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MG MGA - Doors and Depressions

I've had my car since 1989 and it had a major restoration down to chassis in 2001. Since then both doors have accumulated minor depressions ( two in each ) at about the same area and same size. I thought it may be my knees when leaning in but the two depressions are in a near vertical line and both my knees, despite my age, are still about the same level from the ground.
Each depression is about 3 to 4in dia and very shallow ( a mm or so ...sorry about mixed systems !)
I have tried a suction cap and it was useless and I don't want to destroy paintwork...any ideas??
Neil Ferguson

Neil

There are some very good professions techniques for getting rid of these 'shopping trolley' dents. I am having one done on my Merc tomorrow by the Mercedes recommended expert. I believe these people use special rods to stroke and tap the offending areas from the inside. That said, you have to be so careful with aluminium panels, so whoever you employ to do the job make sure they know it's an aluminium panel.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Steve..from your reply I deem you are telling me this is not a job for a one off trial and error lad like me ..get thee to the Right professional !! Thanks for very welcome advice . If you go to such professional for a problem like this then I will not attempt with my two kilo sledge.....
Are the new big jets zooming over your new place..did you get a chance to see this new 1000mph( in a Hi-Gear 5th ?) rocket car.



Neil Ferguson

Go to YOUTUBE.COM and look up "dent removal". It showes several techniques that you might apply yourself and possibly solve the problem.
Gordon Harrison

Neil

Not been to the Farnborough Airshow this time as I am dog sitting for my daughter. I saw the bit in the papers about the new jet engine/rocket car. Most impressive. I actually applied to drive the previous car built by Richard Noble - Thrust II. Unfortunately, at the time, my company was sponsoring Maclaren who were also considering building a car, so I was deemed to be one of the opposition and not short-listed. I remember my letter, saying that I had 550 hours flying time experience with the Rolls Royce Spey engines being used; I was used to low level transonic speeds (100ft heights); and, if their car had an ejection seat, I had experience using that as well. Oh well, what might have been!!

Steve
Steve Gyles

Hi Neil - Could be caused by opening the doors against something in your garage, but are you sure they are dings and not filler that has shrunk back ? They seem too large to be caused by an accidental bump. Like Steve I recommend finding a good body shop to correct it . good luck - Cam
Cam Cunningham

Cam..it is not former but maybe other car doors ( i keep the car in cotton wool equivalent when parked at home) but separate indents on both doors are a puzzle...definitely not a filler job...looked at the inside. They are shallow and if it was a tack welded surface then I would think heat distortion where tacked to underside beam and slowly metal memory takes over.( like on the wings of a caravelle aircraft ).

Steve...must confess I confused Farnham with Farnborough but your near experience re Thrust 2 ( sounds like a porno movie ) and actual experiences riding Spey sounds superb. ...but not being a pilot at much above 100 mph I would admit I would have difficulty holding onto my body fluids in such a beastie.

Will look at the site recommended by Gordon but most likely will be cautious and go to the beater as it seems more of an experience skill than careful step by step procedure that I mostly do on the car.....and reversing back out if I screw up could be expensive.
In Italy near Rome on extended hol. ( 3 months ) right now ...wife,Teresa, thinks I am a sad soul for peering at an MGA site....just can't nderstand the male fever over a car.
Neil Ferguson

Just watched the dent man remove the dent from my Merc. Fascinating. It was a combination of tapping, stroking and levering from the inside with a long rod fitted with various weighted heads, plus tapping around the area with a hammer and nylon dolly on the outside. dent totally vanished as did 100 from my wallet.

Steve
Steve Gyles

I agree with Steve about the fascinating skills of the "Dent Removal Man"(sounds like a new super-hero!).
Watching the guy knock the very large dent out of the back of my left rear wing was just amazing. He used what looked like a polished blunt ended chisel and just tapped and stroked the dent away using a hammer. The dent was on the most curved part of the rear wing (courtesy of an unknown idiot in Settle town square last year)and was 6" long and about 1" deep.
I had to have the paint done as it had creased a little but the bodywork was virtually perfect when the Dent-Man was finished.

Worth looking at I would say Neil

Colyn
Colyn Firth

The door skins (as I dare say everyone knows) are aluminium and prone to stretching. Perhaps clever/experienced panel repairers can straighten them evenly but I definitely could not. I therefore had to heat shrink mine, very effective with aluminium but not for the faint-hearted! It is very easy to completely ruin a door skin doing this (I probably would not do it again but I was desperate then and running out of money, as usual)! Heating the affected area with oxy-acetylene causes a large "pimple" to rise which I alternately tapped down (with a broad "slapper") and quenched with a wet cloth. I remember one was so tight (after this treatment) that it caused a diagonal crease in the door skin which had to be gently stretched with the "slapper" and dolly!
Barry Bahnisch

You have totally convinced me to keep my hot hands,hammer and steel plate off the car.....will be looking for 'Dent-Man' and his array of stroking and pudging tools.
Thanks for advice on your experiences...
Neil
Neil Ferguson

I should have added that 'The Dent Man' also had a sheet of white plastic that he attached to the body skin using a flexible arm on a suction pad. The sheet of plastic also had a black line down the centre of it. Looking at its reflection on the body skin showed any defects in the body skin lines with 'kinks' in the reflected black line. Very simple but effective.

Steve
Steve Gyles

Last year I attended a workshop where Barry's technique and others were presented by an expert metal man; I posted about it here:

http://www2.mgcars.org.uk/cgi-bin/gen5?runprog=mgbbs&access=&mode=archiveth&subject=6&subjectar=6&thread=2009102211363823392

He needed demonstration pieces, so I brought my doors in, and he was able to remove almost all of a very large crease from the LH door. The interesting thing was how he worked it over with an oxy/acetylene torch and a large body file that I took in. He didn't remove much metal with it, but rather used it almost like a very large slapper to shrink the metal back down, alternating with the torch.

His website is http://www.tinmantech.com/ and he sells quite a few videos that would be helpful to anyone wishing to learn these techniques.
Del Rawlins

Neil, go with a pro. I had haistone damage on my BMW earlier this year and the specialist managed to remove 325 individual dents!! Apparently they have a special tool for this but I was most impressed. Less impressed that 1 week later I re-dented the bonnet when a low flying pigeon went kamakazi.

Are the indents by any chance caused by flex in the steel door frame? I had one door whipped out of my hand by the wind and the door stopping managed to twist the frame and cause an indent in the door skin. Luckily it was not difficult to straighten the frame again and the dent came back out.
Neil
Neil Purves

A "slapper" is a fairly coarse-toothed metal file which has been heated and bent to make a hand-held L-shaped slapper (for the want of a better word, I think that's what the panel guys call them). They are less brutal than a planishing hammer, suitable for aluminium or thin materials. I am a self-taught amateur who has a friend who is a top class panel man!
Barry Bahnisch

Not necessarily. There are several types of slappers, some of which can be seen here:

http://www.tinmantech.com/html/slappers_spoons_spikes.php

If you are using it as a striking tool, there isn't any advantage to having teeth on the slapper, as it will just leave marks on the metal. The technique that Kent demonstrated on my door was different, wherein he heated the metal, and then ran the file over it with light pressure only. It didn't remove much metal, but it shrunk the skin down nicely. As I said, "almost" like a slapper, but he didn't strike with it.

Del Rawlins

Ye Gods and small fishes....I have learnt one hell of a lot about the black art of metal movement on this thread..including a new use for the word 'slapper'.in my home town of Liverpool this was meant something very different!
More and more convinced that I should not touch these indentations ( though will look at Neil's suggestion re the door frame ). I will find a Dent-Man....and query him on his magic tools and experience with casting incantations and roons over moving aluminium.
Neil Ferguson

Have to agree Neil that slapper wasnt a word I could use too often in conversation at home before.

But I cant wait to get home from work today and say to the wife, "Remember when you watched me and the Dent-Man in action with his slapper in full view of the neighbors?"

Maybe I had better say goodbye to everyone now!

Colyn
Colyn Firth

exhausts talk of slappers and hailstone dents reminds me of a joke a friend told me a few months ago. Appologies in advance to any blondes reading this, they aren't all stupid, but two particularly daft ones are required to make this joke work!

A blonde lady is caught in a particularly violent hailstorm which dents the roof of her car (325 times I think Neil!). She takes her car to a local garage and explains what has happened. The garage owner, not really wanting the job of removing all those dents from her roof, decides to fob her off.
Lindsay Sampford

This thread was discussed between 21/07/2010 and 24/07/2010

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