Saturday, March 05, 2011

More Bonnet Metalwork!

There's not been much to write about going on with my car recently. I've been slowly working on the bonnet to get it back into tip top condition before I weld any new panels to it.

One of the jobs that needed doing was the removal of the remaining scraps of the headlight support panels. These came off easily enough elsewhere but I couldn't remove the last bit of them where they met the corner of the bonnet. It looked like they'd been brazed in and it wasn't the easiest work in the world to separate the two without damaging the bonnet. In the end it wouldn't fully separate without me cutting a bit out of the bonnet flange off! This was annoying but easy to fix so I set about making a 'corner piece' from a bit of scrap panel. This was easy enough but made slightly more complicated by the fact there was a spot weld drill hole in the middle of the intended join between the two panels!

I was really concerned about the heat distorting the tiny repair section so I clamped a couple of scrap bits of 3mm alloy behind to take some of the heat out.

I did the welding really slowly - just a spot at a time. I did have a small issue where the the welder 'ate' the edge of the metal but I soon built it up with weld again!

I ground the weld back with a flap disc on an angle grinder. While I was doing this I noticed a definite 'ridge' along the front of the panel. I initially thought this might be a lap weld - maybe part of some dodgy repair!? I decided to investigate! I swapped the disc on the angle grinder to a cleaning fleece and ran it along the ridge. To my relief, all I could smell was hot filler! The relief was short lived though because I decided to follow the filler up the panel and as I was getting closer to the nose it was getting thicker - much thicker! To be fair, it could have been so much worse - I think I was pretty lucky to uncover a fairly minor dent.

Dents are really difficult to get a handle on so, in order to see the full extent of the damage, I sprayed the panel with some blue paint and sanded it with wet and dry on a cork block. The remaining blue paint shows up the dent!

There's nothing really wrong with using filler for something like this but, with easy access to the back of the panel, it'd be a shame not to have a go at knocking it out! Obviously, with no panel beating experience whatsoever, this was not going to be easy. But if you can't learn something from watching a few Youtube videos, buying a 7 piece panel beating set from Machine Mart and practicing on a few old panels is not worth learning - right!? It took about an hour of hammering and dollying but I think the result is worth it!