Welding the doors

Its been a few weeks, but I’m still alive and working on the BJ44. There just wasn’t much interesting stuff to tell, than the things I already told in my last post. But now I’ve worked on fixing the doors, so here we go…

In the beginning of my restoring project I’ve showed you all that 2 doors were unrepairable by simply welding some patches. The bottom parts were severely rusted and large holes showed up under the plaster the previous owner had applied. This mainly happens when the draining holes under the doors are cluttered with dirt, resulting in moisture building up in the door and rust starts to eat its way out. Fortunately this only happened with the driver side door and the right ambulance door.

A few months ago I ordered lower door panels from Cool Cruisers of Texas for both doors, but decided to put the welding on hold until I finished the complete body and interior. Now was that moment to start working on the doors again, something I was kind of anxious to do.
Welding sheet metal can give unwanted results due to the extreme heat that builds up in a small spot, resulting in deforming metal, which is a pain in the ass to get nicely smooth again. The trick is not to weld to many spots at once, just give it some time to cool down and make sure you don’t weld them to close to eachother.

I already used the new panels as masks to draw the right cutting lines on the doors to cut the rotting parts off and end up with a perfectly fitting panel. Now I had to align the new panels to the doors by using clamps and a piece of straight metal to make sure it is all aligned up.
For both doors I started with the front panel, because that one needs to be perfect in line with the rest of the door. When I fixed that one I put the rear one in place and started to weld that one up as well.

Finally I cleaned up the weld with a grinding tool, and equalized the surface even more with a sanding machine. Because of the grinding and because I did not completely weld up the two panels, I had to fill up the gaps with “Debrasel” some sort of liquid metal bondo that etches into the metal surface and finally hardens like metal.
Now the surface is good enough for its first layer of Epoxy primer, the best base layer on raw metal. After that I can use regular bondo for a perfect smooth surface.

The two other doors just needed sanding and cleaning up, especially the glue that was used for the weatherstripping was a pain in the ass to remove, but after a few hours and some elbow grease it was done. Now I have four clean and sanded door ready for the next step.
I hope to spray the epoxy primer next week.

See the massive amount of pics for an impression.


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