AutoTalk; Body repair on a Grand Caravan

AutoTalk; Body repair on a Grand Caravan

Bondo Body Repair Kit

Zach Benedict, Beacon Blogger

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all had an amazing fall break! I kept myself busy with cars this break and it made me think of the perfect topic for this week’s blog! So, my project was to repair my mom’s van. It needed some serious body work. I didn’t have to repair any collision damage, but I did have to repair what body repairmen hate doing; rust repair. Her vehicle is a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan. These Grand Caravans are mass-produced, and made with very cheap metals. The rocker panels are the most common area for rust problems, indeed that’s where the majority of the rust problems are with not only her van, but with any vehicle in NEPA. Surprisingly however, the rest of the underside looked very good. Her frame rails were in great shape, and her motor mounts were in an excellent condition. Nearly all the metal rusted out from the rocker, so we had to fill in the holes and patch over them. I used Bondo, a body filler that can easily be sanded, primed, and painted. To fill the holes, I just used insulation foam. In all honesty, I could’ve just taken some fresh sheet metal, and screwed it over the holes, and that would’ve worked just fine.

The process involved first having to sand all the areas of rust, and remove the metal that was loose. Then it came time to wash and dry the areas. Afterwards, it was just a matter of mixing the Bondo and the hardening agent, and filling in over the rusted areas. Overall, I felt that my work was good for someone who’s never done body work. After I was able to cover all the rusted areas, I then spray painted over the Bondo in silver grey, which is the color of her van. I didn’t paint the underside, but just the areas of the doors where the rust was starting to happen, so it looked more natural. I didn’t go with the factory paint, as it would be very expensive, so I went with a generic silver grey from the local hardware store, it did very well. After the process was complete, I had a can of rubber undercoating that I sprayed on the repaired parts and in the wheel wells to help protect the remaining metal. Overall, the job cost me about $55, which included the Bondo body filler kit, extra hardener, extra metal screens, the spray foam, and the can of spray paint.

So overall, I was satisfied with the work I did, and I’m happy to say I’ve gotten my first taste of doing body work. I’m also going to say that I may never do body work again. It was a very time consuming process, and it’s very difficult to get the body looking like it’s never had any work done to it. However, the amount of rust damage to my mom’s van only reinforces the necessity of getting an undercoat on your vehicle, and making sure that you keep up with the undercarriage washing. Also, make sure to oil all your car’s parts. In NEPA, I can’t emphasize enough to keep your car clean in the winter. If you have a garage with a wooden floor, that’s the ideal place as the wooden floor will absorb all the moisture that is on your car. A concrete or cement floor is okay, just make sure your garage is warmer than it is outside, and make sure it’s dry.

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