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Old 09-10-2010, 12:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What gauge sheet metal

do you guys use when making patches? There are some parts that I feel need to be replaced, but to spend $50-100 on a replacement part to cut up vs. $20 on a sheet of steel I can get 4-5 patches out of seems to not make sense. So what gauge should I be looking at for normal repairs to firewall, fenders, wheel wells, etc. I know that the torque boxes are like 14 gauge steel, but I'm not sure of the rest of the body.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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20 - 22 gauge.
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Isn't the trunk a little thicker... 18G?
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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20 gauge (.035") is a good all around patch material as it's easy to form by hand, 18ga (.048) is a PITA to work with.

If you visit a scrapyard ot steel supplier, you might be able to pick up some drops for cheap. Whatever you do, don't buy sheet materials at Home Depot / Lowes - I could retire early if I sold my materials for those prices.

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Old 09-10-2010, 02:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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all i know is that the fenders are strong enough to suport my weight sitting on them without bending and i weigh 250 pounds
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess I'll have to look around my area. Anyone know of anything promising in the Maryland area?
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Somebody a while ago was making panels, using an old refrigerator door skin.
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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get yourself a pair of calipers (a very useful tool) and measure the metal you're replacing.

you should measure the panel your trying to patch and get a gauge of steel that's close.

typically the sheetmetal on these cars as someone else mentioned, is in the 19/20 gauge range. some aftermarket sheetmetal replacement parts will measure a little thinner.

don't forget that metal thickness can vary depending on if it's in a shrink or stretch zone.

like hemikiller mentioned, find a local shop that sells metal. lowes, home depot charge too much and seem to only carry 18, 22 gauge which is either hard to cut/form or on the thin side (making it considerably harder to weld).
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Go buy a $5 sheet metal gauge and make your own decision. Makes it a lot easier to weld when both pieces are the same gauge. Different gauges are used for diff parts. I carry one on my key chain.
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robs66Coupe View Post
do you guys use when making patches? There are some parts that I feel need to be replaced, but to spend $50-100 on a replacement part to cut up vs. $20 on a sheet of steel I can get 4-5 patches out of seems to not make sense. So what gauge should I be looking at for normal repairs to firewall, fenders, wheel wells, etc. I know that the torque boxes are like 14 gauge steel, but I'm not sure of the rest of the body.
Since I'm currently in the process of doing sheet metal replacement and repair on a '66 coupe I can speak with current first hand knowledge. There were some areas on my coupe that either needed used panels or patches due to a lack of repo parts. I checked the panel thicknesses and they measured out to 18ga. Some of the areas needing repair are the exact same as you listed for yours. Every place around me that carried small quantities of metal had two problems; a) they carried only 16ga, 20ga or 22ga, and b) it's expensive. I am referring to businesses such as Lowes, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc.

The "better" quality repo panels are listed as being 19ga. I believe it's from a conversion to standard gauge from a metric measurement of the metal thickness. Most of the original panels are actually 18ga. I checked with a local metal supplier and a welding shop for some sheet steel. To get a reasonable price from the metal supplier I would have had to wait until a large enough order was ready in order to avoid additional (read...HIGH), prices due to the individual piece shipping cost. They quoted me $36 for a 4' x' 4' sheet. The welding shop sold me a 4' x 10' sheet for $40! They also cut the sheet in half. This was for new sheet (and yes, MUCH more than I needed for the car!). Since I always end up needing metal for some project or another, I didn't have a problem with the quantity. They would have been happy to sell me smaller amounts also (with a corresponding lower price).

One other alternative is checking with scrap metal dealers. You can actually find new metal that is left over "scrap" from construction or manufacturing. The scrap dealers will usually sell it to you by price for the pound and not by the piece. It is a MUCH cheaper alternative!
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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18 gauge? that's thick! i personally haven't come across anything on my 69 that thick (not including items like frame rails, etc). 18 completely sucks to cut and form (but is cake to weld). are you measuring metal with paint on it?
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckeyedemon View Post
18 gauge? that's thick! i personally haven't come across anything on my 69 that thick (not including items like frame rails, etc). 18 completely sucks to cut and form (but is cake to weld). are you measuring metal with paint on it?
Thick? 16 ga is thick! 20ga is thin and 22 ga is paper thin Yes, mine was measured WITHOUT paint, sealer, etc. Floor pans, firewall, inner fender aprons, "B" pillar, roof panel..all were 18 ga. If you take measurements on a rusted area they need to be well away from the corrosion. The corrosion is actually going be "sloping", from the original thickness area down to the thinner corroded area (at it's worst where there's actual rust through). It can actually extend back from a hole of badly corroded area more than most people realize.

You do realize that each standard gauge has variances, right? It is not one fixed measurement. Standard 18ga sheet is a nominal standard of .0478, but has a min and max tolerance between .0438 to .0518. I've had no problem cutting and forming 18ga. It is more difficult, yes. That's to be expected though. I wouldn't want something in my car, especially structural, that could be formed too easily. That translates directly into DEforming easily! Now working 16ga...THAT sucks!!

If you are trying to form metal and find the more you work with it, the more difficult it becomes, that's normal. It's called "work hardening". You can overcome this by simply heating the metal and letting it air cool back down (annealing).
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You should be matching the thickness of the metal you are replacing--easier to weld and finish properly. I've cut all my "patch" material out of my parts car--in the past I've just gone to the junkyard and found hoods or trunk lids that had large good flat areas--they will usually let you buy them cheap if a section has damage or rust and you tell them what you need it for.
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Old 09-11-2010, 02:08 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Ford sheetmetal of '60s vintage is supposed to be 19ga (yes, 19, when you buy as much as an automaker does - and for that matter, in Ford's case run your own steel plant, you can get whatever you want) but that's before it's stretched and twisted in the presses.

Personally, I'd use 18ga where possible, 20ga is acceptable in not-very-structural locations, nothing thinner. Thinner is easier to form, thicker is easier to weld. Using cutoffs from existing panels is a good idea.

Last edited by JEM; 09-11-2010 at 02:12 AM.
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