This door was involved in...
This door was involved in a couple of accidents last year and we decided to scrap it for a new one, but it was saved with simple repairs and tools already in our toolbox.
Short track racing is filled with excitement and drama. For the fans, one of the most anticipated occurrences is a big crash. This typically draws "oohs" and "aahs" from spectators. But it will elicit a completely different reaction from teams represented in an accident, as team members will be faced with a small dilemma concerning their car. Do they buy new body panels to replace ones damaged in the accident? Or do they repair the damaged pieces?
It is extremely important for teams to find areas where they can save money, particularly if the goal is to race an entire season. Body repair is one such area. The typical short track car will get torn up and suffer more than a few dents during the year. A team can literally save hundreds of dollars-maybe even thousands-by choosing to do the repairs in house.
There are many factors to consider when faced with this problem. One of the most important is the amount of time spent repairing the body. Time is vital for the local Saturday night racer. The best decision might be to purchase a new door or quarter-panel because a team doesn't have the time to fix the old one.
The other thing to consider is whether or not the proper tools are on hand. You don't have to be a fabricator to do simple body repairs on your car, but by having a few tools in your shop you can easily make repairs yourself. There are times when the body will be beyond repair, and you will have to invest in a new body panel. But holes, tears, and wrinkles can be fixed.
The tools you will need are pretty simple: a plastic hammer, a few rivets, a rivet gun, spare aluminum, and some Bondo or a fiberglass repair kit. Sure, a sheetmetal break would be nice but it really isn't required.
I found an old body panel lying behind our shop that we had deemed beyond repair at some point last year. But once I took a better look at it, I quickly saw it could be fixed. You can see in the pictures how I was able to salvage this piece of metal.
First things first. Take some...
First things first. Take some SD-20 cleaner, or a similar product, and simply clean the entire panel. We had a doughnut on the door before it was cleaned. Fortunately, the rub did not get into the paint. By cleaning the body panel you will be able to see how much you are going to have to repaint, if any.
After you have cleaned it,...
After you have cleaned it, flip the panel over or put it on a flat surface and beat the bent areas as flat as you can get them. You can use a metal hammer if you have one, but be careful around the holes in the body because it could rip them open even more.
Here I have hammered out as...
Here I have hammered out as many of the dents and wrinkles as possible. You can now see the areas that will need repainting.