My fenders are need some loving care.
This is what I have.
Where should I start?
I can only say that this is the method I used to repair fenders and body metal. Others will have a different approach....
First you need a welder either stick or mig or better yet tig.
I don't have a tig welder I have a stick and a wire welder to use. I found for me it was easier to use the stick welder at low amperage. But the most important thing was to use "heat sinks". I took a 1/2" thick plate of aluminum and firmly clamped it to the back side of the cracks. Then spot welded on the cracks starting from the opposite ends of the crack. You need to be careful not to do too much at a time or you will warp the metal. Just keep the size of the welds down to a "spot". Work back and forth until you fill the entire crack in and take your time to allow the metal to cool down, it doesn't take much heat to really screw it up. This method can be used whether you mend the cracks or cut them out and put in a patch. Be attentive to the heat sink location and that it is as tight to the area of welding as possible.
Don is right. This is the way I do it but you first need to stop the cracks by drilling a small hole (3mm) at the end of each crack.
If you are repairing cracks as shown in the photo, then I would prefer using gas (oxy-acetelyne). It is easily controlled when using a low flame...and will have a good appearance without much grinding. Of course, one needs to know how to do it...just as in electric. Don't use stick...that will destroy it. Tig is best, much like gas. No heat sink required.
"Don't use stick...that will destroy it" well, apparently I've destroyed 3 Model T's so far. Not everyone has the money to throw at a Tig welder and some of us have to do with what we have. I admit I have been using a stick welder since I was 10 years old, but it is the most common welder for a hobbyist. The results are directly linked to one's ability...but as I noted and you expressed Tig is the best way to go.
Dennis didn't mention what tools he has in his shop/garage or whether he even has a welder. And if you start welding on those cracks before straightening the metal, all of you have "destroyed it" no matter what type of welder you use.
Dennis - If you have to ask, take it to someone that does it for a living. Repairing sheet metal or welding next to a bead is not for a beginner. That area can be repaired without using a speck of filler. You can't build a house with just a screwdriver just as you can't do metal repairs without the proper tools. A capable shop will have more than one welder.
As for my opinion;
MIG or TIG the cracks closed at the ends.
Hammer the welds to take the shrink out.
TIG the crack lines.
Relieve the stress in that area.
Cut that area out and make a new piece to fit.
Replace the fender with a better one.
Running the risk of seeming argumentative...I too have been using stick since age 12...but only for heavy stuff....not sheet metal. Even a 1/16" E6013 low penetration rod isn't very workable on thin metal, particularly poor fit-up applications. But then, perhaps you are a really exceptional stick welder. Thanks. Why doesn't anyone talk gas??
I thought you already did talk about gas. I use it for stress relieving and shrinking sheet metal but not for welding. The HAZ is too large.
I have repaired cracks like that and other places on fenders several times over the years
by brazing it from the back side.
Yes by brazing.
Flatten that area out carefully and braze weld it from the back.
I was a maintenance welder before I retired and yes it can also be repaired by tig welding or with a wire feeder.
But since I don't have those rigs at home I use brass. Yes Brass. Not the best in all areas but in some places its fine.
Its all in controlling the heat and using a small enough tip. No cracks after driving and using my T's. Looks good too.
Some folks can control the heat with a torch and others cant.
But I'm not much of a carpenter either. Maybe the better definition would be a wood butcher.
I use this attachment on my stick welder with a 1/16 inch rod lowest setting it "vibrates" while welding and greatly reduces the heat
Braze is an excellent solution, however it really needs to be done on the backside as is mentioned. But it needs gas too...and whatever HAZ problems could be escape me. I did a lot of brazing when I was a kid using a carbon arc from my welder.
John, i'm not going to say to do anything one way or the other. I throw out suggestions and some "other ways to skin a cat" and that is it. But having successfully welded on these fenders and body panels using a stick and heat sink is very doable. A trick of the trade that may help someone out. Is it the only or best way...no.
Thank you all for all the suggestions.
I have both oxy/acetylene and Tig welders.
Andre's suggestion about drilling holes was one of my concerns. I also am trying to decide between using mild steel or sil/bronze filler rod.
I no longer have a stick welder but I remember some early tries at welding thin metal with my dad's and I would never repeat that.
I want to hear more about removing shrink, relieving stress and if backup would help.
Do I want too much?
never use braze, I have had to cut it out for yrs.' it runes the metal. braze is ok for some cast iron. after 300 bodies I think I should know!!!!!!charley
I can't think of any welder. metal shaper or body repairman that doesn't know what the reference to HAZ means. Oh wait, now I do.
Heat Affected Zone
It just depends on who's doing it Charley and how its done.
Welding is kind of like bondo application. Some are good at it and some are not. Same goes for welding no matter what method is used.
john! what's your addressee the next time someone sends me a old brazed up body panel I will send it to and you can fix it for me!!!lol.charley
For what it is worth, this thread is concerned with repairing a torn/fractured model T fender. If this thread wants to drift onto some other welding issues, just say so.
With regard to the heat affected zone, gas welding a fender is a non issue...low heat, fusion with a minimum of filler. Fenders are not a complex steel alloy, or heat treated. In fact, a broad heating area would probably relieve stresses created by the forming process.
Stop drilling a fender is not necessary, that just makes for more welding and more heat,=warping. It's thin enough to have 100% penetration. JMHO Dave
I have fusion welded one with Bailing wire. (back when we had real bailing wire. )
Instead of trying to explain how to repair cracks/holes in fenders, it would be much better for you to come to my house in Fallbrook with your fender. I have been doing body work since age 16 and will be 75 in a couple of months.
It is time consuming and you need a lot of patience ....there is no quick way. Owning a model T is a real plus because new fenders are available at a reasonable cost. It would cost more to have a body man/shop repair just the damage seen in your photo than what a new fender would cost.
I have the tools/equipment and experience to repair what is shown in your picture. After seeing what it takes....I think you will agree that buying new fenders is best.
However, If you are someone that has the equipment/time & talent....then go for it.
In addition, do you know Jay Watkins who also has a model T and lives in El Centro? If you are unable to contact him, please send me an e-mail. You can also talk to Jay for advice on repairing your fenders. Or you can set up a time, come to my home and gain hands on experience. I am not interested on taking on your body work project....I have more that enough on my plate at this time. Happy to spend a couple of hrs. showing you how it is done.
My folks lived near a body shop where I spent a lot of time watching them while growing up. I came home several times with my bare feet spray painted. I started out taking my bicycle apart, sanding it and the body shop guys primed and painted it. They provided the guidance on how to sand including providing the sand paper. It was at no cost....possibly as a peace offering for sending me home with painted feet.
That is how I became interested in doing body work. Most body shops today just replace parts with only small damaged areas being repaired.
In the case of using Brazing to repair Model T sheet metal check the old Floyd Clymer publication " Model T Ford Restoration book" written by Leslie R. Henry.
Henry was a curator and restorer for the Model T Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan years ago.
One chapter dealing with repairing sheet metal on 'Ts' he explains using brazing as the way to repair cracks and repairing rusted out places in the rusted out areas of the body.
I have an idea he knew what he was doing.
Its just one method that can be used for the amateur restorer that can be used. There are others of course.
Its an interesting book.
Clymer was back in the days when farmers were still patching up ts.charley
Oxy-acety for me, with non painted styles of coat hangers, lay a fat bead, after all its just a T.
Easy to weld up those cracks with character....oh wait....this is Nellie the 'barn' car, can get away with lot less fuss
Thank all of you for all of the information.
Thank you for the offer I may take you up on that.
I will also try to contact Jay. I have heard about him but never met him. One evening, while walking my dogs I did see a family go by in a nice Hack. That was probably him.
For now I will finish sandblasting the fenders.
The low pressure unit that I have been using does not distort sheet metal. I have been practicing with my new Tig welder. When I feel able I will use mild steel filler rod and see how it goes.
The jury is still out on stop drilling.
Thank you all
i too have burned up a lot of coat hangers, but really you get a much nicer looking weld with real coated welding rods-they are not that expencive
Back in the '50's and '60's, all of the articles in the hot rod magazines said NOT to use coat hangers because they were made with low quality wire and would make low quality welds. I never tried them, for that reason. Dave
Here is how mine was repaired sometime before 1942 before it was parked by my grandpa.
Jay does have a 12 red Hack. He likes taking the family on rides. Hope you can get together.
There is no reason for drilling holes at the end of each crack if you are going to weld repair. Before MIG became the standard for doing most body welding, I used gas welding for many yrs. My welding rod choice was balling wire followed by coat hangers. Like using .023 wire with the MIG for welding on sheet metal. Before any welding is done, any wrinkles should first be straighten. High spots need to be flattened or shrunk.
I like to back up the crack with copper flat stock clamped in place. Using the MIG, do small tacks.....cool with a wet rag between each tack, straighten keeping the material on both sides of the crack flat. Do not run continuous tacks, skip along the crack...cooling each tack until the crack is fully welded. With a die grinder, grind only the weld build up areas, do not thin the parent material. Using copper clamped on the back side, keeps weld build up to a minimum and the weld will not stick to the copper.
When MIG welding, make sure both sides of the repaired area are clean....no rust or paint. If rust or paint exists in the area to be welded....you will blow a hole which is not what you want.....just more to repair.
After the weld area is flushed, the high spots need to be flatten/shrink. I flat file the fender tapping down the high area and picking up the low spots. If you do it correctly, I have repaired cracks with no filler. We used to use lead, switched to Polyester body filler.
Dennis, you have passed the course and now am a qualified model T body man. Across the big pond they are called panel beaters.
I will be at the Bakersfield swap meet, spaces O & P. Hope you can make it.
Looks like you're missing the support bracket that gets riveted into those holes. That's probably why it cracked in the first place. I'm missing the same bracket on my right front fender. Anybody know where to find one, short of buying another fender?
LOL... This has turned into a "I had to walk uphill to and from school everyday" type of thread. I remember having to go through a cow pen to get to the outhouse at my grandparents farm. That doesn't mean I want to continue doing it that way. I was small so the 200 or so feet seemed like a half a mile. And it was no fun at all at night with snorts and grunts coming out of the darkness.
The point is, old-time fixes MAY work but it's time to join the modern world of repairs using the right tools and materials. Otherwise; you're just extending the reason Model Ts don't increase in value.
Dan is right on. Oxy-Acet and bare coat hanger filler. Standard 1/16" tie wire is also very good. There are paste type heat sink materials out there if you are concerned about warping. With O-A you can regulate your torch to the lowest heat possible and stich weld very easily. Just my opinion being a former welder.
Dan is right on. Oxy-Acet and bare coat hanger filler. Standard 1/16" tie wire is also very good. There are paste type heat sink materials out there if you are concerned about warping. With O-A you can regulate your torch to the lowest heat possible and stitch weld very easily. Just my opinion being a former welder.
Jared! I had one of those brks on my 1.00 table at Chickasha gone now. but I will see if I can find more.charley
I don't want to insult anyone, but talk to any good metal person and they will tell you --DON'T USE BRASS for body work. The brass fatigues, especially on fenders, and it corrupts the metal--any later repairs will require removing the metal and replacing it with clean.
I'm not good enough (no depth perception and not enough experience) to do it myself, so I have some talented friends do it for me. They're so good, the bottom and the top show no signs of repair.
However, one swears by torch welding, and swears at wire welding, the other one is just the opposite! The gas guy claims the wire welding is too brittle. I dunno!!!
David your gas guy is right on everything!!!wire welding is good on heavy steel things!. charley
This about as bad as threads about which bands to use in a T transmission. And on we go.
Gas or wire or tig or stick all work well, IF you are a good welder! KGB
Wire welding is no more brittle than any other type of welding. It produces MUCH less heat than a torch does. It is the go to method for body work now. Just watch some of the car related shows on TV. Tig is probably a close second. JMHO.Dave
Keith is correct. It's all about heat control. On fenders (which are probably .025) I prefer the torch as I don't have a TIG. The torch I have is commonly used in aviation and can easily handle .025. Others have mentioned doing small area and cool to control warp. That is right on.
Wire welding can be brittle, and tends to crack easily if it is in a an area of flex or impact due to the hardness of the weld. It also can depend on the wire used. I have had good luck with EASB Easy Grind wire in my Mig. I recently purchased a new Miller Tig, and I am learning to love it.
Ed, I've been wire welding for forty plus years and never had or saw any problems with wire welding being brittle. The common wire,E70S as I recall, is basically the same tensile strength as E7018 low hydrogen or E7014 electrodes. I am by no means a metallurgist, just my past experiences and I learn something new all of the time. The bad thing is, it's getting harder to remember them! Dave
I have found that a copper heat sink on the back side of the mig weld dose wonders. a scrap of 1 to 2 inch copper pipe beat flat and then formed to the contour of the weld is time well spent IMO. Careful- it gets hot quick. Sure helps with burn through and warping.
So I can't just lay a pile of rod on something like that, clamp the ground lead and 'tap' the bare electrode against the pile with my 36V magnet recharger as a dead short and then grind it smooth?
Ya' kno'...I gave up electro welding maybe 45 years ago while building a POW camp in Quang Ngai...when two things happened at the same time...I was standing in a small puddle while doing it...and, my local friendly VC brought me this Swiss Cheese GI Gas Can and asked what I could do with it for him! Just as the jolt tingled through my bones, the gas can went up about two stories like a rocket and tried to take my face with it. Was actually fun all done but the can was no longer Swiss Cheese, a good half of it was actually missing! He called me every name in the book, and I'm sure somehow I got to play with him in the dark every night for a week or so after.
But I will say, when I did the '25 in 80/81 I tried brazing stuff as John K. mentions...using low temp bronze rod and gas...and it has held together great!
So I plan on retiring here later this year (maybe)...and was thinking maybe I might want a coil wire welder on a 'just because' basis as my retirement gift from the kids...but from the looks of the above posts I should just go trial and error and not actually ask for a recommendation on here?
Just joshin guys!