Panel replacement automotive

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Where sheet metal damage is serious, the best repair is generally accomplished by replacing an entire panel. This method saves money for the motorist and makes money for the shop. It also speeds up jobs so that more work can be handled. On special order, practically any part of a modern car body can be purchased. The purchase is generally made through the car dealer, who orders the part from the factory. This may take quite a bit of time.

Some wholesalers carry replacement panels for the more popular cars. In a few shops it has been the practice to attempt to salvage certain panels from wrecked cars. Doing this, however, is uneconomical since the double labour involved in taking the panel off the old car and putting it on a service job makes costs excessive.

The Chrysler Corporation in cooperation with Chrysler dealers has a panel replacement service for Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, and Chrysler cars that is proving popular both with their dealers and with independent repairmen. Other car companies have similar set-ups.

The replacement procedures illustrated here, while generally applicable to all panel replacements, show Chrysler's recommended practice. Work is speeded and profit increased where the more modern tools and equipment are available.

Cutting out the old panel can be done rapidly either with a power cutter or with a hook-type sheet-metal cutter and hammer. Welding, soldering, and refinishing facilities are, of course, required. Roof replacement is handled to best advantage by cutting out the old damaged areas.

Doors that have been injured in collision or have had their lower edges rusted out or damaged by rubbing on curbs can be made like new by replacing the panel.

Trunks that have rusted through or, are otherwise damaged, can have an entire new section put in.

Roof replacement

The step-by-step procedure for doing this work in a pleasing and profitable manner follows:

Car roof replacement Before installing roof panel, "square"the body. This is important. Be sure that all door and window openings are properly aligned. Illustration above shows jacks being used to obtain equal measurements.
Measure the damaged surface Measure the damaged surface. Then remove the damaged section, leaving one inch of metal above the drip moulding (C). Locate roof repair pone! over roof opening and allow three inches overlap at front and back (A, The one inch of metal left above drip mouldings can be removed, if desired, to permit panel replacement; or flanges can be trimmed off panel and panel allowed to overlap on both sides as well as front and back.
Tack weld all four corners Tack weld all four corners (D) and center of each edge. Gas weld or arc weld every two inches (E) with 1/4" welds. Protect paint and eliminate buckling from heat.
Roof panel overlap The roof panel overlap should be dinged down after welding. Clean thoroughly, blend joint with roof contour and tin. Then apply solder, (F) metal finish—and the job is ready for the application of paint.

There are four basic requirements in putting on a roof panel, as we see above. With one of the body-rebuilding jacks seen in illustration 1, square the body. Obviously all door and window openings must be properly aligned before the new panel goes into place.

As suggested in illustration 2, a careful check must be made to leave enough of the old material so that the new panel can be properly attached. It's a good plan to lay the new panel on the roof and use chalk to mark the outline the new panel will cover.

In cutting out the damaged roof, be sure to leave 3 inches of old material both front and back, as indicated by arrows A and B, and one inch of the old material above the drip mouldings, as indicated by the arrow C. Should the extent of the damage be so great that the metal left is bent, it must be smoothed out with dolly and hammer so that the repair panel fits smoothly.

Step number 3 is to tack weld the four corners and the centre of each edge into place using protection for paint. It is then necessary to go all around the repair panel, welding it every two inches with inch welds, using either gas or arc welding equipment.

After this the overlap must be dinged down, thoroughly cleaned, and finished with body metal, as we see in illustration 4. Then the job is ready for painting.

Door repairs

The three steps for replacing the damaged door panel are illustrated.

Remove damaged panel To remove damaged panel, grind along both edges and bottom until metal separates (A). Cut underneath bead with metal cutter (B). Measure and trim repair panel allowing 1/2" to 3/4" for over-lap on sides and bottom.
Clamp panel Clamp panel on both sides and bottom (C). Weld panel to upper bead (D). Flange over both sides, then along bottom (E,F).
Solder panel to upper bead Solder panel to upper bead (G) and weld flange every three inches along inside door facing. Solder, metal finish and smooth welds on inside.
  1. At the upper left, the edges having been ground so that they separate as at A, the old panel is being cut off at B so that the new panel can be held in place and marked to allow 1/2 to 3/4 inch of overlap on both sides and bottom.
  2. Using "C" clamps and wood blocks, the new repair panel is held in position on both sides and bottom, and is welded to the upper bead. With dolly block and hammer it is then flanged over on sides and bottom.
  3. Finishing the top edge with body metal, as at C, and welding every 3 inches along the inside facing, finishes the torch work. Metal finishing and smoothing prepares it for the paint department.

Trunk repairs

The steps for replacing luggage compartment panels follow the same basic procedures just given.

To square the trunk door opening, before installing the repair panel, measure from one trunk hinge bolt to the body bolt on the opposite side of the body near the X brace. Then measure the opposite diagonal and apply the necessary force with a jack. It is of utmost importance to remove the gasoline tank as a safety measure before doing this job.

As in any panel replacement, the damaged surface, should be measured and enough of the old material left to provide overlap for the new panel. Two inches is recommended on all sides. With a panel-cutting tool and hammer, or even a sharp cold chisel, the old panel is cut out.

With the new panel in place, the edges are welded securely. After this any roughness is smoothed out with hammer and dolly block, and the job painted to prevent rusting.