For someone without any welding experience yet: a: Should I get a MIG and practice (May be fun) or b: Would I die trying? How can I go about learning to weld, and how much welding is needed in the engine compartment of a 65' coupe?
I bought a 120VAC Licoln Welder SP100? or SP120 years ago, I forget, the whole setup with tanks and everything was around 500-700 dollars. It is an excellent little welder, I learned to weld by just practicing and using the thing.. I'm probably not the best welder in the world now, but I can certainly weld reasonably well. The cost of doing one major repair job yourself pays for the thing. And once you have one, you will wonder how you lived without for so many years
I see hundreds of different ones on the market. What should I look for amperage/voltage wise? Also, what's good to practice on? Just a few scraps bolted together? And in the engine compartment, should I just sand down the old panels that are still good or replace them if I'm already replacing some? Thanks guys!!!
If your just doing auto body work, you can get away with a normal 110-120 volt MIG welder, you will have to go to 220 volt if you plan on using it for very heavy items. I have a huge old Lincoln 220V stick welder that I use for heavy stuff, but I use the small MIG welder 95% percent of the time.
I wouldn't replace any non-rusted or non-damaged panels, just sand or sand blast them and replace the damaged pieces. typically to cleanly remove a panel, you will need a spot weld cutter (some people use a drill)... once you get the old panel off, you can weld the new panel on by "plug welding" the holes you just drilled. This takes very little skill, just make sure the heat is high enough as most people weld with the heat too low.
Pulling the motor is not really very hard to do and would make any major repairs you seem to be planning much easier. I can pull my motor in under two hours and I don't have a cherry picker. I just use a cable come-along. I perfer to drop the trans first and then pull the motor streight up. To reinstall, I perfer to have the flywheel/clutch installed and drop it streight in. Good luck