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Metalwork Question- Door Skins


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I've gone through very similar work on an old Alfa that I'm restoring (I don't even own a 2002 anymore, but still check in on the FAQ periodically out of habit....) Anyway, if you can, I'd highly suggest using a copper heat sink behind your welds. It will really help minimize the risk of blow through as well as getting you a smoother weld on the backside which helps with hammer and dollying after the fact. Also, be willing to accept the fact that it WILL distort to some degree. You could drive yourself crazy trying to get it PERFECTLY flat with shrinking, hammering, etc.... However, some filler will be needed to get it perfectly smooth, so don't kill yourself trying to reduce the amount of filler from 1/8" to a 1/16". I spent countless hours on some of my panels trying to get them to where filler was essentially not needed, only to realize that it really made no difference at some point and I should likely have been focused on moving other parts of the project forward in a timely fashion. Hence my metalwork took almost three years.... By no means am I suggesting slathering on boatloads of Bondo, but just being realistic about how perfect it really does need to be.

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One final 02 cents worth:  back in the mid 80s when I was taking an evening auto body class, I made new lower doorskins from cut down Camaro door skins (nearby GM plant donated out-of-spec sheet metal to vocational schools).  I flanged the third side edge (the other two were pre-formed) and then bent the edge flanges into their final position before welding with hammer and dolly.  I cut the new piece so that it lapped over the existing skin on the outside, and did a number of spot welds along the overlap, finally grinding the edge of the new piece so it mated better with the old piece.  On the door's inside, the upper (old) piece lapped over the new piece kind of like shingles on a roof.  Before re-hanging the door, I thoroughly painted inside the lapped seam inside the door (turned the door upside down and literally poured Rustoleum primer into the lapped-over seam on the inside).  Put a thin bead of filler along the seam on the outside, and welded the new and old edge flange together where they joined (about 5" up from the door's bottom) so you can't see the joint. 

 

Lapping and spot welding prevented the warpage from butt welding, the overlap provides extra strength to the door skin, and the shingle-overlap on the inside prevents water from puddling in the seam.  Worked for me!

 

That was over 30 years ago, and no rust has popped up, despite 13 of those years being used as my winter car before I took it out of winter use and painted it.  If you saw the only Nevada '02 at Ofest/PVGP, that's the car.  

 

mike

Edited by mike
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