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Fred's Fabrication - Automotive Restoration Services

Automotive Restoration Services

Body Panel Fabrication & Installation

We have the capabilities to fabricate custom body panels when OEM or aftermarket body panels cannot be found. And when it comes to installion, we adhere to the strictest standards.

Chassis/Suspension Setup

Before we started this business, we raced asphalt stock cars and was later involved in technical inspection, as well as rule book writing and interpretation. We have setup the suspension on many successful stock cars, drag cars and road race cars. You can be confident that your chassis/suspension will be setup correctly.

Custom Modifications

Performing custom modifications or fabricating and installing custom components is an area that most restoration shops avoid, but not us. We pride ourselves in the ability to plan for and install custom components as if that's what the project was made for.

Hood/Panel Louver Punching

We can punch a 2 inch, 3 inch, or a 4 inch louver. We'll punch louvers directly in your hood/panel or we'll punch louvers in a panel that you install on a hood or body panel yourself. Your geographic location isn't a problem, just ship it; we have customers from all over the country!

Media Blasting/Stripping

It's important that a project be stripped down to bear metal to reveal what's truely there. There's nothing more frustrating than having rust come back shortly after a project is complete. We use whatever method is appropriate for the project, being careful not to warp hoods, tops, etc., so that the rust does not come back.

Rust Repair

We repair rusted metal the correct way; we completely remove the affected areas and replace them with new metal. You can rest assured that your project will be repaired to a condition that you'll be satisfied with.

 

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Stripping Paint and Body Filler

After 40 plus years of paint, repaint, and who knows how many trips through the body shop for repairs, it's time to strip that car or truck body down to bare metal and find out the real condition of what lies underneath. The following methods are ways to remove paint and/or body filler.

Chemical Stripper - There are several types on the market. They work well, are slow and messy, but certainly something you can do at home. You can also have your body dipped, just beware it's often difficult to get all the chemical out of the tight spaces in the body like pinch welds, and any chemical residue can ruin a new paint job.

Razor Blade - Using a straight razor blade in a suitable tool or holder can often effectively remove many layers of paint and primer. Usually you'll get to a layer that just wont come off easily, then it's time to try something else.

Media Blasting - There are many types of media you can use; some are non-abrasive and some are abrasive.

  • Non-Abrasive Media Blasting - Baking soda is a non-abrasive media which removes paint and body fillers, but not rust. It will leave a film that must be removed prior to painting, as well as a smooth finish that will need additional preparation for primers to stick. Example, epoxy primer likes an 80 grit finish to stick properly.
  • Abrasive Media Blasting - This method is my personal favorite. Glass-based and/or mineral-based media not only strips away the paint, body fillers, and rust, but will also prepares the surface for proper adhesion of primers.

Undercoat Removal

Automobile manufactures used undercoat to protect the underside, and most of the time that's exactly what it did. We have found that where there is undercoat, the metal is in good condition. However, the removal of undercoat on vehicles can be a difficult task and proves to be labor intensive. The following methods are ways to remove undercoat.

Chemical Stripper - There are several types on the market. They work well, are slow and messy, but certainly something you can do at home. You can also have your body dipped, just beware it's often difficult to get all the chemical out of the tight spaces in the body like pinch welds, and any chemical residue can ruin a new paint job.

Abrasive Media Blasting - A mineral-based media not only strips away the undercoat, but will also prepare the surface for proper adhesion of primers.

Torch and Putty Knife - When the undercoat is extremely thick, this is the best method to use. We use a Bernzomatic propane torch to heat the undercoat to a softened state, then scrape it off. Yes, it's messy and it doesn't smell good...a well ventilated work area is a must.

Rust Removal

Rust is a general term for a series of iron oxides formed by the reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture. Rust to the automobile, could be compared to what cancer is to a living creature in the sense that if left alone, it is very destructive. The following methods are ways to remove rust.

Chemical Rust Removers - These work well on surface rust and are a good choice on delicate sheet metal like hoods, tops, and trunk lids where the metal is relatively flat.

Media Blasting (mineral-based) - Works well on sturdy surfaces like door jambs, floor pans.

Media Blasting (glass-based) - Works well on more delicate surfaces like doors, fenders, quarter panels, as well as some tops, hoods, and trunk lids.

Bare Metal Preparation

OK, your automobile body is stripped down to bare metal, now what? We need to get some kind of sealer on it to prevent surface rust, which can occur rapidly depending on weather conditions. It must not get wet, so keep it out of the rain. But what about humidity? If humidity levels are high, surface rust can start almost immediately and you could notice it overnight. You need to get a sealer on it to insulate the bare steel from the moisture in the air. How do we do that? The following methods are ways to seal bare metal.

Note: If a chemical metal conditioner for rust removal was used, be sure to neutralize the acid in the metal conditioner.

Epoxy Primer - There are many brands of epoxy primer and I've used several different ones, all with good results. It likes to have an 80 grit finish for proper adhesion. This can be accomplished by sanding or abrasive media blasting. I like the epoxy best because it has more body to it and seems to protect the metal longer, which may come in handy as restoration projects usually take a little longer than just a simple repaint.

Etch Primer - This seams to be the "old school method" but still works. It, too, likes to have an 80 grit finish for proper adhesion. Being thinner, it's a little easier to weld through making fabrication a little easier, however, I still prefer the epoxy for the extra protection.

Sometimes I hold off on the primer/sealer on bare metal, if I'm going to do fabrication to the body right away. It's better to weld on bare steel, rather than steel with primer on it. After fabrication is complete I always follow up with a little media blasting for a final clean up of the panels, and to clean up all the welds prior to primer/sealer.