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Old 02-22-2017, 01:36 PM
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dechroming -- filling trim holes

hi folks, i'd like to delete the ~100 trim holes on the exterior of my W123. the paint is already messed up and there is rust, so i'm not doing a concours style fix, just something that looks better than empty holes.

between bondo, hole plugs, brazing, TIG, etc., what is the most practical way to achieve a durable and smooth surface there?
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:06 AM
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I would use TIG. I don't recommend bondo because it has a tendency to pop out.
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:27 AM
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If you're going to shave it, there's a zillion articles on it but probably not here. Hop over to one of the dozens hot-roding or customizing sites ....

Bondo is probably the least preferred method. It's the fastest, cheapest, but ...
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:57 PM
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thanks greazzer for providing the proper term! now i have better search results, and i finally understand the appeal of using toxic lead for bodywork.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:54 PM
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NP... Like I said, you'll find a zillion leads / articles on shaving it (not a W123) but other cars and it's the same thing.
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:45 PM
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Having filled holes using various methods, next time I'd try :

Dimple the holes using a die / punch. Check aircraft sheet metal tool companies ( Aircraft Spruce and their automotive division for one )

I'd look real hard at modern automotive structural adhesives to at least partially fill the hole. They are currently used to bond replacement body panels in place these days. It would be a good idea to smear the adhesive on the backside of the hole as well. This way you are making an adhesive rivet that will tend to stay put.
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Old 02-23-2017, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97 SL320 View Post
Dimple the holes using a die / punch.
is this the sort of thing you meant? i got some similar advice a while back and did try dimpling with a similar centerpunch, but in the end couldn't whack the punch hard enough to bend the sheet metal.

COMBINATION PUNCH & DIMPLING DIE SETS from Aircraft Spruce
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Old 02-24-2017, 07:54 AM
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That's the right concept however these are designed to make a hole and dimple in one operation. This set also requires the use of a press frame.

I had thought there was a set that combined a screw together punch ( chassis punch, frequently used in the electrical trade ) with the shape of an air hammer punch ROUND KNOCK-OUT PUNCHES from Aircraft Spruce

SWIVEL DIMPLING TOOL 401 SHANK from Aircraft Spruce ( this pic shows the backup die sitting on the punch, in practice the backup die would be on the back side of the sheet metal. )

The key for using an air / hand hammer punch is to back up the sheet metal so it does not spring when hit. Another problem with hitting unsupported sheet metal is you end up with a shallow large diameter dent rather than a 1/2" round circle.

You could probably work something up using a pin punch and a block of wood. On the pin punch you would be using the area where it transitions between small diameter and large. Or get a piece of steel rod and grind your own profile.

If you are up for enlarging the body holes a bit, use a 10-32 allen bolt and make your own screw together dimpling tool ( like a chassis punch ) . I'm liking this better as it forms in one easy step. Weld the back die to a stick and you can reach into many places.
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