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
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.