Eastwood Auto Restoration Blog - Free How-to Automotive Tech Advice for Everything DIY Automotive
Replacing door skins, quarter panels, and other patch panels can take a lot of practice to get perfect. We have found that there are a few little tips to make a seamless repair much easier. My favorite is the use of a "backing strip" to connect the new and old metal. Below is a crash course on how you can use some thin backing strips from our new Patch Panel Install Kit to make a seamless repair that will last the lifetime of the vehicle.
First make your cut just above the damaged area. Be sure to clean the work area to bare metal and smooth out any sharp edges where the cut was made.
Next, take a one inch backing strip out of the kit, and cut it to the length you need. Then use the supplied 3/16" drill bit to make evenly spaced holes in the original metal (do not drill holes in the backing strip).
Now that the holes are drilled, take your backing strip and slide half of it under the original metal and clamp the two pieces together. We suggest using our Plug Welding Pliers. They have a copper support pad on them that helps reduce heat into the panel and helps avoid blow-through when making spot welds. The "V" in the top of the pliers makes it easy to pinpoint where you need to plug weld with the helmet down.
Next you can plug weld the backing strip to the original metal. You may want to practice a few times on some scrap metal to get a nice flat spot weld. You should only be holding the trigger for a few seconds when making a spot weld. The result of setting up your MIG welder properly will yield results like below. Remember, the flatter the plug welds you make, the less final grinding and filler you need to do!
Now that you have your backing strip in place, you can begin test fitting your replacement metal. Below you can see another reason why these backing strips are necessary in panel replacement; we can't always cut a perfectly straight line. Without a backing strip here, you'd have a tough time filling the gap without adding a small piece of metal. Trying to fill the void with weld would have caused major warpage in the metal.
Once you have confirmed your replacement panel will fit correctly, you can drill plug weld holes with the 3/16" drill bit in the replacement metal. Refit the panel and plug weld it to the backing strip. Once the panel is attached, you can now slowly spot weld the seam between the new and old metal. Remember to jump around from end to end when spot welding. This will help keep the seam from warping and causing more work to get the repair area straight.
Once you have the seam welded up, you can grind any "proud" welds down and proceed with sealer or filler. Use Eastwood Quality Flap Discs to properly blend the welds into the seam. No matter how small of an area, using this procedure when butt welding panels together can really make the difference in the final outcome of the repair.
One place that many often forget when restoring a vehicle is the exhaust system. Like the rest of your vehicle, rust loves to hide in those hard to reach locations. Your exhaust system is no different. If you think about it, the exhaust is subject to some pretty harsh conditions. Not only does it see all types of weather, road salt, and grime, but it also will be subject to extreme temperature changes. These conditions help accelerate the rust both inside and outside of your exhaust system.
We realize that working on your exhaust system is not a fun job, so we have developed a full line of Exhaust Paints that will allow your exhaust system to last the life of your car so you don't have to do the job more than once.
The first step when installing a new exhaust system is to coat the inside of the exhaust (especially inside headers and manifolds) with Eastwood Internal Exhaust Coating. This will stop any rust that could be lurking inside your exhaust and seal out moisture from causing future corrosion. Internal Exhaust Coating also keeps your under hood temperatures down, giving added benefits aside from the obvious. This is a step that is often missed, but is necessary to the longevity of your exhaust system.
Next is to coat the outside of your exhaust system to avoid external corrosion and also to keep it looking great! We offer a number of different Exhaust Coatings to give you anything from an eye-catching custom look, to an exact replica of how your exhaust looked rolling off of the showroom floor!
So next time you do exhaust work on your vehicle, take the time to make sure your exhaust lasts as long as the rest of the project!
Normally when I do brake work on a car I dread the moment when I have to ask a friend, family member, neighbor, etc for help pumping the brake pedal. Not everyone gets the same enjoyment out of bleeding brakes and getting a nice firm pedal as we do! It can be a tedious process, especially if the person pumping the pedal makes an error and pumps the pedal with the bleeder screw open, allowing air to be sucked back into the system. This will make you start all over, and cause unneeded extra work.
Once again here at Eastwood we worked to make your life easier when completing an often tedious job. Our new Eastwood Brake Bleeder Kit allows you to bleed your brake system simply and without any help from the wife, kids, neighbor, etc! Our bleeder kit allows you to create a vacuum at the caliper or slave cylinder, and pulls air out of the system. This can be easily done at the bleeder without the need to jump back and forth from the pedal or reservoir to the bleeder screw. We know this isn't a product you may use frequently, so we are offering it at an extremely affordable price. This means it will pay for itself after just one use (just exchanging dinner for a few minutes of pedal pumping from your wife will be more costly!).
This brake bleeding kit compliments all of our other Eastwood Brake Tools, and will make even the toughest brake jobs a breeze!
As always, contact us with your product ideas for anything you could use to make a job in your shop easier!