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Learning to wire weld


rbl2
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Recently my son and I started to do the body work on my 26. There is a need for some repair welding on the upper qrtr panels and inside edge of the fenders.

I called a local welder who said he is not equipped to do light (wire) welding. The car has been disabled, to put it mildly, and cannot be driven anyplace. To move it would require putting it on a trailer that I do not own. The odds of getting someone here who can do it are not good but I still have to look into that.

My thought now is to buy an inexpensive welder, get some scrap metal, and learn how to do it myself. Since I know nothing about welding but otherwise am good with my hands what do y'all think?

Thanks in advance.

Bill

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Bill,

The best suggestion that I have (because that is what I did) is to see if there is a class at the local community college or high school adult education that teaches welding. That will give your the best insight to how to do it right and what type of equipment would be best suited for the welding you are expecting to do.

Regards,

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Likely your local weld shop COULD do thin metal welding, they just WON'T because of the time involved. Welding body metal with a wire feed MIG welder without warping it badly is very time consuming, basically requiring a series of overlapping spot welds with sufficient time allowed for the metal to cool sufficiently. A weld job that might take 10 minutes on thick plate steel could easily take an hour or more on thin sheet metal. To do the job yourself you will need a welder,a spool of the proper diameter wire, a tank of shielding gas, mask, clamps, a grinder etc. Expensive to get set up but not difficult to learn. Requires practice more than anything else. Maybe check with a few body shops or a local restoration shop. They will be far more experienced with welding sheet metal.

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If you put "Peach and Thommasini"into Google you should find a lead to a very informative pair of coves who did a series of practical auto sheet metal repair TV programs on a Community channel here in Melbourne. I don't have reception of that where I am in the country, but a friend has a set of their DVD discs. You should find that Honourable Economical Oriental MIG wire feed welder should have adequate capability to do all you want with a small bottle of shielding gas. The first MIG I got was small enough to carry in one hand, and was capable of about 100 amps, but 20-22 gauge panels need a fraction of that. I was even able to cut and alter, then re-weld the aluminium sump of a 180diesel Mercedes engine that I ran for about three years in the 1962 Holden ute that cost me $170 in about 1976 and used for 19 1/2 years. The casting thickness was about 3/16". The welder was supposed to be Italian, but at the price I suspect it had slanty eyes.The vehicle returned 35mpg on diesel where Holden 6 was good for 25-6; but though it had no brilliant performance, it would roll along nicely in overdrive of the 5 speed Toyota gearbox I fitted. That reminds me of one of my friends who had some discussion with visitors from MB in Stuttgart that caused consternation. The family name was Cheetham, and in perverse practical joke his parents named him Robin. Now Robin's father was the executive of Australian Motor Industries that was responsible for Mercedes imports; and when any distinguished personages visited from the Fatherland they were brought to experiece country life at the beautiful beef farm that Robin had at Berry's Creek, which had groves of 100 year old oak, ash elm and similar trees; and a fine herd of black Angus beef cattle with one in the freezer. Well on one of these most convivial visits, Rob asked about the delightful newly releeased 190SL sports car that he much admired. The enquiry was most unusal: Could Rob buy a 190SL without an engine. After some pause, the response was that, well, it might be possible; but what use on earth would be a car without an engine to him? Well Rob professed to being a lead-foot, and he so admired the beauty of the little Mercedes engine that he would hate to blow one up. He could fit a standard 6cylinder Holden engine in it; and if he burst it he could get another good one from the motor wreckers for fifty or eighty dollars! Some time later an engineer came to the farm who had a nice personality and a very non-teutonic sense of humour. He was most interested to meet the man who wanted to put a Holden engine in one of their cars! Apparently the request had provoked much discussion and outrage to the highest management level, and Rob was notorious. The thought of this nearly inspired me to fix a three pointed star to the bonnet of the Holden; but quickly decided that it would be imprudent. I did get stopped at a police roadworthy roadblock one day without serious consequences. The officer saw the floor change gearstick and asked if I had a red motor in it(a later, larger Holden engine with performance a bit better than the rest of the car). I said that I had not; but a nice, polite,economical little diesel; so I had to open the bonnet. We taked all sorts of things about cars, and he said that he had a friend in north of the state at Boorhamen that he thought I would have similar intersts to. I named the mutual friend, Arthur Lang. Well next time he was working in this district with a partner who was interested in cars I got a phone call, and they knocked off early to have lunch and a good look at my cars and workshop. And I never had to show the engieer's certificate I could never afford. Incidntally, has anyone other than Dale checked how well the axis line of engine and geabox alighn with the diff pinion? They don't, because if the universal joints don't work enough as the tailshaft turns the universalss don't last as long because the needle rollers make Brinell grooves in the cups and the pins of the cross. Well I had to skew the engine angle about twice as much the other way to give clearance between fuel injector pump and the steering box. Most of this is off at a tangent from your welder, but I hope it is enjoyable. Ivan Saxton

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Bill

Is Montecello near Memphis, Jackson or New Orleans. If so go to something like Harbor Freight Tools and look at the inexpensive Chinese made MIG welders. They have both 120 and 240 volt models. If not, look on the internet (harborfreight.com). A smaller unit should be fine for body sheet metal. If you have it you will find that you will use it for other things as well.

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I'm about 60 miles south east of Jackson, Ms. The next nearest city would be Brookhaven, about 35 miles. I went tp Home Depot in Brookhaven but they didn't have what I wanted in stock so I bought one on line from Home Depot.

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