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Author Topic: Filling unneeded trim holes ?  (Read 2312 times)

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oldgrezmonke

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Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« on: Oct 05, 2014, 10:57:19 AM »

My Falcon [4 door base model sedan] had a door replaced in the past ; a real schlock job , poorly painted , even over tar filling rust spots  ???  that has been rusting through from the inside - even through the window frame  :bangh: . I located and purchased a much better door [Thank You www.under1981.com] which came from a "Deluxe" model so there are trim holes [12 about 3/8" - 4 round , 8 square] that need to be filled . I have no welding equipment . I can't electric weld but have done o.k. with gas . Is this something that could be done reasonably well if I rented a gas set ? Any suggestions as to technique would be welcome whether I do it myself or need to decide if another person knows what they are doing . Thanks .
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First car - 1961 Falcon Deluxe 4door , had 1968-73
Present - 1963 1/2 Falcon 4door base model , since 2009 ,
frequent driver , work in progress
Yes I like 4doors
Lifetime member # 117 NSRA
Former ASE certified mechanic
FCA member # 13677

oldbleu

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #1 on: Oct 05, 2014, 03:18:36 PM »

The key to filling trim holes in relatively thin sheet metal is doing the job with the least amount of heat possible. I had almost all of the holes in my Futura sedan filled. The more heat you use, the more the metal will buckle, causing a wavy, uneven appearance. So there is a definite challenge to doing this right, unless you want to use lots of bondo to smooth out the surface. Getting it done is one thing, doing it right is another. The latter usually costs more money.



All of the holes in my Falcon were filled using a TIG welder. The tiny holes were filled with weld. A copper or brass block was held up on the back side of the metal, covering the hole. This process helps to absorb some of the heat and the copper or brass will not become fused to the weld. The square trim holes are a bigger challenge. To do these right, each hole is drilled out with a 1/2" drill bit, leaving a nice round hole.



The holes are then filled with a 1/2" sheet metal plug that is held from behind with a magnet. The picture above shows the sheet metal that the plugs were made from. The welding is done in very short segments to minimize the amount of heat applied to the sheet metal. Typically, all of the plugs are tack welded in. This allows you to go from plug to plug and apply a short, quick weld. The welds are allowed to cool before going back and welding another tiny section on each plug. Yes, it is time consuming, but that's what is needed for a perfect job. Afterward, the whole area is smoothed using a body hammer and dolly followed by a light touch with a grinder if needed. The object is to get a perfectly flat, ripple free surface that will require the least amount of body filler. This technique was used on many of the smaller trim holes as well. 



What you can't see in the above picture is the smooth, even surface that was produced by this process. It is almost an art form. Having said all of that, I suspect that you probably won't want to go to the expense of doing the job as described above. If that is the case, you can do as I did on the '61 door shown below.



This door is going in my brother's '62 Falcon. As part of the refurbishing process, the door was taken down to bare metal using aircraft grade paint stripper (nasty stuff). Once the paint was removed, we discovered that we had what appears to be a '61 vintage door. The lower row of holes had been filled with what looks like gas welding. Although you can't see it, the metal around each brazed hole is depressed and uneven. The upper row of holes had been filled with bondo.




Since the '62 is a driver, we left the lower row of holes alone. The upper row of holes were filled using a MIG welder with a piece of inert metal held on the back side of the weld as described above. The larger holes left by a remote style mirror were filled using the plug  and weld technique.



The results were quite acceptable. Significantly more filler was used to get the surface where it needed to be, but the door is usable once again and will look just fine when finished off with a good paint job.



I have had trim holes filled in several cars over the years, including the '64 Galaxie shown above. As you can see, the plug technique always yields the best results. Using a MIG welder can provide acceptable results if used with patience. The gas welding technique will cause the most collateral damage simply because it subjects the metal to the most amount of heat over the most area. 

With any of the above methods, there is a certain amount of skill that goes with the process. Hopefully, you will be up for the challenge!   : : )




 
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oldgrezmonke

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #2 on: Oct 05, 2014, 07:46:45 PM »

The hole pattern in that '61 [gonna be '62] door looks like mine . No MIG , TIG or the knowledge to use one so brazing might be the way to go . That's something I can do , it's not as hot so less warpage and I don't mind some body filler . I'll check around tomorrow on renting a gas welding set .
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First car - 1961 Falcon Deluxe 4door , had 1968-73
Present - 1963 1/2 Falcon 4door base model , since 2009 ,
frequent driver , work in progress
Yes I like 4doors
Lifetime member # 117 NSRA
Former ASE certified mechanic
FCA member # 13677

FalconPride

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #3 on: Oct 06, 2014, 12:15:36 PM »

Chris,
Just curious. Do you still have that '64 Galaxie? I really like that year and the 65. More pictures somewhere?
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FalconPride

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #4 on: Oct 06, 2014, 03:15:10 PM »

* that should have been 1963 also....not 1965
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oldgrezmonke

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #5 on: Oct 08, 2014, 07:32:29 PM »

Well I couldn't find a place that rented a small gas welding set But I did find someone who could/would weld the holes up for me at a reasonable cost . I should have it back in a few days - then the fun starts .
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First car - 1961 Falcon Deluxe 4door , had 1968-73
Present - 1963 1/2 Falcon 4door base model , since 2009 ,
frequent driver , work in progress
Yes I like 4doors
Lifetime member # 117 NSRA
Former ASE certified mechanic
FCA member # 13677

Veach

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #6 on: Oct 08, 2014, 10:55:50 PM »

Yep found a little rot when they removed the windshield. Now She's back in the body shop
It's hard to find a really good body shop and when you do it's a waiting game so I feel for you Oldgrezmonke

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63 Gasser

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Re: Filling unneeded trim holes ?
« Reply #7 on: Oct 26, 2014, 05:27:28 PM »

 I've had good results filling holes in sheetmetal with my MIG welder. I use nails of various sizes as a filler. Depending on the hole size I grab whatever nail has a large enough head to fill the hole. If it's a square hole, I grind the head square to fit closely. The nail works well, as it gives me a way to hold it while I tack it in, and I can simply cut it off with my diagonals when done, and grind it smooth. Takes very little filler (sometimes none!) to fill over the repaired hole.
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