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Thread: Welding body panels, butt or flange?

  1. #1
    Precision-Fit
    Year
    1958
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    Wagon
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    Jun 2011
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    Allen, TX
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    Welding body panels, butt or flange?

    I took a welding class yesterday in preparation for installing some body panels and the instructor had recommended getting a flanging tool and putting a flange on the original piece of body for the replacement panel to sit on. It seems that most of the members builds that I have seen that involved installing new panels that they butted them up to each other. Any thoughts from experienced body guys?
    Thanks
    Dan

  2. #2
    Sharpest-Tool Ken P's Avatar
    First Name
    Ken
    Year
    1955
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    Wagon
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    Dec 2012
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    Canton, Ga.
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    277
    A butt joint is best but sometimes flanging will do. I had taken sheet metal forming & welding at a vocational school many moons ago. I had checked out pricing on a refresher course but it is out of my price range at the moment. There are tons of instructional videos on YouTube. I have the equipment but will need to practice a lot before I do anything on the wagon

  3. #3
    Bigger Hammer BruceR's Avatar
    First Name
    Bruce
    Year
    1951
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    Other
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    Sep 2011
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    East Texas
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    Butt is king, if you have a little hammer welding experience it is even better. The only time I used to flange was when I used a spot welder.

    Bruce

  4. #4
    A flange will hold moisture,which makes rust , which makes more welding.

  5. #5
    Well-Oiled
    First Name
    Marcus
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    1948
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    Pickup
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    1,687
    Flange joins will also show through on final paint work on hot days due to different expansion rates.

  6. #6
    Precision-Fit mikec4193's Avatar
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    Mike
    Year
    1962
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    Jan 2010
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    Hi Doge

    If you want strength do the over lap method....I use overlap joints (1/4" or less) for my floor patches and I butt weld all the outside patches. The key seems to be small tack welds...I tack weld everything and then fill in between with more tack welds. The more time you have the heat on the panel more chances for warping to occur. My last project was a 1947 CJ2A and it has over 50 patches on it to bring it back to where it used to be.

    Oh yeah I dont finish any bodywork, I butt weld, grind the tops off the welds and then shoot some rattle can paint over it. I like old Willys that look their age...I love the patina of an old finish on metal...

    My smelly old 2 cents....

    MikeC
    Jeeps give me the "Creeps" and Willys give me the "Willies"....

  7. #7
    Bigger Hammer BruceR's Avatar
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    Bruce
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    1951
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    Like Mike says...small tacks then fill in with more small tacks. Be sure to let an area cool before returning to it. I've heard that MIG makes too hard of a weld to hammer...but I can't speak from experience on that.

    Bruce

  8. #8
    Well-Oiled Tom1956's Avatar
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    Tom
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    1955 1957
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    Wagon Pickup
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    Flushing Michigan
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    I assume that a butt joint is 2 pieces of the metal that just butts up to one another with no overlap ? And
    A lap joint laps the metal over each other? So that leaves the flange joint.
    So that flange is made with a flange tool that bends the metal to have a Z bend in it, that the replacement piece lies on the Z part and, where the seam is, should be level with each other ?

  9. #9
    Precision-Fit
    Year
    1958
    Model
    Wagon
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Allen, TX
    Posts
    692
    I assume that a butt joint is 2 pieces of the metal that just butts up to one another with no overlap ? And
    A lap joint laps the metal over each other? So that leaves the flange joint.
    So that flange is made with a flange tool that bends the metal to have a Z bend in it, that the replacement piece lies on the Z part and, where the seam is, should be level with each other ?
    You are correct. I have found both hand and air powered devices that will make this flange. Most have a hole punch on the other side to make a hole to allow the welding of the top plate to the bottom via the hole. I think that I may try both the flange and butt for the parts I need to replace. There will be some sections where the backside is inside of the cab and should not be exposed to moisture and then some that will not be protected on the back side.
    Dan

  10. #10
    Sharpest-Tool germain's Avatar
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    Gary
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    1961
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    Wagon
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    Houston, TX
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    Butt weld, grind, butt weld, grind, repeat until there are no holes to weld. Moving around the panel to avoid heat buildup/warping. A copper plate on the backside will allow more than a tack weld and prevent blow through, only the warp factor is more of a possible problem.

    Gary
    Build it, Drive it.
    61 wagon repowered/restomod
    2012 wrangler
    08 Escape
    73 vw cal look
    74 vw rat project
    55 Chevy 3100 project
    05 Discovery

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