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To bondo or not to bondo?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by scoggman, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. This has been beat to death, and we will never reach a consensus.
    This is what I know about it. The procedure came about when the OEM started using corrosion resistance coatings. The epoxy was meant to replace these coatings on MODERN sheet metal. This was also before the reduction in heavy metals in primers. In my 30 years in the body shops around here I have never seen it done, even on modern cars. Every shop I worked in in the last 20 years warrantied their work for life. Every paint rep I've talked with about it, told me it was a waste of time and materials.
    Will it work? Yeah if done correctly. Is it worth it? Not as far as I'm concerned. In my 40 plus years of collision and restoration, to my knowledge, I've never had a filler failure. So in my opinion, it's a very expensive fix to a nonexistent problem.

    To the OP finish it out, or prime and drive. Shitty work looks much worse than no work at all.
  2. Idaho/Dave
    Joined: Jul 22, 2007
    Posts: 511

    from Idaho

    Get it running, use it as your driver and work on it a couple panels at a time, when you have the time,working on a running driving car is a lot more fun than working on a project your frustrated with.this way you can learn some skills as you go and enjoy it at the same time.
  3. 61 chevy
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 891

    61 chevy

    I have seen hot rod shows cover the whole car in filler, :eek:
  4. Keep going, you`ll be glad you did. Don`t be in a rush to complete, take you time and learn a new skill.
  5. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,546

    from Oregon

    We have a winner! That's exactly what I have usually done for a car that's going to be driven a lot. On my present ride I got it driveable in March of 2011, and then drove it all year. Every chance I got I addressed one fender, door, hood, etc. until by fall I had most of it pretty straight, and just primered satin black.
    Then during winter I went over the whole car with a long board and got it even straighter. I finally sent it off for paint and the painter took a few hours to perfect my bodywork before shooting it.
    I enjoyed my car, while I drove and finished it, and that to me is better than waiting longer to get it driveable and painted. But I sure wouldn't waste time and money shooting paint until it's a lot straighter!
  6. Dooley
    Joined: May 29, 2002
    Posts: 2,697

    from Buffalo NY

    this is the best post here....
    if he could have metal finished it he would have....
  7. If you want a car Q-ball smooth that's about the only way to do it.
    The key to that process is that after its covered, most of it is sanded off leaving only what's needed on the car and most of it is just dust on the floor. What stays on the car filler wise is practically transparent on most of the surface area.

    I find it very difficult to get a panel straight that has multiple filled areas feathered back to bare metal. But its pretty easy once you skim coat the whole panel.
  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,571


    I've seen big chunks fly out of "custom" cars when they hit a bump.

    Back to the original question, you will be a lot more satisfied in the end if you spend a bit more time getting the body as "right" as you can get it and after you straighten the dents out as close to smooth as you can a thin coat filler to smooth out the low spots is acceptable. Not all of us have the skills to straighten an 80 year old body panel out to perfection where it doesn't need any filler material outside of high build primer. Even those hand hammered over an old stump exotic Italian cars have body filler in them and some of them have a lot more than most hot rods or customs do.

    One of the things I have to do on my 48 is rework the area around the frenched headlights as it has way too much mud in it and some of that mud is cracking out after 30 years. I was in the same boat then that you are probably in now. I just wanted it done and painted and thought shortcuts were fine as long as it looked great when it was done. Now I have to redo it right.
  9. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,896

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    First, it is usually difficult to tell if metal is shrunk and/or stretched, at least for a beginner. No disgrace in that.
    Mild upsets in metal (stretches, in some cases) can usually be worked out cold...that is, hammer and dolly. No heat. In fact, I think heat should be a last resort, especially for beginners. It can do more harm than good in inexperienced hands.
    For example, when you see a huge dent in a relatively flat panel.....and there is a "smile" where the dent seems to start or end. This is a stretch. It is holding the rest of the panel in it's dented position. If you place a dolly (standard practice: use one that is the shape of the panel undamaged)just next to the "smile", push outwards, and give the crease a couple light hits with a flat body hammer. As you shrink the upset, the dent will magically pop out and stay. Don't let the hammer hit the dolly, though, you'll stretch it even more. Dolly under the low, hammer the high. The metal will bunch up against itself, causing the shrink to happen. Just have patience, and use medium to light hits, don't wail on it!
    This goes even faster with a slapper file, and the pattern of the teeth showing on the metal will guide you how progress is shaping up. The teeth of the file hold the metal better, to bunch up the metal coming up into it, so it works a bit faster than a hammer.
    You can also use a wood, plastic, lead, or other soft hammer on a high spot, with a dolly under it. It will preven unecessary will a sandbag or similar "dolly" with a regular hammer. These will also shrink, to a degree.
    Shrinking discs work, and work well, but you need to be able to read the metal pretty well, again, something that comes with experience...and you can also over shrink with them if you're not careful! You also need a big heavy grinder, the right speed, for them to work well.
    Worse come to worse, you can always cut out and replace badly damaged metal, though with some experience, you'd be surprised how you can fix things that seem extremely bad. Just remember...that welding will cause the weld bead to SHRINK! So you need to stretch the seam to get it back where it was. A lot of folks here still think they need to shrink a weld seam to get it straight...I still see posts asking about this! It just LOOKS like it stretched, as the metal goes all out of place...again a problem of reading metal correctly.
  10. cfnutcase
    Joined: Nov 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,033

    from Branson mo

    Very wize words here, you just cant go to beating on the car or you will just hate your will stretch the metal and make a huge mess, you have to understand how metal works, it has a memory of sorts and it "wants" to go back where it was, light taps and gentle working will bring you great results...take your time and work on it a little at a time and it will come along way from where you are at now. Jim
  11. At least ONE INCH in the buttresses of Dinos. I have seen this many times when untouched low mileage cars are stripped for restoration.
  12. low-n-slo54
    Joined: Jul 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,920


    There's a quote on here that says "You can't polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter." Don't roll it in glitter.

    (Not saying it's a turd by any means.)
  13. 60srailjob
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,219

    from nowhere

    ok I've passed this post up three the metal work....if you use bondo use it to fill pinholes....not what I seen in the picture.......strech/ been stated....DON'T can it....(beat it long back and forth in one spot till it pops in and out like a soda can)
  14. Tinbasher
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 274


    Finish it up the best you can, you'll be happier in the end. Send me your Address and I'l send you one of my "Sheet Metal Repair Books"

    The Old Tinbasher
    kiwijeff likes this.
  15. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    Dont cover that with body filler at this point. It needs more metal work done, alot more.
  16. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    If the metal is that thin, find a gauge of sheet metal that matches it.
    Beat the hell out of the sheet of metal, then practice getting it straight. The best way to learn is to practice, you will be much happier learning on a piece of sheet metal then on the body of that car.

    You dont need a shrinking hammer.
    A torch, some water. Slapping hammer (make your own), some dollies, and shrinking disk.
  17. While we are talking about Bondo I have a question about Bondo and how ambient temperature/humidity affects it's use.
    I know I'm a little OT here, but please bear with me this can help not only myself but any builder in a high humidity area. Say South East USA as well as us Queensland and Northern Territory car builders.
    Right now its nice and cool, its only 86*F (30*C). It is usually averages between 95*F (35*C) to 108*F (42*C). Now the temp isn't too much of a worry however the humidity concerns me, right now the humidity level is only 74% but hovers in the mid 80% and can get as high as the high 90s region.
    Now what effect, if any can that have long term on body prep? I have been told quite a few times that higher humidity levels can have an adverse effect on body prep, particularly on Bondo.

    I do know that high heat, direct sunlight (In extremes) are an issue but here we are talking common sense levels!

    Is their any truth to this or is it all BS?
    I cant believe how hard it is to get a straight answer on this!!

    Thanks for taking the time, putting up with my drivel and looking guys and girls.
  18. ALTAFR
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 13

    from Enon Ohio

    Looks good now. Why paint it?
  19. scoggman
    Joined: Feb 25, 2009
    Posts: 478


    I got out there and fired up my old propane torch that I said I would never use again, and after that almost blew up again, I went and bought a new one, much better! I started on my doors a little at a time. It took a while to get spots hot (I don't have a cutting torch) then cooled them off with cold water. It was amazing how much better they look now. I feel much better about them now. I'm going to go around the car one more time, attacking it one panel at a time, then go from there. I also stripped back all the primer from the places I will be adding filler. Sorry, just getting in a hurry. This has been like a 3 year project and I can see the end, and I just want to get her on the road. Thanks for the help!!! Jon
  20. scoggman
    Joined: Feb 25, 2009
    Posts: 478


  21. csf64ss
    Joined: Dec 9, 2011
    Posts: 33


    heres my opinion on this subject.....i am doing a driveway resto on a 64 impala ss.."it's mine" i own it......i live in a very "tight" house to house neighborhood......i have to work within a window of time when the working class people are at well as take some consideration for the stay at home mom's/ baby breeders who are on facebook all day!........i have had what i consider great success doin patch panels for my rust outs by sinking the area with a hammer....useing metal and panel adheasive as well as counter sunk screws.....and fiberglass/clawglass resin based has been well over 2 yrs since i started and nothing has broken out........yes fiberglass is a bitch to sand and conform to bodylines, curves..etc.....but i am very satisfied with the results........and then i do a "tight wipe" of plastic over it ......and wet sand till my fingers bleed........i love ' lasts......and allows a low budget guy as my self to get things done.....and then dial in the panel with conventional long boardin/da'ing.....and panel blockin............its your car.....the end result will be how much effort you put into it......plan an simple......yes would it be nice to hammer weld all my panels?......but its not economically/ neighbor friendly to do i like the idea that in the future if it "breaks out" i can always redo it.............oh and did i mention im painting it with rustoleum top-side marine? ya car! pround of your work........this hobby is about learning as you go......and useing the resources you have at achieve some personal satisfaction............not to be "cut down' someone whos never attempted to do what you have..........there is nothing wrong with fillers!...i love when i see an add for a car and it says "theres no plastic"......that right there is a bunch of shit! closeing my cars will always be "a work in progress"...........i not ashamed! i can always make it better.......and enjoy this hobby on my all i can hope for is no board nazi deletes my post!..........
  22. Board Nazi?? There are no such entities on the HAMB, just the ill informed whom only find happiness in raising dissent.

  23. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    This has to be a joke.
  24. msalamanca
    Joined: May 25, 2011
    Posts: 526


    I wouldnt worry about it. If there was an issue there would be no body shops in any tropical environment.
  25. I almost fell off my chair laughing when I read this, you pointed out the blatantly obvious. I can't believe I didn't think of that!!:rolleyes::D

    Thank you!!
  26. BornBuick
    Joined: Jan 2, 2010
    Posts: 246


    Your structural filler compound base can go on properly surface prep'ed metal or over fresh epoxy within the epoxy allowed cure window time frame. Fairing polyester compound is designed to go over previously primed or mechanically prepared surfaces. Both are different in chemical composition, density, makeup and use. Never honey structural bondo to be used as a fairing coat or you will risk shrinkage cracking and lifting. - IMO
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013
  27. oldcarguygazok
    Joined: Jun 20, 2012
    Posts: 401

    from AUSTRALIA.

    One thing i've learnt using [bog]filler is making sure the car has good suspension,i had cars with cut coils on the bump stops and 5''blocks in the rear and the result was cracked filler,good luck!
  28. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,242


    If it is going black and you want laser straight....
    You do cover the whole car in a thin coat. Or spray special non shrinking like the old Spies Hecker is my favorite. But if your metalwork is right, 90% is sanded away.
  29. cartoon14
    Joined: Jan 21, 2013
    Posts: 46


    do the metal work, only filler for lines and gaps if paint is slick, make it as thin as possible, use a polycoat (Clausens all-n-one is pretty good) for finish blocking. bodywork is hard just because. same as life ain't fair and I wish I could quit smoking
  30. the metalsurgeon
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,238

    the metalsurgeon
    from Denver

    .....not all of us .....
    kiwijeff likes this.

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