Removing coolant pipe tunnel, and other panels

Discussion in 'Workshop Forum' started by Dr.Jeff, Feb 13, 2019 at 7:38 PM.

  1. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    I saw an article that might interest some.

    As we know, removing body panels like the tunnel cover over the coolant pipes (under the floor of the car) can be a real pain due to the countless spot welds. Same with many other body parts; I recall another member removing the windshield frame to replace it with a rust free one and finding tons of spot welds to seperate. Consider all of the other rusty panels that need to be removed. Hours, if not days, of work just to cut through each spot weld.

    So this technique may be a significant benefit for those types of jobs. However it requires a plasma cutter. Several members already have one, and if you don't it might be worth buying one just for this if you are planning these sorts of jobs. Not to mention their usefulness for all other cutting work:

    https://www.fabtechexpo.com/blog/2019/02/05/using-plasma-gouging-to-remove-spot-welds
     
    kmead likes this.
  2. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    If I could get an X on it's side or top then dealing with that damn tunnel would be a thousand times easier. If I lived in England I would apparently just roll the car on some old tires up against the "shed" wall (that's the way they do it in all the old Brit. classic car mags). And just like I don't have a lift, I don't have a rotisserie...and I don't build custom cars on Motor Trend TV.
     
  3. bpimm

    bpimm Brian Pimm

    Location:
    Washougal, WA
    They didn't include the time to go back and grind off what was left after the plasma gouging, the grinding method has already removed most if not all of the spot weld. so the comparison should have been time to grind vs time to gouge plus time to grind to get to the same place in the process. My guess is the time would be about the same or a little more for the plasma. Plus the plasma has the ability to do much more damage if you slip.
     
    Dr.Jeff likes this.
  4. myredracer

    myredracer True Classic

    I've lost count of how many thousands of spot welds I've drilled out or ground down. Very tedious and rather frustrating at times plus hard on the wrists after a while.

    I'm skeptical of a plasma torch working due to the thin metal on our Fiats and rust. Sometimes spot welds are at the edge of two or three layers of metal, sometimes spot welds can be two, three or even four in a row and overlapping and sometimes it's the top piece of metal you don't want to damage. I'd be very nervous about burning through more than just the top layer of metal or distorting the surrounding/remaining metal from heat.

    Thanks for posting that! I have a plasma torch and will have to give that method a try just to see how well it works. Sometimes spot welds can be in difficult to reach locations with a drill and a plasma torch could possibly make it easier in that case.
     
    Dr.Jeff likes this.
  5. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    I agree with you guys. Unfortunately a plasma cutter is one piece of equipment I don't have, so I can't try it out. But if someone does try it, I'd be very interested to hear the outcome.
     
  6. DSobota

    DSobota Low Mileage

    Location:
    Cleveland
  7. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Location:
    Sin City
    The spot weld drill bits work well, but are rather slow and get tiresome. As you know, when you have a ton of them to remove it is worth seeking a easier method. But drill bits might still be the better way to go. If you don't intend to reuse the top layer of sheet metal (the old panel over the seam being seperated), then just grinding off the welds might be easier. But that pretty much ruins the top layer.
     
  8. carl

    carl True Classic

    Location:
    Virginia
    Use a spot weld bit, remove the pipe box, replace the pipes, put the box back on (easily located by the stubs left by the weld cutting bit) and mig the stubs to the original box flanges. Or, cut the bottom off the box, replace the pipes and go find something else to do, like installing dual carbs.
     
    AKimball92, Tom Ginefra and Stoney#1 like this.

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