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Old 04-01-2004, 09:35 PM   #1
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1983 34' Limited
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Removing a dent

I have a '83 Limited with a couple of dents in the front. One is in the roof on the curve near the top. I was wondering if I could cut a section of the inside liner and insulation (it is cracked and I plan on replacing or covering in anyway) and tap/bang the dent(s) out from the inside?

Any opinions would be appreciated.
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Old 04-01-2004, 09:54 PM   #2
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Yes the dent could be popped back out from the inside. I just did about 10 on my tonight. Just be careful not to stretch the skin, just like doing body work on cars. Take your time, slowly pushing larger dents out. Don't try to push large dents at once. You should also have someone on the outside holding a solid object against the dent on the outside, this will give you better results. With someone reinforcing the dent from the outside, slowly tap the dent out. What works best on thin metals is a rubber body hammer, then you don't get any sharp kinks. Also you do not want to oil can the metal. You'll never get that back out. Other than the dents I removed tonight I've never worked with aluminum before, but I have spent 20 years do autobody work. Same concept. Good luck. I'm sure others will share more experince in this than me.

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Old 04-01-2004, 10:15 PM   #3
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There are three or four lengthy treads in the archives on this topic which would be worth your time.

Curved panels are the hardest to work with as they are both thicker and harder aluminum. I would definitely remove the interior panel to get at the dent rather than cut a hole in it. Its just pop riveted in place, and while it is out you could solvent weld a patch on the back side, fill the crack with a plastic epoxy, and paint it.

I doubt if many of us, experienced body and fender men excepted, are skilled enough to be sucessful actually striking the panel with anything, . You can push with the head of a rubber mallet, going round and round the dent, working from the outside in with good success. I believe this method, while slower, will be more satifactory for those of us with limited metalworking skills.

There are reports of people doing the above through a small hole, however, pushing with a long hex key or similar hardened steel rod. This would require almost infinite patience and abundent time for any but the smallest dents.

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Old 04-02-2004, 07:08 AM   #4
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I don't know how big dmadam's dents are but I have to relate a story; I recently suffered a dent in my TV's rear passenger door. I took it into the dealer and he said, "bring it in, drop it off, and we'll fix it." Skeptical though I was, I brought it in and dropped the vehicle off as instructed. Within an hour I had a call reporting that it was done. They used one of those paintless dent repair services that serve the car dealer establishments.

You absolutely cannot tell that there was ever a dent in the door. I know that there are many variations to problems with dents and I was probably lucky. But I was amazed. I had pinned my hopes on a long process at the body shop and instead was inconvenienced for a little more than an hour. I aked how it was done and they told me that they go in from behind and, using very specific tools, massage out the dent. If necessary, they'll drill a small hole in order to insert the tools between panels. I was thrilled at the final product.

Might be worth a try. The cost is small, about $60 for a dent like mine.

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Old 04-02-2004, 08:48 AM   #5
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I managed car dealerships for a number of years, and the paintless dent removal, plastic bumper repairs, and computerized paint touch up is an art that has really advanced in the past decade. These guys can fix many dents, scratches, cracked plastic , paint stripes, do decals, fix windshield cracks and stars, replace glass, and more.. all out of their van on site.
The work is quick and effective if you get the right jobber, a good used car manager can refer you to one who knows his stuff.
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Old 04-02-2004, 09:22 AM   #6
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Depending on the dent, I've heard that the very small ones work themselves out with the hot and cold changes. At least that's what I believe Andy at Inland said....
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Old 04-03-2004, 09:03 AM   #7
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Thank guys I got some good ideas. In regards to j54mark I would like to know what solvent was or should be used on the liner. Both dents are about 6 or 8" by 10"
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Old 04-03-2004, 01:03 PM   #8
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Its abs plastic, so the abs plastic solvent weld they sell for plastic plumbing works just fine. All you need is a piece of abs thin enough to shape to the curves in the liner. It is also a bit of a pain to hold everything together until it sets up, unless it is in a place where you can put a clamp on it.

If really fussy, you can fill the crack by making shavings of some plastic and using the solvent to make a paste. Use the paste (quickly!) to fill the crack, and sand smooth when dry - which may take several days to dry absolutely hard. Spray paint the entire cap with Krylon Fusion and you are set.

I have heard people talk of using plastic epoxy, but haven't tried it myself.

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