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speedfreak July 31st, 2006 07:00 PM

Oil Canning - Body Panels
Hey guys, didn't we have a thread on here about panels oil canning and how to fix them? I have a spot on my passengers door just below the door handle that is giving me fits. any help will be greatly appreciated.


hotrodheb July 31st, 2006 07:04 PM

Re: oil canning
What I did on the volkstruck when I had some spots like that was to do a few quick spot welds in the area and it changes the flexibility of the panel enough to stiffen it up!

carcentric July 31st, 2006 07:30 PM

Re: oil canning
In body panel repair class at the community college, we used a stud welder (for pulling panels out) WITHOUT any studs to heat up a 1/2" spot to blue (about 1 second) - it was the heat that shrank the stretched area (oil canning happens because an area is bigger than it was when the panel was "flat."

If you use the 1/2" spot technique, it helps to start in the center and work outward in a spiral - try just a couple at a time, though, as you can overdo it.

speedfreak July 31st, 2006 07:34 PM

Re: oil canning
Right on, thanks guys. that helps alot. this body work is pretty damn frustrating at times. This is supposed to be my destressing time!:panic:


John Kelly July 31st, 2006 08:28 PM

Re: oil canning
Something I wrote a few years go on another forum...just want to add that you should check the whole panel for low spots starting at the perimeter and working in...What helped me work with oil canned panels is to think about the tension in the plane of the metal. The crown a panel has puts just the right amount of tension in it to hold it in place without being so floppy as to pop in and out. Try pushing in on various spots around the perimeter of the area with your thumb while popping the oil can in and out. Once you find a spot that helps stop the oil can popping, check this small area for smoothness. You may need to hammer and dolly to get it back to a smooth but slightly high condition, then shrink to get the tension just right. There may be several areas that need this attention. It is easy to overlook a spot that is affecting the panel and spend too much time playing with the oil can itself. You can also try pushing out instead of in at various spots on the panel to see the effect on the oil can. If you are going to use a torch to shrink, try heating the metal to blue instead of red. It will shrink with very little or no hammering, and stay a bit more workable than metal that is heated to red. A shrinking disc is the best way to shrink an over-stretched panel because it heats just the high spots without over-heating them. You can stretch with the hammer and dolly and shrink with the disc many times without damage to your panel until you get it right. This allows you to free yourself from worrying about over use of the hammer and dolly which can keep you from getting the job done.

Oil cans can be very tricky. I recently spent about 7-8 hours fixing one on a quarter panel that I had flared. All the stretching of the fender had resulted in a different pull and tension in the panel, as well as a reverse curve that was not part of the original quarter panel. I ended up shrinking metal that had not been stretched to remove a large bow that inhibited the reverse I wanted, stretching various areas around the oil can, and pounding from inside the quarter panel against the inside of the door opening flange just a little for tension in the plane of the metal. The bow actually shrunk down 3/16" measured in the middle of a 20" verticle template of the curve before I started. I learned a few things on this panel that made it well worth the effort. Hope this makes some sense!


speedfreak August 1st, 2006 06:40 AM

Re: oil canning
Wow John, that was alot of information, Thanks! I'll try it tonight and see if there are other spots that I might be overlooking. It's nice to know that I can work the metal more than a few times to get things right.


ddare August 1st, 2006 09:38 AM

Re: oil canning
I have used a small propane torch with some success after using a hammer/dolly to get the low spots out. But I've never used a shrinking disc (though I hope to try it out on my next project). I used a rag to cool the area around it to try to keep the surrounding metal from shrinking as much. Hope this helps.


speedfreak August 1st, 2006 04:02 PM

Re: oil canning
:dancing: :dancing: Rob, Doc, John,& Doug. Thanks for the info! It worked great! :bow: :bow: now all I need to do is a ltiile more hammer and dolly work and it'll be done! You guys saved me alot of time and patience.:bow:


purplemyth August 16th, 2006 06:10 AM

Re: oil canning
can somebody move this to tech bin and add in the subject line
oil canning~ body panels? I think this needs to be up for futrure ref.

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