How To Find & Fix Low Spots In Body Work
October 9th, 2018
You can't beat looking down a low panel and seeing that perfect reflection. But on vehicles like square body pickups, with long and flat bedsides, you can easily see the low spots if it hasn't been body worked correctly. Here are a few quick and easy ways to find those spots.
Your first option is to take a straight edge and run it down the bedside the whole length of the bed. Anywhere there's a gap between the straight edge and panel is a low spot, so make a mark to know where to bodywork.
Another option is to use a sanding block with 80-grit paper and evenly drag is across the panel. You're not trying to sand anything away, but anywhere the 80-grit doesn't scratch is a low spot and you know it needs to be filled in.
Now that the low spots in the panel have been found you can get to work filling them. You can either scuff the entire vehicle with a red scuff pad and coat the entire vehicle in a coat of epoxy primer and then fill right over that. Or if you only have a few spots to hit, you can use an angle grinder and 36-grit. Grind away the primer where you plan to apply the filler. The 36-grit will rough up the metal enough to give the filler something to grab on to.
When it comes to filler, you have lots of options. As with anything, you get what you pay for. With cheaper fillers, they tend to have pinholes when you spread it on the panel which means it traps air pockets so when you start to block it they come out so you have to go back and putty those holes which makes more work. Plus they get hard when they set up and can be like sanding concrete.
With better grade fillers there's less of a chance for pinholes and it tends to mix and spread more easily. The biggest advantage is how easy it sands. Who doesn't like an easier job? The general rule of thumb is that for every golf ball size of filler you want to add a pea size of hardener.
Pro tip: When you mix it, don't stir it. That actually creates air pockets. You want to pallet the filler which will push any air out that may be in there.