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Technical Sheet metal panel levelling advice

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Little Jerry, May 24, 2021.

  1. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,736


    Jerry, There's a term Here in the state's....
    Close enough for the girl's, I hangout with!
    Tman and Little Jerry like this.
  2. Little Jerry
    Joined: Mar 25, 2021
    Posts: 15

    Little Jerry

    If I end up with a polished wood grain flat tray instead of a truck bed you will know I messed it up lol...

    Normally I wouldn't be too fussed about it but I always wanted to fully restore a vehicle on my own and acquire the skills since I was a teenager but I didn't have that opportunity when I was younger so making up for lost time. I have been restoring this truck for the last 8 years just chipping away at it while raising a family and probably have another 10 years to go. It's all about the journey and not necessarily about the end product - the aim is always for 10/10 perfection and then I will rebase my expectations if my abilities don't allow it but I'm in no rush so I can always put it aside, work on some other bodywork and come back to it.
  3. Little Jerry
    Joined: Mar 25, 2021
    Posts: 15

    Little Jerry

    The main mistake I made was not to run a straight edge over it all before I started welding and repairing things - it may have changed my approach and identified issues up front - all part of learning. Based on the damage it had (bulging stretched sheet metal / cracked sheet metal from being overloaded with DIY roof racks etc) it certainly already had these issues.

    I'm building a trolley frame for the cab / front end and I will definitely being looking at it holistically and running over all the body lines before I start fixing anything and planning it overall as opposed to panel by panel. It's hard sometimes because you get so excited to work on things that you just jump in sometimes.
  4. A word of advice that’s helped me a lot.
    “Repair the sheet metal before welding”
    Meaning, if you don’t straighten as much as you can (not body work, metal work) you will not know if welding caused the distortion.
    You could weld a panel at on end and cause distortion at the other end.
    Whatever distortion shows up after welding is caused by welding. Then you address the weld area, generally a hammer and dolly.
    alanp561 and Little Jerry like this.
  5. Little Jerry
    Joined: Mar 25, 2021
    Posts: 15

    Little Jerry

    Thanks for this picture too Andy as I would have definately have done the wood flat on the top (unfortunately I kinda had already been doing that without the wood when I was using the slapping file / body hammer allbeit gently)
    anthony myrick likes this.
  6. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 18,049


    Personally I'd do the action in Anthony's third pic. Make sure to hold the dolly tight to the back side of the flange when you are giving the front face of the flange good whacks. You should be hitting the hang down most edge of the flange as the X's in his pic show. By smacking the edge between the hard dolly and hammer face, you will stretch the edge and allow the bulgy top of the bed side to relax its arch.

    But, since the flange is double thick it will be hard. If the two thicknesses of metal have any gap between them the operation is probably not going to work. Hopefully they are tight and you can get some stretch.
    anthony myrick likes this.
  7. You still haven't mentioned where else the panel isn't straight. If it is actually bent and not a factory issue the metal has to have come from somewhere and knowing that is the only way anyone can tell you what to do to fix it. If you just start hammering without knowing which way you need to move things you can make it worse.

    Sent from my SM-G950W using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  8. Nobody has asked. Is your "straight edge" straight? That thing is so close I would just do the bodywork and paint the mofo.
    alanp561 likes this.
  9. Just put a board on it where it's high and hit it hard a time or two with a heavy hammer and then drive it, it's a truck.
    Tman likes this.
  10. Johnny Gee
    Joined: Dec 3, 2009
    Posts: 9,986

    Johnny Gee
    from Downey, Ca

    In that case just flip it. Done.
    Tman likes this.
  11. Perfect! ;)

    But seriously, on job sites we would always compare levels and tape measures. Especially if one guy was cutting and one installing. You would be amazed at the inconsistancies of tooling.
    alanp561 and Johnny Gee like this.
  12. Homemade44
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 542


    Jerry, is the other side of the bed the same as the one you are showing? Looks like the bed has been taken off the frame. Was it the same when it was bolted in place? The little bit that it is out of straight might be able to pull the center down when bolted on the frame. The picture doesn't really show any damage other than a slight bow. Doesn't look bad enough to mess with.

    When metal shaping remember this, hard on hard stretched, hard on soft shrinks with the proper hammering technique.
    Last edited: May 31, 2021
    Chiss likes this.

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