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Fuel filler, welding, bottom fuel pipe grommet


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Hi all

I decided to refurb the fuel tank whilst its mostly stripped out to remove the bumper. The tank has external surface rust - nothing significant so will repaint, internally pretty shiny with only minor blemishes BUT I think i'll use POR15 to line the tank for peace of mind in the future.

1) Whilst out I noticed a small gap in the bodywork (floor). The metal is sound both sides so I think it just needs a seam HOWEVER I've never welded and don't own one but am keen to have a go. So any

advice on a machine that will cover car restoration (I understand a gas Mig with a decent low 30Amp or lower minimum would be best for thin bodywork.



The small gap can be seen left of the carpet on the wheel arch.

2) Secondly I assume there must be a grommet to fill in the fuel pipe hole?

3) Fuel filler cap locking mechanism. Basically the key occasionally gets jammed and the actual hinged catch doesn't fully seat/catch so can pop open. I think I need a new lock barrel but they don't seem to be available. Any advice on how to refurb this?


I don't know if I have to extract the roll pin to strip it down or could manage without.

Many thanks










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I have just bought an R Tech, though not had a chance to use it yet. Excellent reviews about the welders and customer service/back up. 3 year guarantee. Uk manufactured with Siemens parts.

One of the things I like about it, is a the full range of Voltage, rather than a maybe four settings, that I have seen on the cheaper ones. 

Bit more pricey than a most out there.

I'm sure folk will be on here with other options.


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Hi Adrian,

your top photo gives the impression of a serious amount of rust lurking there.

Before you spend decent money on a welder that you have never used before it may be better to remove all the muck/paint/sealant from that whole area and see

exactly the extent of the problem.  The gap does not ;ook as if it has clean metal either side.  You can't weld rust.



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I have just ordered an Oxford mig, built to order but goes down to 30 A (or is it 20?)

I considered an R tech as they too have great reviews and reputation. But an inverter mig may not be ideal to get left in my garage? So went old fashioned transformer mig.

However, if "starting out" the no! rule is to get on the mig welding forum. And avoid SIP hobby migs like the plague. Also avoid wolf, and anything oddball.

The best are probably Clarke. And I built 2 cars with a 90A clarke, not even fan cooled. Fine for bodywork, took ages doing the outriggers on my vitesse as it kept overheating. But if it were fan cooled it would have been better. And you can pick decent used migs up for under £100, I used a Butters 130a for a while, lovely bit if kit, and a snap on mig that I repaired (wire feed motor) that was again a nice little welder. My main welder for the last 8 years has been a Clarke gasless 150A, used to build my Spitfire, repair my Toledo (more than I care to mention) plus assorted other car related jobs and fabricating stuff up to 5mm.


As Roger says though, first job is a grinder and before that gets plugged in, a face mask, goggles and so on to get the area clean. A wire cup brush is good and aggressive, but suggest a leather jacket and full face protection. The wires come out and embed themselves rather too often.

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Thanks for the info. The lock cleaned up nicely and once everything was straightened and put back together the cap is now usable again. 

Re the muck in the back, that was taken immediately on removing the tank so I know a bit more digging / wire brushing may reveal further problems. I think £4-500 is a bit out of my budget, but no doubt a great machine.

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Hi all. Been doing some reading around and am looking at the Clarke mig130en so can be converted to gas. Any views? Comes to around £400 with mask etc. I’m looking at the hobby mig tips, I assume there are no special bits, etc. Haven’t ordered yet but welcome your views.



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Maybe I am being tight, but £400 for a clarke 130A machine sounds a lot. The Rtech are only £480ish, and streets ahead in terms of quality. A Euro torch is nice over a hobby type too.

Have a look around, if you want to keep costs sensible there are often good used migs available, but best to have somebody who has some experience along with you to see if all is well. 

The 5mm tips are fine and easily available, been getting mine via ebay for years.

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22 hours ago, Adrian said:

looking at the Clarke mig130en so can be converted to gas. Any views? Comes to around £400 with mask etc. I’m looking at the hobby mig tips, I assume there are no special bits, etc

I have Clarke 151TE (which is not hard-wired, indeed my garage's electric supply is just an extension lead ),  but then I only use one power hungry device at a time. (ie., I do not have the fan heater on at the same time as I weld).   I used to have a Clarke 100 gas/no gas.  

One of the advantages of Clarke tools for me is that Ipswich, my nearest town, has a Machine Mart ..with an informed salesman (he restores American classics) and they sell and stock the parts for these machines.  The 131EN from them is listed at £288 inc VAT.,  and a welding mask headset is £60.

My experience is that the no gas flux-covered wire tends to splatter a great deal and also the welding tip overheats and then the wire sticks (..very frustrating).  Argon shield gas flows passed and cools the welding tip a little and its weld is cleaner  ..which for a novice like me helps get the thing set up to work half decently.  On the 100, after the first (and very short) reel of no-gas welding wire I switched to using gas from a bottle. I then switched to Argon-shield with gas regulator gauges.  That machine would weld to 3mm thick plate, so was fine for body panels and even for chassis thickness steel.  I did a lot of 16swg box section tube welding with that machine - very handy to make things with.  

IMO the fluxed wire is handy for mobile use where you don't want to transport a bottle and regulator, but otherwise isn't worth the extra effort in cleaning up.  The very small gas bottles with a simple screw valve are again hardly worth it.  Their gas (per cc) is expensive and a regulator gauge also helps your setting it up to weld nicely.   However bigger bottle do cost in their deposit and then rental ..even when they are not used for months on end.  Regulators are not cheap to buy, so if you're going to need them anyway - perhaps its best to buy a machine already equipped, and don't bother with the no-gas experimental stage. 

Welding masks which often come with 'starter machines' are hand-held - which again makes life difficult.  A decent welding mask (head-set) with auto dipping, that straps to your head (so both hands are then free) is a necessity ..when you need to hold a repair patch in place and tack weld it at the same time.  There is a broad selection of clamps for holding your work in place, but I'd suggest you try and do some welding first before you spend out on a set of tools you'll barely use. Most don't reach further than 30-50mm from the panel's edge or large hole, so often a drill and rivet or self tapper screw (into a spire-clip) does a better job.  Personally I most often use an old pair of pliers or long-nose grips (vice grip, mole grips, whatever) to save burning my fingers, and an old screwdriver to hold repair panels down. 

Steel 'grips' are also useful to clamp onto the narrow edge of a panels or perhaps onto a bolt ..then the earthing clamp can be clipped onto that. There's also magnets being sold to clip onto as a welding earth. I like the idea but not their price so I've not yet tried it. Still the metal would have to be bright under it.  I have an old speaker magnet which I'll try sometime to see how well it works. Metal g-clamps and even sash-clamps of various sizes are similarly useful for holding bits in place and pulling things square. Likewise  'tarp-clamps'  (the big and strong clips for holding tarp covers on a market-stall stand) can be useful along a flange or panel edge ..like the door surround and the sills..  After all these years I still don't own any purpose designed welding grips.  If I'd ever needed such a tool - I'd probably adapt an old pair of mole grips, but I haven't yet needed to.  

I suspect all brands of home-garage machines are made with crappy power and earth leads. Their earth leads always seem to be a meter too short and of too small a cross section, and their earthing clamps have very small contact edges for the task.  I've not used the 151 very much except to make a tiny wood burning stove for my boat, but I'll be replacing its power lead so I won't need to plug into an extension lead when the welder is used anywhere within the garage.  Similarly I've recently bought a new earthing clamp and will be swapping out the earth lead for a longer and substantially heavier gauge wire (..wire thickness of good quality battery jump-leads is needed). These cables need to be good otherwise electrical resistance lessens the effectiveness of your welder, which again makes your task unnecessarily difficult.

Tip Often the first thing a professional welder does is to temporarily tack an old bolt onto a panel &/or rusty frame tube ..as a convenient earthing point. And then once any other panel or tube is even tacked into place - the whole welded assembly is similarly earthed ..this being very much quicker than constantly trying to find a convenient and clean / bright-metal place to earth onto. One of the keys to achieving a decent weld is to have a decent earth.  ...And one route to instant frustration is through a crappy earth lead, when you're all poised to tack a piece in place !

The other key to achieving a good weld is to have clean metal to weld to. That means where you're welding needs to be stripped back of rust and all coatings, both electroplated and painted.   ie., it's best linished to bright steel.   So you might want to invest in a small abrasive disc sander for steel &/or a powered file.  A wire  or abrasive-fibre wheel on a decent cordless drill is useful to get in the corners of panel overlaps, but they don't cut the mustard quickly enough on flat surfaces.  The power file is surprisingly useful because it gets along edges and into corners where a disc grinder is less effective ..and it doesn't tend to splatter everything else with red hot grit.  So you might want to budget for these tools and also grinding goggles.  Also cheap (disposable) spectacles are a worthwhile economy. 

With respect to both grinding and welding - their splatter burns into glass, ruins chrome and aluminium trim, melts through the car's soft trim, and burns into window rubber and seals,  wooden dashboards,  hair and skin.   Skin is mostly easy enough to avoid nasty ones, for example ; think not to cup your hands where a splatter of weld can land ..and wear an old hat.!  You'll learn soon enough !  Personally I don't get on with gloves so I'm just careful.. Grinding splatter is a sneaky sod., working at the bench the other week I was wearing a body warmer. It now has a hole melted though it by the pocket. 

The last classic car I had "professionally" welded had grinding bits of steel burnt into most every door glass, the inside and outside of the windscreen and rear window. If I ever meet that guy again I should want to chop his tanglies off.!   So.., fireproof sheets, screens or covers for everything else in the car ..and in the garage.!  Oh, by the way, the car's battery also needs to be disconnected, perhaps also the wires off your alternator and anything else that might be sensitive to spikes of high voltage. 

Youtube guides to setting up you welder, like < this > ought to give you an insight to the procedures, &/or otherwise you might sign on for a session of night-school classes.  Take your own welder along at some time ..so the lecturer can show you how best to set it up. 


All the above must seem quite daunting but, and in short ;  mig welding is dead easy ..if the metal is bright and your gear is set up correctly.  And like so many things - these come down to preparation. 

Note. I perpetually live on a tight budget so what I have is mostly second hand.  My welder for example was bought locally but off e-bay for about £130, complete with regulators and spare welding tips and a couple of reels of wire. 

Hope that has been helpful.  Pete.


And yes, the mig welder will weld stainless too, although on the flue pipe and doors of this stove its just mild-steel welding wire I've used.


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..I've just found a couple of pictures  *1 of my repairs to a 1973 Citroen Ami,  done in March '17 when I first bought the Clark 151.  These lightweight Citroen inner wing flanges were made of thin gauge steel and then frayed with rust and otherwise split. 

Before . . .


During the repair . . .


And thereafter fettled and painted . . .


Although the Clark 151 are said to weld metals up to 5 or 6mm thick (..huh, on a good day !).  These repairs were made using so low a setting (the repair pieces were 18swg)  that they might just as equally have been done using a Clarke 90 mig welder.


*1 Sorry the photos are all small and low resolution but they are off my website, as the originals were lost when my computer's hard-drive crashed.


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I have a 151, always used with a 13A plug, and much welding done via a long extension lead from the house. (until I ran the 32A supply to the garage, but still have a 13A plug on the welder) And there has been a fair amount at full power. No fuses blown.

When my new 180A welder arrives, I will use that with a 13A plug. But I reckon it will blow the fuse if used on full power. (or maybe not! plug fuses will run at over 13A for a while, depending on how much over)

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First welder was a SIP, never the same after it overheated, currently have a Butters, used on car, made gates, stainless parts etc. Once you have a welder you will be surprised how useful it is.

There are some really cheap reactive helmets available, I would not trust them.



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I bought the Clarke 151 simply because that just happened to be the best machine at the price ..within a sensible collection distance of where I live.  Likewise it is on a standard 13a plug.  I was actually hoping to find a 135,  but for what I need would have been happy with a still smaller one.   

I do prefer one on wheels though, so its bottle is safely stored and carried on it.  A bottle falling over is likely to smash its regulator gauge.   These small machines are only designed to carry small canisters (..without a gauge),  but by fitting my own strap I adapted it to take a 2-foot tall gas bottle, plus regulator gauges.   That amount of gas lasted long enough to be practical for home-garage use.  I did the inner wings and other minor repairs on the Citroen, did some minor jobs and made a tow-bar for an old Jag saloon I had a few years ago, and also made the wood burning stove with (I think) just one bottle.  

Then when I last refilled, the local BOC depot had non of that size of bottles in stock, so I had to accept a 3-foot-tall bottle (they didn't charge me more deposit nor rental, and the gas per cc is cheaper). But now I have to be careful when moving the welder because it wants to wheelie and topple over backwards.!   I really ought to modify it and move its rear wheels back by 3" (like the Clarke 160).  It shouldn't be too difficult ..as I have a welder !  :rolleyes:


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8D17D4B9-FCEF-49CF-9524-E4BF4726CD2B.thumb.jpeg.be600e13c161cc8dc68a65d942243bf7.jpegStarted cleaning the area up, looks like a P.O. (probably 30 odd years ago based on history) liberally used joint sealer rather than weld repairs and equally slapped it over and in the now cleaned gap.

looks like it’s more than just a seam!

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^ that's a pain, but very do-able.  Not so easy for a first time welder though.  Aside from some skill in welding (..practice on a bench first with rusty thin metal) - the ease, or difficulty,  of such repairs comes down to the accurate shape and size of infill patches.  Please be aware that it's not unusual to spend an hour or more making awkward repair piece(s) when it only takes five minutes to weld them in place and to clean up the weld.  This is where most garages cut corners. They roughly cut a piece of reclaimed metal (a bit of another car) and slap it behind,  crudely weld that in place and then smear panel sealant or bondo over to hide it from sight.  It's Ok to make the car safe n' strong for a while, but far from the ideal repair on any classic.  This why (the very few) really good restoration shops charge ten times the price - it's that they spend ten times the time getting it right. Of course the question is always ; how good do you want it done ? and this is usually balanced against how much the car is (monetary or emotionally) worth, either now or in the foreseeable.  

For a decent repair you need to cut the rot out, translated ; rot is seen as deep pitting in the cleaned up metal. But many who are new to welding cut out too much at once ..and then it's almost impossible to remember exactly what shape was there.  Folding (bending) sheet steel is quite easy along a straight edge, or if you need gentle folds - bending the sheet metal over a piece of tube.  But forming a piece of steel around a compound corner is difficult.  Use a piece of cereal-packet thickness cardboard and use that to try and make your repair pieces.  You'll find you can easily cut and make the straight bits,  but the cardboard doesn't want to go around the corners.  So the answer, for the newcomer to sheet metal-work, is to make the straight pieces separately, to the corners.  Unless you're handy with a hammer and dolly in shaping metal, a corner piece will most likely needed to be darted and perhaps even made in two or three parts (like a tailor or seamstress making fabric go around corners).  

So, the surface rust, paint and grime needs cleaning off and the deep pitted (wasted away) metal needs to be cut out ..but only do this along one straight edge at a time. How much to cut out is a matter of choice.  If seven-eighth of the metal surface is very deeply potted then you'd probably cut it out, but if there's only one deep pit in a square inch then you might live with it or else individually fill that with weld. You have to make the call based on how deep and much pitting there is.   

Template a new straight edge in card or aluminium foil  ..the trays which food is cooked and sold in is useful for this because its easy to cut with scissors and when folded it doesn't spring back to being flat again). Once shaped it can be flattened again as a flat template to be reproduced in steel.. fine tune its shape and trim to match the corner at either end.  NB. The final definition of intended cutout holes are best done later (with a file or grinder) ..so those edges are best left just a little oversize.  Once you are happy with the accuracy of fit between corners, then tack-weld it in place.  Only now do you do the same with the first corner, cut out one small patch at a time, so that you can always see what edge shape you're trying to make it to.  Make that, and tack it into place.  Piece by piece you can rebuild really complex shapes.

When it's all together tacked in place - start filling in weld between your tacks. Just short (1/2") welds at a time and then let it cool, or else cool it with a damp rag. Move onto welding another area which is cool.  Heat will expand metal, and when it's constrained by the surroundings it distorts and buckles. If you're not careful - you then weld the next bit which is buckled out of shape !  So by welding a short  'stitch' at a time and allowing it to cool, and perhaps a little tap of a light hammer or tweak with the pliers to straighten things up again - the distortion is kept to a minimum.     It sounds like a whole lot of effort for something that's hidden under carpet or a trim panel.  And that's why many people do a nasty job..  Always the choice is yours.  It's lasted all these years as it was, and only you will know what's hidden out of sight. 

Of course with experience - things speed up considerably.  Assessing what patches are needed and where best to cut them, cutting the right shape ..the first time around,  the quality of your welding, being familiar with the power tools to prep and thereafter clean things up,  etc. etc.   It's a very useful 'craft skill'  to have and the job satisfaction is rewarding. And even if nobody else ever sees it - you know. !

Best regards, Pete.  


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4 hours ago, Bfg said:

aluminium foil  ..the trays which food is cooked and sold in is useful for this because its easy to cut with scissors and when folded it doesn't spring back to being flat again). Once shaped it can be flattened again as a flat template to be reproduced in steel..

That's a good tip. I've read for so many years to use cardboard but I can see how thin metal can be folded and will keep the shape much better than card. I must start salting away my M&S Chicken Kiev trays.. :)

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^ yes aluminium food trays are a very useful source of this beautifully ductile metal. 

And even though mine just comes from an Aldi supermarket and not M&S  ..you posh sort you :P  -  I find they're also useful for simply pressing into a corner for an imprint, to take to the bench as a rough shape guide template when making the more awkward bits.  They can save a fair bit of back n' forthing especially if you're working in a hard-to-reach spot. Also handy for imprinting angles or holes, which are then easier to measure, and you can even scribe markings on the alum. All sorts of little jobs like that.  

Also as a small but still very useful heat and splatter shield to wrap around things you'd prefer not to have red-hot weld splatter or grindings burn into. Why this wonderful stuff even clings onto things like rubber pipes or carburettors !

Of course, everyday use is as a sorting tray,  which then funnels ..to guide nuts n' bolts back into their jars (the clear plastic peanut-butter jars are very handy indeed for sorting different size fastenings into).  And occasionally I might sacrifice one to the Murphy's law of dumbest places to put a drain plug, such as the one under the gearbox of my motorcycle ..which drains straight onto the bike's centre stand.  An aluminium tray suitably-bent diverts said oil into a container.

My apologies to the O.P. for this little off-thread diversion. :unsure:  There is a thread for home made and adapted tools, so any further comments I think we ought to put on there...  < here >


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Great idea and a wealth of experience covered Pete. My mate, an engineer of 50 + years (still working at 74) is coming around at the weekend to have a butchers so hopefully will get some advice/help as well. I’ll use the tin tray idea to mock up the bracket for the rear seat fitting as well! I wish we wern’t all spread across the nation.

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