Quarter panels, let's cut em off and put new ones on.

Discussion in 'Mopar Body and Trim' started by Cope, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Cope

    Cope Well-Known Member

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    I'm getting ready to do some major cutting on my 71 dart. I would like to know all the ins and out of cutting and welding new quarters.
    Any and everything you can tell me would be great.

    I can weld thin metal but I'm not a body guy and have never done a quarter, so let's hear what you did that helped and what you did that was wrong?

    Thanks for all the time and advice.
     
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    • Bodyperson

      Bodyperson A little sketchy

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      Make sure the weld gaps are tight. Use .024 wire. Use stargon gas. The what I did wrong list is very long.
       
      Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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      • 72bluNblu

        72bluNblu FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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        Are you installing skins or full OE style quarters?

        OE quarters are easier to install from a welding point of view. It’s more time to remove them, drilling all the spot welds etc. And more time getting everything fit right going back on. But then it’s just spot welds. And most of those are in channels or on lips or behind stuff when the car is assembled.

        If you’re doing skins, take your time. Make sure everything you’re welding is bare metal and clean, set a nice consistent gap, and GO SLOW. If you go too fast or work too much in one spot the heat will warp the metal and then it’ll be a real headache to get it straight.
         
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        • Pascamp

          Pascamp Well-Known Member

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          With full quarters you'll do more metal related labor, but way less body work after it's done. Skins can be tricky (6ft long butt welds, filling, blocking, ect). With skins you also have to know where to piece them in to hide it the best. I've never hung a quarter that lined up perfectly out of the box. The tolerances stack up throughout the car and no two will fit the same. It's one of those things where you just gotta jump in to see what you've got...and then do what you gotta do to make it work. A nice selection of clamps and vice grips are pretty much mandatory.
           
        • Pascamp

          Pascamp Well-Known Member

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          The only skins I've done an A body were from Sherman. They were made of flimsy shit, , had weakly stamped style lines, and they fit horribly. The only saving grace was that the top continued almost into the truck gutters. This made hiding the welds very easy in the concave area next to the trunk.
           
        • sireland67

          sireland67 Well-Known Member

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          First time, I would buy pay up for AMD full 1/4’s.
          They go on in the factory seams, and will require less body work.
           
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          • Mopar-Mitch

            Mopar-Mitch Well-Known Member

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            I've learned that when using the cheaper quarter skins it is best to leave the factory door jamb lip and weld just behind the door, because some of the skins don't have the right body contour. This allows you to get the right door gaps and contour when using a cheaper skin on a budget.
             
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            • dodge71demon

              dodge71demon Well-Known Member

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              GLUE
               
            • BrianT

              BrianT Let's go! FABO Gold Member

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              I can't be much of a help here but I know there are TONS of YouTube videos about cutting in quarter panels. I know cause I sit and watch them all the time!
               
            • rklein383

              rklein383 Well-Known Member

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              If your weld is a half inch or so from a body crease, it will reduce the warpage from welding as the panel is stronger near a crease.
               
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              • diymirage

                diymirage HP@idle > hondaHP@redline

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                why are you changing the panels anyway?

                you're messing with the whole look of the car :(
                 
              • zakimodo

                zakimodo Well-Known Member

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                I did this with my Duster (my first ever attempt at body work).
                A few things I learned.
                • I really didn't need to replace the entire quarter panel. I really think I would have been better off cutting more manageable patch panels.
                • Be prepared for more rot underneath
                • A good spot weld cutter is invaluable
                • Getting the panel to fit good at the door jam will be your biggest challenge.
                • Rather than trying to butt the panels together get a flange tool and to flange the old sheet metal (where possible) so that the new panel can lay on it. I did one side of my car this way. I feel that it yielded a better result
                • Stich weld.... Weld hot enough that you dont bead up too much on top of the metal. This will save you when it comes time to clean up the seam. 1909850_552189969813_510_n.jpg 1909850_552189984783_1874_n.jpg 1929407_552190433883_6167_n.jpg 1929407_552190458833_7756_n.jpg 1929407_552190463823_8071_n.jpg
                 
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                • toplscuda

                  toplscuda Well-Known Member

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                  I had also never done it. It actually held up my build for years because I was afraid to do it. One day I just said WTF and jumped on it. Like has been said if you are doing skins then weld it near the crease. I used tape to mark the quarter where I was going to cut it and left it about 1" long. Trimmed the skin so it would fit better and then screwed it in place. I used a .045 cut off wheel and cut between the screws and tacked it.
                  Where I screwed up? Doing the first side and started by not having the quarter tight enough near the bottom in front of the wheel well. It is still something I need to work on. The second side I made sure to get the bottom tight and even tacked it first then pressed out the skin and worked top top side. Since I kept the original body lines it worked out well that way. carls cuda 3.jpg 37964264984_72e3187693_k.jpg
                   
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                  • dartfreak75

                    dartfreak75 Well-Known Member

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                    I did my quarters a long time ago when I first got my car. ( 2001) I was young and and didnt know much but i couldnt afford to buy the whole panel. So what i did is cut out all the rust and bought a piece of square sheet metal from lowes and shaped it out the best I could with a hammer then popped rivet it in place and the used fiberglass resin to build up the low spots . Once i got it close i started using body filler. It turned out pretty good and it only cost about 20 bucks at the time. And 18 years later its still holding up. Lol i know this isnt the right way or the best way but it was cheap and at the time I didn't have access to a welder so my options where limited.
                     
                  • dukeboy_318

                    dukeboy_318 Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor. FABO Gold Member

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                    Measure, measure, measure. then cut, measure and fit again. Take your time. Get some good clamps or Cleckos. I prefer cleckos. and get a quality panel flange tool. I went thru 3 Harbor Freight ones on just one panel..

                    Project 440DD
                     
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                    • toolmanmike

                      toolmanmike FABO Staff Staff Member FABO Gold Member

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                      No need to replace the whole panel unless it is all bad. Save as many body lines and edges as you can. With lower quarter patches you will have to cut a large enough hole so you can work on the trunk drops. Speaking of trunk drops, Get the ones that are specific for your car. A year or two different or from a different model probably won't work or fit properly. Here's a link to my quarter patch project.

                      A little rust repair


                      2017-08-28 001 1623.jpg
                       
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                      • moper

                        moper FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                        If you don't need full quarters, don't replace the full quarter. The full AMD style are thicker and have better stampings, but that doesn't mean they are as good as the factory. So a skin will work too, just use what you need and understand that the mating areas will not be as good as the full quarter. You can also buy the full quarters, then cut them and use what you need. Get a good spot weld cutter - I like the rotobroach kit that has multiple sizes. Use WD40 on it and the cutters will last longer. Make sure you have some TEK (self tapping with a drill type tip) screws so you can trial fit it. Use the screws in the flanges that get spot welded. I use a 5/16 drill bit to make the spot weld holes in the new panel... A pneumatic hole punch would be handy to have too and faster, but wont be able to reach everywhere. Watch your seams and gaps - think ahead because once it's on there - you have to deal with the results...
                         
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