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All  |   Discussion (0)Panel Beating

If you are involved in a crash, or want to fix a dent, be sure that it's actually worth fixing.

Dents on replaceable panels should be fixed by replacing the panel, not fixing the dent. Doors, bonnet, boot, fenders (the side panels on the front), bonnet protector panels, plastic front and rear bumpers and windscreen trim are all removable panels. Many wreckers want little for these panels, compared with expensive panel beaters.

Where your car is an uncommon colour or model, or a very new car, wreckers may not have what you want. Also, it is usually very easy to replace all of these panels, though it can look difficult.   [guest]

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Rusty doors or panels

It is MUCH easier to change the door or panel with one at a wreckers than to try fixing the rust (if they are removable panels).

Remember that some earlier model cars did not have rust protection on the doors when they manufactured them. A car produced a year or two later may have exactly the same doors (like a 1990 TP Magna), which will fit perfectly, but with the extra benefit of factory rust protection (which the 1987 TMs and 1988/89 TNs did not have on its identical doors).   [guest]

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Things Panel Beaters might miss:

Some things a panel beater missed while fixing the right hand rear quarter panel, and chassis rail underbody area recently:

1) Boot badges or decals. He gave me the car back with none of its three badges on the boot lid. Make sure you don't miss these if you get any boot work done. It's better to buy new ones or prize good ones off at a wreckers than use the original usually as they don't always restick well.

2)Interior light activation switch: The quarter panel has a wire in it that activates the interior light when the right hand rear door is opened. The panel beater didn't connect this wire within the panel he changed.

3) Towbar: This one was more my mistake. Not having given him the towbar, he didnt' make sure it fitted. It was several mm out from the rear impact, so I had to take it back with the towbar and get it adjusted to be able to take the towbar some time later.

4)Extra parts: The panel beater did not give me my rear seat (back part) and rubber spacer for my rear exhaust muffler. I had to specifically ask for them from him.

5) Trim clips: The panel beater didn't have all the trim clips for a trim bar on the rear quarter panel he changed so instead of ordering the clips in, he just used automotive sealant on the holes he missed. Later I had to remove the sealant when I got new clips, which removed some of the paint as well.   myxlfidian (150)

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To glue rubber components (mudguards, park brake handle rubber flap) in a car, get an automotive silicon sealant. It doesn't look like a conventional glue but when it sets, it bonds much more. Lay it on fairly thick (~3mm) on one surface. You may need to put a stone or other weight on the edges of the bonded rubber or plastic part in order for it to hold. Leave it for several days if you can. Compression is a big part of gluing rubbery components.   myxlfidian (150)

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If you change the doors on your car, you may find they are heavier than your old doors. Inner door reinforcement can change from model to model, but usually the door will still fit ok. You may use slightly more fuel however.   myxlfidian (150)

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If you have some non-removable panels with fairly minor dents in them, they will not be hard to fix yourself. Many dents can be knocked out with a panel beating kit that uses different dollies and hammers. The work is not very hard to do, but does take quite a lot of hard bashing. Get a very large hammer with a heavy head for the most affect. Panel beating of this kind is really about applying very significant force to a caved in part of the chassis in order to move it closer to what it looked like before. You can't do that without fairly great force.

Be prepared to paint many panels you have straightened as it often cracks the paint on the other side.

If you need to bog up a section of metal, you will probably get an orange peel effect on the paint eventually. Consider finding a cheap panel beater instead as prices vary greatly and an unprofessional job will also more often permanently show sratches from shrubs and bushes and not polish well.   myxlfidian (150)

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Painting: Do not paint in rainy or overcast conditions, even when you are undercover. The increased moisture in the air is bad for the paint, which dries better in drier weather.

For aluminium surfaces, use an etch primer paint before a primer surfacer paint. It adheres to the metal better.   myxlfidian (150)

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Rear panel damage: If someone does substantial damage to your rear-end, such that unremovable panels (quarter, beaver, boot floor, chassis rail panels) are irrepairable, here's what to do. Find a wrecker who will give you a "rear cut" of the same model car as yours, and preferably the same colour. They will use oxyacetylene to sever the whole back of a car (from across the back seat) which you can deliver with a trailer to a panel beater so they have the (expensive or discontinued) panels they need to fix your car.

Be sure your panel beater is for this option however and check their charges for removing individual panels from the rear cut. It will need to have spot welds removed as well as some mechanical work (removal from the rear axle etc).

When transporting the rear half of the car, it will have its rear axle, rear muffler and shocks/disc rotors/calipers still connected to it. You can use a trailer but the width will mean the rear cut sits on top of the trailers sides. Use a set of four ratchet straps to secure it for the deilvery.

Try to remove (and later refit) as much of the trim, lights, bumper/tow bars and other fittings as you can as part of your repair with the panel beater. It can save over a thousand dollars off your quote alone if you do this yourself with their prior agreement.   myxlfidian (150)

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Older cars and smashes: Cars older than 15 years almost always have rust in structural panels underneath the painted panels you see on the outside of the car. These inner panels have never had the same level of protection given the outer panels. However, the level of rust will almost never be significant enough to cause rips or broken sections on its own. Combine this age of car with even a moderate smash however, and you may be surprised to see parts of these inner panels with large rips in them when the damaged outer panels are removed. The combination of rust and impact rips gaps in inner (and outer) panels that would have lasted untreated for decades without that kind of brute force.   myxlfidian (150)

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