Welding - underside - thoughts?

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MorrisJohn
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Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby MorrisJohn » Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:49 pm

Folks, just discovered my 'new' Moggy, that was supposedly "very solid" is in fact suffering from rot. It looks like it's had bodged welding done in past. Stupid me for buying off eBay, but I'm taking it hard enough so please spare me the lectures. Lesson learned. I've been quoted £1000 to sort out the underside welding and told to expect more welding bills next year. I've posted some photos and wanted to know your thoughts on rot and price?

I see Charles aware do an 80% lower shell rebuild for £2500 and a wheel to wheel area repair for £1500. I can't weld myself and I'm constrained by my budget, as it's all been spent on recent engine repairs, so it may have to go SORN as it won't pass a new MOT. The affected areas are; N/S/F chassis holed, O/S/F floor & outer sill/chassis area at torsion bar, N/S/F floor & outer sill/chassis area at torsion bar, rear floor areas at spring mounting areas, both jacking points, O/S/R front spring mount, both rear spring hangers, middle crossmember and on top of all that the steering rack is worn...quite a list! I wonder whether just to save up and get the 80% lower shell rebuild as it's got a 4yr guarantee?

I'm in Ayrshire - recently joined the MMOC but not been to any meetings yet.

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bmcecosse
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby bmcecosse » Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:12 pm

Oh dear. The jacking points don't matter -remove them, never to be used anyway- however the crossmember in that area both sides does need renewing - end pieces at least , but probably a complete new crossmember. The spring mounts etc are very typical.....did you not look under before buying? Be very 'aWare' of pricing from that firm - and in any case I think they have a longggggg waiting list. It's also a long way away..... So how would you get the car there - and how would you keep on top of the work being done - which you MUST DO wherever you take the car. I'm guessing this is the Tarbolton garage who have marked up the car. Try to negotiate a fair price for whatever is essential for a new MOT. Oh and I have a good spare steering rack available if you need it.
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Redmoggy
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Redmoggy » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:17 pm

Please do not take this as me just being mean.

Many of the current areas that have been marked out are failed previous repairs. The main reason for them failing aside from the poor quality are that they are patch repairs. All of the old rotten metal remains and will continue to rust out. To add to that, I can almost guarantee that the outer floor repair panels that have been fitted are not attached (as they should be) to structural members of the vehicle.

The thousand pound you have been quoted will not repair the vehicle to a suitable standard, it will be yet another bodge job that may or may not last through the next MOT.

Your car is quite salvageable but it has reached a point where you need to make a choice. Fix it right and have a solid car that will last you out. Or continue patching it together with poorly conceived repairs that will continue to undermine the structure and safety of the vehicle.

Regards
Rod

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby bmcecosse » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:24 pm

That's a bit harsh Rod - the bits we are shown are bad - and likely there are other 'not so good' areas. But frankly to repair what's shown, even with a new crossmember, I think is actually being 'overcharged' at £1000, although I always find it hard to swallow 'garage' rates... I would certainly expect a 'good job' in these areas for the money asked.
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Redmoggy » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:50 pm

BMC, Roy? I don’t wish to start a fight just adding an opinion from someone who started out life being taught how to get car's through an MOT for as little as possible working for several small MOT stations.

Does the quote include a complete new cross member? The cost of the labour involved to remove the interior and suspension, ensure the car is square and then drill out and remove the cross member will easily push half that quote. Remember we are talking about garage labour rates and not Mates rates. I am a little out of touch but I would say at least 70 -80 pound per hour? Now add the new part and the subsequent repairs required in order to weld it to solid good steel. I really can not see it.

Regards
Rod

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby bmcecosse » Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:47 pm

It's in darkest Ayrshire -so won't be that sort of hourly rate - but even half that is still frightening... It SHOULD include a new crossmember - because it looks like 'ends' have been botched on already - although they are short and maybe 'homemade' and not the full length ones supplied these days. Otherwise just the rear spring hangers (not too difficult) and a half chassis leg - which could (and probably should) really be a full leg.
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Redmoggy
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Redmoggy » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:47 am

10 years ago I was working for a small south coast garage, at 37.50 plus VAT we were considered cheap. Have prices really gone backwards?

So lets take one repair and look at what has and could be done simply to pass an MOT. For arguments sake lets say that front spring hanger.

The current repair A piece of steel of indeterminable gauge has been used to repair rust to the floor on the outside of the spring hanger and bottom edge of the wheel arch. This repair has been carried out in the time honoured tradition of welding one edge of a flat plate and then bashing the living daylights out of it until it meets something else that can be welded too. The original rotten steel is still there slowly rotting the repair from the inside out.

To repair the marked area for an MOT all that would be required is an angled piece of steel welded to the spring hanger outer edge and across to the first patch. No need to take the time to produce decent welds, simply smear with more of the thickest Bitumen you can find. You can pluck a figure out of the air for this repair. All that's left is to tell the customer to expect more welding next year!

Now lets say you want to do the job right and not have to re-weld it every year until the shell fails structurally and breaks in two. Yes I have had this happen.

First job is to purchase a repair panel. You can get just the spring hanger but since the floor section is rotten you will need the hanger and floor section. About 30 quid. Now remove the rear seat and door card. Using set datum points measure and make sure the shell is square, no point welding a new suspension point in the wrong place!

If your shell is out of square we now have bigger issues to worry about before continuing. If it is we can continue......

Once you have ensured you know exactly where your new hanger should be we need to remove the old one. After removing the spring. Start with that nasty patch. Punch a hole in the patch with a screwdriver and most of the repair will tear away using pliers. Cut off the spring hanger with a cut of wheel to leave just the floor. Hold up your repair panel and mark it out. I prefer to make the first cut undersize to allow for fettling later. Keep in mind that this section of floor has the rear seat cross member welded to it and these spot welds will need to be drilled to release the floor. The repair also attaches to the seam of the outer, under sill so this will need to be prepared or repaired to allow this.

So , how best to attach the repair panel. Here we have three options.

First.
Simply lap weld it over the hole. A weld through primer should be used and both edges, inside and out welded and suitably sealed.

Second.
Take the time to carefully trim to fit and then butt weld the repair. This will require some proficiency with a welder.

Third and probably best.
Mark out the floor half an inch undersize and after cleaning joggle the edges of the floor. Apply weld through primer. Now drill 8mm holes around the edge of the repair panel. You can now seam weld and plug weld the repair ensuring a strong, sound joint.

Re attach the seat cross member and this part of the repair is complete. Next job is the inner wheel arch. A repair panel is available but we can make something from some 18 gauge flat plate. This should be cut so as to be butt welded along all but it's bottom edge which should be plug welded to the new floor panel. The outer under sill will also need to be plug welded to the new repair.

After dressing the welds and applying some primer, a liberal coating of stonechip and some black paint we have a repair that if well looked after will outlast a 4 year guarantee.

Due to the extent of the corrosion I see no other way to return this area to within manufacturers tolerance, but I am happy to hear arguments to the contrary.

The quote from the garage allows about 166 pound per repair. I do not see how you can do this job for that money and earn even an honest crust.

Regards
Rod,
who will now climb down from his soap box.

millerman
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby millerman » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:06 am

Redmoggy wrote:10 years ago I was working for a small south coast garage, at 37.50 plus VAT we were considered cheap. Have prices really gone backwards?

So lets take one repair and look at what has and could be done simply to pass an MOT. For arguments sake lets say that front spring hanger.

The current repair A piece of steel of indeterminable gauge has been used to repair rust to the floor on the outside of the spring hanger and bottom edge of the wheel arch. This repair has been carried out in the time honoured tradition of welding one edge of a flat plate and then bashing the living daylights out of it until it meets something else that can be welded too. The original rotten steel is still there slowly rotting the repair from the inside out.

To repair the marked area for an MOT all that would be required is an angled piece of steel welded to the spring hanger outer edge and across to the first patch. No need to take the time to produce decent welds, simply smear with more of the thickest Bitumen you can find. You can pluck a figure out of the air for this repair. All that's left is to tell the customer to expect more welding next year!

Now lets say you want to do the job right and not have to re-weld it every year until the shell fails structurally and breaks in two. Yes I have had this happen.

First job is to purchase a repair panel. You can get just the spring hanger but since the floor section is rotten you will need the hanger and floor section. About 30 quid. Now remove the rear seat and door card. Using set datum points measure and make sure the shell is square, no point welding a new suspension point in the wrong place!

If your shell is out of square we now have bigger issues to worry about before continuing. If it is we can continue......

Once you have ensured you know exactly where your new hanger should be we need to remove the old one. After removing the spring. Start with that nasty patch. Punch a hole in the patch with a screwdriver and most of the repair will tear away using pliers. Cut off the spring hanger with a cut of wheel to leave just the floor. Hold up your repair panel and mark it out. I prefer to make the first cut undersize to allow for fettling later. Keep in mind that this section of floor has the rear seat cross member welded to it and these spot welds will need to be drilled to release the floor. The repair also attaches to the seam of the outer, under sill so this will need to be prepared or repaired to allow this.

So , how best to attach the repair panel. Here we have three options.

First.
Simply lap weld it over the hole. A weld through primer should be used and both edges, inside and out welded and suitably sealed.

Second.
Take the time to carefully trim to fit and then butt weld the repair. This will require some proficiency with a welder.

Third and probably best.
Mark out the floor half an inch undersize and after cleaning joggle the edges of the floor. Apply weld through primer. Now drill 8mm holes around the edge of the repair panel. You can now seam weld and plug weld the repair ensuring a strong, sound joint.

Re attach the seat cross member and this part of the repair is complete. Next job is the inner wheel arch. A repair panel is available but we can make something from some 18 gauge flat plate. This should be cut so as to be butt welded along all but it's bottom edge which should be plug welded to the new floor panel. The outer under sill will also need to be plug welded to the new repair.

After dressing the welds and applying some primer, a liberal coating of stonechip and some black paint we have a repair that if well looked after will outlast a 4 year guarantee.

Due to the extent of the corrosion I see no other way to return this area to within manufacturers tolerance, but I am happy to hear arguments to the contrary.

The quote from the garage allows about 166 pound per repair. I do not see how you can do this job for that money and earn even an honest crust.

Regards
Rod,
who will now climb down from his soap box.
Rod, very well written. I'm pleased to see a post from someone who has actually CARRIED OUT this type of body work. It's not easy work and you pay for experience!

MorrisJohn
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby MorrisJohn » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:20 am

Thanks guys for the advice. Much appreciated. Yes, being under the car it was apparent previous welding has been patch up bodge jobs and if I'm having it repaired I want it done properly. The quoted price only included repair to crossmember, but I agree it's better just to replace the full thing.

I think I'll pay the £500 to have the suspension mounting areas repaired to make it safe to drive, run it until the MOT expires in October. Then save up over the winter while its parked in a garage and enquire around a few different places. I intend keeping the car a long, long time so it's worth doing properly so it lasts.

I appreciate the steering rack offer, I'll pm you.

I hope the shell is still square!
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Redmoggy » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:48 am

A good indication of the condition of the body shell is how well the doors close and whether or not the gap's are even.

In order to check the suspension mounting points you only need a plumb bob, some chalk and a tape measure. Much easier if the vehicle is jacked up but likely possible with it on it's wheels.

Drop the bob from the centre of the front eye bolt bolts and mark the floor with the chalk. Do the same from the centre of the rear spring front bolts. Move the car and measure between the points making a square as well as diagonal and a centre line. In a perfect world you would be spot on but even the factory allowed a tolerance. I was always taught that 1-2mm was permissible and since we are just roughing out I would expect at least this much.

Regards
Rod

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby bmcecosse » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:57 am

I have to wonder how on earth it got an MOT last October.....
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby MorrisJohn » Sun Jul 12, 2015 11:09 am

bmcecosse wrote:I have to wonder how on earth it got an MOT last October.....
I wrote to the garage that MOT'd it last year asking just that, as it's hardly turned a wheel since then. I'll also be calling whoever replaced VOSA to make them aware.
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bmcecosse
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby bmcecosse » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:38 pm

Just make sure they don't come looking for the car -and find it 'on the road' in an un-roadworthy condition.... They may also cancel the MOT with immediate effect.....
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Trickydicky » Sun Jul 12, 2015 4:42 pm

Unfortunately you only have a 3 month window to report a garage if you think a car should not have passed it's MOT.
https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/probl ... est-result
I suppose you could report it to VOSA but would they take any notice? In today's climate where it would actually involve somebody doing there job would they do anything? :-?
Richard

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Mark Wilson » Sun Jul 12, 2015 6:56 pm

You are far from being the first to buy a supposedly sound car and then start discovering the reality. In my case it has led me into an unplanned major diy restoration, which I'm actually really enjoying, but I'm at a stage in life where I can afford the time and (to a lesser extent) the money. I'm now getting to the end of the structural repairs and knowing the amount of work involved, I would view £2500 from an experienced outfit like Ware's as pretty reasonable. Depending, of course, on what you get for that. Spending £1000 on temporary repairs by a non specialist would be throwing good money after bad.

Two long return trips with a trailer would take a lot less of your time than the thousands of hours I've spent over the last four years - and Bath is a pleasant destination for a short break!

Best of luck, it will all be worth it in the end......

Mark

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Redmoggy » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:12 am

I'm just curious, before we lynch the the MOT tester. Has anyone looked into the rules within which he must work whilst inspecting a vehicle? In particular those appertaining to the assessment of corrosion.

After deciding which parts of the vehicle fall into the category of structural.

A visual inspection should be made including areas within 30cm of any structural member. You are not permitted to lift carpets or remove any part of the Vehicle.

If you consider that corrosion may be present you can use finger and thumb pressure (and no more) to assess the area.

If you are still unconvinced you can use the 'Corrosion Assessment Tool'. This is essentially a Toffee hammer. You are only permitted to lightly tap and scrape the area of concern. You are not allowed to dig or hit any surface with any more force than a tap. This is supposed to give an indication of whether or not body filler has been used.

This is not an easy way to find corrosion!

Now, once you lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Transport they are obliged to come and inspect the vehicle for themselves. This would normally take place at a nominated testing station. This inspection is far more in depth than an MOT test and will involve the removal of carpets and possibly bolt on panels such as the door step plates. If they feel fit they will revoke a current certificate and order the car of the road. You are then responsible for removing the vehicle that you can no longer drive home.

Meanwhile the tester, who may well have done his job to the best of his abilities and within the constraints allowed. Can get anything from points on his testing licence to his licence revoked. In extreme cases he can then end up unemployed.

So after all this what has been achieved? The guy who actually made such a poor job of welding the car is still welding up cars!

I understand the disappointment and that a complaint to the Ministry seems like your only point of recourse, but maybe we would be better off concentrating on the people that specialize in pulling the wool over the tester eyes?

Sorry, I climbed back on my box
Rod

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby Mark Wilson » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:05 am

Mine had a similarly questionable MoT and I considered reporting it for investigation, but decided I had left it too late. I take Rod's point about the limits of a test and the focus on the tester rather than the bodger, but I felt that there was at least a strong suspicion that there may have been an element of dishonesty involved.

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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby MorrisJohn » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:59 am

Cheers folks. I've instructed the garage to carry out only the R/O/S suspension mount repairs to make the car safe. It'll have minimal use between now and October, then it's getting tucked away in a nice dry garage while I save up some money and formulate a plan to get the old thing back into sound condition. Don't see any point patching up the rest just now, it won't cure the problem, better saving and getting it done properly.
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby bmcecosse » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:35 am

It's all very well for 'redmoggy' to get on his soapbox, and no doubt his car is immaculate and corrosion free. But many of us struggle along, doing our very best to keep our cars well within MOT requirements, on limited budgets. I have every sympathy with John and his unfortunate/scam purchase - but I'm sure it will all come well in the long run and provide many years of 'happy motoring'.
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Re: Welding - underside - thoughts?

Postby MorrisJohn » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:55 am

I've emailed the garage that did the last MOT and asked if they can explain why it didn't even have any advisories. It looks a reputable (Bosch approved service centre) place, so perhaps they had one rouge mechanic putting through dodgy MOTs for back handers. I don't know, total guess work but it doesn't change the situation. I'm not going to bother contacting VOSA, seems like more hassle than it's worth.

I've already had a few sleepless nights and that "I'm gonna be sick" feeling when you see the repair costs. "All" I wanted was a solid long-term rolling resto that I could gradually improve at my leisure, which is what it was sold as.

Will just need to economise where I can and save up some (a lot) more since that's my savings all gone now. Gf thinks I'm crazy (though I'm sure she secretly loves it) but at least she's offered 'Oscar' a nice dry home in her garage. I suppose life is full of little set backs and challenges.

Appreciate all the advice and help folk have offered. Membership card arrived this morning :)
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