Fixing Aluminum With Glue Pull Repair Tools & Techniques

Automakers have experimented with various manufacturing materials over the years. Steel, iron, composites, plastic, aluminum, and even wood have been the materials of choice. In the early 1940s, Henry Ford produced a car body made completely of soya; other manufacturers have been using plastics and composites for some time not only for door panels but bumpers and fenders as well. Remember the salespeople at Saturn dealerships demonstrating the toughness of their cars’ plastic body panels by jamming a shopping cart into a door or kicking the panel, resulting in no damage? Who knows if someday we will even find renewables like wood and hemp in some body parts.

Today aluminum is getting most of the press, for a number of reasons. Car makers use it indoors, hoods, trunks – even in complete vehicle structures. According to the Aluminum Association, aluminum has the strength of steel but has only 50% of the weight. Obviously, this indicates big savings in energy efficiency, which for vehicles means more miles to a gallon of gas or diesel. As an added benefit, people recycle 90% of the aluminum in a vehicle at the end of its life. The Aluminum Association also claims aluminum is intrinsically safer, which’s Dr. Jody Hall disputes: she claims it’s the combination of design and materials that determines whether a vehicle is safe or unsafe.

The debate about materials and experimentation with them will undoubtedly continue but how does the use of aluminum versus steel affect everyday work in your body shop? Plenty. More and more car manufacturers are using aluminum in their cars, especially in high-end models like Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, and Audi but also in mass-market vehicles like Ford’s best-selling F-150 pickup, which now uses alloy aluminum for all body panels and the truck bed. While most body shops have expensive steel-stud welders, they do not want to be compelled to purchase an additional unit and tools to work on aluminum. This means shops turn down jobs every week because they cannot repair aluminum alloy panels and because insurers won't approve replacements. Frustration occurs on the part of owners and techs alike. It’s like money walking out the door with nothing to stop it. Until now.

Glue Pull Tools Work on Aluminum or Steel

KECO Body Repair Products glue pull repair tools work on BOTH steel and aluminum, it does not matter. You can pull a dent from an aluminum panel or a steel one using the same tool because GPR is agnostic to the type of metal a vehicle’s components are made from. Normally, whether working with steel or aluminum, techs must attach studs to the body part by drilling into it and/or welding pull studs or keys to the panel. GPR methods eliminate grinding, drilling, and welding – reducing the use of filler, saving more OEM paint, and speeding up the entire repair process.

KECO glue pull tools essentially work on the same principle as normal drill/weld techniques: you manually pull out the dent, sculpt, fill, sand, prime, and paint. However, with glue pull repairs (GPR), you glue a removable attachment, called a tab, to the panel and pull the panel, without drilling or welding. Our attachments and adhesives work on either steel or aluminum so there’s no need for specialty tools or separate work areas.

Use Your Own Tools

Glue pulling is a straight swap for stud welding or wiggle wire setups where you utilize the pulling techniques and tools that they already have. Our adaptors, tabs, and glue are cheap compared to buying aluminum-specific tools and components, so you can enter the aluminum body repair business tomorrow and be on your way to more profits.

Centipede GPR Tabs and U-Bolt Adaptor

These two tools allow great glue pulling with little investment. Use them with the equipment you already own so you can perfectly perform aluminum repairs.

  • KECO Centipede Crease tabs are highly versatile and do not cause more damage just by using them because they fix specifically what you need them to fix, no more or less. They allow the tech to work a large dent in small increments and to carefully pull stubborn creases without inflicting more damage (peaks and valleys). This is because the tabs are shaped and sized (widths, curved, straight) to fix the damage, nothing more or nothing less.
  • KECO offers a u-bolt adaptor made of high-strength steel that slides onto a glued-on tab. The U-bolt and 65 mm Centipede Adaptor allows you to securely pull Centipede- created tabs with chain, hook, ratchet strap, rope, frame, hydraulic post, and other heavy-duty pulling equipment. A side thumb screw secures the adaptor to the Centipede tab, preventing separation during setup or removal. Two jam nuts on the u-bolt secure the adaptor to ensure minimum movement and maximum lifting power.

Complete GPR Kits

KECO offers two kits ideal for collision, large dent, and body repairs: The Glue Pulling K-Bar Collision Kit (#1) or the Glue Pulling Collision Pro Kit (#2). Use either one to get started in glue pulling or to upgrade your existing toolset.

The #1 kit includes:

  • K-bar leverage bar with adaptors
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks (two kinds)
  • Glue tabs (various styles)
  • Toolbag

The #2 kit includes:

  • K-bar leverage bar with adaptors
  • K-beam bridge lifter with adaptors
  • Cool/warm offset PDR light
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks (two kinds)
  • Slapper hammer with puck
  • Slapper body spoons (combo pack)
  • Glue tabs (various styles)
  • Toolbag

Aluminum is the new stainless steel in auto and truck manufacturing. There is no reason why any body shop should be losing business because of the lack of proper tools for repairing damaged aluminum body panels and parts.

Techniques, Tools, and Classes

KECO Body Repair Products is in the business of making your job easier, whether you are a body shop owner, manager, or technician. Our GPR techniques allow you to use available tools to repair aluminum panels and parts and they produce the same or better quality finished products as conventional techniques, with no drilling or welding. KECO GPR tools for aluminum-body work require minimal investment, allowing you to repair parts you thought you could not and accept jobs you thought you had to turn down.

We offer classes taught by its experienced, dedicated staff. Your shop personnel can learn how to use GPR techniques and tools so they can integrate them into the shop’s workflow for increased efficiency, better repairs, and more profits. We offer one-, two-, or three-day, on-location training. Our skilled professionals love to share their experience and know-how so contact KECO today. Training sessions are available to body shops no matter their budget. Click for information.

Contact KECO today. We will help your shop become aluminum savvy and prevent it from losing business and customers.

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