Today, I am tackling a hard hit BMW 220 bootlid and show you the best method to repair sharp dents. We've got some deep damage, some stretched metal distorted body line with a very defined crown. We've got crease damage, a split dent, so there's a lot to unpack.
Step 1: Assessing The Access Points
Whenever I'm working on a repair like in the video, I start by taking off the interior panels and just checking what access I've got to work with.
Now, thankfully the panel is fairly open. I've taken out the two number plate lamps so that's given me some good access holes to get behind the damage. Also, by taking off the interior trim, I can really see what's going on on the inside of the panel.
Although the damage was caused at the same time, it appears like there's two separate dent. So that's how I'm going to approach the repair. I'm going to start by working on the left hand side to get it to about 90 percent before switching over to the right.
Now, I'm going to start with the glue pulling process. I warm up the panel to protect the paint and give me a good adhesion between the tab and the panel itself. I'm using a large crease tab, the Gang Green smooth series from Black Plague PDR.
Step 2: First Glue Pull
Since it's a large crease tab, I've got a large contact surface area so I'm going to apply a fair amount of glue to the tab itself and then bond that to the panel.
I'm starting on the left hand side of the crease and with a few quick pulls with my slide hammer, you can see the metal start to respond. Quite quickly, I've taken out some of the depth of the damage. Using that same tab, I'm now switching to the right hand side of that particular crease. I'm going to repeat that process and continue to pull out that dent.
Now that I've reduced the overall size of that dent, I'm switching to my double bend bar with a plastic screw in bullet style tip. I'm going to go through the number plate light access point and it gets me directly to the area behind the damage.
Adjusting my line board to make sure I can really read the damage properly and then beginning that process of lifting the lows.
Step 3: Tapping down
Along with the pushing process I've also got some tap down work to do. I'm using our root beer tap down and my hammer and just tapping down some of the highs. So some of these are the original crown that surrounded that initial impact point, and during that push and process, we also create very small highs that need to be tapped down.
As with a lot of larger repairs, I spend the majority of my time on the tap down side of things as opposed to just pushing. Relatively quickly, I've cleaned up the dent on the left hand side of the panel. Now, it's time to focus on the worst damage on the right hand side.
Access The Full Repair Video
Because the video here is on YouTube, I am whizzing through fairly quickly. There is a full tutorial of exactly how I discussed the best method to repair sharp dents within the Learn PDR Online membership.
At this point, I’m working on the right hand side. I've set up a large square glue tab right below that body line. What I'm going to do is simultaneously pull out the low damage whilst tapping down the high crown.
As the dent has pushed the metal in and up, I’m trying to reverse that process. I am applying pressure, pulling my slide hammer to pull the dent out whilst with my hammer taps down the high spot to push that metal in. So the impact went in and up, again, I'm trying to reverse that process by pressing it down and out.
As we assess that damage with my line board you can probably tell I've taken some of the tension out of that crown. There's still a long way to go and I've still got a lot of work to do but that crown is really hard hit, so by pulling out, some of the low below the body line and feeding some of that metal from that crown. Above the body line down, I'm softening up the metal making that area a little bit easier to work with whilst reducing that size and ultimately looking to restore that body line back.
Going back to my double bend bar, this time I've got an R4 tip with a cherry cap on the end. Some of the damage is really deep, particularly on the body line, and that small area just above the two of the 220 badge.
Step 4: Applying Heat
I've got continuous heat during the pushing process here. Now that doesn’t only help to soften up the metal but most importantly I am keeping that paint nice and warm. It takes a lot of pressure, a lot of force to lift out the lows, so the paint becomes a lot more likely to crack. Applying continuous heat keeping that paint warm keeps it supple and reduces the risk of paint splitting during the pushing process.
As we take another look across the panel with my line board, you can see I've massively reduced the tension that sat within that crown above the bodyline.
I'm sticking with my double bend bar with the R4 tip and a cherry cap on. Once I know that I've got my tip directly behind the deepest part of the dent, I'm going to start the pushing process really gently just starting to work that dent out.
Whenever you're working on sharp dents where the metal begins to stretch, you are going to create some shoulders during that pushing process. We often refer to it as a volcano effect. You find that inner little low spot, then you raise the area around it during that pushing process.
It is quite normal when it comes to removing stretched metal or deep dents and part of the process is opening up the dent and reclosing it.
As I start to push out the dent, I am reducing the size of that low. You can probably just pick out my lines, I'm really starting to create some high spots, some shoulders around that dent. So there's going to be a lot of knock down work for outlifting the low.
If you watch carefully, you'll see me moving my root beer tap down in a circular motion around the dent. I'm trying to tap down all of the high area but making sure that I am not tapping down the low spot itself.
In the pushing process, I'm only looking to push up the low but with the tapping process, I'm only looking to tap down the highs. So, I'm working around that small low spot tapping down my shoulders, pushing that metal back down and that is known as opening up the dent. Once I've tapped it nice and low, I've effectively bought the centre of that low spot further up in the panel.
Step 5: Tool selection
Going back to the pushing process, I can continue to push that low. It is a repetitive process so I'll probably open up and close the dent about five or six times. You do have to be very careful when you're working on deep dents or stretched metal to avoid overstretching the panel. It comes down to very precise pushes and being controlled in the area that you're working on. You don't want to over stretch the metal as it can result in a process known as oil cannon, and that happens when the panel is weak and the dent itself can just pop in and out. Once it gets to that stage, it's very difficult to work. With each of your pushes up pops the panel out, and then when you start to correct it with a tap down, it pops the panel in. You're looking to shrink the metal down as opposed to overstretch the metal throughout the process of opening up the dent.
You'll see me switching tools. Right now, I've got a plastic, more pointed style tip on the end of my blending hammer. I'm still using it as a knock down as opposed to blending but it's just saved me a little bit of time during the repair process from having to switch tools. As we take a look at the panel again with my lineball setup, we can have a look at some of my progress.
It can be a little bit overwhelming particularly when using a lineboard when you can see some of the distortion in the lines. I'm effectively trying to get the overall shape of the panel back in and then at the end I'll come back with a finishing process and do some of the fine tuning. Right now, I'm using my Keko tap down and it's a metal to metal transfer. That gives me a different transfer of energy in my knockdown process. The fin narrow tip gives me some great precision in just tapping down the high spots, and the fact that I'm working metal to metal is a different energy transfer as opposed to nylon plastic or wood tap downs.
Back to the pushing process, I've switched from my R4 tip. I've got a plastic and bullet style tip on and it's not particularly sharp. I would not consider it a sharp tip but it's certainly sharper than an R4 tip with a cherry cap on.
Now, I'm a few hours into my repair process and everything starts to get tested. It's a test of your patience and endurance working through the process but also a test of your accuracy. So whilst I'm still working, relatively quickly I need to be accurate with each one of my pushes and each one of my tap downs.
Step 6: Fine tuning
If I spot some tension towards the edge of the panel, as the panel falls round, I'm looking to tap the tension in and again push that metal in towards my lows. Whilst I'm in the tap down process, I'm tapping down the highs that I created during the pushing process.
I'll switch to my Elimadent light to give me a little bit more detail when it comes to working on the fine dent. You can see me working just above the two of the 220. If you remember, that's where that little sharp dent was.
So I've got the overall shape back but now I'm really having to get precise with my pushes to finish it clean. When we get to the stage, we're starting to work with some micro lows and some micro highs. If you recall, at the start of the repair, I said I was going to get the left hand side then to about 90 before switching over to the right.
The reason I do that is to get the overall shape right in the panel so I know that the left hand side of the dent is not 100 finished. But it's given me enough to know that the shape of the panel is back. Without taking out the shape, then I don't know how much of the right hand side of the dent is affected by the tension and distortion on the left hand side.
Getting it to the 90 stage for me generally means that I know the panel is in the right shape. Once I know I've got the overall shape back in the panel, I've taken out the crowns, I've reformed the body lines, lifted the lows and tapped down the highs, I've released all that tension, I can then really focus on the finishing stages of the overall area.
Right now, I'm still working on the right hand side of the dent, the part that was worst hit.
Step 7: Finishing Stages
Currently, I've got my tip heading up towards the body line just lifting out some of those lows and getting some of that line back into the shape. But I continually go back and forth over the whole area picking out any lows that I can see. I regularly move my line board and that gives me a new perception of the repair and I start to re-read the reflections. Once I'm happy that I've got the overall shape back across the whole panel, I’ll go across and finish the repair.
Throughout the repair process, I'm continually reassessing the damage. Moving my line board around and making sure I can pick up any distortion, I've spotted a little bit of distortion in the body line.
You can probably pick out in my reflection, just below the body line, there are a few lows. Right now, I’ve repositioned my bar and my tip and I'm just starting to push out some of those lows. Ultimately working back and forth along that body line making sure that I've got no distortion in the line itself.
It can be tricky working on body lines. They can hide a lot of tension so it's very important to fix the lows in the body line themselves but also tap down any hidden tension that may be either side of the lows.
Moving on to one of my favourite parts of the repair, the blending stage. I've got my Shane Jacks blending hammer, a couple of different tips on the ends, the domed end for blending and then the sharper plastic tip for knocking down some of the highs.
I've got a bit of distortion around the badge still but ultimately I'm using a vibration technique with my blending process.
We're getting to the really fine stages of finishing so I've switched to a metal tip and the one's fairly sharp. It's still not the sharpest tip but it really gives me some nice precision and accuracy when I'm picking out some of the micro lows. Again, working just above the two on the 220 badge, you can probably pick out a very minor texture, some micro lows in my panel. It is where that stretch dent was so I'm really trying to get a nice clean finish here.
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If you're looking to learn a little bit more about paintless dent repair, you can check out our online PDR training platform learnpdronline.com.
We don't just teach how to repair dents, we also teach that side of the business, as well as how to get started, how to build your very own PDR business, estimating, pricing up your repairs and understanding your customer to be able to give them the best customer experience. These will help set you up for success in the Paintless Dent Repair industry.
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