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Old 11-15-2017, 12:18 AM   #1
Alex V.
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Weld seam follow-up?

A friend's van came back from the welding shop last week and will be undergoing the finish work and paint in the next month or two, myself being the primary hand in that part of the process.

He had a window out of a different van grafted into the blank driver's side, as well as an extra gas filler (also converted from gas doors to exposed caps), and, yes, a VW Westphalia camper top which will accommodate a pop-up top. The welder didn't fill the seams completely, instead leaving beads about evenly spaced, about the width of each bead (1/8-3/16") apart. For the window and gas fillers the obvious approach is feathering it out with bondo, but for the 30+? feet of welds around the top, I'm wondering if seam sealer isn't a better option. It'll see plenty of use so the most durable approach is what we're after. Input?
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:37 AM   #2
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

Can you post some photos of the welds?

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Old 11-15-2017, 01:05 PM   #3
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

Ask and ye shall receive.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

WOW!

Holy cow, that is not pretty. There is no way i would bondo over that. Clean it all, epoxy prime it, then run a strip of tape on each side a quarter inch or so away from the welds and apply a bunch of quality 2K seam sealer. It's not going to be pretty, but it will be prettier than bondo that fails anyway.

Here is a little "Basics of Basics" on seam sealer. http://www.autobodystore.com/seamsealer.shtml

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Old 11-15-2017, 04:51 PM   #5
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

yikes!!!.....
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

First thing I would do is find a different welder...
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Old 11-15-2017, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

I would finish welding, looks like its about half done.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:02 PM   #8
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

If work came out looking like that at any of the shops I worked at, you'd be labeled a hack and escorted out the door.

I'm in the camp that those welds need to be fully finished off no gap or spacing otherwise it will fail.

I hope your friend didn't pay too much for that.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:13 PM   #9
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

The welding is UGLY but personally, I don't think it's going anywhere and I don't think it needs to be welded more. If those welds have penetrated (and they look like they have), that is plenty to hold that on. Hell the stock roof is held on with a half of those or less in spot welds.

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Old 11-15-2017, 10:30 PM   #10
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
The welding is UGLY but personally, I don't think it's going anywhere and I don't think it needs to be welded more. If those welds have penetrated (and they look like they have), that is plenty to hold that on. Hell the stock roof is held on with a half of those or less in spot welds.

Brian
True, but they also are not running down the middle of a panel with a gap between the pieces either.

Cmon, Brian if a tech at the shop you work at dropped off a repair like that to the paint dept, what would the reaction be?
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:52 PM   #11
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

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Originally Posted by sevt_chevelle View Post
True, but they also are not running down the middle of a panel with a gap between the pieces either.

Cmon, Brian if a tech at the shop you work at dropped off a repair like that to the paint dept, what would the reaction be?
It's pathetic, I get that. But now, without a welder to fix it having to go back and have them put more, I guess, but I don't really see the need strength wise.


Brian
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:17 PM   #12
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

I don't know, with the fact that air gets under that lid and is pulling up and down and up and down, maybe you guys are right and it needs some more welds.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2017, 09:57 AM   #13
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

Thanks for the input. It's not pretty, I agree; the welder said he was saving time and money by not tacking it solid, because what he put down was more than adequate - I'm not going to disagree, especially since he welded the inner side of the top channel to the inner roof of the van effectively boxing the perimeter of the roof. On the window clip he overlapped and just welded the edges down rather than butting the panels together and welding flush, but it's straight and workable so it is what it is.

I suspected seam sealer was superior to bondo in this application so I'm glad I asked. Any more input is welcome.
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:18 AM   #14
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

i would fully weld everything and smooth out welds.

every custom job I have every seen that was not properly welded and just filled with bondo or seam sealer ends up cracking/lifting
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:22 AM   #15
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

Quote:
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i would fully weld everything and smooth out welds.

every custom job I have every seen that was not properly welded and just filled with bondo or seam sealer ends up cracking/lifting
The thing is every factory built car on earth has spot welds holding panels on that have a seam sealer over those seams, every single car, and they aren't failing. I think it comes down to prep and proper products. Sand blasting that area even would be ideal, then epoxy primer and a quality 2k sealer.

I am not fully disagreeing with you now mind you, not even close, this is the "bestest" way and you are describing the "best" way. I just think welding it up solid is asking for more problems with warpage and a LOT more work, a LOT, LOT more work.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:27 AM   #16
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

The window welds, that is sad that it wasn't done as "good" as the gas filler. That area really should be fully welded. But now, I don't know what to tell you. It's not like up on the roof where you don't see it. A seam seal job around there is going to look like ever loving crap. And being they laid it over the top without stepping the panel so it's flush, yeow.

It would take welding up and then a BUNCH of bondo work spreading that bondo out a long way from the weld going out a foot or more to make the transition less noticeable. If it weren't done like that, there will be a big lump running around the window, you might as well just do a nice seam seal job without bondo.

But what ever you choose DO NOT apply bondo over those seams as they are, THAT would be a guaranteed failure in months, it would be a cracked mess.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2017, 11:41 AM   #17
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

I don't think I would have accepted that kind of work. When going to pick it up, I would have told him that if he's going to do half the job, he's going to get half the pay. It's amazing the kind of hack jobs people think they can (sometimes actually do) get away with.
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Old 11-16-2017, 02:41 PM   #18
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

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I don't think I would have accepted that kind of work. When going to pick it up, I would have told him that if he's going to do half the job, he's going to get half the pay. It's amazing the kind of hack jobs people think they can (sometimes actually do) get away with.
We don't know what he as paid, it may have been $15 which is what it is worth.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2017, 04:15 PM   #19
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
The thing is every factory built car on earth has spot welds holding panels on that have a seam sealer over those seams, every single car, and they aren't failing. I think it comes down to prep and proper products. Sand blasting that area even would be ideal, then epoxy primer and a quality 2k sealer.

I am not fully disagreeing with you now mind you, not even close, this is the "bestest" way and you are describing the "best" way. I just think welding it up solid is asking for more problems with warpage and a LOT more work, a LOT, LOT more work.

Brian
I could be mistaken, but isn't the 67-72 drip rail spot welded and seam sealed, and there are plenty of trucks out there with rotted roofs.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:36 PM   #20
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

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I could be mistaken, but isn't the 67-72 drip rail spot welded and seam sealed, and there are plenty of trucks out there with rotted roofs.
LOLOLOL, Good one, you got me there.

You are right but it was failed seam sealer that did it, no epoxy primer, we have much better products at the paint store than the did in the factory back then. EVERY car made (with a tiny few exceptions) are made the same way and they don't fail.

Brian
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:30 PM   #21
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Re: Weld seam follow-up?

OP, I think it's a cool conversion, I hope all comes out well.

It would be great to see in when it is done, no matter how it goes.

Good luck, Rg
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