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Question Body Lead removal

I need some advice on how to remove the body lead from an area where I will be doing bodywork welding.

I have used a MAP gas torch to gently remove the paint and bulk of the body lead. Now the panel is "tinned" with a thin layer of lead.

Is there a technique and tools / materials to wipe this away when it is molten?

This is at the base of the "C" pillar, where the roof cant rail and rear 1/4 panel intersect with the front edge of the rear deck lid.

Many thanks for any advice.

Regards

Hayden

Old 01-03-2004, 11:26 AM
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small wire "toothbrush" gets the majority of it. a scrubber disc on a die grinder gets the last .0001".
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Old 01-03-2004, 11:34 AM
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I believe I have seen people "wick" it off by heating until molten and then using some sort of cloth? maybe fiberglass?
Old 01-03-2004, 11:45 AM
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The last 0.003" or so has to come off by mechanical abrasion ...

JW's way is fastest, but generates nasty dust particles.

Wet sanding with 220 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper is a longer, time-consuming method to control dust and particles.
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Old 01-03-2004, 12:25 PM
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Thanks guys,

I figured I was going to have to resort to abrasion at some point, some of the areas are very difficult to access with a disc.

I will try that fiberglass idea and feedback if I succeed.

I seem to recall my Grandfather (no longer with us) telling me about a soap stick, or wet wooden paddle..... or something, to help with application, but nothing about removal.

Thanks again, a rare Saturday when I get to play with my own cars and explore lots of car resto tasks where I am a novice.

Regards

Hayden
Old 01-03-2004, 01:12 PM
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Solder removal (lead) in electronics is often done using a braided copper wire strand to wick up the molten metal. It does leave a thin coating though.
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Old 01-03-2004, 02:01 PM
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The melting point of body lead is relatively low. Use a soft flame with an oxy-acetylene torch or equivalent. Move the torch around the lead until it starts to melt. Don't overheat the panel or the lead will be the least of your problems. Use a wooden stirring stick or equivalent soaked in ATF to wipe off the bulk of the lead (oil doesn't allow the lead to stick to it). Follow up with steel wool (w/gloves) to wipe off the remaining lead. There will still be a thin "tinned" layer left on the panel, but this can be removed by sanding. Wear a respirator or hold your breath.

Like body filler, lead should be applied in a thin layer. Heavily applied lead is a sign of an amateur as well as unneccesary ballest.

Hope this helps,
Sherwood
Old 01-03-2004, 02:27 PM
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Thanks Chuck, Thanks Sherwood,

The idea of mopping up the solder with a suitable solder sponge is what I was hoping for. I have some old earth straps that I can try for copper braid and I have some steel wool on hand to try.

There is the corner at the upper edge of the engine cover, where a lot of factory lead loading is used. I sawed through this area and it was up to 1/4" this in the middle of the puddle. You can see why they did this once the lead is gone and the multiple panel confluence is exposed.

As with most projects, I am sure this will expand;
I stared scraping away some paint and found at least 3 layers of silver, at least 2mm thick. Quite the red flag for the weight conscious fanatic lurking within...

I guess sanding will remove the last of it before I attempt to weld on it.

Regards

Hayden
Old 01-03-2004, 03:22 PM
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Both torching lead and abrading lead can generate very high levels of airborn lead dust or fumes, and can cause dangerous exposures.

A HEPA filtered respirator would be highly recommened for any of these procedures. Also use of coveralls that are removed before leaving the work area could prevent passing any lead dust onto others (such as your children).

Lead is a nervous system toxin, and a reproductive system toxin.

*Children with lead poisoning are usually asymptomatic. Symptoms that do occur are often subtle and mimic other childhood illnesses. The degree of symptoms varies from child to child.

*Mild lead poisoning can be associated with hyperactivity, irritability, sleeplessness, lack of concentration, behavioral problems, aggression, and learning disabilities.

*More severe lead poisoning may be accompanied by hearing problems, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, constipation, muscle soreness, anemia, neurological impairments such as stumbling or loss of concentration, seizures, encephalopathy, and coma.

*Persistent neurological impairment can follow even mild episodes of lead poisoning.

I got the above points from:

http://www.dhs.ca.gov/childlead/

Lead is no laughing matter. A very large study on children showed that even small increases in blood lead level in a child can reduce IQ, limit future income, and increase chances of going to prison.

I do lead and asbestos consulting for a living. Be careful!

Mike Benefield
Mechanical Engineer
Certified Asbestos Consultant
California DHS Certified Lead Inspector/Assessor and Project Monitor

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Old 01-04-2004, 12:57 AM
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