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

Mopar Body and Trim

  1. Cope

    Cope Fusing with fire

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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.
           
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          • 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
                 
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                • BrianT

                  BrianT Let's go!

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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 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold 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.
                         
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                        • 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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                              • bob7four

                                bob7four Well-Known Member

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                                Please explain the panel flange tool. I am not familiar with the process of flanging the panel.
                                 
                              • bob7four

                                bob7four Well-Known Member

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                                Is a patch panel for the lower rear quarter in front of the wheel well available for a 69 Barracuda? I would hate to have to buy the entire panel.
                                 
                              • dukeboy_318

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

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                                It’s a tool that creates a flange, or a step allowing for an overlapping edge for the replacement panel to fit flush with the existing metal left on the car. Highly recommend one if you’re gonna be doing patch work or panel replacement. YouTube has videos.
                                There’s a couple types, manual or pneumatic. Highly recommend the pneumatic ones but stay well away from the harbor frieght and central tool ones. I broke 4 of them on 1 quarter. Eastwood Products sells a good one for about 100 bucks. There’s also several on Amazon.
                                 
                              • sireland67

                                sireland67 Well-Known Member

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                                I have had nothing but good luck with the harbor freight flange tool.
                                I have had mine for over 5 years now, it has put alot of 1/4 panels and patch panels over the years.
                                Either the quality of them hit rock bottom, or maybe you air compressor is saturating the air lines with water.
                                Moisture is hard on any air tool, I have three water catches on my air line, (hard plumbed in the garage). So I do not have a moisture issue.
                                 
                              • dukeboy_318

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

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                                Nope. Not a moisture issue. I have a main dryer right off the compressor, then at each outlet(I have the shop plumbed with 6 outlets. Then I have an in-line one I use on the hose itself.

                                The last harbor freight one I got was bad right out of the boxed & it was seized. The first I had was the best from them. Did the entire top of the panel before stopping.

                                I’m not against harbor freight tool, have got a couple of their cut off tools and an air ratchet that are close to a decade old, that work just fine.
                                 
                              • ESP47

                                ESP47 Well-Known Member

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                                One thing I learned about butt welding that not too many people mention is to make sure the edges are clean and square after you've done your cutting. You may wind up cutting the panels with a variety of tools that can leave burrs or beveled edges. The burrs will heat up and cause you to blow through when welding and beveled edges will also cause you to blow through because you are now welding an even thinner piece of what was already a thin piece of metal.

                                I clean mine up on the bench grinder at the very end and then look down the cut part and make sure it's nice and flat and square all the way down. It's a little more difficult to do on the car side since you cant get it on the bench grinder but take your time and prep the edges and it'll make welding a whole lot easier.
                                 
                              • bob7four

                                bob7four Well-Known Member

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                                What is a recommended gap to leave between the flange edge and the new panel? I assume too big of a gap or too tight will make for a poor weld.
                                 
                              • Tooljunkie

                                Tooljunkie King of cobble/master of the broken bolt FABO Gold Member

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                                Biggest thing is take your time,cool the welds to prevent warpage. Spread out your tack welds.
                                Your experience with sheet metal will help, its amazing how much metal moves as you weld it.
                                 
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