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Shaving Rain Gutters / Drip Rails

As the design of my race car to streetcar build calls for roof style shaved rain gutters, I thought Iíd try a small chunk today and see how it went.



In typical ďmeĒ fashion, I jumped right in. Armed with a VONHAUS mini reciprocating saw, and a Lincoln electric pro MIG 140 I started cutting, welding, and grinding.

At first glance, it looked to be fairly straightforward:



Ground down:





It was at this point, however, that it got a bit tricky. First and foremost, Iím a pretty crappy welder. To add to that, Iím not using an argon/CO2 gas. I just have flux core and no gas. I think the flux core is too hot for this project, because it was instantly burning through.



After a couple of rounds of welding and grinding, this is what Iím left with:







So, hereís the question: what next? I donít want to just fill the spot with body filler. Could I do something like JB Weld and smooth out the weld and body interface prior to any body filler? I was thinking if I were to go old-school, I would use ďtinningď. But, I feel like we have more modern technology now. What do you guys suggest?


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Old 12-24-2019, 01:43 PM
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Perhaps cut off the drip rails, putting a small bead every few inches to keep things in the proper position. Then I’d recommend having an experienced welder with the appropriate equipment come and weld the seam. You don’t want to burn through or warp the panels. Then grind the seam as smooth as possible. You really want to minimize the use of filler of any type.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:53 PM
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From recollection I think you need a cage to keep the body rigid as removing the gutters takes some strength away.
Old 12-24-2019, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emptyo View Post


I'm no expert, but that is not pretty. Please DO NOT fill that with bondo or JB weld. Get yourself a proper bottle of gas for Christmas and practice welding on some scrap sheetmetal. It's not easy, but it's not rocket science either... In that photo, it looks like the roof metal is burned away and not even attached at the rail anymore... I 100% applaud your "get-after-it-ness". But with respect, that result will not do!

I believe Jim Tweet's recent build thread also had shaved gutters. You might consider reaching out to him for some pointers. As I remember from his and other threads, removing the gutters is a tricky proposition and major PITA due to the multiple layers of metal, paint, filler and shmutz that's impossible to remove completely from the joint, resulting in a dirty mess that's difficult to weld.

Didn't you weld the flares on your first RSR project car?

Keep practicing on scrap, you'll get there!!

Best,
Tom
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:18 PM
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Rent a proper mig w/gas setup, and remember, bondo hides a multitude of sins, as spoken by a "bodyman" at a shop I worked at in Corte Madera back in the '70s.
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Comerford View Post
From recollection I think you need a cage to keep the body rigid as removing the gutters takes some strength away.


This has a full cage. No trubs there.


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Old 12-24-2019, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john walker's workshop View Post
Rent a proper mig w/gas setup, and remember, bondo hides a multitude of sins, as spoken by a "bodyman" at a shop I worked at in Corte Madera back in the '70s.


Definitely not trying to bondo this! This was just a test chunk.


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Old 12-24-2019, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom '74 911 View Post
I'm no expert, but that is not pretty. Please DO NOT fill that with bondo or JB weld. Get yourself a proper bottle of gas for Christmas and practice welding on some scrap sheetmetal. It's not easy, but it's not rocket science either... In that photo, it looks like the roof metal is burned away and not even attached at the rail anymore... I 100% applaud your "get-after-it-ness". But with respect, that result will not do!



I believe Jim Tweet's recent build thread also had shaved gutters. You might consider reaching out to him for some pointers. As I remember from his and other threads, removing the gutters is a tricky proposition and major PITA due to the multiple layers of metal, paint, filler and shmutz that's impossible to remove completely from the joint, resulting in a dirty mess that's difficult to weld.



Didn't you weld the flares on your first RSR project car?



Keep practicing on scrap, you'll get there!!



Best,

Tom


Thanks Tom! Gonna figure it out so I can share with others.


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Old 12-24-2019, 03:21 PM
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Yes, I recall the car of Jim's that Tom is referring to, and he had some issues, but by all accounts managed to overcome them. See if you can dig up that project.

But there seem to be quite a few others that have attempted the same. Here are the first two links I opened:

The build continues, part 4

Shaving the rain gutters (pics.)


Good luck!
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Old 12-24-2019, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emptyo View Post
Also, do yourself a favor and pop that rear window out or FULLY protect it from weld splatter. You'll poc-mark the heck out of it w/splatter if you're not careful...

Best,
Tom
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Last edited by Tom '74 911; 12-24-2019 at 04:07 PM..
Old 12-24-2019, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom '74 911 View Post
Also, do yourself a favor and pop that rear window out or FULLY protect it from weld splatter. You'll poc-mark the heck out of it w/splatter if your not careful...



Best,

Tom


SMART idea.


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Old 12-24-2019, 04:03 PM
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My advice pretty much echoes what the others are saying. You definitely need a better welder for a job like this and that’s coming from a guy that did some pretty insane welding with flux core back in the days lol. The other thing that you would benefit greatly from is to cut/grind and open the 2 layers of metal and clean inside and then close back up before stitching up. That made a huge difference for us
Old 12-24-2019, 05:56 PM
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Shaving Rain Gutters / Drip Rails

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanbs View Post
My advice pretty much echoes what the others are saying. You definitely need a better welder for a job like this and thatís coming from a guy that did some pretty insane welding with flux core back in the days lol. The other thing that you would benefit greatly from is to cut/grind and open the 2 layers of metal and clean inside and then close back up before stitching up. That made a huge difference for us


I think the welder is OKÖ But I definitely need gas and not flux. And I need to be a better welder, LOL. But itís all part of the process.


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Old 12-24-2019, 06:13 PM
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You really need to have more space in between the welds! You can warp that roof easily. Take your time! Do a stitch or 2 then go to the opposite end do one or two there then go back.
Old 12-24-2019, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric D. View Post
You really need to have more space in between the welds! You can warp that roof easily. Take your time! Do a stitch or 2 then go to the opposite end do one or two there then go back.


I did that. I put them about 2 inches apart originally and then filled in between. I was being very careful not to warp.


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Old 12-24-2019, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
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I think the welder is OKÖ But I definitely need gas and not flux. And I need to be a better welder, LOL. But itís all part of the process.


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Yeah sorry I meant just converting it to gas. I think we used TIG on ours
Old 12-24-2019, 10:28 PM
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I did mine with gas and MIG and it was a PITA for sure, mainly as there is a sealant in there that contaminates the welds and also the metal is drawn thin at that point. I leaded the seam when it was done and I still had a couple of pinholes that I caught just before the painting process began. I also did a heavy dose of cavity primer (Eastwood) as the backside definitely will rust after welding.

Dennis
Old 12-25-2019, 03:50 AM
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For a thin panel of this size.Id buy a TIG.it will localise the heat more,if you use it correctly.Alternatively id be tempted to braze (brass) this panel.Once you get to correct heat(cherry) those gaps will fill and maintain strength of structure.Personally, I would want to use a cage if your going to do this.There is no way to maintain strength here, once that lip and seam is removed.
Old 12-25-2019, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coomo View Post
For a thin panel of this size.Id buy a TIG.it will localise the heat more,if you use it correctly.Alternatively id be tempted to braze (brass) this panel.Once you get to correct heat(cherry) those gaps will fill and maintain strength of structure.Personally, I would want to use a cage if your going to do this.There is no way to maintain strength here, once that lip and seam is removed.
I have no proof, but the factory did weld up the drip rails to improve stiffness and race durability. It makes sense when you consider that the main structural member (the roof) is only tied to the sides via that 3 panel crimp....virtually no welded sections in the original.

I gather from my reading that the crimp allows a small amount of movement under stress and eventually greater movement over time.

But yes, the welds the OP showed need to improve and be more structurally sound. I cut off about 15 cm at a time, cleaned the living heck out of it with a wire wheel to remove as much of the sealant as possible and then used a good weaving technique to get coverage with minimum blow throughs.

A tig welder told me that the sealant would contaminate the tip on the TIG, probably still a better result than MIG but still a PITA.

Dennis
Old 12-25-2019, 01:07 PM
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All great advice, thank you. The car has a full roll cage, so Iím not as concerned about structural integrity. More about my crappy welds. :-)


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Old 12-25-2019, 01:42 PM
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