Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle - Chevelle Tech
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  #1  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 1:37 AM
bosch bosch is offline
bosch
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: the Big Sky State
Posts: 28
Default Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

Thanks to everyone for the welcome.

A few things, I am by no means a pro. I had never done real body work before. This was my first try. My dad used to run a small body shop years ago. He moved on to other things in the early 1990's, but had worked on a lot of these 60's and 70's cars throughout the years. He coached (baby-sat) me through this job.

I know that there are many ways to do a job like this. My understanding is that the most preferable way to fit the replacement panel would be to butt weld it with a TIG welder. You can also butt weld with a MIG, lap weld, use a panel flanging tool and flange weld and a few other creative ways to go about it.

I certainly learned a lot about the differences between the ideal world and the real world. For this job, we lapped the panels and used sheetmetal screws to fit them into place. Then went in with a MIG machine to weld the lapped seams and fill the holes from the sheetmetal screws. I orignally wanted to try to butt weld the replacement panels but it became apparent pretty early on that if you were to do that, you would need to invest a very significant amount of time in trimming and fitting your replacement panel. Gaps greater than about 1/8" anywhere along the seams creates lots of extra work.

These replacement panels are Goodmark, they are not bad. Of course I'm sure there have been better quality panels made, but these actually fit pretty well. Overall, we were happy with how things went together.

To finish this job I will spend lots of time grinding, filling, sanding, filling, sanding, priming, sanding......sanding.....and more sanding. For the back of the seam I plan to use seam sealer on the inside of the lap to keep moisture out and refinish the inside of the trunk. And then when that is all done I will do the other side...

I just want to repeat one more time, I am not a pro.......this is a learning experience for me, but here are a few pictures of the job.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 7:13 AM
countryroad82 countryroad82 is offline
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Josh
 
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

Looks like you did a fine job. It's not my cup of tea to make lap joints as I prefer butt welds and you are correct that it requires much more effort. I see quite a few guys around my neck of the woods use lap joints and not have any problems, I just prefer to make a repair as invisible as possible. Looks like you are on your way to having a sweet ride!!
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  #3  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 8:13 AM
Mikes64 Mikes64 is offline
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Michael
 
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

Looks pretty good to me, keep at it! By the way you may want to do a little sanding, filling, & grinding
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  #4  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 10:30 AM
oktunes oktunes is offline
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Matt
 
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

I went thru this several years ago and by cutting the old quarter below the sail panel, the only butt welds needed were from the lower edge of the rear side window to the upper corner of the trunk. All the other welds were plug welds in areas covered and not seen. This made for very little body work other then the butt weld.

The first stampings of these quarters were OK, but the passenger door gap and upper contour weren't right and required some cutting of the door jamb area and reshaping. Severaql others had this same issue. There is an old thread about this.
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  #5  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 2:07 PM
Gary56 Gary56 is offline
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Gary
 
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

Looks good. I need to do the same thing to my '67. Looks like you flanged the car body. I was considering making the flange on the replacement panel. Do you or your dad have an opinion one way or another?

Thanks for the update.
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  #6  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 2:48 PM
Raven1 Raven1 is online now
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Scott
 
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

I prefer butt welding if you must install skins and not full quarters. It's not difficult. Zero gap, full penetration. Been addressed here and other sites numerous times. The butt joint is not hard to achieve.

Last edited by Raven1; Dec 28th, 12 at 3:12 PM. Reason: d
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  #7  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 10:06 PM
Chevycollecter Chevycollecter is offline
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

Do you plan on reusing the body side chrome mouldings? I ask because the replacement panel does not have the little oval holes in it for the plastic clips. They will be hard to duplicate and get right. You could of cut the panels just below the moulding line and replaced from there down unless the upper half of the original panel was damaged.
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  #8  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 10:28 PM
Gary56 Gary56 is offline
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Gary
 
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven1 View Post
I prefer butt welding if you must install skins and not full quarters. It's not difficult. Zero gap, full penetration. Been addressed here and other sites numerous times. The butt joint is not hard to achieve.
I've butt welded sheet metal panels in the past and replaced an entire quarter panel long ago. I've never used a flanger before, but it looks to me to be a more forgiving process. The reason for this repair is to replace bondo'd over collision damage from who knows how long ago. I was originally thinking of replacing the entire panel, but really don't see the point to taking that much of the car apart. Seen too many posts about these re-popped Chinese panels not fitting at the top, door jamb, creases not lining up or corners being as crisp as original etc. The body lines and door line up and look good now so I'd just as soon save what I can since all the damage is well below that. Don't really want to mess with the back glass, trunk and door openings if I don't have to. I'd rather weld and grind a little more. Thx.
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  #9  
Old Dec 28th, 12, 10:42 PM
bosch bosch is offline
bosch
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Default Re: Quarter Panel Replacement on a '65 Chevelle

We did use the panel flanger on the front edge part and bottom front part of the lap (on the car). We did not use the flanger along the top or back mainly because it does not work well on curved sections. It works best on areas where the panel is mostly just flat. It's a pretty neat tool and really does a nice job. It's just that in some places it's not practical.

The tool he has is a pnuematic flanger and it also has a hole punch on it. We did use that to punch holes all along the bottom behind the wheel well. That way we just made plug welds all along the bottom, kind of like what the factory did, except that the factory made spot welds.

The panel flanger will kick the edge of the panel you are flanging in or out (depending on which way you hold the flanger). So you could use it on the patch panel and kick the edge back. Then you would have to slip the patch panel in behind the panel on the car. That would work fine but it would be a little tougher to hold the panel in place. The way we did it was to kick the edge of the car's sheet metal back, then set the patch panel over top of the car's sheetmetal. That way it was easy to use self tapping sheet metal screws to hold the patch in place over top of the car's sheetmetal while we put some welds down.

For the top and back sections of the seam it is just simply lap welded over top. That is why my dad chose to locate the seams in the places he did instead of on the flat potions of the panel. It is easier to hide, or rather trick the eye on a surface that is not flat.

Basically the surface of the patch panel is sitting above the original panel surface by the thickness of the panel. So if you locate the seam in an area where the style lines are protruding from the flat surface of the panel, it just causes the protruded area to stick out an extra distance of the thickness of the sheetmetal. This is nearly impossible for the eye to discern.

In fact, I noticed - after we cut the panel off of the car that the body line in the patch panel was not as crisp as the one on the car. So if you really get worked up over little details like that you will not be happy anyway.

We will grind the weld, fill and sand the seams until you can't really see them.

Originally I was pretty convinced that I would rather have butt welded the panel, which is definitely a good way to do this. I just found out by doing it first hand that it will increase the amount of time and effort that would be necessary in trimming and fitting the patch panel and can set you up for a lot more work if your gaps are too wide. Of course there are ways to fill the gaps, some people use weld wire or coat hangers or other material to fill the gaps.

So my dad convinced me that lapping the panels would be just fine. He has been doing this since the 70's and over the years he has done some very fine classic car resorations. He will be the first to admit that some of his techniques are old school and that there are definitely new ways to do things, but he can still do some very nice work.

He told me that he remembers when people first started getting MIG welders in shops. He laughs when he talks about how great he thought the MIG machines were. Up until then they were using gas torches and brazing panels. They were using lead for body filler. And in some cases those old techniques produce a very fine quality repair. GM used lead in some spots on these cars such as where the top of the sail panel meets the roof skin. The nice thing about lead is that it doesn't shrink, crack or fail.

I don't intend this car to be some 100 point factory restoration. I just want it to be a very nice street machine. And as my dad pointed out these cars weren't perfect from the factory anyway. The best you can do is just build something that makes you happy anyway.

By the way.......I am jealous of your '67. I originally wanted a '66 or '67. Just couldn't pass up the deal on this '65 so I figured I would go with it.
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