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How to Place a Body Panel

Think of body panels as puzzle pieces that completes the car. Not only that, the body panel also serves as a covering, a protection against the elements that will damage a car's frame for certain. Rust can start anywhere in your vehicle. Therefore, knowing how to put the body panel is a good skill to master. Here's how you can do it.

Required skill level: Intermediate

Needed tools and materials

  • Clamps

  • Marker

  • Nibbler

  • Grinder

  • Drill and bit

  • Joggle

  • Primer

  • Paint

  • Sander
  • Patterning the new with the old

    It is important to get the right fit of body panel onto the contours of your car. By doing this, your car will have an even surface. Clamp the replacement panel onto the old one, then align the ends so you could draw a cutting line along the edges.

    Working on the replacement body panel

    Now that all the marks are set, you're ready to work on the body panel. Separate the two panels, then make another 1/2 inch mark below the line you drew earlier. This allowance will make room for crimping the panel into place.

    Cutting away the old panel

    This is usually the delicate part. Cut away the old panel slow and steady so there won't be any irregularities. Once you encounter spot welds on the old panel, grind them away using a drill and bit to remove them.

    Stripping the paint off

    Use the body grinder to strip the paint off the metal, four inches above the cut. Make a flange along the edges 1/2 inch wide with a crimper. Be careful because any deviation will affect the fit of the new panel.

    Attaching the new body panel

    Now place the new body panel over the cut area. Use fasteners temporarily so that adjustments could be made if anything goes wrong. Remove the primer 2 inches from where the new panel will be welded.

    Welding the new panel

    Previously, you have seen that spot welds were used to hold the old panel together with the body. This time around, use stitch welds along the edges of the new panel. Make 11/2 inch welds that are eight inches apart. This will inhibit any warping that might take place. Grind any excess using the grinder to make the surface smooth for painting.

    Putting the finishing touches

    To make sure that the surface is really smooth, sand the new panel first. Afterwards, apply primer and let it sit until the panel is ready to be coated with paint. Paint all the way up to the four inch allowance you made earlier.

    Body Panel Articles

    • Omix vs. Replacement: Which Body Panel Will Look Better? 26 February 2013

      Body panels that are installed on your car probably look like generic sheets of metal and plastic before machines mold and alter them. Much like these, the body panels from the brands Omix and Replacement are also universal in nature. Changes must be made in order to have that custom fit. With so much work needed just to replace the body panel, you want to make sure that you get the best stuff. Here's how you can determine which is which.


      Product range

      Omix has a pretty specialized line of products, with the majority of their products dedicated to the Jeep roster of vehicles. In the other corner, Replacement is pretty much as generic as it gets. For this one, being universal as possible means more models can be fit with a part. Therefore, Replacement will have its way against Omix.

      WINNER: Replacement

      Price

      Replacement offers body panels that are well within affordable prices. They are in the $80 to $150, depending on the part. Omix is much more expensive. It almost doubles the price range of Replacement by being in the $100 to $300 price range. Again, Replacement gets the upper hand.

      WINNER: Replacement

      Warranty

      Now this is where Omix will be able to show its true value. Omix readily offers a three-year Omix limited warranty for their body panels as opposed to Replacement. Replacement could only offer a one-year unlimited mileage warranty. Longer warranties normally translates to better value.

      WINNER: Omix

      The verdict

      While they clearly draw their own strengths, both brands exhibit great worth. Omix body panel is more of a specialized item that may be better off for your vehicle if it happens to be included in their line-up. Replacement makes the case for affordability and compatibility. But they may need a lot more alterations since they are more on the "one size fits all" mold. Taking advantage of their strong suits will never leave you hanging for more.