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 Posted: 07-23-2006 10:36 pm
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Dan Eiland
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Joined: 03-18-2005
Location: El Paso, Texas USA
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I am thinking of welding a sheet of 16 gauge sheetmetal over the center section of my firewall. In attempting to fill in all the holes, I find the firewall is made of very thin sheetmetal. I have two choices, one is to just weld a 6" X 24" piece of 16 ga. sheetmetal over the original without removing the original section; and the second choice is to remove the center section of sheetmetal and weld in a new 6" X 24" piece of 16 ga. sheetmetal. I'm leaning toward leaving the original in place and just weld a new piece over the old. I was wondering if some of you guys out there with bodywork experience could comment on this project before I start.

 

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 Posted: 07-24-2006 04:25 am
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Art DeKneef
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How many holes are you trying to fill? On my car there is only one hole I might consider filling in. The rest are for mounting brackets.

As for covering the firewall with another piece of metal, I wouldn't do that. Sure you could prime and paint everything before welding, but then you have to weld the pieces together and there goes your protection. Plus you'll have an enclosed space you might not be able to check on. With the temperature differences, moisture can collect on the inside where the protection has been burned off. Slowly it starts to rust. Sure it might take a while, but what a pain it will be to fix.

What problem are you having welding the holes? With thin metal, maybe your weld "temp" could be a little lower if you are burning through. Are you just trying to fill in the hole or weld in a small piece of metal? Try putting a piece of copper behind the area you're trying to fill. Sometimes that helps.

Heck, with the temperatures we're having, you should be able to take it outside and use a magnifying glass and weld it in.

 

Art

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 Posted: 07-24-2006 06:16 am
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Dan Eiland
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Hi Art, I am removing all the brackets from the firewall so I can have a flat surface when I go to put things back. Since my car is modified it really doesn't matter where I mount the items that were on the firewall. When I removed the bracket for the washer bottle I ended up with some holes in the firewall from the spot welds. On top of this I needed to cover up the hole for the heater hoses since I will not be using this location for my new climate control system hoses. There is also a drain hole on the passenger side that I no longer need since the boxed area inside the car has been removed from the interior. I had two holes on top of the bulkhead that were not needed so I closed these as well.

I have to admit that my welding is not the best, especially on sheetmetal. Second, my welder is not the best either. Put the two together and you have trouble. I welded all the holes closed and then ground things smooth again. Looks great from the outside but when I get under the dash on the inside I can see tiny little holes. Some of these no doubt are from my over zealous grinding to get things perfect. If I try using the welder to fill in the holes I end up making things worse before I finally find good metal to fill things back in. Right now things look pretty good, but I can still see some tiny little holes in the firewall. I thought about some filler since it wouldn't take much to take care of this problem and my second thought was to shoot the area with some weldable primer and weld a new piece over the old. This would give me a very nice flat surface to work with and it shouldn't be hard to seal the area once my spot welds are cooled. Should definitely help keep some of that engine heat out even though that is not my intention.

BTW, How did you know I was using a magnifying glass to do my welding. Problem is in my area, the magnifying glass is just too hot.

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 Posted: 07-25-2006 01:57 am
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Art DeKneef
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Ahh! I see said the blind man. That explains why you're patching the holes. Filling the small holes shouldn't be too hard, but I know what you mean trying to get it done to our "precise standards". Doing a patch on the hose area would be tricky with that bend.

As for the little holes in the welds, some filler would fix that. Probably easier then trying to weld them again. One of my concerns on putting another panel would be that you would have two surfaces to drill through if you ever need to route something from inside to outside. Never thought of doing that though. But you're right, it would act as heat barrier somewhat. Of course, if you put DynaMat or something similar on the inside, you'll never see those holes again.

Do what I do with the magnifying glass. Hold it while wearing the welding gloves. That also helps to protect your fingers in case you get distracted while working in this humid weather. I tried to do some work early in the morning the other day. You know what I mean. When it's around 90 degrees at 8:00 in the morning. Once I got all the gear on, I could only work for a few minutes before wiping the sweat away. This welding will have to wait for a couple of months.

 

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