Q: Body Seam Repairs
At times I’ve seen small cracks in at the top of the windshield post at the roof line. Do you or anyone else know how to fix these permanently? I had a Bondo artist tell me to “just fill it with AllMetal and move on” but I’m quite leery about this. Do I have to solder them back?
A: I have repaired small cracks or defects in body solder with 30/70 solder and a small low watt soldering iron. clean the area real well before soldering and use tinning butter to prep. You must melt the area around the defect to blend the new solder in. this takes some practice so you may want to try this on a junker first. Clean the area off with a baking soda solution to neutralize the acids and then follow with plain water a couple of times. This is a better approach than bondo or filler. Remember to wear a dust mask when grinding or sanding lead.
A: I worked on new cars (back in the 70’s), not ones that were 30 years old. But I do know this. The weld between the windshield pillar and the roof is about an inch or so below the roof line. The solder however extends all the way to the roof line, about 1 1/2″ inches down the along the drip rail, and about 1″ along the roof windshield face toward the center of the car. The solder that extends past the welds becomes very thin after grinding. Given that it’s a soft metal I think it’s just cracking due to stress. The welds themselves and the metal reinforcement around the weld point is very strong (strong enough to not come apart during a roll over). I think you’ll see metal fatigue cracks above the pillar where the sheet metal is thin before you’ll ever see it on the pillar.
The solder does not add any structural integrity to the body, it’s purely a cosmetic convenience (bondo takes too long to dry and the car is “dipped” about an hour after the body completes the welding process). I think it’s cracking at a “thin” point and just resolder it.
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Content last modified: January 5, 2014 at 9:25 pm