4/15/11 Passenger Door Continued...

With the rusted metal cut out from the bottom door skin, the door frame itself was found solid except for the bottom front corner. In the interest of doing this work correctly, I cut that corner off of the door frame, fabricated a small corner piece and welded it on.

This is my first time fabricating body panels. The dogleg work was pretty easy because I just had to form it to the existing curve of the body, cut it to fit the hole where the rusted metal was removed and it was done. The door is a different story because there's a lip on the bottom where the metal folds over the door frame. The crease has to be perfectly straight and sharp.

My first attempt at this crease was with a body hammer and the edge of a work table. I was not optimistic but had no other ideas working with what I have in the house. This attempt failed miserably, the bend was not straight, and not sharp. This was not even an option. I had to buy a sheet metal brake, no way around it.

$50 later, I bought a 30" sheet metal brake and bolted it to the table. The brake made a perfectly STRAIGHT bend, but not SHARP. After a bit of thinking, I decided to bend the metal over on itself with the not so sharp crease. Then I took a scrap piece of sheet metal and sandwiched it in the fold and used the hydraulic press and some scrap wood to press the crease sharp. It worked perfectly, the crease was tight and perfectly straight.

The metal was then trimmed and retrimmed to butt up against the cut metal of the door skin perfectly. I neutralized any remaining rust inside the door and took to welding the repair panel in place. For all of the effort to get it to fit perfect and butt up to the door skin, the weld did not come as perfect as I had hoped. While some portions were perfect, others moved in the welding process and look as if they are overlapping although they're not. They just aren't even. I'm pleased with the welds, I was able to space them apart enough to prevent warping, but not too thrilled with the end result. It will require more filler than I hoped to attain a nice finish. I'm glad that it's solid and rust free but I'm hoping after more welding I'll get better at it.

Next step will be to fix the attachment point of the lower front passenger side fender which appears to have hit at some point in the past and bang out a small dent at the front of the same fender. We're making progress!

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