View Full Version : if anyone needs bodywork advice, I can help

03-17-2004, 10:33 PM
I logged onto this forum and really totaly forgot to introduce myself, or offer anything of worth to you guys.

Hi, I am John Phillis, and I am a full time autobody technician/frame repair/custom chassis builder/ auto restorer.
If anyone is in need of advice on painting, or doing any of the bodywork on your car, please ask, I will help.

You guys have been extremely honest and polite to me, and there are not a lot of other forums out there, like this one.

If anyone needs anything, I can help. I have been building cars since 1996 and have been an auto body technician since 94. Ten years and counting...

I specialize in the extraordinary, and focus on meticulous detail. I would love to help those who have a wounded bird, in need of some "do it yourself" autobody work. There is absolutely nothing you can't do in your home garage, that professionals would do to yoru car, if you were to take it in for bodywork.

THe skills aren't that hard to learn, you just need to be steered in teh right dorection,a nd I would love to help. I have written many bodywork FAQ's on other boards, and I would be glad to do the same here.

Just let me know if I can be of some assistance, and once again I thank you for your kindness.

03-17-2004, 11:30 PM
That's a great offer John, thanks--and welcome.

The only thing that really irks me about my car is a large, deep scratch (think screwdriver maybe) that the previous owner painted over with touch up paint. It's better than a scratch, but it stands out (to me) in that it's rough looking. Fortunately, it's out of line of sight since it's low on the car. Is wet sanding an option or other technique, or would that endanger the surrounding paint too much? Also, any good tips on spot touch ups so that doesn't happen in anything I might do (rock dings etc). Sometimes touch ups stand out more than the ding.

Andy 94SC
03-17-2004, 11:41 PM
Always good to have more expertise around the site here.

I may take you up on your offer soon John. I've got quite a few things in mind I would like to do with my '95 T-bird, body wise. Plus I have been thinking of trying to learn to do more of it myself because in the past I have not been competely thrilled with the work of some body men who do a job that is just "good enough." But not knowing how to do it myself I haven't had much choice.

03-18-2004, 03:49 AM
Welcome aboard John!

Hey I might be needing some body work done in the near future. My front bumper has a crack in it on the lower driver side ground effect part. There is a body shop here in my town that says that they can weld it back togather and it will look like new again. That is the route I want to go because it is the original bumper. Here is a pic of the crack:


03-18-2004, 08:55 AM
i might be needing work as well.....ive had this problem for 2 years, well it was fixed 2 years ago, and i guess they didnt do a good job cause its coming back.... RUST,,, its on the rocker panal on the passanger side they welded new metal up there but now it looks as if the weld between the metal and the body is rusting along with the old rocker panal backing

Andy 94SC
03-18-2004, 10:56 AM
Actually I do have a quick question, I have a '94 SC rear fascia that I want to put on the '95.

The problem with it is the SC was in an accident and the fascia sat on the car for well over a year with a kink in it. I took it off the car and have tried to straighten it out, but it always pops back into the kinked position. Any ideas how to make the plastic return to its original shape?

03-18-2004, 05:47 PM
Any ideas on how to get the strips at the bottom of the back bumper together when I bought mine for my sc a few were snapped. I dont have a pic got no money for a webcam everything goes in the car :rolleyes:.

03-18-2004, 08:08 PM
I think we scared him away.


03-18-2004, 08:59 PM
You said it John,

"You guys have been extremely honest and polite to me, and there are not a lot of other forums out there, like this one. "


You're right.
This is a different forum. I'm amazed sometimes at how much people will try to solve your problem and go out of their way to help here. It's the pooling of talent from different backgrounds,
and sharing of previous experience with problems or troubleshooting that makes this site invaluable.


03-18-2004, 09:02 PM
wonder if he went to get the book.:)

03-18-2004, 10:59 PM

wow. I should have kept my mouth shut. :)

ok, I'll just start at the top...


there is a lot of different types of plastic that were used to make bumper covers. I have listed some of the most popular plastics typically repaired and or refinished by the automotive industry. There are too many potential plastic types or blends to list them all but these should cover the majority of plastics likely to be encountered in automotive repairs. Physical appearance is generally a decent guide line however a more exacting form of identification is the ID symbol usually located on the back side of the bumpercover.

How to Identify the type of plastic (critical to know before repairs can begin) if there is no identification symbol or it can't be readily accessed. There are two characteristics that we need to determine
1) the type of plastic
2) is the part Flexible, Semi-Rigid or Rigid.

Plastics are generally one of two basic groups Thermo and Thermo-Set. What is generally referred to as type I or type II plastics. Type II plastics are usually in the TPO family and will require the use of adhesion promoter during the repair process. A quick identification method is "sink or swim" by cutting a small slice off the back of the part and placing it into (submerged) a cup of water. Type I plastics will sink ! Type II plastics will swim (float).

Another quick test for types of plastic is a sanding/grinding test if the plastic sands and feather-edges smoothly then it is probably a Type I and will require no adhesion promoter. If on the other hand the plastic gums up and doesn't feather-edge it is a Type II plastic and will need an adhesion promoter. Do NOT use adhesion promoter on all plastics this can cause problems where problems didn't even exist !

here are some common types of plastics used for bumpercover, and there ID letters...

Polypropylene PP
Polyethylene Terepthalate & Polyester PET
Termoplastic Olefin TPO, EPM, TEO
Thermoplastic Polyurethane TPU
Polyethylene PE
Nylon Blend PPO, PA
Thermoplastic Ether Ester Elastomer TEEE

thermoplastics are the kind that can be welded back together, where as, thermo-set plastics cannot be melted and welded properly. I am sure you can do it if you really wanted to, but it's not a legitamit repair technique.

Unfortunately, for you, ford used TPO to make the front bumper cover of your car. therefore, if cannot be welded. there are some GREAT glues out there and that is most likely what they were suggesting, but just called it welding. yes, it can be fixed, but reapir costs for that sort of thing are at a premium.

hope this helps you.


03-18-2004, 11:06 PM

your rust seems to be pretty severe and while I can assure you the repair probably was done decently well, I cannot being to explain the differences in types of rust repair, of different techniques which they probably used, (especially since I can't see the repair from here) :)

The typical rust repair procedure would include cutting out all infected metal and cleaning off allt eh surrounding steel, then making or buying a patch panel to fit over the hole, and welding it in place, assuring that all the infected metal is gone, and then smoothing out and primer/paint.

now, what they could have done was cut out MOST of the rust but left some in. this is common. most people only notice rust when it bubbles out the paint. when that happnes, it is too late to fix it good. by then the rust has eaten completely through teh metla from the inside out, and has left nothing. Traditionally, rocker panels are quite a pain in the the bottom to fix, due to the fact they are hollow pieces and can hold in lots of dirt and water and are almost impossible to paint inside. once they get to a ceratin point, they have to be removed completely and then replaced. that's a large job to do, and therefore, if you didn't pay more than $1000 to get that rocker panel fixed the first time, expect to pay about that much to have it fixed right the next time.

good luck!'

03-18-2004, 11:13 PM
Andy 94SC:

refer to my previous post on types of plastic, adn then let me add that ford's bumper cover is made of thermo plastic, adn therefore cannot be reshaped.

here's how to fix it if you feel brave enough.

get a high speed air grinder with 36 grit flex disks adn grind down along the shapr edge of the kink until you get it thin enough that you can flex it to the right shape, then fill in the grinding marks with SEM bumper repair compound. it is similar to a body filler, but it made of an epoxy resin that is as strong as the bumper cover itself. you must use an adhesion promotor prior to applying any kind of bumper glue.

then block that down wiht 80 grit and then cover and fill small spots with evercoat flex-coat, flexible polyester glazing putty.

sand down to 150-220 grit with a da after blocking with 80 grit, adn then primer.

it's a simple fix that will probably need a much more through explaination from me. i will set links to my other posts on bodywork, or copy/paste them to this forum fo ryou all to read.

basically though, once you get a kink, you are almost always gonan have to replace, unless you want to put some serious timeinto fixing it.

03-18-2004, 11:19 PM

I am not sure as to what strips you are referring to. I am not too familiar with the SC cars. I primarily bought mine for the engine.
Regardless, most pieces of trim are attached with plastic fastners. most fastners are readily available through jobbers, or paint supply houses, or the dealership.

if you can describe how it is attached, I might be able to help you out better. perhaps if you can tell me what year SC I can see if I can dig out a picture, adn get us on teh right track.

pushpins are very common type of fastner. they look like little pine trees, with a big cap head. those types of fastners are generally only good one time ad then they break when removed.

other types of fastners have little clips sticking off of a pin, one on each side, that lock in one way. prehaps those are broke.
or again, it could be a type of pin that is split into 4 pieces and has a push pin runnign through wiht a tapered headm so that when you push the center pin down it spreads the 4 sections.

I honestly dont have a clue as to what you are talking about, so if you can explain better, I might be able to help; you sincerely, and not just feed you this general info.

please respond back!

03-18-2004, 11:21 PM

nope, didn't scare me away! :)

I work full time from 8am-5pm and then sometimes work overtime until 8pm. tongiht was one of those nights. when I am not at work or on the computer, I do sidework from my home garage at nights and on weekends to fund my projects. If I am working a side job, I usually am out there til at least 10 or 11pm, provided I didn't work overtime at work that day. :)

IT's a hard knock life!!

03-18-2004, 11:23 PM

Thanks for the welcome, and I hope you can help me get my Mustang running with the S/C'ed power of the T-Bird engine.


03-18-2004, 11:25 PM

I wrote the book!

I have several articles published and have done a few nice classics. I also, as stated above, have written a few DIY posts on other forums, I will copy/paste them here for you guys.

03-18-2004, 11:53 PM
lol @ wrote the book and I designed the SC :p note: don't kill me for where I placed the spark plugs, made the headgaskets blow so easily,and not putting 3.27's in the 5 speed stock. Just enjoy the fact that I made it fast :rolleyes:. Anywho I'm searchin like a maniac for an underside shot of the rear bumper to show the clips on my bumper thats snapped or have been cut.

03-18-2004, 11:54 PM

I am sorry I didn't see yoru first post.

as far as scratch repair goes, you will first have to determine the depth of hte scratch adn what type of paint the scratch is in. is your car an early car or a late one? is it clear coat or is it single stage? (single stage meaning one step, as in acrylic enamel)

The single stage paint was mainly used on non metallic color cars, built early. I think 1995 was the cutoff for single stage painting from ford, except for fleet vehicles adn trucks.

your car i smost likely a basecoat/clearcoat finish, but to tell fo rsure, you'd have to scuff it, or get some rubbing compound and rub some into the paint lightly wiht a clean white towel. if the towel shows color of the car after some light buffing, it is a single stage paint. if it doesn't show color it is clear coat finished.

if your scratch has gone through the clearcoat, intot he basecoat, there is no hope fo wetsanding it out. if the scratch is just in teh clearcoat, then you show be able to remove it with wetsanding adn buffing. if the car is single stage adn you can only see red, adn no other color in teh depth of the scratch, then it is safe to wetsand and buff, and finally, if you see any color inside the scratch, other than bodycolor, it is not gonna be an easy fix.

however, if you feel like fixing it yoruself, and have a garage, and an air compressor, and would liek to paint it yourself, I am quite ceratin I can teach you how to blend into your exsisting paint strictly relying on this forum to assist you. it's not the complicated. They teach this stuff to high school students at age 16, and by 18, they are professionals. it's pretty simple. (well, not everything is simple, and I would never let an 18 year old work on my car, I was 18 once, adn I know what I did, and what I shouldn't have done, and we won't go there again, because it was a learnign experience, and I am rambling, I'll quit now)

SO, let me know what you find and we can go from there.


03-19-2004, 12:22 AM
John two quick questions.
I see you do side work,how busy are you now?
And do you do custom work?
Oh one more question.....lol
Do you do any airbrush work.
Thanks David

03-19-2004, 12:38 AM
My F-150 Lariat has the vehicle equivalent of skin cancer... Saskatchwan road salt RUST! Plenty of it, too.. I have numerous patch holes where, get this, the previous owner used HOUSE COCKING to patch the rust... HOW? and more importantly, WHY? I havent a clue..

My question is..( funds are quite limited) is it possible to cut these patches out.. then take sheet metal, weld into place, then use bondo to smooth out?

If i had a digicam, i would humor all of you with the numerous open wounds :D (thinking in head) with detail, it could take upto.. 12 shots on a camera

03-19-2004, 12:39 AM

I do side work, but I have a schedule of restos until sept. 2006 at the minimum. I might run over by 6 months or so which would push me into 2007.

I do small odd jobs in between major projects to break up the monotone. I do all kinds of airbrush work, but the rate ($25 per hour) adds up quick when you run into wide designs with more than 10 colors. The last airbrushing work I did for someone was a flag stripe wrapped in barbed wire around the outside edge of the fenders and around the harley davidson isgnia on a motorcycle, and he had $700 in labor in that.
That price doesn't include the cost of materials.
What did you have in mind?

03-19-2004, 12:44 AM
molson, eh?:

^sorry, that's my canadian joke for the year. :)

anyhow, yes, cutting out the rust and then welding in new metal is the only way to insure you are not just temporarily masking a condition.

The best thing to do, would be to cut out all infected areas, and while you have that metal out, reach behind where you normally can't reach,a dn grind out all the rust, and then put a weld-thru primer onto the metal. that will help keep the rust from coming back.

proceed to fill and smooth the welded patches with body filler, adn then finish with an epoxy primer/sealer, or use a build primer and then after wet sanding, seal with epoxy.

03-19-2004, 12:58 AM
why molson? because IIII AAMMMM CAn..... ya im sure you got it.. :D
thnx for the info! hopefully i can make the fixes in the next few weeks

03-20-2004, 11:20 PM
oh jeez, it appears I have scared everyone away now! :)

03-21-2004, 12:43 AM
The time frame your under really won't work for me,that's great that you have that much work it must mean you know what your doing for that many people to come to you.As far as the airbrush work i will get with you on that,it will be a custom job that i have had in my head for a couple of yrs but i need to get a couple of things done first,mainly getting the car painted.Drop me a email and i will explain to you what i'm going to do and you can shoot me a round about price.
[email protected]

MIKE 38sc
03-21-2004, 02:02 AM
How about some links to your articals? I'm always up to learning new things. :)

05-25-2004, 03:26 PM
Let me start with saying I am a very very poor college student. While i can afford a paint job from a friend who paints cars i cant afford to have him patch my dents. So i have been looking around for a book or a tutorial online with some good pictures and good description. Im not willing to just plunge into it until i have some idea of what i am doing.

My dents arent too bad. Mainly door dings and one scrape in the rear quarter. But i do have 2 rust spots. One is under the driver side roll pan (wich i figured i could just do my best because it will be hidden by the ground effects anyway.) but the second is on the pinch weld of the rear quarter for the wheel well. I have expirence welding and i have air tools.

I guess im just wondering if anyone has found a good resource for a step by step beginners book and or online tutorial (college student remember). Borders dosent have anything (not surprisingly).


05-26-2004, 10:18 AM
Anywho I'm searchin like a maniac for an underside shot of the rear bumper to show the clips on my bumper thats snapped or have been cut.

The issue on the 89-93 SC's is that the rear bumper has an opening that runs nearly the width of the bumper in an oval shape. This opening is spanned by ribs of plastic that keep the opening from drooping open.

In a few places along this opening there are actually pieces of steel that do the real supporting of the opening, with the plastic ribs there for show more than go.

John, As you can imagine, over time these ribs tear off of either the bottom or top section of the opening. There are some good pictures of the rear of an SC from low where you can see these ribs at this link:


So the question for you is probably how to re-attach these ribs to their locations on the opening?

They are flat pieces of plastic about one inch wide and 1/8" thick.

09-21-2004, 09:14 AM
John, since you seem to know your plastics, if i cut out some holes in my rear bumper on my '93 SC will the bumper melt if i put some exhaust pipes out of them? I'm seen it done on a stang and think it would look good on my SC. Also, i am almost ready to start my rocker panel job, where's the best place to get complete rocker panels? and i just read that there is some type of glue i can use to attatch my rocker panels that is supposed to be stronger than spot-welding and a little more rust proof because the glue won't melt off the paint like welds would...? thanks for the feedback....here's the forum where i read about the glue.