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Discussion Starter #1
Still trying to decide whether to keep my sharp looking 66 coupe that was never restored underneath. Got these estimates for welding work, do they seem reasonable? Any VMF'rs out there take on moonlighting welding jobs? ;-)

I do all my own mechanical work, but I've never welded before and really don't have the space in the garage for this kind of work

Estimates I just got (sight unseen by the way):

"" Naturally, nothing can be exactly estimated, especially sight unseen.
However, I have "typical" cost from our shop.

Rear frame rails (I assume you mean the last 20-30", not the whole rail)
with attendant trunk floor repair, $1500 each.

Left front frame rail, with associated shock tower damage (I have assumed
you have a V8 engine) the entire rail, $3000.

Cowl leaks, (we don't see easy ones any more) $2844.

For your decision process, any shop who will perform these repairs for
less will be taking shortcuts. This means, of course, that a replacement
restored car should be carefully examined to determine whether it was
repaired properly, as well. ""
 

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Total "typical" estimate=$8844.00.

I don't know if these numbers are "fair" or "typical", but I do know I'd be looking for a donor car right about now.

Unless your car has some serious sentimental or collector value, I just don't know how that expense can be justified.

Just my opinion though. Others will differ I'm sure.
 

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MIG Welder w/ tank $500
3 Tanks of mixed gas $60
10 Pounds of wire $30
Welding Helmet w/ #8 Shade $25
Rear Frame Rails w/ Torque Boxes $500
Front Frame Rail and associated Sheet metal $500 (guess)
Cowl Patch panels $200 (guess)
Misc. Spot weld cutters and bits $100
Seam Sealer (brushable and caulk type) $50
Other Stuff you'll find once you start $1000
300 hours of your time $0

The satisfaction of doing it yourself...Priceless.

Phil
 

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I am particularly fascinated by the $2844 "estimate" for the cowl. Sounds like Data on Star Trek! I think it would be helpful to determine what the hourly shop rate is at that shop so that you can really compare apples to apples when seeking other estimates. If it's $50 per hour that's approximately 160 hours of time (plus parts). What does the Mitchell manual call for in the way of time?

From a customer's point of view, the manner in which the quotes were given causes me to be wary. Rather than tell you that they do the best work in town with multiple MCA Gold national cars on thier resume, I hear him trying to scare/bully you into spending whatever he says it costs.

Overall, though I have no first hand experience with these types of repairs the quotes do seem steep to me. If you are inclined to go with this guy, I'd ask for and thoroughtly check out references before entrusting your car and check book to him.
 

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Looking a Phil's estimates of materials cost, the difference between the shop estimate works out to less than $21.00 an hour. If you can earn a NET of $21 an hour or more (after taxes and expenses) in your OFF-WORK time (in other words your wage rate during the day is irrelevant to this calculation) then you "should" hire this done, if not then consider doing it yourself. As Phil mentions though if you can do it yourself you will have a "priceless" experience. Of course if you have it done by a "real" professional you'll have a guarantee!

I will someday have the pros do the welding, body repair work and painting. Lots of mechanical (some brakes, suspension, basic repairs) and cosmetic (interior stuff) work I've done, or will do, myself.

I would get a second and third quote though! Let them thuroughly inspect the car when they prepare the bid.

John Harvey
 
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Seems a litte high to me. Do it yourself. I am currently doing most of the same work you mentioned. I was very hesitant in the beginning, but my neighbor said just do it and I will help. I said if you help I will. Well he has not helped much but just points me in the right direction. It is a lot of time, but not as hard as you would think. Actually it's been fun. So far I have spent $1000 on parts, and I have replaced the entire driver and passenger floor pans and I am ready to weld the new rear frame rails in and the new trunk floor. If I can do it, so can you.
 

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It sounds like this car is definitely a welder’s forte car. If you know how to weld this car is worth it. I can give you a tip on taking welds loose. Take a look at the Eastwood Company. They have a tool that you stick in your drill and it will cut the ring of the weld loose and part of the panel your removing. You will just have to take a regular drill bit and drill a pilot hole first for centering on the weld spot. Then keep the drill perpendicular to the surface and in the center of the weld so that you don’t drill more than what you need to. Go slow. Once the welds are loose the panel can be pulled away, all you have to do is grind the weld spots back down without removing any of the surface underneath and smooth out the weld ring. It’s a good idea to get two bits, one for backup. They cost about $15 ea. Best of luck to you.
Brent
 

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That shop sounds like they went fishing with those prices.They must have alot of work and were throwing you prices to see if you would bite becouse they have to much work,and see you as a cash cow.Or they are really bad and have to make the last 6 months rent with your car.Either way drive away and never look back. Matt
 

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Hello, I am not a pro at this by any means. I recently had both front floors replaced, one front frame rail ( floor support), and install of subframe connectors, I supplied the parts, they did the work (welding, cutting out of the old in with the new) and that cost me $800. Now the car is in the final time for outer body work, repair of cowlings, all exterior body work, alignment of new metal (fenders, hood, front valence, new radiator support, etc.) and complete paint job...... price $4500.00........... so I am spending about $5300.00 total. I think that is a pretty good price......your estimates sound pretty hefty to me, especially sight unseen....hope this helps....Kalin
 

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Get some one from the friends to help you out, learn how to weld and that will get your satisfaction. You will use it for the future, if you need to restore another ones later on. Plus know how to weld will save you a money around the house.
Just my 2cents
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the tips guys. This car does not have a lot of sentimental value (not like my Tbird, which was my dad's car). However, I DO like the car and have always loved Mustangs. I used to be intimidated by mechanical work, but overcame that over the years (I now do most if not all my work on all three of my cars). The fear of the unknown is what scares me I guess. Having never welded, I wouldn't know where to begin.

One big concern, without a hoist, or rotesserie, are these undercar repairs even possible? Does the engine & trannie need to be removed?

Thanks again.
 

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"NO"
 

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Another option to learn to weld yourself is to take a welding or auto body class at a local community college. The auto body class will let you bring the car in to do the work there. They'll have the welder and all necessary tools, and the instructor will be able to teach you how to weld properly. I did a bunch of welding on my car when I took the auto body class. Learning to weld really isn't very difficult.
 

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You can rent or borrow the hoist to remove the engine. Strip what you need to strip the car to get at the bad areas. Using the rotisserie will put undo stress on the car if you plan on doing the metal work while it's on it. I would get it level, well supported high off the ground, take very careful and accurate measurements and take your time.
1. Buy a good wire feed welder.
2. Take a class in welding
3. Ask for advice on VMF
4. Practice welding on scrap pieces.
5. Buy the spot weld cutters at Napa
6. Do one section at a time
7. Buy weld thru primer, a good grinder, and face shield
8. Flapper discs smooth out the welds real nice.
9. Etching primer after on bare metal.
10. Get together all your friends together that owe you one and enlist their help.
11. purchase all that you need at once and the shipping is usually cheaper or free if over a certain amount.
12. have fun
13 start looking for the next project car.
Good luck and those prices he quoted you are pretty high.
Price out the parts you need and you will see he is charging you alot for the work. The cowl sounds like the most troublesome area on the early Mustangs. I'm just glad my cowl was in good shape.

With $8400 in body work do you think you will even get close to that amount if you sell it?
Maybe sell it and find one that needs alot less work.
 

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To anwser both of your questions. The quotes are utterly outrageous!!!! The PO of my car had the rear framerails done (the last 20-30 inches) and the cost including materials was less then a grand. I do not recall exactly but I have the receipt at home. When I bought the car one quarter was cut off and the other was about 40% gone. The last 8 inches of both rockers needed replacement and both outer wheelhouses needed replacement. I had an estimate to repair all of those items for about $1500 (shop charges $55 and hour) not including parts. The parts total less than $500. I borrowed a welder from a friend of my father in law and have taught my self to weld and the $1500 I saved paid for my wheels and tires.

Now the next question. I would remove the engine and trannie just to minimize the weight on the frontend while you do the repairs. The added weight might make the dimensional measurements inaccurate. As for a rotesserie or a hoist you won't need/ be able to use either while replacing the framerails, because the rotesserie mounts to the framerails. You would need many jackstands to accomplish the framerails. Then you could rotesserie it for the floors, or by the time you get to floors you will be a welding guru and could just butt weld them together.

How to begin.
1)Get a book on welding.
2)Go to local welding supply store. Tell them what you need to acomplish using a welder and ask their advice.
3)Go get 2 more quotes from a different repair shops.
4)Determine if welding is a skill that you want to acquire.
5)Act on previously mentioned steps.

And remember ugly welds can be ground down and then they look really nice. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif
 

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I would think you'll need the engine out. If for no other reason then you are going to completely screw up the paint in the engine compartment. Plus, you'll eventually need to get to the back side of what you are working on anyway, so you might as well start by pulling the engine. Some say it's much easier to pull the tranny too. I don't know. I've only pulled my 289 once and I left the tranny in. Next time I'm going to pull the tranny just so I can say I've done it both ways.

You can rent or borrow a hoist. If you pull the engine by itself, you might want to get an engine stand to put in on until it's ready to go back in. Just an idea.

Phil
 

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it depends on the level of work being done... if you want the repairs to be concours for instance, you might expect to pay those figures or perhaps more... however, if you are just trying to get a vehicle back on the road, those prices are too high, there are shortcuts that can be taken when doing these types of repairs
 

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Continue shopping and ignore shops which don't want to examine the vehicle in person before submitting a written bid.

You can do it yourself and; if the car isn't wrecked, it isn't really that hard, just time-consuming.

I built the race car at the age of 21 on a couple of I-beams welded together sitting on jackstands, along with many hours of tedious labor and measuring to get everything right. Ah, the energy of youth! *G*

If you've never welded, but are mechanically inclined, and don't have the time for school, go down to your local welding supplier and express interest in a MIG welder in your price range. Ask for them to demo the machine and then have them show you how to use it. I think you'll be surprised how easy it is. The rest is just measuring, fit-up, and welding practice on similar materials in similar positions before going to work on the actual panels.

Do a bit more research on both fronts and get back to us with your impressions...

Good luck!
 

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One of the guys in our club just had the cowl replaced by a mustang resto shop. Cost was $700.
 
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