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Old 10-11-2007, 06:11 AM   #1
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

This is just a suggestion, I left the lights on my bus and painted over them, but this is how I would approach it if I wanted to remove the lights...

After the lights are removed, find some thin steel and cut some discs slightly larger than the light hole. The idea is that this disc goes on the inside of the bus and gets welded to the edge of the holes the lights used to occupy. This gives a nice flat surface. At that point I would not be afraid of using body filler to build up the 1/8" or so thickness needed to bring the whole panel level. You can use a grinder to bring the weld down to the level surface.

I used body filler on all the holes that were left after the stop signs were removed and any other unwanted holes, many larger than 1/8" and have not had any problems. I typically use the 3M products and buy it by the gallon, a gallon will last for years. You probably only need a quart or 2.

I have most of my problems with the body filler if it is left exposed to the elements. About 3 years ago I did some body filler repairs to 2 different vehicles. The one I painted right away, my truck I was lazy about and it sat for 3 years until I finally finished painting it this weekend. The exposed filler cracked and chipped along the edges. I sanded most of the old filler away and then re-did it. The other painted car that was done at the same time has not shown any sign of cracking or anything, and on that job the body filler has some spots approaching 3/4" thick.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:47 AM   #2
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

But if you cut the piece larger than the hole, how are you going to get it in there? You could cut it in two and weld the two halves in there. Then fill it with bondo. If you need to hold it in place from the outside, drill a hole in it and put a screw in it to hold it. Or, do what I'm doing. Remove the flashers and install some offroad lights!
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:00 AM   #3
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

In the gallery there is a flat front bus(blue bird?) where the lights were removed and the whole eyebrow indent was filled in with diamond thread plate. I liked the way it looked

I'm not very talented with bondo or paint yet, so it looks like a pretty workable solution.

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Old 10-11-2007, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

Bondo is easy stuff to work with though I might suggest getting a little better product than the actual Wal-Mart type Bondo brand filler. A good auto parts store or body shop might have a some suggestions.

Have you thought about riveting the pieces in place? It is a relatively easy and affordable option. Cut the piece to fit, hold it in place, and drill the holes. I would suggest some sort of sealant on the backside, even if it is just RTV silicone or kitchen and bath caulk just because I'm anal like that. A riveting tool might cost you $15 and can prove to be a handy tool when welding isn't an option.

Using this method is not going to give you that smooth look like you might be looking for, but rivets are what hold the bus together. If you were to make it one big unibrow over the lights I think it could turn out rather nice like the diamond plate you mentioned. For further reading on riveting you might want to look in to Elliot Naess' "Millicient" thread as he has put in hundreds, if not thousands of rivets.
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Old 10-11-2007, 05:46 PM   #5
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

The rivet idea is good too! You can get machine head rivets that will fit flush with the surface of the bus too. Of course, that's ANOTHER tool to buy.
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:09 AM   #6
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

I haven't got to the offroad light part yet, but I am planning on replacing the current lights. I was looking at some 12V spotlights at a sporting goods store. They have a flood option and they are 10 million candlewatt power! I'd have to enlarge the holes a bit, but I could get them to work. They would be super bright for sure!
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:37 AM   #7
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Re: Advice on body work / filling holes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emberglow
I would suggest some sort of sealant on the backside, even if it is just RTV silicone or kitchen and bath caulk just because I'm anal like that.
[/quote]

It's not that I use the stuff because I like it. It's that I usually use it just because it's handy.
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