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Old 03-21-2019, 08:43 PM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
MetalShaper of the Month January 2020, March 2022
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Spartanburg, SC
Posts: 2,813
Default First paying job- oil pan rescue

Not much time lately for any metal stuff while I've been installing a wheelchair lift & deck/lanai for my mother & uncle next door. When a friend from the motorcycle shop called today needing help, I got to do a little project that turned out well enough to be my first paying metal shaping project. We didn't start taking pics until after it was under way. Some are kinda blurry. It's hard to hold the phone-camera still while you're laughing.

Elsmore lives nearby at the motel. He's on disability and spends time around the studio. Good friend and great guy but not much spare cash. Among other things, he makes wine from my grapes (muscadines) every year and brings us some. Yesterday, after following the road worker's instruction at a highway repair site, he apparently hit a massive hole. The oil pan on his 1990 Oldsmobile was nearly destroyed- bent and flattened with deeply folded metal.. He got home, removed the pan today and then called to ask for use of my shop to try to fix it. Since his car was now metaphorically up on blocks out behind the motel, I ran over to give him a ride.

The pan was really hammered. We doubted what could be done to save it. But it was worth taking a break from eldercare tasks for an hour, giving it a try and probably having a few laughs. Soon after I started swinging, I asked him to take a few pics just in case it turned out ok so t could make a simple project thread here.

This shows 99% of the damage from the inside. The pan was collapsed both upward and towards the rear of the car. The folds were up to approx 1/4" wide and some of these were nearly pressed flat, as in almost folded flat back upon themselves. Thankfully, there was no significant gouging or abrasion and no sharp point dents, tears or punctures- just nice soft folds.

Tools used include an arbor press, a donkey dick fender bumping hammer (renamed a Dinky Donk during the process..) Peter's blocking hammer, a pair of regular ball pein hammers and a couple of dollies. All work was done cold. we didn't really know what the original dimensions were. He said the oil pickup location was not in the area of damage.

I explained to him that working backwards would help unlock the folds & damage but that I had never fixed anything like this. We expected lots of stress cracks. As I worked the metal back into place, first over over the shot bag and then on metal block, the folds started to open. Some areas were pushed back into place with the arbor press.

Eventually, I was able to start addressing the ends of the folds. As they unfolded I could work them back towards flat.

I told him about the famous "Key to Bumping Metal" book and the theory of how we had to fix it in the reverse order that the original damage was caused. As I worked the metal back (or at least closer) to original position, the deeply overlapped metal should open up and lie down or at least have room to lie down with a little help. Not sure how we got through it, because we were both between laughing and disbelief during the whole process. we couldn't believe it was working...

I worked slowly and tried to be careful but still had a couple of tears. One occurred on this corner where I overstretched the metal while trying to push metal to open up the deepest fold.

One other small crack opened up nearby along an end portion of the worst fold.

Eventually I did some basic flattening- not to be confused with planishing- before cleaning things up a little before welding up the two cracks. I won't bore anyone with pictures of unimpressive welds.

After welding, we did test it for leaks. after it cooled off, we first tested it with some handy solvent in the Sure Shot. no leaks. Very cool. After that, I decided to pressure test the welds. They held pressure fine, but my wife wanted to know who I had been kissing that wears black lipstick....

A quick wirebrushing and some handy BBQ flat black spray paint and it's a done deal.

No fancy finish work was done or required by Els. No matter, this was a very good exercise for me to practice on a piece I would probably just discarded. I also had no experience unlocking a piece that was folded up like this. It was a good confidence builder and an exercise I would recommend to anyone else.

Call it redneck, lowbuck, shade tree, hack, unprofessional, novice, whatever- We had a great time and Elsmore is really thrilled. He a big fan of my stone work & now thinks I'm a metal magician as well.... Told him he needs to get out more. He insisted on giving me a few dollars for gas for being a taxi service and something for fixing his oil pan. So this is my first legit paying metal shaping job- $27.00! Now all I need is about 49 more of these jobs to come in asap so I can buy that very cool Yoder cast iron bead roller in San Diego that was just posted on here....

Thanks for watching.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:35 PM
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MP&C MP&C is offline
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Nice job Clint!

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Old 03-22-2019, 02:37 AM
Phil Minton Phil Minton is offline
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Location: London, UK
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Great readable thread Clint, thanks for posting. Especially liked the pressure testing photo!
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Old 03-22-2019, 04:21 AM
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Gojeep Gojeep is offline
MetalShaper of the Month March 2015, March 2020,, June 2022,Aug 2023
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Location: Eastern Melbourne, Australia
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Love the kissing one too!
I always think I'm no worse off for trying if it is useable as is. Get amazed a lot when it actually works out too!
aka. Gojeep
Victoria, Australia

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The more brains you use, the less materials you need.
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Old 03-22-2019, 05:55 AM
galooph galooph is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Love it! Thanks for posting, Clint!
Dan Smith
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Old 03-22-2019, 11:25 AM
crystallographic crystallographic is offline
MetalShaper of the Month October '14 , April '16, July 2020, Jan 2023
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Nice pounding Clint. Easy to follow along.
Draw quality steel is really nice to work - and to re-work.
Glad Els has such a good friend...

"All it takes is a little practical experience to blow the he!! out of a perfectly good theory." --- Lloyd Rosenquist, charter member AWS, 1919.
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:54 PM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
MetalShaper of the Month January 2020, March 2022
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Spartanburg, SC
Posts: 2,813

Thanks, everyone.

During the process, I told him about some of the fixes and builds I had watched on here- like Robert's school bus roof repairs, Marcus' Willys build and the recent pics Kent posted of the 289 Cobra front end rework with hand tools- and what I had tried to learn from them about what could be done. He's been anxious for me to get more done with metal as he's a big fan of my stone work.

I told Els I suspected this part was probably dq steel, given the deep shape so that it might come out.
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:28 PM
RockHillWill RockHillWill is offline
MetalShaper of the Month Jan 2019
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,089

Nice job, my friend, I applaud your courage and your success!
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Old 03-22-2019, 04:34 PM
cliffrod cliffrod is offline
MetalShaper of the Month January 2020, March 2022
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Spartanburg, SC
Posts: 2,813

Thanks, Will.

A small update- Elsmore came by this afternoon, soon after my last post, in his Olds with the reinstalled oil pan. he's been driving around town, grocery shopping and more. very happy, no leaks except for a stripped pan bolt that was already there. We're both pretty thrilled.

Even if I make something "great" later on, it will be hard to ever beat this project.
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Old 03-22-2019, 05:38 PM
Charlie Myres Charlie Myres is offline
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Narrogin, Western Australia
Posts: 563

You are a good man Cliffy! I wished we lived closer to each other

Cheers Charlie
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