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Old 01-09-2010, 09:36 AM   #1
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Body repair for awning holes

It's been a long time since I did any body work on a car. I have sanded off the big blue and brown stripe off the van and am having the entire thing repainted. I am doing the prep work (to about 400 grit) myself, then am going to have it painted and clearcoated by a professional with a booth.

I'd like to fill in the holes left from removing my Fiama awning. There are several and they are about 1/2 to 3/4 big.

I am going to strip the area down to the bare metal around the hole. Do I need to pound (tap) them in so the metal is recessed around the hole, then use a little fiberglass tape in the bondo? It seems like there would not be enough thickness in the putty to adhere if I don't. Or is there a big grommet I should use to stick in the hole? Or something else?

Any thoughts appreciated.

Thanks

Tom
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:49 AM   #2
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Re: Body repair for awning holes

You have a lot more options that I do, since I'm not about to repaint anything on a 3-4 year old van. I haven't replaced the SMBw supplied awning brackets yet, but I plan on buying the appropriate sized body plugs that you can find in the loose hardware section of Lowes and Home Depot. They are black plastic plugs meant to be pushed into sheet metal holes, with one-way ribs on the portion of the plug so the plug doesn't come out. I will experiment with some butyl rubber I have as a possible backing to the plug to seal it against the weather. I also have some (silicone filled) holes in my PH top where the previous marine solar panels were removed. I think the silicone filling of the holes is a terrible approach to sealing the holes.


Herb
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:43 AM   #3
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Re: Body repair for awning holes

Any body shop can weld those holes shut with a MIG welder. Then, ground flush and finished along with the rest of the paintwork you'll have a perfect repair with no bondo or fiberglass tape. Simplest thing in the world.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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Re: Body repair for awning holes

When we had our Awning Bracket Mishap, we wanted to get the holes covered properly by a body shop. Unfortunately, to fix it correctly, they would have to take the passenger side interior out and weld it from the inside which will cost lots of $$$. So we decided to have SMB do their "Reinforced" awning job. I'll tell you this, on our next rig, I will NOT have an awning if they are still using the same mounting system. Just my 2cents.

I think Herb's idea is the easiest and most cost effective.

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Old 01-10-2010, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: Body repair for awning holes

I don't understand why they have to take out the interior. Those holes go into a hat section reinforcing channel, (which is why you cant put a nut on the bracket bolts in the first place).
Stitch welding those holes shut should be the easiest thing. Stand by with a rag and some water to cool the weld fairly often, and I can' see there being any problem at all. If there are wires running in the channels, which I don't think there are, poke them out of the way before you start welding with some bubble gum or dum dum and go to work.
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: Body repair for awning holes

BTW, If you DO weld on your truck (Anywhere), disconnect the batteries first!
Bill
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Old 01-10-2010, 12:17 PM   #7
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Re: Body repair for awning holes

Don't know Bill. I wish I knew that when we had the repairs done.

Ray
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