Does Auto Body Panel Adhesive Work?
Welding a replacement body panel on a vehicle can be scary and takes some skill to master without damaging the surrounding metal. We’ve seen numerous welding attempts on body panels that caused more damage than good due to a inexperienced welder. We often get asked if you can glue a body panel or rust repair panel in place on a vehicle. We discuss below.
First of all we want to be clear that structural bonding of body panels isn’t something we suggest or is a common practice. So if you’re looking to bond on A-B-C pillars, rockers, frame members, or crush zones. We DO NOT suggest it. Panel bonding is useful in places where the welding process isn’t possible or isn’t desired due to potential warping or welder skill level. You can successfully fit a non-structural replacement part to a car quite easily using an industrial panel bonding kit.
When using a panel bonding adhesive make sure that you closely follow the manufacturer’s directions are as failure to do so can reduce the strength of the adhesive and the bond between the two panels. We have commonly seen panel bonding kits used to bond door skins, roof skins, quarter panels and truck bed sides in place. The additional benefit of using a panel bonding kit is that it will seal out all corrosion if applied fully to the seam and allowed to completely cure before exposing to moisture or weather.
The process for installing a panel with auto body panel adhesive is fairly straight forward no-matter the brand used.
- Remove all paint, coatings, and rust- Just like when welding a panel in place we suggest removing all prior coatings from the panel. Panel bonding will not be effective if you leave old coatings or rust in place.
- Repair damage metal and fit replacement panel- Make sure that you fit all of your panels dry before applying panel bonding adhesive. Once the adhesive sets up you won’t be able to adjust the panel. We suggest using panel clamps to locate the panels during mock-up.
- Prime any Hard to Reach Locations- If the panel has areas that are bare metal or will be difficult to reach after the repair we suggest applying primer while the vehicle is apart for repairs. This way you can assure everything is sealed up ahead of time. Be sure to leave the panel seam clean while priming. Eastwood 2k Aerospray Epoxy Primer or Self Etching Primer are our choices for these types of jobs.
- Clean panel joints- We suggest cleaning all surfaces that will be bonded together with Eastwood PRE Panel Prep ahead of time. This will remove all remaining grease, dirt, and residue left over from handling the panel.
- Apply Panel Bond to Panels- From here you want to follow the manufacturers instructions as to how you apply the adhesive to the panel but most require a liberal bead put along the entire panel and immediate clamping of the panels together.
- Wipe off excess- There is a small window where you can wipe off excess adhesive that may have been forced out of the seam when you clamped it all back together. Use a plastic body filler spreader or PRE on a rubber glove to smooth and remove excess.
- Remove Panel Clamps- After the directed curing process is over you can remove the panel clamps and do your final body work before priming and painting the panel for a lasting repair.
To see our entire line of auto body panel adhesive kits visit our site HERE.