How to fix a dent with body filler
Body filler or many know it by the trade name “Bondo” has been making the lives of body repair technicians easier for years. Although a metal finish provides the highest quality but is an extremely time consuming repair and when body fillers are used correctly they will remain durable for the life of the vehicle.
Here is a dent on the quarter of Dodge Caravan, you can see it has destroyed a good portion of the style line and caved in where the panel flares. This would likely be charged around 4-5 hrs repair time:
To start the metal is ground away to allow for spot welding. Ideally we would hammer and dolly the dent out from the backside of the panel but this panel is re-enforced and that is not possible. We will grind away the entire area of the dent with 48 Grit discs and use a strip wheel to remove the paint from any low spots the grinder misses.
Next we will spot weld studs in place. The studs will be positioned in the low areas and spaced out according to the dent type. You will also want to restore the style line so positioning them accordingly when style lines are present. The Photo below is from my second time with the spot welder. Sometimes you need to do this twice or more time.
Using a slide hammer or clamp we will pull the dent out starting from the outside in. The metal will be restored as close as possible and the studs will then be removed. First cut with sidecutters, then grinded away completely.
After grinding away the studs filled can be applied:
It will be block sanded until the shape is restored completely. The style line can be a bit trick but in this case we simply use a piece of tape following whats remaining and lined up at the proper width:
As we block the line will take the shape of our tape and give us a nice line. This took 2 skims of bodyfiller and 1 skim of finishing putty to get us to this point. The dent took 2 hrs to repair. It is now off to the paint department for a priming, prep and paint. once it comes out we have our Caravan back to new:
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