Nervous panel replacement

Discussion in 'Body Restoration' started by Revin, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Revin

    Revin Veteran Member

    109
    4
    Aug 31, 2016
    Round Rock , TEXAS
    73 Camaro
    I have the rear section and the trunk pan I need to tack weld on.
    Problem is I never have done a de-panel / de-spot weld operation and I am nervous in doing so.
    Sure I can tear off panels and figure it out along the way. But I want to do it the right way.
    So is that drilling out the spot welds first?
    or cutting it out close to the seams then drill out spots?
    Trunk is pretty rusty/gone so not too big of a deal.
    Just having trouble figuring out where to begin.
    If rear taillight section is out, will whole pan fit without cutting it up.
    What do I do around the bumper bracket area?
     
  2. jthomas

    jthomas Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,278
    21
    Dec 5, 2007
    NorthCentral PA
    Use a grinder to grind over where the spot welds are. That will help you find them. Then mark the area you plan to cut out. Next, center punch each spot weld as this will help keep the spot weld cutter centered during drilling. Drill each spot weld out within the marked area. Once all the spot welds are drilled out and free, cut out the bad area making sure you use the new panel as a guide to be sure you don't cut out too much. I typically cut out a smaller area than I should to get started. Then I measure and marke and remeasure to be sure the area I cut out is consistent with the new piece I will be inserting.

    As for the bumper brackets; are they still usable? If so, cut around them for now and once you have everything else cut out, you can decide if you should weld the new piece in around them or remove them and weld them back in. Personally, I think removing them, making any necessary repairs and then welding them back in makes a better repair. They are usually mounted with spot welds and some bead welds that you can grind off.

    As always, measure three times and cut once. I frequently measure more than three times because a mistake can make the repair take longer.
     
  3. Revin

    Revin Veteran Member

    109
    4
    Aug 31, 2016
    Round Rock , TEXAS
    Is there a drawing where the spot welds are located? The back part by the lights or back corner of the panels fit together looks to be on the inside of the panels. Like I need to crawl under the car to get to them?

    Thank you for you help so far!:)
     
  4. jthomas

    jthomas Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,278
    21
    Dec 5, 2007
    NorthCentral PA
    I don't know of a drawing. The spot welds run up and down both sides of the frame rails. Drill from inside the trunk not from the frame rails. The rails are thicker and you don't want to punch holes in those.

    As for the spot welds along the tail panel: The spot welds are located where the bumper hides them so remove the bumper and grind along that area into the pocket where the gas tank neck sits. The spot welds go up over the gas tank neck and back down to the bumper.

    Here's a picture. You can see where I had to drill the spot welds out to remove the trunk pan, and then I plug welded them and filled after grinding:

    image.jpeg

    image.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  5. Revin

    Revin Veteran Member

    109
    4
    Aug 31, 2016
    Round Rock , TEXAS
    crap that is worse than mine! No offence of course! Up and over the filler..got it.
    The new piece does not have the bolts for the lic. plate. Weld those back on I am guessing.
    Anything special I need to look out for? tips??

    WOW Great before and after shots! Gives me inspiration for mine!
     
  6. Rustbucket350

    Rustbucket350 Veteran Member

    676
    1
    Sep 4, 2013
    Oviedo, Florida
    What I did and I would recommend in that area is tear that whole god awful rear panel out. Once it's gone and you're left with a free (ideally rust free trunk section and wheel wells, which means you gotta make sure the trunk and wheel wells are solid) but otherwise a FREE bone scratch starting point with new metal... is drill about 50 plug weld holes in the tail panel along the tail panel where it meets the quarters and trunk. Then plug weld it in, seam seal along the sides, and top, and you should have something that looks factory. Don't forget to grind the ugly welds down. So you can fill them later when you paint.

    Edit: it also meets the trunk drip rail so you have to weld it there too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  7. jthomas

    jthomas Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    1,278
    21
    Dec 5, 2007
    NorthCentral PA
    Yes, weld them in. As for other tips, Rustbucket350 covered it well.
     
  8. CasperCasper

    CasperCasper Veteran Member Gold Member

    687
    36
    Aug 11, 2015
    Vancouver, B.C.
    More inspiration:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    Using a grinder lightly you can find the high and low spots which are all the spot welds. Drill them out or use a spot weld cutter. An air grinder works well too, use a 3in cutoff disk on edge and grind the spot weld until the tail panel comes loose. Do not go so deep as to cut into the trunk floor. Repeat a million times and remove the panel. I warn you that the aftermarket panel fit is god awful and I had to end up welding the tail panel seam on mine. Good luck to you, you can do it!
     
    jthomas likes this.
  9. Revin

    Revin Veteran Member

    109
    4
    Aug 31, 2016
    Round Rock , TEXAS
    Got the 4" wire wheel on the angle grinder this morning. Crap there was at least 1/4" of bondo on the corner of the quarter panel when that was gone there was a nice hole in the quarter! The seam where the TL panel met was barely hanging on. So the removal process will not be TOO bad.
    I took some pics for you guys, just have to figure out the posting thing.
    Thanks for the pics guys! I really do look closely at them.

    I powder coated the upper and lower control arms, huge difference!! Smoke chrome dam sexy!;)
     
  10. Revin

    Revin Veteran Member

    109
    4
    Aug 31, 2016
    Round Rock , TEXAS
    Question... would I need to make a brace from side to side for support?
     

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