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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am putting a patch on the bottom edge of the driver's side front fender. All is fine except that I have run into an area at the front end of the rocker panel that appears to have been soldered. Was it standard practice at the body factory to use body solder where the rocker and the front fender meet (and other joints)? The solder seems to be >.030" thick, but there was steel under it on the rusty piece I cut out. I am hoping there is good steel under it to weld the patch to. I checked the area with a magnet and it does not have much attraction in this area. Any other options for me besides welding? I do not have a torch and have not done brazing. I am hoping to sand off the solder and finish the weld
.Thanks.
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Yes, on a GT all the seams are welded and leaded. As you may have noticed, the only body pieces that unbolt from the car are the doors, the hood, the headlights, and the rear trim strip.

I strongly recommend a respirator if you are planning to sand off lead.
 
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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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I would say that you've fastened your patch good enough. Seal the metal inside and out with epoxy primer or some other good sealer/rust preventer and let the body putty, that you're altready going to put on the patch, cover up that area and move on to the next project.
 

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Keith is giving you accurate advice. I will add my own 2 cents worth.What you have is lead, commonly known as body solder.
Manufacturers used it to smooth welded seams,, It was also being used in shops when I started doing auto body repair.
I still have 2 or 3 sticks of lead and several paddles for 'souvenirs' ....Yes.... I inhaled more than my share of fumes....

The usual way to remove it is with a torch and stiff wire brush.. It doesn't take much heat , but you will not have a
proper weld unless you clean every trace of that solder/lead from the weld area.
Be careful not to surface grind too much or you will have thin weak metal !
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Yes, on a GT all the seams are welded and leaded. As you may have noticed, the only body pieces that unbolt from the car are the doors, the hood, the headlights, and the rear trim strip.

I strongly recommend a respirator if you are planning to sand off lead.
I suspect that Bob knows this, but there are a few Opel GT body panels that were brazed (i.e. with brass) at the Chausson factory when the bodies were assembled. Specifically, the front body panels at the headlamp buckets were brazed. Might have been a few other spots as well.

Most panels on a GT are spot welded, as was (and is) the norm for assembly line panel fitment.

A Calgary Opel friend, Vince Tucker (who purchased PJ Romano's GT, but was already restoring a GT of his own) told me today that he had read that Chausson, when building the GT bodies, was one of the first manufactures in the world to use MIG welders on an assembly line. I cannot verify that as fact, but there are a number of welds on a GT (and I have inspected EVERY one of mine, after sandblasting to bare metal and seam-welding EVERY joint prior to epoxy-coating) that a number of welds do indeed appear to be MIG welded. Anyone know the veracity of this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So what I did was remove a strip of the lead, about 1/4" wide, mostly with an old wood chisel. There was solid steel under this, but the lead was at least 1/8" deep. Cleaned up the steel, and lay beads down to fill in the gap to the patch plate. So the edge of the patch is very solid now, but there is still a gap to the lead which I am trying to find the best solution to. I think there could still be enough flexing to cause paint to crack, but this is not the most visible area of the car, so maybe I should not worry about body putty not being sufficient. Maybe I could fill it with epoxy? That would provide more strength. Ideally, more steel would be my choice, but the lead appears to extend another 1-1/2" and I don't want to open up a can of worms. The rockers do appear solid, but maybe I should leave well enough alone. Thoughts? Thanks.
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Yes, on a GT all the seams are welded and leaded.
Interesting, the only lead I've ever suspected was on the rear of the passenger seat rail where it starts to climb towards the back of the transmission tunnel.

Couldn't figure out worth a damn why my welds had a dull, gummy, chalky appearance.

there are a few Opel GT body panels that were brazed. Specifically, the front body panels at the headlamp buckets
Also by the cowl under the vin and, I think all around the enclosure for the heater box.
 

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I realize this thread is about welding and that lead is just a problem / challenge to deal with then.
But if anyone is curious and has a few minutes here is a demonstration of the way it was done back in the day,
by a master who did it then, and is still at it ! .... Gene Winfield was one of my first Customizing Heroes

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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ILLUMINATI
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I realize this thread is about welding and that lead is just a problem / challenge to deal with then.
But if anyone is curious and has a few minutes here is a demonstration of the way it was done back in the day,
by a master who did it then, and is still at it ! .... Gene Winfield was one of my first Customizing Heroes


Great video. gene Winfield was an artist. Instead of the torch adapter you can use an old school Presolite air-acetylene plumbing torch. I have two I inherited from my late father along with knowing how to solder piping and braze.

There are other plumber and pipefitters tricks that can be used here. No corrode acid free solder works along with 95:5 Sn:Sb (tin-antimony) solder to tin the surface. 50:50 lead:tin solder can be used in place of lead although it is lower melting.

It is also possible to electroplate tin on the surface, then lead this surface. Between what I Iearned about heating and plumbing together with my materials science background there are always tricks that can be applied. Another nice thing about a tinned and leaded surface if you properly remove the flux is the surface is sealed to inhibit surface corrosion. I have also tinned the backside to help prevent corrosion.

All good stuff.
 

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You can also use the Prestolite torch and non-acid flux to heat and wipe most of the old lead from to surface if you plan to weld or braze.
 
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