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Old 12-08-2016, 02:05 PM   #1
Bruce/CT
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Default Lead filling on firewall

Hi Barners,

I have welded numerous circular patches into my firewall due to PO loving to drill. Now that they are welded in is it OK to finish the areas with a thin layer of lead?
Thanks, Bruce/CT
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:17 PM   #2
deuce_roadster
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Sure if you know you won't be doing any more welding on it! I learned how to use lead on my avatar roadster. Pretty easy but you must be safe and be sure to clean the acid left over from tinning. I don't think anyone ever fixed a heater, they just went to a junkyard and got another one and punched a couple more holes in the firewall.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:35 PM   #3
19Fordy
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Lead's nostalgic, but with today's modern fillers there's really no need.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:47 PM   #4
51 MERC-CT
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Did auto body repair for a living when lead and Nitro-stan putty was the only thing available.
Today, as '19Fordy' says, no need for lead. So long as thickness is kept to a minimum.
No acid, no tinning, no neutralizing etc.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

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Originally Posted by 19Fordy View Post
Lead's nostalgic, but with today's modern fillers there's really no need.
I agree 100% - when modern fillers are used correctly, they will have less potential issues down the road than lead (the acid seems to 'lurk' in many cases). Also, all the environmental and health issues associated with it . . . I just don't do it anymore. BUT, I still have my cool paddles and files!
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:51 PM   #6
roadster36
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

That reminds me of something I learned when I was first into cars .
I was watching a Dick Falk leading up the firewall on a '34 roadster. He had the firewall on a jig.
When I asked him why he mounted it that way he just said "have you ever seen lead run up hill ?"
I agree with the previous posts- no need for lead with the products out there today.
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Old 12-08-2016, 02:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

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When I asked him why he mounted it that way he just said "have you ever seen lead run up hill ?"
He must have liked to get it nice and hot! The secret is to use just enough heat to keep it semi-molten . . . kind of like a thick paste. Just glad I don't have to do that anymore. Putting it on was one thing, filing it to perfection and then working to clean and neutralize the acid -- that was the real work.

I don't even have any sticks of it left around . . . fine by me.

D
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Old 12-08-2016, 03:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

He asked if it was OK, not if it was the best alternative. All my early Fords have factory lead on seams on them somewhere. His choice. There is probably a couple of table spoons of lead I applied to my roadster and can truthfully say there is no plastic filler on it anywhere--and I painted it black. Haven't used any lead since but wanted to try to get the metal as perfect as I could as a challenge.
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Old 12-08-2016, 03:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Any suggestions for a filler in place of lead ?
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Eastwood sells several kits. Lead is the way Henry did it.
www.eastwood.com/leading+kit
The link doesn't work type in Leading kit
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:02 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

There are still a lot of folks that don't use anything but steel. My first experience with hammer welding was watching an old guy weld up holes in a model A body. He would grind around on the rust holes till he got the thickness back to a weldable range then fabricate a piece of steel to fit the hole by tracing. He made them fit tight and used magnets to hold them. He had an oxy/acetylene aircraft torch with small tips and used it to weld the holes shut working a small spot at a time and letting things cool a bit in between using the dolly to tap the weld joints a bit as he progressed. The fit was tight enough that he rarely used any filler at all. Some warpage can happen in flat panels so the art of shrinking comes into play to relieve that. The hammer and dolly work is usually done to take the shrink out that happens with the welding and help level a weld that has a bit of crown. When you don't use filler, the crowning effect is minimized.

When you do it this way, you can use spot putty to fill the imperfections after filing & grinding.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

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Originally Posted by rotorwrench View Post
There are still a lot of folks that don't use anything but steel. My first experience with hammer welding was watching an old guy weld up holes in a model A body. He would grind around on the rust holes till he got the thickness back to a weldable range then fabricate a piece of steel to fit the hole by tracing. He made them fit tight and used magnets to hold them. He had an oxy/acetylene aircraft torch with small tips and used it to weld the holes shut working a small spot at a time and letting things cool a bit in between using the dolly to tap the weld joints a bit as he progressed. The fit was tight enough that he rarely used any filler at all. Some warpage can happen in flat panels so the art of shrinking comes into play to relieve that. The hammer and dolly work is usually done to take the shrink out that happens with the welding and help level a weld that has a bit of crown. When you don't use filler, the crowning effect is minimized.

When you do it this way, you can use spot putty to fill the imperfections after filing & grinding.
Sounds like you were looking over my shoulder back when I used to do it for a living
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

That description of hammer welding is accurate. I am not an expert on hammer welding by any means, but I did do a couple of real nice repairs ages ago using that technique. And I learned to shrink with heat and hammer.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:12 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce/CT View Post
Hi Barners,

I have welded numerous circular patches into my firewall due to PO loving to drill. Now that they are welded in is it OK to finish the areas with a thin layer of lead?
Thanks, Bruce/CT
Sure. Leading is still being done. Some guys are just afraid to use it. Do your homework and try it. Anybody can use bondo.
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Old 12-10-2016, 11:29 AM   #15
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

NOT sure if any of you ever have seen a periodical table ? gold is at the top or real good--- silver is down the list ----lead is farther down the list and steel is below lead. the theory is if you placed a pound of gold-silver-lead--and steel out in the field. and came back in say 1000 years . the gold - silver - lead would still be there. the steel would be gone. (rusted away ) Now when you put two different metals together the metal on lower place on the periodical table becomes the sacrificial metal the one above. So the steel (your car ) becomes the sacrificial metal to the lead. So this is what I have always said after I learned it ) why put something on your car that can make your car disappear or go away. ( one note : MY 33 roadster was restored in 1971 I redid some lead work that had rusted out. I removed all lead and cleaned what was left of the metal I then re leaded the area . I should have welded in new metal ) NOW 40 + years later the area is going away again --I can repair but paint is old fashion lacquer and the area has striping by ( Tommey the greek )Something that supports my claim ( Steel ships attach huge plates of aluminum to the ship and the aluminum becomes the sacrificial metal so as the ship does not disappear.
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Old 12-10-2016, 11:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

Whizz--I don't buy your theory. If that were true, the factory leaded seams on our old cars would be the first to go. What is more important chemical wise is the valence of the element which also indicates how reactive it is to gaining or losing electrons. When a substance gives up electrons it is called oxidation (Rust, iron oxide a product of oxidation), if it gains electrons it is called reduction. Lead is very non reactive as you note, however, it has no effect on the steel. If subject to an oxidizer (air, water) it would rust whether the lead was there or not. This is Chem 101.
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

I guess you didn't read or understand what I wrote. In order for the steel to become a
sacrificial metal it needs several things. oxygen or as you call it air and as you know air has moisture in it. so the primer and paint keep every thing fine for a period of time---not forever. My point is simple why put something on your car body that can make your car go away. why not use something that has no effect on your car body.
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:52 PM   #18
deuce_roadster
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

So you are saying at some point in the future, when the steel is exposed to the elements that can oxidize it, it will rust because there is lead somewhere near it? It will rust anyway in that scenario whether bondo or lead is near it. I think you are worrying about something that is irrelevant. (Have you never seen rust under bondo? )
I also suspect that a sacrificial metal is only relevant when an electric current (ie electrons) is involved due to either electrolysis or an actual grounding like in a metal hull on a vessel in the water.
I know, in 1000 years let's compare our cars!
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:48 AM   #19
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

I think it's a good idea.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: Lead filling on firewall

(Have you never seen rust under bondo?

Of course metal will rust under body filler. Plastic body filler is porous (spelling) and will absorb water if it gets wet which usually happens before any paint is applied usually due to wet sanding. Get a chip in the paint all the way to the filler and water will soak through to the metal and rust will start, it may take longer that way but it will happen. But in saying that I would use a quality plastic filler before lead in most cases. I refuse to use the word Bondo it was the original plastic filler and wasn't that great not like todays fillers. I have been using Plastic fillers since June 1966 as a professional.
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