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Undoing Fender Damage

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Back in the early seventies, the front fenders wheel openings were butchered to provide clearance for larger tires that caught on the front lip and proceeded to fold the lower area of the fenders inward.

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The photo below shows the right fender after initial straightening. L.h. side before.

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Both fenders front wheel lips had been cut with a hack saw or tin snips then folded back under, and crimped with pliers and hammered flat. Not a very pretty site.

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My mission will be to restore these fenders to their former glory. The fiberglass front valance was broken and cracked in several locations and it's poor patch job also requires attention.

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Careful unfolding reveals original crease lines plus all subsequent folding. Form these remnants to duplicate the original.

ashelby 031When a dent is removed, straighten the last occurring damage first, then proceed in reverse order . Watch the metal and avoid unnecessary distortion, work slowly.

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Grind areas to be welded and try not to burn holes in sheet metal! Keep adjusting lip for accuracy.

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After the cuts were welded on the outer area, grind them flush and gently reconfigure curve by hand, c-clamps and a hammer and dolly. Ingenuity helps.

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An old scrap '69 front valance was sacrificed as it possessed a nicely curved edge. Clamp, adjust and weld.

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Weld from the center outward, tack at frequent intervals. Don't burn through! Check backside of weld for penetration.

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Trim off flaps that remain with a small cut-off wheel. Run a bead of seam sealer after body work is finished but before applying paint top coat.

Grind well beyond damaged area and prepare for and apply a light coat ot body filler. Shape contours with a ''cheese grater'' when the filler hardens to workable consistency. Timing is crucial when working with poly body fillers.

36-40 grit paper will speed the initial shaping process.

Sand with 80-120 grit to establish basic shape then apply more filler, to fill in any low spots. Grind and tap down high spots with dinging hammer and shrinking hammer and appropriate dollies. Bumping techniques improve with experience . Study your metal and be as least invasive as possible when working. Hand and eyes must function as a team. Re-apply body filler as needed, and sand. Repeat, repeat, using finer grit paper progressively.

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When you have the body filler worked, spray a coat of primer while eye balling the contours while paint is shiny and wet. Block sand area with 180 grit, Grind and apply more filler if needed. Sand, primer, sand. Repeat with finer grit #220, #320, #400, #600 use a guide coat (contrasting light coat of primer) to reveal any high or low spots while lightly block sanding.

Guess who lives in the cowl vent area...Bead blaster quickly removes paint and rust on brackets, etc.

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Hang fender to view projects progress and test fit alignments. Walk away.

Give your primer and filler ample time to dry and shrink before final primer coat is applied and sanded with 600 or 800 grit.

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Dry sandpaper works well provided the primer is fully cured. Gumming up of paper can be a problem if primer is not completely dry. Take your time, it's faster that way.

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Preparation for paint is crucial. Avoid touching primered surfaces except when necessary, and always wash contaminates from hands first.

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Whatever topcoat of paint is decided on, read and follow directions thoroughly. Tack Rag lightly after masking paper is applied. Always keep a lookout for gremlins that may sneak in a bugaboo at any moment.

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Use a light ''tack coat'' to start, this gives subsequent paint coats more ability to stick without sagging.

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When applying paint, scan across panels to ''catch the lights reflection'' to assure consistent coat. Use long passes and wait briefly between coats. Watch the paint flow as each layer is applied. Avoid dry or heavy areas, make it smooth, but know when to stop spraying!

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Shasta Mustang is not a body shop, this article was only performed as a demonstration. Thanks for viewing!!

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