One of the nice things about the forum is the ease and speed that can be brought to bear get a few of us together for a run or a technical session. On Sunday, Dan, Martin and I stopped by Jeff's garage to lend a hand, learn about welding panels and enjoy some fellowship.
It was a beautiful day to head up into the hills (of course all the others already live in the hills) made even more special as I had to wait for a deer to clear the way before I could pull into Jeff's. In short order the crew was assembled and started to size up the job.
The plan for the day was to apply seam sealer between the quarter panels and b-pillar and tack weld the top of the panels into place. Jeff had been preparing the metal for the prior couple of weeks so the day's work would go pretty smoothly. The primary equipment for the work included the cutting wheel/grinder, wire snips, rubber mallet, 10mm socket, welding helmet, gloves, knee pads and welder.
Early on the group did some double checking on how and where the seam sealer is applied. It is very nice to have a rig available for just this kind of double checking. Notice the FJ40 in the back ground, this is probably the last picture taken with no quarter panels.
Martin is working on attaching the passenger panel in prepration for the welding. There are three 10mm bolts that attach the quarter panel to the b-pillar.
Here Dan is checking out the back end of the panel. It was looking to be in the ballpark, but there is what seemed like a bunch of overlap. I was worried and wondered how the panels were going to get lined up.
My worry about fittment was for naught because Jeff's prep work was pretty much spot on. Jeff provided us with an overview of the welder, how it works and the key safety points and soon thereafter the welding began. Here is the first weld on the passenger side panel.
As the welding progresses, it is important to look just a bit ahead to see how the alignment of the panels is shaping up. A few times it was clear that a small amount of grinding would be needed. This is a normal part of the process and here is Jeff doing some grinding work on the drivers side.
We all got some hands on experience with the welder and each spent time observing the work. Dan and Martin with the welding hood on as they check out the welding.
Of course between chips and salsa we found plenty of time for the group to supervise Jeff as he worked. We did have a small fire in the parts washer sludge bucket, but Dan's quick eye spotted it early and Jeff's quick action put it out before it caused any trouble.
The welding itself goes very quickly, but it takes a long time. Sounds confusing huh
- well it takes maybe 3-5 seconds to put a weld on but after several welds are done you have to stop. The stop time is used to let the metal cool and to check on the alignment of the upcoming metal. The stop time also came in handy for eating pizza
It seems like in no time at all we were able to get the days work done and look over the results. The welds look good and the rig looks a bunch more like a 40 than before we started
Finally, this is an expression I really like seeing. Not just from Jeff, but from everyone else that enjoys those moments when it is all coming together.
Jeff, thanks for having us over and spending the time to answer our questions and encouraging us to put the welder to your truck. It is really starting to shape up nice.