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How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
#1417885 Fri Jul 23 2021 05:31 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 146
W
'Bolter
The rear door has a split that runs along the body contour, around the jamb and fans out on the inside panel. You can see the upper part is shifted inward, or the lower part is shifted out on the picture of the edge. I’m considering just replacing the door, but I might as well try to fix it. How would you go about repairing this? I have an Oxy-Acetylene rig and a Gmaw rig and minimal welding experience, no sheet metal experience, so any suggestions are welcome. I could simply lay a bead along the fracture and grind it in, that would be a crude fix. My gut tells me it will need to be repaired from the inside. I could cut an access hole on the inside panel and gusset along the fracture, and then patch the access hole.

Attached Files
DoorFracture1.jpg (27.32 KB, 192 downloads)
DoorFracture2.jpg (29.06 KB, 193 downloads)
DoorFracture3.jpg (37.54 KB, 190 downloads)

1947.2 Chevy Panel Truck 1 ton
1955.2 Chevy Suburban
1955.2 Chevy 6700 Bus/RV
Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1417903 Fri Jul 23 2021 08:20 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 8,328
B
Sir Searchalot
https://www.stovebolt.com/techtips/crack.html
I was young and ambitious back then.

The trick on yours is to bring it back tight. Ratchet straps thru the window and down under door to squeeze in that direction and clamps in the other. Like you said, won't hurt to try. If it's racked/twisted, stick a 2 x 4 from inside to outside thru the window and lever it.

MIG it.


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Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1417911 Fri Jul 23 2021 09:18 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 146
W
'Bolter
That looks easy enough, Thanks! My main concern is getting that angle at the body contour looking nice, and fixing it so it doesn't fracture anytime soon again.


1947.2 Chevy Panel Truck 1 ton
1955.2 Chevy Suburban
1955.2 Chevy 6700 Bus/RV
Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1417976 Sat Jul 24 2021 02:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,837
C
'Bolter
Good advice but you may have to spread the gap wider to align panels first and then draw back together once aligned. When yo say BACK door I guess it is a panel or suburban. One thing to remember on cracked panels on old rides is when new they were used as commercial vehicles where the door was slammed all day long every day and most roads were unpaved. The way it will probably be used now any weld will last a lifetime.


Evan
Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1417987 Sat Jul 24 2021 04:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,475
J
'Bolter
Evan is right, or at least from the images it seems that way. Here is one suggestion you may not have considered. On parts like this often you can use 3/4" pipe type wood clamps and a long threaded section of pipe to pull things together. Get the ones at Harbor Freight...I think they're about $12 per set. They'll work fine for this. If they don't fit exactly (because of curve of door, etc) I've used two of them (two sections of pipe and two sets of clamps, that is) plus two pieces of 2x4 on each side of the door. Not easy to describe, but I'm sure you'll figure it out. Just pull them together well and oxy-acetylene weld or actually I'd flux and braze the seam (no sense in burning through and it is really easy to do that on this sort of sheet metal) and you'll be done. A brazed joint will be plenty strong enough. If you're careful, you can braze right up into the contour part and then file it later. Good luck!


Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1418395 Tue Jul 27 2021 08:22 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 146
W
'Bolter
Wow! 157 views in 5 days! I'll practice welding on the exhaust first, then jump right on to the door. I can push the two halves into alignment by hand, so I think it will be easy to clamp. I did find a video of someone repairing a fender with Oxy-Acetylene only, no welding rods needed. If I had a spare door, I might try the oxy, but that is an artform.


1947.2 Chevy Panel Truck 1 ton
1955.2 Chevy Suburban
1955.2 Chevy 6700 Bus/RV
Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1418410 Tue Jul 27 2021 10:11 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 2,475
J
'Bolter
Oxy-acetylene is easier than most people think, Walter. If you set your pressures correctly, get the right size tip for the work, keep your wrist moving and watch the puddle, you can weld like a champ.

However, brazing with a good flux is very easy with something like this and is what I'd do in the case of your door. A good brazing rod, some Harris Stay-Silv flux (it is the best in my experience) and you'll be amazed. That stuff will almost flow like solder and the joint is strong as it ever needs to be. Since brazing is done at a lower temp, it is both easier to use, faster and it won't cause you to distort the metal or risk burn-through.


Jon

1952 1/2 ton with 1959 235
T5 with 3.07 rear end
Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
Jon G #1418440 Wed Jul 28 2021 01:39 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 2,087
P
AD Addict
With all due respect Jon, without a fair amount of practice, a first time oxy-acetylene welder, has about the same chance of success as me landing a 747.

In trade school I attended for Autobody, to learn how to gas weld, we had a project to make a garden hose holder out of a 1/2 of a steel tire rim. We burned out the rivets with an oxy-aceletyene torch and cut the rim in half. Then added 1/4” x 1” steel flat bar for a mount. To start, we had to weld up the 1/4” holes left from the rivets and any scaring left from the cutting torch. Now the steel rim is quite a bit thicker that the body of a truck but every one of the students blew at least one big hole in the rim in their attempt to close that 1/4” hole and some including myself, several. Once you blew the hole, you had to weld it back up. We all managed to get our projects done but it was a very humbling experience. It taught me the basics of gas welding, something I have used on several occasions throughout my career.

My recommendation is to braze it. So much easier to learn and it takes much less heat. Note that you still need to cool the panel during this process or it will still warp. I use a rung out towel dipped in water.


Phil

1952 Chevrolet 3100
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Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
Phak1 #1418459 Wed Jul 28 2021 03:31 AM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 159
T
'Bolter
Originally Posted by Phak1
With all due respect Jon, without a fair amount of practice, a first time oxy-acetylene welder, has about the same chance of success as me landing a 747.

I have to disagree with you. If for nothing else everyone should have a small oxy-acet kit to use with a rosebud to heat things up. I have brazed cast iron using brass with oxy-acet and have gotten better results than trying to weld it.

Add a cutting torch to the kit and it provides a lot of time saving in cutting metal and/or cutting old brackets off, stuff like that. Seems you have some time on oxy-acet, so not sure why you're so dismissive about it.

I bought a small set off craigslist, took it to the local welding shop and had them go over and make sure everything was in good working order, and I get my gas from them. Been about 15 years now...

Originally Posted by Phak1
My recommendation is to braze it. So much easier to learn and it takes much less heat. Note that you still need to cool the panel during this process or it will still warp. I use a rung out towel dipped in water.

Personally I wouldn't braze that, that's not how people do body work. May work, but still not the way it's typically done. What I have seen is to pull it tight, and just put a few tacks, spread out to hold the seam, and continue to fill the seam between with more tacks, letting it cool, and continuing to tack until the seam is filled in, being very patient to let it cool. Say you put a tack at each end and one in the center to start, then fill in the space with tacks. After the seam is filled, grind the tacks down smooth. At that point you can't see the seam. You could weld it with oxy-acet as Jon suggests and that will work better than brazing, IMO, but this is not something I would braze, I would only braze cast iron. Also, if you braze this you will have the color of brass mixed with the the color sheet metal. Could look like a Damascus tattoo on the sheet.

You could use a small 1/16" 6011 and stick weld it, dropping the amps down to about 50-55 so you don't blow out the sheet and use this tack method I describe, but these days it is more commonly done with mig. I would do it with tig, I weld with stick and tig, and as I like to say, I don't need mig 'cause I get my snap/crackle/pop from stick. smile Remember that stick was used to repair body work like that for years prior to mig and tig hitting the scene. AFAIK, that's how the majority of body work was done using the tack method and grinding flush. Maybe someone will correct me if I'm wrong. wink

Re: How can I fix a fracture in the door sheet metal?
walterhvogel #1418470 Wed Jul 28 2021 04:46 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,178
Housekeeping (Moderator) Making a Stovebolt Bed & Paint and Body Shop Forums
I think that with 15 minutes of practice on some similar gauge sheet metal, just anyone except a total klutz could O/A weld that crack up without blowing holes. When I first started, my dad kept telling me "add more heat". I still find myself not getting full penetration with O/A at times.


Kevin
First car '29 Ford Special Coupe
#2 - '29 Ford pickup restored from the ground up.
Newest Project - 51 Chevy 3100 work truck. Photos [flickr.com]
Busting rust since the mid-60's
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