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 > Technical Articles: / BMW E36 3-Series (1992-1999) >
MIG Welder Maladies & Bodywork Book Review
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Pelican Technical Article:

MIG Welder Maladies & Bodywork Book Review

Kyle Ehler


8 hours8 hrs






Your brain and some good reading glasses (if needed)

Applicable Models:

BMW E30 3-Series (1984-93)
BMW E36 3-Series (1992-99)

Parts Required:

"Metal Fabricator's Handbook" by Ron Fournier, "Welder's Handbook" by Richard Finch and Tom Monroe, "The Racer's Guide to Fabricating Shop Equipment" by John Block, "The Principles of Autobody Repairing and Repainting" 4th ed. 1986 by Andre G. Deroche and Nicholas N. Hildebrand

Performance Gain:

Being able to weld and do bodywork on your BMW

Complementary Modification:

Paint your BMW
101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series

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Hey Ironworkers;

I'm one of those guilty of using an el-cheapo MIG welder and now that mine has 8+ years of heavy use, it is showing its age. It starts with poor wire feed, like intermittent. The problem is the size of the roll of wire you use. I really like the 9 pound spool, but these are so heavy and the cheep MIGs are poorly setup for this type of load -it can cause poor wire feed. This can really mess up your welds, so beware.

Another cause of crummy welds is slag buildup in the nozzle.-particularly when doing inverted position welding. Sometimes forming a short to the stinger nozzle, causing the thing to become electrically 'hot'. If you weld like I do, you occasionally touch the nozzle to the work, which may cause a temporary short circuit. The globs of steel shorting the nozzle robs your weld of heating current or at least disrupts the uniformity of the gas envelope, and can mess up your welds. . .beware.

So the moral of the story is:

-Keep your MIG stinger clean; use a nozzle protectant such as "spatter-pruf" (avoid silicone gunks and sprays) and regularly pick out the spatter globs that accumulate in the nozzle.

-Prepare weld site and vicinity to bare metal clean as possible.

-Keep on hand spare parts such as nozzles, tips, rollers, and maybe a hoze if you are rich.

Tip: add to your machine a ball bearing setup such as a 'lazy susan' to aid the wire spool in moving freely (in horizontal orientation) as the plastic arrangement will wear out, causing less than smooth feed and rough welds.

For those doing inverted position welding:

-Use your leathers, gloves, skull cap and chaps, or at least cotton jeans and . .socks. Even then molten droplets can sneak in and pock your hide.

-Use a clear protective shield over your hood's viewscreen to protect the shade coating and ensure UV eye protection.

-Keep a fire extinguisher within reach.

-Avoid inhaling welding fumes, thus 'fume fever'.

-Avoid migging in drafty locations (gas or mig).

<do penetrate deeply> =:)

-Do *NOT* use 'weld thru' coatings in vicinity of welds. -for high-current stick welding its probably ok, but for our low-amperage stuff, -it wont work.

"Metal Fabricator's Handbook" by Ron Fournier

ISBN 0-89586-171-2 $12.95 (HPBooks) 176 ppgs 1982

Library of Congress card catalog # 82-84043

Contents: (front cover) Race & Custom car & Restoration Metalworking tools & techniques MIG & TIG, arc-welding & Gas-welding Fenders, scoops & spoilers Roll bars & roll cages Fuel tanks & oil tanks Practical data, formulas & instructions

Table of contents: (verbatim)


  • 1 Hand Tools
  • 2 Power Hand Tools
  • 3 Large Equipment
  • 4 Projects: Getting started
  • 5 Gas-Welding
  • 6 Electric-Welding
  • 7 Basic Metal Shaping
  • 8 Hammerforming
  • 9 Sheet-Metal Add-ons
  • 10 Roll Bars & Roll Cages
  • 11 Tanks
  • 12 Exhaust Headers
  • 13 Sheet Metal Interiors
  • Glossary, Suppliers Index
  • My words on this pub: This is a *great* book for the price.

Loads of useful bits and sources for stuff.

"Welder's Handbook" by Richard Finch and Tom Monroe

ISBN 0-89586-257-3 $12.95 (HPBooks) 160 ppgs 1985

(no library of congress #)

  • Contents: (front cover)
  • MIG & TIG welding, A/C arc, D/C arc & spot welding.
  • Oxyacetylene welding & cutting, brazing & soldering.
  • How to weld stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium & titanium
  • Certification-test examples
  • Table of contents: (verbatim)
  • Intro
  • 1 Basics of Welding
  • 2 Safety, Comfort & Convenience
  • 3 What kind of welder is best?
  • 4 Fitting and Jigging
  • 5 Gas-Welding equipment
  • 6 Gas welding, heating, forming & cutting
  • 7 Gas brazing & soldering
  • 8 Arc Welding
  • 9 TIG Welding
  • 10 Plasma-Arc Welding & cutting
  • 11 MIG welding
  • 12 Welding Rods & Fluxes
  • 13 Spot Welding
  • 14 Cerfification & Welding Professionally
  • 15 Projects (15) (gas welding cart, push cart, sander & grinder stand, cutting/welding table, jack stands/work stands, folding engine stand, go kart, trailer for kart/motorcycle, hydraulic press-floor or bench, engine hoist tow bar for cars/jeeps, utility trailer, . .
  • 16 Arts & Crafts Welding

Glossary, Suppliers list, conversions, index

My words: Another great book for the price, a good place to start.

"The Racer's Guide to Fabricating Shop Equipment" by John Block

ISBN 0-936834-45-5 (no library of congress #) cost unknown, 56 ppgs

Contents: (front cover)

  • How to Build-
  • Engine Stand
  • Hydraulic Press
  • Engine hoist
  • Sheetmetal Brake
  • Motorized Flame cutter
  • Rotating Chassis Fabrication Stands -all for less than $400
  • Step-by-step instructions and photos

My words: This book is a bit disappointing, but another good reference for designs. I dont remember how much I paid for it. Less than $15.

"The Principles of Autobody Repairing and Repainting" 4th ed. 1986

By Andre G. Deroche and Nicholas N. HiIldebrand 730 ppgs

ISBN 0-13-708173-1 Approx. $35 U.S.

Library of Congress # 82-20527

21 chapters (this is a formal study text)

Red River Community College- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


  • 1 Body Construction
  • 2 Welding
  • 3 Repairing Damaged Panels and Metalworking Methods
  • 4 Hydraulic equipment
  • 5 Expansion, contraction and shrinking of metals
  • 6 Abrasives and power tools
  • 7 Filling dents with body solder
  • 8 Plastic filler and its uses
  • 9 Fiberglass and Plastic: Their uses and repair methods
  • 10 Frame alignment
  • 11 Adjustments
  • 12 Removing and Replacing upholstery trim and headlinings
  • 13 Recovering and repairing vinyl tops
  • 14 Replacement of glass and weatherstripping
  • 15 Repairing collision damage
  • 16 Spray painting equipment
  • 17 Paint Materials
  • 18 Spray guns
  • 19 Refinishing procedures
  • 20 Body and Trim care
  • 21 Management, estimating, and shop safety

Appendix A: Hand tools for metalworking

conversion tables, glossary

My words: The first 400 pages of this book are *killer* for your needs

if you want to learn to 'do it all' to any car.

This technical article is made possible solely through the support of Pelican Parts. If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.

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