Kerry's '73 Restoration - Part Six

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Time to get serious. I took the rear fender that Elijah and I had cut off the donor 73 and deposited it on a couple of sawhorses outside. It's very nice outside today...about 60 and sunny. The first thing I did was rough cut it. After a trial fit, I marked changes and recut to the final size. Previously, I had ground out all the spot welds at the door and rear lip. This allowed the patch to fit on both ends. At the top, I left a 1/2 inch lip and gently tapped the original metal down slightly to keep the original contours. This is what it looks like hung in place.

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I had the front door open and too much sunlight came in and spoiled the photo.

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I spent A LOT of time considering how both sides look. The following photo shows the other 'good' side. It still amazes me that the parts car was the same color. What are the odds?

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After about 20 minutes, I decided it was good. Time go wheel out the MIG. This is a very large floppy panel and I was concerned about it moving around before I got it tacked. There are several ways to address this. I have some 'Cleco' fasteners which require a 1/8 inch hole but it seemed easier to use some plain sheet metal screws because they hold tighter. In the following photo you can see the hex heads of the screws

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The secret to welding patch panels is to NOT FOCUS ON ONE AREA. You WILL cause a warp. Trust me, you don't want one! I used lots of short 'spot' welds about 6 inches apart. Then, when it was done on all 4 sides, I stepped back and looked it over again.

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I then began filling in the gaps. Working in about 1/2 to 3/4 inch welds, I skipped around allowing each section to cool off

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Here it is. All welded up. You may have noticed cardboard covering things in several shots. It is very important to cover any glass. Mig weld 'splatter' is VERY hot and in addition to burning through your shoes, it can pit glass. Trust me on this. I have a 64 Impala that cannot take window tint because of all the pits. Bummer!

I had a small problem with my welder. I have switched over to .023 easy grind wire from ESAB. Previously I had used a harder wire in .030. The smaller wire was misfeeding and fouling inside the welder. After clearing a few rats nests, I finally realized that using my spot weld tip was causing the problem. I switched over to a new 15 pound spool of the same wire and everything and started to use my normal tip to make short welds and everything worked well.

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This is the inside door lip. I 'punched' 1/4 inch holes in the lip every couple of inches and 'rosette' welded into the inner panel. When finished, it will look just like the original spot welds.

Grinding everything down took about an hour and was a lot of work. Even with the easy grind wire it is still hard and really makes a mess. Again, safety glasses are a must. DON'T BE STUPID!

Next Chapter...

Kerry's '73 Restoration Saga Main...

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