Front Apron Body Filler

Next I applied two coats of body filler over the body solder repairs on the front apron. In the first coat I tried to maintain the right angle at the front edge of the apron.

After allowing the first coat to cure I sanded and applied a second coat.

Hood, Second Coat of Body Filler

Next I applied a second coat of body filler to the areas of the hood that required it.

On the second coat I attempted to feather the filler out away from the dents to transition it into the undamaged areas of the hood. After the second coat dried I used my random orbital sander and a 120-grit sanding disk to sand it smooth.

Rear Fender Body Filler Application

After cleaning up the welded-in rust patches in the rear fenders I needed to use some body filler to blend in the panels to the body lines. I applied a thin coat of Metal 2 Metal body filler over the patches. Later I will sand off much of the filler and hopefully leave just enough to make the patches invisible and restore the appearance of the fender lip. On the left rear fender I applied the filler in two stages as I worked down from top to bottom. I first swiped the filler onto the fender lip from the body crease right to left, then from the crease toward the fender from left/center to the right.

On the right fender I used more filler in order to finish off the end just behind the wheel well, which I had previously built-up using body solder. In the hot July Texas sun the filler cured quickly on the sheetmetal, and there were even some bubbles. I had to work quickly and it was difficult to get a smooth result, which means more sanding later.

Later in the day I did a quick sanding and then cleaned off the dust and applied a second coat of filler to both sides.

Rear Fender Patch Panel Weld Dressing

This morning I used my grinder to dress-up the patches I welded into the rear fenders, where I had cut out some rust. I used my 4 1/2″ angle grinder with a stack of three cut-off wheels on top of one another. Using the edge of three, rather than one wheel, gives me a wider footprint for grinding and as I tilt the wheels up and down I am able to taper my grinding a bit, which is useful in transitional (i.e. non-flat) areas of the body. First I dressed the welds on the single patch on the right rear fender.

Then I switched over to the left rear fender, which had two rust patches.

And I moved on to the lower patch.

After grinding I used a wire brush on my drill to clean off the metal and remove any scale that was left. The repairs were solid, though with some dimples left around the welds. I kept at it until the metal was clean.

Rear Fender Patch Welds

Tonight I welded in the small rear fender patch pieces I fabricated previously. Since the patch steel I bought was galvanized, and welding-up galvanized steel can emit some dangerous fumes, I first used a wire wheel to remove much of the zinc coating from the patches, particularly around the edges. I also was sure to weld outside with good ventilation. The patches fit well within the cut-outs, which I cut to size. For the thin sheetmetal of the roadster body my MIG welding set-up consists of .023″ solid-core wire with CO2/Argon shielding gas.

So with the patch in place, the first thing I did was tack weld the patch at the top. Again because the sheetmetal is thin, rather than try to lay down a continuous bead around the entire patch my technique is to weld the patch with numerous spot welds, working around the patch until the entire thing is welded in. If I used a continuous bead I would probably heat the metal and burn through before long; using multiple spot welds enabled me to allow one end of the patch to cool a bit while I work on the opposite edge.

As I worked my way around I also shaped the patch a bit to try to conform it to the shape of the fender lip.

The result was pretty ugly, but strong with good weld penetration without blowing lots of holes in the fender. The welds will clean up nicely later. I also welded in the two patches on the left rear fender.

Rear Fender Patch Cut-Outs

Late this afternoon I cut out the rusted areas I need to patch on the rear fender lips. I used my cut-off wheel in my 4 1/2″ grinder to cut out the areas and then grind the edges of the holes until the patches I’d previously cut fit. The first one I addressed was on the right rear fender.

After cutting a hole the right size I applied some Eastwood Rust Encapsulator, which should neutralize any rust inside the fender lip, inside the exposed area.

And I did the same on the left rear fender, cutting out to areas where rust had penetrated under the old filler, and then applying Rust Encapsulator inside.

Driver’s Side and Passenger Side Door Filler Work

And I used some body filler to cover the weld repairs I’d done on the driver’s side door, where the metal had ripped from the stress of the rear-view mirror. I just mixed up the filler and applied a very light coat to the area.

Then I applied a rough first-coat to the driver’s side door. This area is going to require several coats and lots of sanding because the dent in the driver’s side door is the worst on the car.

Hood Body Filler Work

This afternoon I did some work applying body filler to the hood to smooth out the body solder repairs I’d already done. I’m finding that it is beyond my abilities to get most of the solder repairs perfectly smooth without applying some sandable filler to finish off the repairs. Also, on one particular dent on the hood the metal had been ground thin, and when I applied heat to try to solder that area the metal simply buckled. Areas like this are not good candidates for solder repairs, so I used filler exclusively on that shallow dent.

My filler of choice is Evercoat Metal 2 Metal, which is a high-quality filler that has small particles of metal in it that give it a metal appearance. It is plastic filler, make no mistake, but has a metallic appearance. In my limited experience using it I have found it to be a very high quality filler and easy to apply, work, and sand. I bought the filler from Eastwood; buying from a place that turns over a lot of product means you will get relatively fresh stock, whereas a can that has been on the shelf for a long time can be a little less flexible.

The first thing I did was to wipe down all of the areas I was applying filler with paper towels and acetone to clean the metal and remove any grease. Next I cracked open the can of filler.

I used a plastic mixing board and just plastic applicators available at Walmart. As per the instructions on the can I used about a golfball-sized dollop of filler and applied 10-12 drops of the hardener.

With the hardener added I mixed it into the filler on the board.

Wearing rubber gloves, because filler will definitely stick to your skin, I swiped on two stripes of filler over the larger hood dent. By experience I have learned that it is much better to work the filler less than more, because continually going over it makes the coat less smooth, not more smooth. The Metal 2 Metal has decent working time, but is most pliable when it first goes on.

I also skimmed over the weld and solder repairs of the hoodpin holes, as well as the smaller solder-repaired dent on the opposite side of the hood.

And I attacked the front hood lip, where I had done a lot of soldering. I applied a thin coat of filler to fill the remaining dents and to blend the damaged area into the other side of the lip.

Body Solder Repair, Hoodpins

The last thing I did today was to apply some boldy solder into the remaining voids in the body where the hoodpins had been mounted using the same process I’d used on the apron.

After applying the solder I grinded and sanded the area to finish the repair.

Front Apron Body Solder Work

This afternoon I spent about an hour working on repairing the front apron, which had evidence of collision damage and a previous repair. I previously welded up the holes that had been used to straighten the dents before filler (but had never been filled). So the first step was to grind down those welds as flush as possible. I used my angle grinder with three metal cut-off wheels stacked up to widen the profile. This makes it easier to cut using the edge of the wheels.

After I was finished they welds where fairly flush. I used my body hammer to straighten the apron a bit by tapping the inside and holding my dolly on the face of the apron.

Nevertheless the metal was fairly wrinkled after I tried to knock the dents outward, even proud of where they should be.

So I used my shrinking disk to try to shink the metal which had first been stretched inward when the dents occurred, then stretched outward when the previous owner pulled the dents and finally when I tapped them outward with my hammer. I applied the 9″ shrinking disk, mounted in my large grinder to the surface of the apron to build up friction and heat localized to the high spots, then quenched the area using water to shrink those same spots. I repeated this many times and began to see some progress.

After spending several minutes heating and quenching I saw some progress but realized I would still need some filler to get the apron smooth again. So I cleaned the area using a 3M Clean N Strip wheel mounted in my drill.

Next I painted on a coat of the tinning compound that helps the lead-free body solder bond to the steel. I used my propane torch to heat the tin until it bubbled brown.

Once the tin turned bright silver I used a clean cloth to wipe away the brown impurities.

With the tin applied I quickly cleaned it using some hot water and once it dried I wiped again with acetone. Then I applied the solder to the apron.

After applying enough solder to stand proud of the apron I used my cut-off wheel again with the same three-disk set-up to start grinding away the surplus solder.

After grinding for about fifteen minutes to get the basic shape I switched over to my random orbital sander with a 60-grit sanding disk. One of the nice aspects of the lead-free solder is it is safe to sand, unlike lead.

The sanding blended the solder into the surrounding steel and made it much smoother. Clearly it still is not perfect, but structurally the area was set and would only require a thin coat of filler to be smooth.