MY89 VdP radiator support panel totally rusted through

So recently I posted about a 1989 VdP I bought recently. After jacking the car up to work on some rust in the floors I discovered that the radiator support panel was totally rusted through. Unfortunately this panel in the 1989 car seems MUCH more complex than the similar panel in my MY94 car. Here are a couple photos of the rusted out panel I removed from this car. BTW, as far as I could tell the ONLY way to get to all of the bolts holding this panel into the car was to remove the radiator first.

In looking at an older thread it seems this panel from the 1989 car might be the same as the panel from a MY90 - MY92 car and the part numbers might be CAC9699 or CCC2670

See the following thread:

XJ40 lower radiator support panel

I pulled this rusted panel out of the car since I was afraid the radiator and AC condenser might fall out if this were driven any further in this state. Unfortunately in doing this I might have damaged the radiator since the lower transmission cooler line retaining nut was totally frozen to the aluminum nipple sticking out of the left hand side of the radiator and my attempts at loosening this frozen nut seems to have resulted in damaging the trans-cooler inside the radiator (trans fluid started coming out of the lower radiator water connection).

Not sure but bracket probably changed when they went from R12 to R134A to accommodate different condenser dryer setup?

Bryan N seems to feel the change in panels came from the switch from mechanical engine driven fan to the electric rad cooling fans.

BTW, in case there is any doubt after looking at these photos this panel is in two pieces where the huge rust hole is. I just set them together to get some photos of the damaged part.

That makes sense. These things are really in demand, first part I sold when I parted out a 40

You will be most displeased to hear that I have both a rad and the support panel in my garage.

Perhaps I am not completely understanding you. Are you saying I will be displeased because you don’t want to sell these parts?

No I’m in New Zealand.

If you take that old piece as a template to an engineer /metal fabricator, they can make a new one.

Ha! I AM a engineer & metal fabricator

My current plan is to bead blast what remains of the old one and see how much is left when I do that. Being able to save/reuse some of the more complex & critical parts would make the job a lot easier to do. I just have my doubts about what will survive though.

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The ends look ok and the rest is just a plate with a few holes. No big deal for a guy with a good welder, bit of steel and a drill press.

Actually wherever there are holes in the bottom plate there are flanges around the holes and there are flanges along the front and rear edges. Plus a stiffening ridge in the center of the panel. All this is to add stiffness to the panel since it supports the weight of the radiator filled with coolant and the AC condenser. If you just replace the complete bottom with a perfectly flat panel without all of these stiffening flanges it would be way more flimsy.

If you use 1/4" flat bar with a rod tacked underneath you should be stiff enough, eh? Maybe 1/4" would be overkill with a rod tacked on? hard to say without having the bit in hand. You could reinforce the mounting holes with big washers too I guess.

I’ll be removing my radiator to fit new support rubber bushes at the bottom, will be interesting to see the condition of my support panel, fingers crossed and a can of fish oil to coat if ok.

I have a good one if you need it Gordon.

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I guess I’m lucky - I just replaced the rad and my bracket was good as new …see …old oil leaks sometimes have their positive sides …but not so much on the rubber bushes :weary: :crazy_face: