Intro: Pull a Car Dent Using a Telephone Pole
I bought a car with a major dent on the driver side rear quarter panel and rear door. Instead of buying a door panel and quarter panel, I decided to pull the dent. Using a slide hammer and stud welder was not the best method for this dent removal (Spent a couple days pulling it this way). Seeing no progress from the slide hammer, I decided to quit for a couple days. While taking out the trash, I saw the telephone pole outside of my garage and thought that it would be a good way to pull my dent using the method described in this Instructable.
This instructable can be dangerous. If you are not confident in your welding ability or equipment, then don't try this at home.
I had a weld snap once on this instructable and the strap went flying towards the pole. The ratchet handle broke on the tie down strap (releasing tension) after pulling four different parts of the dent. Luckily I was out of the way when both incidents happened.
Required Tools and Materials-
Ratcheting Tie Down Strap
A Solid Object (Telephone Pole, Brick Wall, Tree, ETC.)
Metal Coat Hanger
Spray Paint (Two Colors)
Automotive Paint (Color Matched to Car)
Spray gun and Compressor
Cleaning the Area
In order to pull a dent using this method, you will have take the paint off the car. I used the angle grinder with a flap disc attached because it took the paint off quickly. I then used a drill with a wire brush to clean up the area where I will be welding.
Creating the Anchor
Take half of the metal coat hanger and bend it into a U shape using the pliers.
Welding and Pulling
Have someone hold the two points of the coat hanger in the position that is needed and tack weld one of the sides. Then the other point. Put a couple of tacks around the points in order to have a more secure anchor point. Attach one end of the tie down strap to the solid object (telephone pole, brick wall, etc.) and attach the hook to the hanger on the car. Slowly ratchet the tie down strap. Keep ratcheting until the area is at the position needed. It is best to start from the shallowest part of dent and work towards the deeper part. Cut off the coat hanger, position it onto the next shallowest part of the dent, and repeat the welding and pulling until the dent looks close to original.
After getting the metal as close to the original shape as possible, grind down the nubs left by the coat hanger using the grinding wheel. Then use body filler and spray it with a light color spray paint. After each thin coat of body filler, sand the filler with progressively lighter grades of sandpaper until the finish is smooth. Spraying a different color spray paint and sanding would show the low spots on the area and show where to focus more body filler or less sanding. After getting it smooth and to the shape desired, spray the whole thing with the light colored spray paint in order to protect it from the weather.
When the weather is not as cold or as wet as it is here, the whole area will be sprayed with the original color bought from an automotive paint shop and color sanded to blend into the paint that surrounds it.
This method is not something I would do to a classic or collector car. Replacing the panel is the best way. This is the poor man's way to fix a dent on a daily driver that will probably end up being crushed when its done serving it's purpose. I could not open the door before pulling the dent and now it can open/close without any problem. It is never going to be close to how it came from the factory and you can tell there was damage, but at least it looks better than it did.