I am not talking about repair vs. replace, but to repair the damaged panel that is welded on before you remove and replace it.
This may be confusing at first, but it’s really simple when you think about it. If you have never replaced a weld on panel, such as a door skin or quarter panel, you may be quick to remove the door from the vehicle and start taking the glass, handle, and whatever else is needed to remove to replace the door skin. However, this can lead to many problems that can be prevented if you follow this simple step.
Repair Before Replace
I am talking about repairing the damaged door before continuing to the next step. I’ve had students ask, why repair the damage if it’s going to be replaced? Well, the reason you want to repair it first is to realign the door shell. This will allow proper gaps and assure the new skin will fit properly and the door and will align correctly when the door is reinstalled back onto the vehicle you are working on. This sounds simple enough and makes sense, but I have found this to be a common mistake when learning how to replace welded body panels.
When repairing a damaged weldon panel it is not necessary pull the metal until it’s ready for body filler or try to metal finish it, you just need to rough pull the damage to assure the door closes correctly and the gaps look straight. After this step is performed…have at it! Now you can take the door off and continue with your door skin removal and replacement procedures.
If you’re a technician, I’m sure this is a normal procedure for you. However, it you
are a DIY or you have never replaced a weld on panel, I hope you find this tip helpful.
What Problem Could Occur By Making This Mistake?
Let’s say that you removed the door skin and you straighten the shell and flanges
after the skin is removed. It looks good so you start replacing the new door skin.
Look great when you’re done…that is until you put it back on the car to realize
that the shell is a little tweaked and now the new skin is already installed. This
may result in uneven gaps, the door edge in too far at an edge or sticking out too far
making it impossible to align properly. This applies for a door skin, quarter panel, or any other panel that is welded on.
Repair, remove, test fit, and install part for welding. This will assure the car will look like it was never involved in an accident, which is your goal.
Tip: Did you know that you can buy reconditioned welders? Check it out to see what they currently have available. www.CollisionBlast.com/ReconditionedWelders
Tip: When separating panels use a seam buster tool. This tool makes a much cleaner cut without damaging the panel as with an air hammer. www.CollisionBlast.com/SeamBuster
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