going to line it up just right and fit in this huge spot welder that I borrowed off of a buddy:



Also to note, I had to make my own 240 volt wall outlet extension cord. I wanted it right away and didn't find anything much cheaper online. So I went to home depot, and got 25ft of the wire rated for the 20 Amps/ 240volts and got the matching male/female connectors. At a price of $57 I was really surprised how expensive it was, but gotta do what ya gotta do.



Anyways, I found some washers laying around and figured I could use one of the bolts that fastens down the hood latch to hold the side that I weld in place. I had to use the washers as spacers so that the bolt didn't protrude out too far. Here are some pictures to show what I mean:

got the holes lined up just right, had to make sure the front face was flush with the tie bar's inner face. As well as clamp the 'weld tabs' to the upper tie bar.



get my bolt and spacers:



Then I fasten down the bolt nice and snug so that the piece won't move out of place AT ALL. Then took off the vice grip So that I could spot weld it in.





Here are the finished welds, I loved using that spot welder. It is so easy to use and leaves a really clean surface. No mess to clean up!





I know i know, don't be painting over that weld-thru primer. Fortunately it comes off really quickly and easily with MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone). So I will clean off all of the excess when I prep for paint.

The final piece I need to install is the support bar that goes below the radiator support. I don't know what its technical name is but I will just call it the bottom bar. I decided to try putting some undercoat on the inside of it, maybe the moisture wont penetrate! I don't know how well this will work out in the end. I may have been just wasting my time. I took care to tape off the edges that I will be spot welding. Here are some pics:





That is all for now! Really happy to be working on my car again, its been too long.

-Jon
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:07 PM   #11
Valarius Starchaser
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Use brass as a backer it won't act as a heat sink as much
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:48 PM   #12
rishar1
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Those little spot welders are handy, but be sure to put extra welds in, they are not nearly as powerful as the ones the manufacturers use. Also be sure to make sure every bit of bare metal get thoroughly painted especially around your welds, or you'll be doing this again in a few more years.
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