Practical Welding and Body Work
Some tips and techniques to help with automotive welding repairs. If you are thinking about restoring a car then hopefully this section might provide a little inspiration. I've written up a couple of complete restorations with more tips - Renault 4, Renault 5, and Aston Martin V8 restorations are the more comprehensive ones.
Note the sandblasting, paint stripping and body filler pages have moved to the paint tutorial.
This is from my Renault Gordini project. The page covers removing the old floor pan, preparing the new panels, and ways to prevent distortion when welding thin panels.
Another from the Gordini project. Intended to be the most complicated way to repair anything ever seen on the internet. But it was fun to do even in the cold winter weather.
A few thoughts about DIY welding and suspension alignment along the way.
This is a feature from the Aston Martin restoration. It covers working out dimensions when just about every reference point had been cut away due to rust.
The page also introduces cardboard pizza boxes as an ideal material for making templates for repair panels, and includes some ideas about bending and fabricating repair panels from steel sheet.
Another one from the Aston restoration. Sills are the main structural member in a car so when they are replaced the car can twist, or shrink so the doors won't shut any more.
The page provides a few tips on jigging a car for sill replacement, and monitoring the alignment so you can undo mistakes before it's too late. Some tips on actually welding on the sills too.
The restoration of an historic Ferrari would require hours of work by skilled craftsmen. Fortunately I don't have a Ferrari.
Here is a slightly more pragmatic approach to fitting a wheelarch repair panel to an Austin Maestro in the hope of keeping it going for a few more years.
In the absence of proper rolling equipment, forming a cone or cylinder in light materials is easily done with a piece of tube or round bar clamped to the bench with a couple of packers under.
We don't all have a metal rolling machine at home, so sometimes a bit of botchery is required to make or repair complex shapes.
This page covers some techniques that can be used to repair complex shapes without panel beating metal into curved sections.
Auto rotisseries (body rollers) often attach to the front and rear bumper mountings, though that wasn't going to work well on my car while I cut out and replaced bits in the middle of the chassis.
The page covers the design and construction of a combined chassis jig and roller, and also looks into techniques for welding very thick metal with a welder that really isn't up to the job.
Suspension mountings have to be very accurately positioned and normally require a jig. But the jig doesn't have to be complicated.
This page details a few home made jigs I've put together for car body and suspension welding.