Stud Welder & Slide Hammer
The slide hammer base tightens...
The slide hammer base tightens over the stud. The hammer has a weight that slides up and stops on the handle's lower face. This impact pulls the dent up. When we were happy with the result, we clipped the stud off with a pair of side-cutting pliers and ground the remaining stud down. A kit that includes the stud welder, studs, and a slide hammer by Motor Guard (PN MCJ1000) goes for $209.95 at Summit Racing.
Dents are usually concave, meaning they need to be brought up to flatten the panel. Often they can be fixed with a hammer and dolly, but sometimes only the top surface of the metal is exposed. In the example, there were dents along the top corner of the roof that were just over the roof brace structure. There was no room to use the hammer and dolly so we turned to the stud welder and slide hammer to pull the dents out.
First, we removed the paint...
First, we removed the paint from the repair area. The dents are easier to spot while the paint is still on, so it can be helpful to draw some arrows or circles on the surrounding area to point to the areas in question.
With the paint removed, a...
With the paint removed, a stud welder loaded with a 2mm stud sends current down to the metal, welding it on. The stud welder releases the stud after it's welded, then we attach the slide hammer.
Hammer & Dolly
If you can easily access both sides of the panel, a hammer and dolly can be used to bring up lows and push down highs. Using these tools is more of an art than a science, and those who have the feel for it make effortless work out of it. Inexperienced body men can pretty easily make things worse. There are two basic ways to use these tools. The first is to hit the hammer on the metal with the dolly directly behind it. This is called hammering "on dolly." This effectively stretches the sheetmetal because the force of the hammer onto the metal with the dolly backing makes the metal slightly thinner. When the metal stretches, it has no place to go but up. The second way to use these tools is to hammer "off dolly." You hold the dolly under a low spot, and hammer just to the side of it on the surrounding high spots. The rebound action of the dolly after the hammer strikes brings up the low spot while the hammer brings down the high spot. Having the right shaped dolly
can strongly improve your results because the closer the dolly matches the panel's contours, the less work it will take to get a good product. A starter set by Performance Tool can be found at SummitRacing.com for under $20. Ron Covell is an extremely experienced body man, and has made a living creating tools, videos, and books to share his talent. If you're interested in becoming more fluent in the art of metal shaping, he's the guy to watch.
If you're doing a complete repaint like we are, now is the time to make any body changes you desire. We wanted to clean up the look of this car because decorative trim isn't consistent with our Street Fighter theme. Street Fighter to us says nothing too fancy, nothing unnecessary, and a little something racy. This leaves no room for the fancy bright work meant to attract a different crowd.
First thing to go were the...
First thing to go were the emblems. Getting rid of these, and the holes they left behind, was simple. Grind the paint away from the edges of the holes, weld them up, and smooth them down. You'll remember I did much the same thing inside the engine bay a few issues back.
The trim along the rocker...
The trim along the rocker panels use riveted brackets to mount them. A drill with an eighth-inch drill bit makes quick work of removing them. We then welded up the holes and ground them smooth.
The seam between the quarter...
The seam between the quarter panel and the back glass panel was my next stop to fill. Getting this seam clean is difficult because it was filled with seam sealer. We used a wire brush to remove the rubbery goo, then used the MIG welder to fill it in. Like any welding you do on the body, it's easy to warp the panel if you put too much heat into it, so weld a little at a time to keep the heat under control. Grinding can also generate enough heat to warp the panel, so use caution.
Block sanding will make or break your paintjob. If the panel isn't sanded correctly it will be visibly wavy and uneven. After we smoothed out the metal, we applied a skim coat of filler for the final tune. It's next to impossible to make the panel perfect without the use of this stuff. There are many times through the body and paint preparation process that we use block sanding, even in the final sanding of the clearcoat. The Dura Block set from Summit Racing has seven different shaped blocks to cover all of the contours on your car. When used correctly, they ensure a smooth, flat surface through the bodywork and paint prep stages. To go with these blocks, Summit Racing also carries sandpaper in rolls with a sticky back to adhere to the blocks. Another thing that comes in quite handy is a dual-action (DA) sander. Summit offers a sander Value Pack that includes the pneumatic DA sander and four 3M sanding paper rolls that include 80-, 180-, 320-, and 400-grit (PN CMB-17-0032) for $189.95.
When the filler hardened,...
When the filler hardened, we used 180-grit sandpaper on a large block and sanded in a diagonal cross pattern to give the block the flattest base. After sanding at a 30- to 45-degree motion from left to right, we switched and went from right to left. This produces a cross-hatch pattern that covers the entire car. If there is a spot that isn't getting sanded, it's probably low, and needs more filler.
Mustangs have a whole lot of bright trim on them, but the shiny look wasn't going to match the sleek and tough look we're going for with Project Street Fighter. The trim that we didn't remove we painted satin black to help it blend in with the car. Before we could paint, we had to clean and sand the trim. As you can see, the trim had overspray from the last three paintjobs. We used a razor to scrape it off. Once the parts were clean, we hit them with 160-grit sandpaper to give the surface bite for the paint to adhere to. We used Dupli-Color's Trim Black for all the exterior trim and also for the inside of the doors, fenders, and taillight buckets shown here.