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Thread: Bodywork 101

  1. #1
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    Default Bodywork 101

    Hey everyone, I'm new here to the forums and very happy to say I bought my first T-bird yesterday to save from the yard. Can any of you point me to a writeup on how to do bodywork, fillerwork, and rust repair? I tried taking classes this summer at the school I go to, but they didn't offer any novice courses. It's not pleasant now, but it's savable from cutting and welding for the time being if I get it taken care of in time.

    *IF THERE ARE ANY BOOKS YOU RECOMMEND, PLEASE SAY SO. I would love to read it as that's how I've learned most stuff and taught myself thus far.

    Some things I would like to know (if there aren't any write-ups or decent books you guys can recommend)
    - What grit paper should I use to hit it to the metal? I am guessing hand sanding it is the proper way of doing this to ensure an even wearing on the surface? Anything against electric sanders for this reason?
    - After I sand it down, how many coats of primer do I need to do. Just one? Or do I need to rough sand it, then shoot it again?
    - Tips on rust prevention, and hiding the damage with filler and such? what about dents that can't be fixed, or metal that has irreversible unevening (like if a shopping cart hit the door real hard or something like that.. something that would leave an "imprint" if you will).
    - When I'm ready to paint, I do have a compressor.. but it's only a 26 gallon or something like that so it's not really huge by any means. Constantly spraying will drain it. How will this affect the paint quality (this is assuming I stop spraying when optimal pressure decreases)?
    - What kind of paint should I use? I don't need candy apple red or anything like that, I just want a good solid color like a nice dark Ford blue or a Corvette blue. Something simple like that. How is the paint applied (distance, duration, methods, etc)?
    - should plastic be prepped differently and sprayed with a different paint mix to ensure paint flexibility and prevent orange peel and cracking? How does this work?
    - How many coats of clear does a paintjob normally get?

    Oh, and pics for your enjoyment. Runs and drives, but needs rearend work. Brand new battery and two sets of keys with a clean title. $350. Digital dash with all power options that work perfectly. I thought I came out pretty good. I want this to be the car I learn how to do bodywork on. I'm 23 and I've waited long enough to learn this, and I'm tired of listening to people that tell me I can't do it. I know I can, and I want this car to be the prime example of what dedication and commitment can do.











    88 Camaro RS - 355/TH350
    87 Thunderbird Sport - 302 (351 going in)/AOD

  2. #2
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    Oooh, a rust bucket! Haha, JK.

    Welcome to the forums! If you wanna know about body work and how to get rid of all that rusty metal, you'll probably wanna talk to daminc, I think he's done more of it than anyone on here! ...He'll probably show up soon

    Looks like a pretty decent deal. I know I've paid more than that and got less than that before...needs a good cleaning though!
    --Steve
    1988 Cougar V6
    2012 F-150 3.7L
    2011 Mustang 3.7L

  3. #3
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    Give it some love, new wheels, and TLC - you won't be sorry.

    Maybe you can apply for an apprenticeship with daminc....
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    #1 (left): undergoing top-to-bottom rebuild
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    Welcome... That's a lot of questions to answer in 1 post. lol
    The answer depends on how many bodyworking tools, and skills you have.... Anything can be fixed....... From what I can see.... your going to be doing a lot of cutting, welding, and pulling to repair what's in the pics.
    I would suggest taking a cruise through "Project Evolution" first. You'll see what your in store for after you remove the rust that you can see. There's a great chance that you will have to rebuild everything behind the rusted areas too.

    Get some closer pics of the areas, and under the rockers, and rear wheelwells too.
    I'll be back later with some answers to some of the ?s
    ***** Project "EVOLUTION" 1987 Cougar LS & 1985 Cougar Convertible *****

    5.0 HO 306 roller block, machined GT-40P heads, Wiseco dished forged pistons, Eagle forged floating I-beam connecting rods, Lunati pushrods, ARP bolts, Scorpion aluminum 1.6 rockers, Comp Cams Magnum 266HR, Explorer intake, 65mm TB, MAF Conversion, 19# injectors, Ford Racing stainless P-headers, 2-1/2" cat-less exhaust w/ Flowtech Afterburner mufflers , SC AOD with 2800 BDR torque converter, 3.73 T-Lok rear, CHE rear control arms, full 2-1/2" frame w/1" jacking rails & seat supports, Rear disk brakes, Turbine wheels, All original interior w/ floor shift upgrade .......
    Pretty much every panel on my 87 is new, rebuilt, or re constructed.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by daminc View Post
    Welcome... That's a lot of questions to answer in 1 post. lol
    The answer depends on how many bodyworking tools, and skills you have.... Anything can be fixed....... From what I can see.... your going to be doing a lot of cutting, welding, and pulling to repair what's in the pics.
    I would suggest taking a cruise through "Project Evolution" first. You'll see what your in store for after you remove the rust that you can see. There's a great chance that you will have to rebuild everything behind the rusted areas too.

    Get some closer pics of the areas, and under the rockers, and rear wheelwells too.
    I'll be back later with some answers to some of the ?s
    Thanks for the warm welcome all I'll see if I can get better pictures for you guys.

    I will say one thing that is helpful - in the event I need to do cutting and welding, that should be relatively easy. I am very good at welding, however this will require alot of measuring and fitment to get just right if I need to go that route.
    Last edited by DeltaElite121; 07-04-2010 at 08:44 AM.
    88 Camaro RS - 355/TH350
    87 Thunderbird Sport - 302 (351 going in)/AOD

  6. #6
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    *IF THERE ARE ANY BOOKS YOU RECOMMEND, PLEASE SAY SO. I would love to read it as that's how I've learned most stuff and taught myself thus far.
    You can find basic books and how-to's on bodyworking, but what you plan on doing isn't really going to be in a book. You won't find out what you have until you start cutting away the rust. The best advice is to see other projects and restos, and see how they went about to repair it.. Then apply it to what you need to replace

    Some things I would like to know (if there aren't any write-ups or decent books you guys can recommend)
    - What grit paper should I use to hit it to the metal? I am guessing hand sanding it is the proper way of doing this to ensure an even wearing on the surface? Anything against electric sanders for this reason?
    I would recommend using a DA and a grinder around the places your going to be repairing. Grit will depend on how much rust or paint you will be removing... I usually start out with 80 grit.... Finish sanding I use a long block and do it by hand

    - After I sand it down, how many coats of primer do I need to do. Just one? Or do I need to rough sand it, then shoot it again?
    Again, this is going to depend on what work you just did. I use and epoxy primer on bare metal, and a high build urethane primer for blocking before paint.

    - Tips on rust prevention, and hiding the damage with filler and such? what about dents that can't be fixed, or metal that has irreversible unevening (like if a shopping cart hit the door real hard or something like that.. something that would leave an "imprint" if you will).
    I would treat any rust that may be left behind after grinding with Pickelx. It will convert it into an Oxide to keep it from rusting further. I use rust encapsulating paint for areas that won't be seen behind panels and under frame sort of stuff.
    All dents can be fixed. I would never just fill one, unless it was a small dime sized shallow ding.


    - When I'm ready to paint, I do have a compressor.. but it's only a 26 gallon or something like that so it's not really huge by any means. Constantly spraying will drain it. How will this affect the paint quality (this is assuming I stop spraying when optimal pressure decreases)?
    If you use a low pressure gun it will shoot paint at about 5-7 lbs, depending on the paint. the size may be ok to use, but definitely put a water separator on it and use an extra 50 feet of hose positioned above the tank as an extra water collector. I would test using the primer on a panel to see if it will keep up with the gun

    - What kind of paint should I use? I don't need candy apple red or anything like that, I just want a good solid color like a nice dark Ford blue or a Corvette blue. Something simple like that. How is the paint applied (distance, duration, methods, etc)?
    I would use a brand name that has good support for info.... Dupont, Kirker, Napa, etc..... If you never painted a car before, I would stick with a solid color single stage paint for your first time.

    - should plastic be prepped differently and sprayed with a different paint mix to ensure paint flexibility and prevent orange peel and cracking? How does this work?
    If the plastic is flaking and all cracked, you may want to strip the paint right off. Use a stripper designed for plastic or urethane bumpers. Flex additive is used when you paint the bumpers off the car and put them back on. The additive will gas-off after about 10 days. it just helps to keep the paint flexible then reinstalling the parts. if you strip the bumpers, use an adhesion promoter (Primer) first.

    - How many coats of clear does a paintjob normally get?
    If you go that route, it depends on how good you are, and how Clean the paint job is. If your painting in a garage you may want to spray a couple coats, then sand the crap out of the clear, then spray a couple more coats. If you do it in a booth.. then probably 2-3 coats. depends on how much orange peel you have too when your done


    Oh, and pics for your enjoyment. Runs and drives, but needs rearend work. Brand new battery and two sets of keys with a clean title. $350. Digital dash with all power options that work perfectly. I thought I came out pretty good. I want this to be the car I learn how to do bodywork on. I'm 23 and I've waited long enough to learn this, and I'm tired of listening to people that tell me I can't do it. I know I can, and I want this car to be the prime example of what dedication and commitment can do.
    You can do anything you put your mind to
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Irv will probably add to this... but it's a lot of stuff to learn, and that's the basic rundown of what you asked... everything can be discussed with more detail as your getting into each step of the project. first thing I would do is start looking for usable replacement panels, and partial panels that you can use to repair the damaged areas. It will save you time and money in the long run.
    ***** Project "EVOLUTION" 1987 Cougar LS & 1985 Cougar Convertible *****

    5.0 HO 306 roller block, machined GT-40P heads, Wiseco dished forged pistons, Eagle forged floating I-beam connecting rods, Lunati pushrods, ARP bolts, Scorpion aluminum 1.6 rockers, Comp Cams Magnum 266HR, Explorer intake, 65mm TB, MAF Conversion, 19# injectors, Ford Racing stainless P-headers, 2-1/2" cat-less exhaust w/ Flowtech Afterburner mufflers , SC AOD with 2800 BDR torque converter, 3.73 T-Lok rear, CHE rear control arms, full 2-1/2" frame w/1" jacking rails & seat supports, Rear disk brakes, Turbine wheels, All original interior w/ floor shift upgrade .......
    Pretty much every panel on my 87 is new, rebuilt, or re constructed.
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  7. #7
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    Not long from now I'll be starting the body work. I've already done some stuff, but I don't want to post pictures until it really gets going. I haven't given up! I've also got a 351 waiting for the car as soon as I finish paying off this loan I've got (since I plan on throwing a new cam in there, a 3000 stall converter, and a few other things as always).

    Anyways, I'll keep you guys posted.
    88 Camaro RS - 355/TH350
    87 Thunderbird Sport - 302 (351 going in)/AOD

  8. #8
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    Were you able to find any rust free body parts in St. Louis?
    '88 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 76mm C&L MAF, 30lb injectors, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, 04 Cobra front arms, Maximum Motorsports extreme duty rear arms, subframes.
    '11 Focus, '12 Mustang 3.7, '17 Accord EX-L V6

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderjet302 View Post
    Were you able to find any rust free body parts in St. Louis?
    Actually I did, I just need to go pick them up this weekend (turbocoupe parts.. hood, doors, fenders, rearend.. all saved for me )
    88 Camaro RS - 355/TH350
    87 Thunderbird Sport - 302 (351 going in)/AOD

  10. #10
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    Going to pick up the parts in 10 minutes. I'll post pictures when I get back for all your enjoyment.
    88 Camaro RS - 355/TH350
    87 Thunderbird Sport - 302 (351 going in)/AOD

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