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Old 05-20-2009, 01:32 AM   #1
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 82
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American FE
Engine: Cummins 555 9.1 L diesel
Rated Cap: 77
Body damage--dent repair

Hi Skoolies,
(Cross posting on skoolieconversions)
As I go to fix the dent I put in the skirt of my bus, I'm wondering if anyone has any experience and advice on how to go about doing that. I got a 12-ton hydraulic press on the advice of my local bus mechanic, and I've got a six-foot long dent from driving too close to a tree to push out with said press.

Assuming I can access the frame rail, and put the press on the rail and on the back of the rub rail, then what? Which side do I start on, the front or the back? That is, where I first rubbed the tree, or where I ended up? The first part is just scraped, but the back is pressed in six inches or more.

Advice appreciated, I'm prepping to paint and wanted to do this beforehand. And I'm doing that with a local graffiti artist collaborative, I'm super excited about THAT. Photos to follow...

Thanks!
Branden
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1981 Bluebird All American
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:30 PM   #2
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Seattle, Washington
Posts: 82
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American FE
Engine: Cummins 555 9.1 L diesel
Rated Cap: 77
Re: Body damage--dent repair

I just posted three: they are in the Gallery. Search "Lucinda" and you'll find it. They're the last ones.

Thanks!
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:39 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Body damage--dent repair

OUCH

start with the worst first, use a piece of angle or channel to spread the pressure from the jack on the backside of the rail to minimize the collateral damage. reinforce the rail at the highspots on the outside with some large C clamps and then chain the clamps to the bus frame to hold them in place. start jacking the worst damage out and work the outside of the rail with a block of wood and large hammer (sledge) as the rail starts to straighten out you will want to start working the skin where it is kinked up near the floor, lots of little hits to relieve the internal stress in the metal, you don't want to leave a bunch of hammer marks to fix, the metal moves when you hit it even when you can't see the progress with each blow. keep moving and working the worst spot.

you probably should invest in a couple of body hammers and dolies, basic harbor freight set $30 IIRC. body hammers have a flat face and don't dimple and strech the sheetmetal like other hammers will.

you can feel straight better than you can see straight when your up close, lay your hand palm down fingers extended on the sheetmetal and run your hand fingers first over the skin and you can feel the highs and lows.

steel has a memory and wants to stay where it is you will need to push the rail past straight to end up straight, you will start to get the feel of what the metal wants as you work with it.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:41 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Body damage--dent repair

[quote="Smitty"]Can't find them. Post pics or a link....

look on the third or fourth page
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:43 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Body damage--dent repair

[quote="Smitty"]Can't find them. Post pics or a link....

look on the third or fourth page in the gallery, it's a 2 page post of the build.
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