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Old 04-07-2016, 07:26 AM   #1
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Aluminum door repairs NOT IN USA??

I scraped and dented my lower cargo door door. Took the door off and to several body shops (RV and auto). Called several more shops. Was tond by everyone " oh you can't repair aluminum. I have a stainless steel strip going along the bottom also. That will have to be replaced? The door will require a "new skin". Bids were from $3000 to $4000. We go to Rocky Point Mexico every year to stay with our coaches. Get them washed, hand waxed, and hand polished $1.50 a foot. They also do body work right there on the beach. They came and took door. Brought it back repaired , straightened stainless steel piece and looked PERFECT! Painted it and color match was as good as it could possible be. TOTAL COST $250!!!! I've had them do body work for me in the past. Never disappointed. Just don't understand why shops in US won't do this work at any price? Wonder what owners of new ford pickups are going to do for their repairs. I'm USA all the way but sometimes we are behind in some areas. Just wanted to post so if you need body work and are close at all to Rocky Point. Take a few days and stay on ocean front $29 per night) and get her repaired.

Safe travels all

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Old 04-07-2016, 07:30 AM   #2
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I was talking to the body shop manager at a local Ford dealer and he said they are learning/struggling with the nuances of the F-150 aluminum body. Different tools and techniques are needed.

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Old 04-07-2016, 08:16 AM   #3
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You can repair aluminum. just need the right equipment (welding alum is not same as steel) and products (body filler, etc.). $250 is what I would expect to be charged to fix scratched and dented door. We have one we dented last year that I'll be fixing myself as soon as the weather gets a bit warmer. I expect these new F150 to be a bit of a learning curve as I hear much of the panels are bonded rather than welded. We'll see how that works out.
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:13 PM   #4
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I surely don't know why body shops are discouraging the repair of aluminum panels. Heck, if you watched any of the older "Jessie James" motorcycle building and modifications, he (and many others of that profession) would work aluminum like it was bubblegum. When they were done, it was fantastic looking. The contours, paint, shapes and a whole lot more looked just great. I've welded (TIG) aluminum for years and, while heat will affect its structural integrity a bit different than steel, it's still a workable substance.
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Old 04-07-2016, 12:32 PM   #5
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This is not an answer to the original post, but something to think about. U.S. business have to contend with the EPA, Mexicans don't. Certain procedures (including repairing it on the beach) are prohibited in the U.S or heavily regulated to the point which the cost is driven up dramatically. Materials are regulated, waste disposal, employment practices, you name it. Our industries have not been going offshore just for the heck of it.
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:27 PM   #6
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I had one cargo door crunched. It was all aluminum with a curved bottom piece. I took the bottom piece to a shop and they fabbed me a new one for $90. I purchased a sheet of aluminum for the face, which was $50. Put it back together myself, bought a pint of match paint for $60. Brought it to a body shop and had it painted for $120.

I found a used one in Tennessee at an RV salvage yard. $700 plus shipping.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:08 PM   #7
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Yup. Been going to Puerto Penasco for 10 years and have watched the guys there perform miracles with what they have to work with. Watched a guy with claw hammers and cold chisels work wonders with a bay door.

I have also seen some miracle repairs of fiberglass also
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by PanJH View Post
I was talking to the body shop manager at a local Ford dealer and he said they are learning/struggling with the nuances of the F-150 aluminum body. Different tools and techniques are needed.
The repair processes on the new Ford P/Us are driving up the owner's insurance costs too.
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Old 04-10-2016, 12:25 AM   #9
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Aluminum= Learning curve

Part of the problem is the reluctance to learn anything new by so many repair guys/gals. Aluminum bodies have been around for 50 years on some European cars. Many of those supercars have aluminum in their bodies as well. Body shops aren't going to spend $ to learn new things if they can stay busy doing the 1980's repairs for another 30 years. When they start getting hungry they'll start looking around and learn some thing new.
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Old 04-10-2016, 05:10 AM   #10
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Most US body shops have never worked with aluminum. Need to look for someone experienced in aircraft repair. Also as cars (and trucks to a certain extent) are coming with more and more "polymer" parts on them it has become less of a repair business and more of a replace parts business. I work with a couple of guys that make a small fortune on the weekend because they still know how to use lead body fill (DON'T tell the EPA) and heat shrink metal.


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