Learn to weld or get crappy job done?

Discussion in 'General Ranchero Help' started by merlock18, May 19, 2017.

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  1. merlock18

    merlock18 In First Gear

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    So I've got some major holes in the truck bed of my '72. I just want it patched. It doesn't have to be pretty because I am spraying bedliner down as soon as the holes are fixed.
    I've got the beast at a body shop and they think there is more rust than can be seen and once they start scraping it away there wont be a bed left. They want to bolt down sheet metal over the whole bed and spray on top of that. I can imagine my project looking good like this at all.
    I am really skeptical the problem is as bad as they say. The rust is along the bar where the bed and storage of the interior meet. I assume it's a common problem area.
    Should I get a cheap welder from the hardware store, find some decent metal and do it myself? I have ZERO experience welding and I hate to trivialize a solid industry and trade but it cant be too hard since I am not talking beautiful of precision welds here. I feel like any kid who had shop class could do a good enough job before I spray the bedliner down.
    Thoughts?
     
  2. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Third Gear PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Can't weld rust & it never stops, cut out all of the bad & hopefully you have something to weld to.
     
  3. ribald1

    ribald1 In Maximum Overdrive PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Don't go with a cheap welder. You want a decent MIG that uses gas, not flux core wire. You could rent one.
    Another option is to go to http://www.eastwood.com/ , look at their body panel products.
    A combination of fasteners and panel adhesive could create a job that would look somewhere between acceptable and good depending on the effort you put it.
    Just snag similar looking metal flooring from trucks or vans at the junk yard.
     
  4. merlock18

    merlock18 In First Gear

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    You are right. I should have been explicit. I want to cut out all the weak and rusty spots. Then weld in some metal patches. Then spray it over with primer then bed liner. Not just weld over the rust or anything weird.
     
  5. merlock18

    merlock18 In First Gear

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    Pics of 90% of the offending area
     

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  6. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Third Gear PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Not as bad as it sounded, I would still cut out all of the rust & see if you can find a bed panel "as mentioned in ribalds previous post" and just do an overlay, be sure to seal the metal where you cut to minimize any further rusting. You can buy bedliner in a small can & brush it on where you cut.
     
  7. ribald1

    ribald1 In Maximum Overdrive PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Any rust that is not completely removed should be treated with a rust convertor, including the underside of the bed.
     
  8. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Third Gear PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Ribald, Any suggestions as to what he should use. ? C'mon I'm sure that you have a fix that the layman can understand.
     
  9. ribald1

    ribald1 In Maximum Overdrive PLATINUM MEMBER

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    You talking about the rust convertor?
    http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-rust-converter.html
    Or the panel adhesive and fasteners?
    With that there are options that allow trade offs between looks and effort.
     
  10. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    Mine has the same area, but on the passenger side; you look at it from the top, it doesn't look so bad. However, I did an underside inspection and found that entire corner under the bed, namely the corner of both vertical panels that make up the box is rusted bad. I figure the only decent fix is to cut out the entire corner in all three axes, after finding a decent donor body to cut the same chunm out of. A thorough inspection would be a good idea on yours; it could have hidden damage you normally don't see.
     
  11. 1965 Ranchero 66G

    1965 Ranchero 66G In Third Gear PLATINUM MEMBER

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    especially that area against the cab, ck it good from the inside.
     
  12. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    I'm 6'6" tall and 450+ lbs. It was no easy task to get under there to check the inside. And it does leak into the cab from there.
     
  13. cbolt

    cbolt In Third Gear SILVER MEMBER

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    I taught myself to weld this past summer. You tube is a fantastic resource for instructional videos. I cut out all my rusted floor pans and replaced them using an inexpensive flux core welder. People will tell you the flux core welder won't work on sheet metal, but I have some nice solid floor pans that will disagree with them. Granted it may have been easier to use a mig welder, but I used what was recommended by some local car guys and I got really good results.

    As previously mentioned, rust converter (The rustoleum products are the highest recommended), seam sealer (Cannot stress using this enough) and I added por patch (Its a two part putty made by the POR-15 folks) will help prevent further rust. Welded areas are particularly prone to rust so you cannot treat these areas enough in my opinion. I added POR-15 paint to finish my job on the floorboards and the cowl area, which I also rebuilt this past summer, to add an additional layer of waterproofing and corrosion resistance.

    Do it yourself, take your time, and watch as many instructional videos as you can. You should be fine.

    As a side note, I will be tackling the bed rust on mine later this year using a piece of S-10 bed and my flux core welder. I found a bed cover I can use after the work is done on ebay, which I will use to hide the imperfections in my sloppy welding..... I just learned, remember? :)

    A friend of mine told me that if you have to grind your welds, you are not a welder, you are a grinder. That is great since I have lots of experience grinding things. All my welds require grinding, which is a skill much easier than welding!
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  14. 72GTVA

    72GTVA Administrator Staff Member

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    I had to do similar repair to one of my '72s, cutting back the rusted areas to good metal and then welding in the hand made repair panels. Lasted over 25 years before I went ahead and replaced the entire bed.

    True MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welders are inexpensive enough that you quickly recoup the cost for one by not having to pay someone and a MIG such as a Lincoln Electric or Miller (and some others) will make a welder out of anyone. Get a gas rig as Ribald noted above. I had never used a MIG before, used a couple of scrap pieces to practice on and got better than I expected results in very short order. A couple of clamps and a straight edge and you can form up the bed repair sections from flat sheet metal and achieve very clean and functional repair sections. Just be deliberate in what you are doing and you'll get better results than most body shops will produce unless the shop is a high dollar restoration specialty business. My .02, your mileage may vary... other disclaimers ad nauseum.
     
  15. pmrphil

    pmrphil In Fourth Gear GOLD MEMBER

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    A "Cleco" kit will make the job so much easier - look it up, first time you use it you'll love it.
     
  16. Basstrix

    Basstrix In Fourth Gear BRONZE MEMBER

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    My input: Welding with marginal equipment can make for a very frustrating and time consuming experience. The main thing I learned from using cheap welding equipment is an appreciation for quality equipment. If you can get the wire feed set up to work consistently, you have a fighting chance. Flux core wire has it's place, but that' usually outdoors when there's uncontrollable air movement. Even the slightest breeze will blow out your shield gas and, on thin metal, blow a hole right through. Flux core will shield much better when there's air movement, but the welds are not clean like a properly set up gas shielded weld.

    For 20 ga sheet metal using .025-.03" wire, you'll want a welder than can provide a steady 15-18 volts. When your wire speed is right, you should be pulling around 30 amps. My lincoln likes 110-130ipm for feed speed...the smaller number applies to the smaller wire.

    There's an app for that: Lincoln, Miller, and others have apps to help you get close with your settings. I have the lincoln, miller, and one called Pocket Welder Helper. Recommended settings vary a bit between the miller and lincoln....The miller app gives a little more info, so I tend to look at both when starting a job I'm not familiar with. The PWH app seems to use the same settings as miller, but has a few other useful features (such as gauge conversion, hole diameter vs drill #, etc...).

    Read and watch videos. Sheetmetal welding is not so much like welding a joint on 1/4" steel. You're going to stitch together a series of spot welds. You have to minimize heating up the panels or you'll get warpage. This is done by jumping around with your spot welds and using air or a wet rag to cool the metal.

    Lap joints using plug welds are much easier than but welding two panels together. You may want to consider getting a combo punching/flanging tool for this purpose.

    For non-structural panels, consider using panel adhesive. A flanging tool and panel adhesive can save a ton of time and expense.
     
  17. handy_andy_cv64

    handy_andy_cv64 In Maximum Overdrive SILVER MEMBER

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    That last point is interesting. Would that seam at that joint of the front bed/bulkhead panel, main bed panel and box bulkheads be a non-structural joint?
     
  18. ribald1

    ribald1 In Maximum Overdrive PLATINUM MEMBER

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    Because of the way the frame flexes at the tail I would not recommend using panel adhesive alone.
    Even after welding a 2X3 square tube across the tail end to box that section and a pipe at the tailgate top (the tailgate doesn't open) it still twists significantly right before my front tires leave the road (don't get any wild ideas, you have to be very observant to see the air between the tires and the road).
    As a result there must be a fair amount of twisting when going over uneven roads.
     
  19. russosborne

    russosborne In Third Gear

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    Would you mind sharing what you used? I am probably going to have to use my flux core on my floors.
    Thanks,
    Russ
     
  20. ribald1

    ribald1 In Maximum Overdrive PLATINUM MEMBER

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    A flux corer welder will work on sheet metal.
    Actually, if you never put your hands on a gas rig you will think it does a fair job. Just as a person has no issue with a push mower until they get behind a gas one.
    FYI, I weld with a MIG outside all the time. Like stick welding under water, different environments require different techniques. Usually merely raising the gas pressure by 5 or 10 pounds and using your gloved hand to shield from the wind works unless the weather is so bad you can't wear a hat.
    If I have to weld in a wind storm I break out my stick welder.
    I haven't learned to do TIG outdoors, but I see the utility co workers doing it so I know it is doable.
     

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