Replacing a Boxside
Whenever the time comes that a panel is damaged too severely to restore using polyester fillers the next option is replacing the panel completely. Whether its a box side, door skin, quarter or any other piece of welded/bonded metal the process is basically the same:
Here is the panel that was removed:
it was mostly the lower rear part of this boxside that was damaged to the point of needing replaced. To start the box is removed and placed on a stand for easy access and repairablity. All of the welds are drilled out and then an air hammer is used to chissel the skin off of the box.:
There is still a bit of cleanup to do removing to get this ready to rock. The metal where the new skin will fit will be grinded up to bare metal.
The metal is grinded and wire wheeled on the box and the replacement skin as the panel bond (epoxy) will adhere best to the bare metal. Here is the replacement skin:
It gets grinded at the bond points:
These aren’t the only points, pretty well right around the edges of the entire skin. Next the panel is pre-fit to make sure everything lines up well before making it permanent. In this case we discovered the rear lower edge was bent in a tad, we knocked it in with a hammer and it then lined up beautifully. Once we were happy with the fit it was removed and the panel bond was applied to the box and some parts of the skin. The panel bond was applied in two steps. First it was a thin coat brushed along all exposed metal to act as a primer, then secondly a thicker bead to create a good bond. This is 3M 08115 Panel bond being used.
After a bit of prying the skin will fit snugly in place. It needs to be lined up 100% because once the glue dry’s it ain\’t budging. Once we are happy with the fit it gets secured in place with clamps where possible and screws where clamps can’t reach. Because the epoxy utilizing a formula with glass beads incorporated we can clamp it as tight as we want without worry, the beads will always keep it at the right spot. It need to be allowed to dry for about 12 hours but were using an infrared lamp to speed up the process.The Back edge of this panel welded (mig).
After applying some seam sealer & filling the screw holes with epoxy it’s on to the paint department. It gets sanded with some 400 grit paper and primed in a few spots. There is a few different ways to do this, you don’t need to sand if you use a direct to e-coat sealer.
Next I become very particular with the job to keep it looking like factory. The person who may need to replace this in the future could become upset because I am creating fake spot welds for a factory look. Apply primer, use the eraser end of a pencil and voila!
From there the box goes into the booth and a sealer (non sanding primer) is applied:
All that is left to do is let the paint dry and re-install the box onto the truck.
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