Automotive body repair is a tricky business. The processes are specialized and you need to have enough knowledge on the matter to be able to work. Welding, sanding, alignment, and attention to detail all fall under the process of automotive body repair. Your car is held together by a lot of bolts and spot weld.
Spot welds are most prominent in the outer fender and quarter panel as these hold the large exterior body parts together. Quarter panel replacements involve drilling spot welds, cutting excess metal, replacing old metal with new. So how do you replace the quarter panel of your car? Well, here we will discuss a step by step process on replacing a car’s quarter panel.
What You Need
Quarter panel replacement is a tough process and if you are not prepared then you may go frustrated. You should make sure that you have everything you need before going into work. Ask a friend or family member to help you with the work. You might need assistance if your car has a metal quarter panel. The items you require for replacing a quarter panel are Gloves, Drill, Step down drill bit, Clamps and Welder.
One thing to note, you should not try to operate a welder if you do not understand it. This is a machine that uses highly flammable gas so it is a dangerous piece of equipment. Please be careful and wear goggles when using the welder. So now that you know what you need, the following will be the steps you need to follow.
Gather all the materials you need near you so that you can access easily. Also, make sure that the quarter panel that you brought is the right part for your car. When you know which part you wanna remove inspect it. Find out how it is secured to the body. Find the bolts and weld spots it has.
Now you need to remove the panel from the body. To do that you need to first wear a glove. Find the weld spots and using the step-down drill bit drill a little. Make sure that the hole is slightly bigger than the weld. You should not drill through to the other side. Just need to drill through the joints of the panel and the frame. Usually, there will be spot welds every 6 to 8 inches so you can easily keep track and do your work without much disturbance.
Start cutting half an inch from the wheel well toward the middle of the vehicle. This is where the quarter panel meets the inner fender. You should keep in mind that you should not start by cutting big proportions. Start small, if you see that there is excess metal then trim it after the quarter panel has been replaced.
So now you should test out the new panel to see if it fits perfectly. Trim excess metal if there are any and smooth out any rough edges. This will ensure the perfect fit for the panel.
You now need to clamp the panel in place. Most of the accessible places are underneath and towards the rear-end. Make sure you clamp every 12 inches. This will help you secure a tight connection and won’t wobble when you start working. This also ensures a perfect weld.
Now its time for you to weld the panel with the frame. Put the welder in a low heat setting, putting it on high will make a hole through the body. Fuse the welding joints and alternate between spots as the metal needs to cool down. If you don’t alternate and let the metal cool down warping and other damages might occur so be careful.
Enjoy Your New Quarter Panel
There you go, the steps to replacing your old quarter panel with a new one. If you are experienced in body work then you should do it. However, I would recommend against this as it requires handling of heavy machinery. Remember you have your body shop worker, they will be able to do anything you ask so no need to take a risk if you are not confident enough.