Now all the bare metal areas were sealed with Summit's Weld Through metal etching primer. This should prevent rust from forming between the new panels.
It was time to fire up our little Lincoln SP-100 wire feed welder. After doing a few test welds on some of the scrap material to get the welder set up right (D on the voltage and 4.5 on the wire speed), Lucky finished welding on the wheelhouse patch, and then plug welded the trunk drop off in place through the holes we punched with the Dent Fix pliers.
Now Lucky moved forward and welded in the wedge piece of the front brace we removed earlier. As you can see, there is a putty knife sitting between the brace and the rocker. That is there because the quarter-panel actually slips in between the brace and the rocker so the knife is there to make sure we hade the proper amount of clearance to allow it in. Once all the welding was completed, all bare metal and welds were covered in primer. Now we were ready to install the quarter.
Since we don't have a fancy spot welder that can make this weld, we will be using some modern chemicals here and at the lower valance. A healthy amount of the 3M Panel Bond was applied where we just couldn't get the welder.
After application of the panel bond, we clamped the quarter back on the car and let it sit over night so the stuff could cure completely.
We came back in the next morning to start the welding procedure. To get a proper plug weld, start welding in center of the hole on the lower piece of material, don't move the welder until the hole is almost full. Then move outwards in a circular movement the weld is completed. You can also start at the outside and work our way towards the middle but if you move too fast with this technique you may not get full penetration on the lower piece.
The wheelwells use the same technique, but once Lucky started welding upside down we had to adjust the wire speed and voltage just a bit. We had to slow down the wire speed and Lucky had to weld a bit faster to make sure the molten puddle didn't drip off. Also, when welding upside down make sure to pay attention to your nozzle, it will load up with spatter very fast, and when it does your welds will get crummy.
The taillight panel is edge welded to the quarter-panel. Most of the area is easily accessed through the trunk, but we found it easier to approach the area in the corner through the marker light hole.
The last item to be welded in the trunk is this brace that welds to the trunk drop out. It lines up with the large hole in the back of the quarter, and we plug welded it in place.
The one area that took the most time and care was the roof seam. Because we are butt-welding it to the small section of leftover factory quarter, the chance of warping the material is high. To prevent this from being an issue, Lucky did a few small tacks, then cooled the area with an air hose. Then he moved over and did a few more tacks. He repeated this tack-and-cool method till the entire seam was stitched up.
Next, all the welds were cleaned up with a grinder. The ones down in the trunk gutter had to be smoothed out with a cut off wheel and some cautious grind work. One procedure we didn't get any shots of was us seam sealing all the joints. It's pretty easy to do. Apply it with a caulking gun and smooth it with a brush. Plus, we had the passenger- side still intact for examples of where to put it in case we got lost.
Now it was time to smooth out the roof seam and instead of lead we are using All-Metal for the first layer. All-Metal is an aluminum-filled, rustproof and waterproof filler that is perfect for this area. It is mixed and spread just like plastic body filler.
Once it started to kick, we came back with a shaper File Blade to quickly get the stuff somewhat smooth and close to level. After the file, we let the All-Metal cure completely before smoothing it with some 80-grit paper on a long block.
We sanded the All-Metal a little more than needed so we could use a layer of Rage filler. Once mixed, the Rage filler goes on nice and smooth, and sands rather nicely.
It took us two thin coats to get the area done, and we are very impressed with how well the Rage feathers out along the edges. We used a little guide coat before the second coat to make sure we were on the right track. We finished sanding the area with 220-grit, which leaves the proper surface for priming.
After cleaning all the areas with some pre-clean, we dusted them with some primer. That completes the job and we are pretty happy with the results—and the fact we can say, “We did it ourselves.” We can't state enough at how impressed we were with the AMD quarter-panel and its fitment. The company is proud of its product and we can see why. This job was pretty involved, so out of curiosity we called around to a few body shops to get an idea of how much a professional body shop would charge. We were given prices from $1,000 to $1,800 just in labor, so we figured we saved ourselves that much for a weekend's worth of work. That's enough savings that if we didn't have a welder we could have purchased one and still come out ahead.