Replacing Sheetmetal

Holy Sheet(metal)

Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

We know, it’s sad, but occasionally fenders, hoods, body panels, and more need to be removed, retired, and replaced. When that happens you have to find reproduction panels, fabricate new panels, cut in a patch with fresh metal, or at least cut out a panel in an attempt to straighten it.

The time of death has arrived for several of the panels on our 1969 Ford Bronco. The front fenders were filled with Bondo, the floors with rust. The rear fenders had dents and huge holes cut in them for tire clearance (way more than necessary). Lucky for us and our early Bronco, just about any body part imaginable is available as a new replacement part. Sure, the quality varies from supplier to supplier, but we had it on pretty good authority where to get certain parts, and we tracked them down.

When it came to the rusty bits on our 1946 Jeep CJ-2A, most parts are likewise available in the aftermarket, but since most of the panels are flat, fabricating patches is easy.

Keep reading as we go through the steps of replacing panels in a couple of our project 4x4s. Along the way we’ll tell you what we tried, what worked, and some tips we learned along the way.

Making a Patch Panel From Scratch

Being true 4x4 nuts, we stumbled upon this fairly complete 1946 CJ-2A about a year ago and had to have it. It’s not an official project. Our plan is to restore it and keep it as a Sunday driver (boring, right?). Still, the floors needed some work. Here’s how we made a patch for the center of the floor.

Modding the Windshield Cowl Mount

So 1966 and 1967 Ford Broncos have a slightly different cowl area on the passenger side. The Dynacorn windshield cowl mount is made to fit the earlier style and needs to be slightly modified to fit a later Early Bronco. Here’s how we made the part fit with our cowl.
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