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Old 10-29-2012, 07:10 PM
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Default Fixing Trail Damage - Learning Body Work

Those of you who were on the Jenny Creek work run this past August remember that I slid sideways into the end of a downed tree. I crunched my right rear QP on my wagon (freshly painted of course). Here's what it looked like right after it happened:
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:15 PM
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I took it to several body shops and got a bunch of "No-Bids". One place had a sub they called "The Maestro" who was incapacitated due to recent surgery, they said he was the only guy they knew of who could touch that kind of work. It seems most places just want to bolt a new, factory fender on. Of course on our 25 year old rigs, those are made of unobtanium, and used ones are typically rotted out pretty badly. So I decided to tackle it myself.

The first step would be to cut out the mangled section. I drilled out the spot welds on the pinch lip at the bottom, and used a cutting wheel on the rest. Here is what it looked like after I had sand blasted all the edges, the inside and outside, and put a coat of zinc primer on the bare metal.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:19 PM
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The next step was tricky: try to pound the old piece back as close as I could to it's original shape. I used an anvil for part of it, but found a chunk of firewood that had nearly the right radius to get the original curves back.

Inside, and outside, respectively after pounding, grinding and sandblasting.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:58 PM
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The next step was to weld up the panel back in. FJ60 sheet metal is thinner than older FJ40 sheet metal, and it took a couple of blasted through holes to get the welder dialed in. I ended up using the lowest voltage setting.

It was also tricky to make sure I didn't start any fires on the inside of the cavity - it sits right under the fuel filler neck and all the separator hoses!

There was quite a bit of metal missing from the right side of the panel.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:02 PM
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I got all the welds ground down flush, but was still trying to figure out what to do with the fender lip on the right. I decided that I needed to add a new strip of metal there, and cut the edge smoothly.

Speaking of new strips of metal, not shown, I added a strip to the back of the lip at the bottom for the welds through the holes where I had drilled out the old spot welds.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:04 PM
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Here's that new piece, next welded in, then with the welds ground flush.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:05 PM
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I sprayed a quick coat of primer on the bare metal to keep it from flash rusting and called it a night.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:07 PM
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Next comes the time-consuming part: Bondo, sand, repeat. The first application was to fill the gaps.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:11 PM
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The second Bondo application was to start smoothing things out and get the original shapes back. Those little marks at the lower left of the panel are from the pien end of the ball pien hammer when I was pounding the curves back from the back side.

Man there is a lot of sanding in body work!
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1971 & 1976 FJ40s, 1978 FJ45, 1987 FJ60
Rising Sun 4WD Club, TLCA #4063
http://american3dprinting.net/
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  #10  
Old 10-29-2012, 08:16 PM
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3rd go-round of bondo and things are starting to really get back to the original shape. Again, more sanding. I took it down to Kittredge Auto Rebuilders this evening and they (rightly) felt I had at least one more layer of bondo before it will be ready for paint. The last picture is a visitor in the back yard while I was coming upstairs to watch the Broncos demolish the Saints after doing that last bit of sanding.
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