Second Generation Camaro Owners Group - Sheet Metal Restoration

"Sheet Metal" is essentially ALL SHEET METAL from the firewall back to the rear of the car. It is comprised of various panels spot welded together into one single structure making the car "body".

Section Repairs: Floor | Rocker Panel | 1/4 Panels
Related Components: Frontend sheet metal Related parts | Bumpers

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Exploded Diagrams & parts description of the Camaros Sheet metal & body.

click here to view 70 - 73 Sheet Metal
1970 - 73 Body
click here to view 74 - 77 Sheet Metal
1974 - 77 Body
click here to view 1978 - 81 Sheet Metal
1978 - 81 Body

Sheet Metal FAQ
Here's my recommendation on how to select, buy, shop for or repair your sheet metal....

I've been buzzing up a lot of cars lately, and looking into fixing my own cars as well, and to be honest with you... here's my take on sheet metal and how I'm going to fix my cars.

Obviously how you go about fixing your car is a judgment call. If you're not going to be doing the actual work, you'll want to listen to the input of your bodyman and go about repairing the car as he suggests. He may have his own source of metal anyway.....

A lot of this is based on economics, practicality and feasability. A body shop will usually charge around $60/hour labor. If it takes 3 hours to rework a used fender - that fender cost you $180. A new fender typically costs $155, but it doesn't fit worth a damn.

Benefits of original used metal vs. GM new vs. reproduction quality.
People often say: "I hear bad storys about reproduction stuff". Some sheet metal comes from inferior sources. "Inferior" usually means cheap (thin) steel. Another problem with reproduction sheet metal is the stamping dies used to punch the part out wears out over time, so the part coming out of the press isn't as crisp as an original part. The source for the dies often times is GM. Once they shut down production of a part, they'll sell off their tooling and some other company will continue with production.

The source for sheet metal varies. I generally deal with high quality vendors. I won't mention their name yet, but they're a "good" company. Parts made in taiwan don't necessarily mean the part is cheap - just labor over there is cheap.

I think I like using reproduction patch panels for most of the rear sheet metal. Where possible, I'd prefer to use a FULL original quarter panel to ensure all the creases are crisp along the bodylines. Patch panels often can't provide this, but if you just need to patch some holes at the bottom of a panel, these are fine.

Section repairs.
Rocker panel (replacement)
This panel must be cut off and the new on welded on. pull the fender, sill, seats, carpet, rear inner finish panel & door too. make sure to protect all your glass and anything flammable from sparks. Use a DA to sand around the edges (not necessary but makes spot welds easier to find). take your drill with spotweld cutter, and drill halfway through from the outside each spotweld. there will be a couple at the base of the quarter which you cannot get to. after cutting all the spotwelds,take an air chisle wit a straight blade, and hack off around (below) the bottom of the Quarter panel. then gently separate the outer rocker from the inner using the air chisle. from below you can now cut all the way through the bottom of the quarter spotwelds. grind the metal smooth after straightening the inner rocker flange.Coat with 3M Weld Through Primer. Drill or punch holes(I prefer 5/16")about every 3 inches, clean up/prime as with inner,clamp in place using many vice grips,and making absolutely sure its where it needs to be. plug weld it in place.the Quarter/rocker spots can be reached from inside the car. Grind your welds,prime and apply sealer (always prime before you seal). BE SAFE,USE SAFETY EQUIPMENT.

roof, trunk.

Floor
Interchange:
1970 - 1974 and then 1975 - 1981. The difference is in the passenger side floor. 1975 is the 1st year a catalytic converter is used on the Camaro. To make the converter fit, they had to put a bump in the passenger side floor, right in front of the passenger seat. For all practical purposes, the left hand floor pan is the same from 1970 - 1981. The right hand pan will work from any year, as long as you keep in account wether you want the converter hump or not.

Also, the floor is comprised of compound sheet metal panels spot welded together to form a structure. Replacement floor pans are available, but they often don't contain reinforcement structure and are simply the uppermost piece of sheet metal. They'll patch holes in the floor, but if you have severe rot in the section where the springs mount or where the subframe connects - a reproduction patch panel won't work.

when fitting the new floor or section,leave at least 1/2 inch of the old floor for overlap.drill 1/4 inch holes around the perimeter of the new piece so they fall on the overlap area. Prep the area for welding by grinding off the paint,and spraying with weld thru primer. Remove any undercoating too (unless you want a fire). Protect all your glass from sparks, any upholstry too. Plug weld the holes. You can run a bead if you want after you do the plug welds. Use a good quality seam sealer after you clean and prime the seams (top and bottom)then prime and paint.you should always at least prime before you undercoat,painting first is better(even spraybomb).

Quarter Panels
Interchange:
1970 - 1973.
1974 - unique in that it has a new contour but the flat window like previous models
1975 - 1981. Same contour as 1974, but will have the wrap around window

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Refinishing/Repairing Metal

Stripping paint

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Last updated: 10/20/2011
Author: MadMike Maciolek


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Exploded diagrams courtesy of GM Parts & Illustration Manual