So I decided to take the whole car back to bare metal.
I knew it had had 2 resprays over the years. In black first (ew) and then a very very thin coat of the beautiful VdP Mistletoe Green.
And so, when the tide goes down, the sea floor is revealed…
I find … body filler over rust holes. The work was done properly I will say, and held very well over the years.
May be I should have left it all alone actually… But that is too late.
So the rear wheel arch now shows a 5mm wide slit, about 20cm long. This does not seem to warrant a full wheel arch repair. I wonder what route to take next:
- rust converter + body filler or
- patch repair?
I’d love to hear from experiences with the same situation.
The biggest issue is how far the rust has traveled down the arch.
I would guess further than you think or like.
I would recommend buying the full arch and begin cutting. You might have to use only a portion, but its been my experience that in arch areas its almost always more extensive than you think.
Youve got to get the the back side of the double skin and inject copious applications of rust convertor.
Weld your arch repair all up and apply more rust convertor, followed by epoxy primer.
Finally, remember that WAXOYL is your friend following paint.
It all depends on how long you are keeping it. If the cars only got five years left on it slap it full of Bondo and move on. If you’re going to keep this another 20 years you’re gonna have to cut all that shit out.
There are not many ways around it Eric.
The fact that you took the whole car back to bear metal implies that you want to do a proper job.
Putting filler on top of rust is a recipe for disaster, rust will come back destroying your nice paint job very soon after. It will also be impossible to check and treat the arch further down.
Start cutting the fender and wheel arch until you completely remove all the rusted parts.
It might be easier to just cut the whole thing out, it will give you lots of room to work, you will have a nice clean lip and the joint will be further up and easier to smooth out.
Mind you that somewhere there there is also vertical panel that separates the fuel tank compartment, and probably what caused the rust to begin with.
And I also see a brown patch further up. Is that rust as well?
FWIW it’s a coupe. I think these cars will be considered pieces of art long after all of us will be gone. We get to enjoy driving them, I’m not so sure about future generations. YMMV.
After the disappointment of this unexpected discovery (it is after all a “rust-free California car” that I have had for 19 years…), it is clear that a proper cut-and-weld job is in in order.
I am curious about the technique to remove the outer skin alone first, hoping that the inner part is salvageable. How is the outer skin connected to the inner one? Spot welds along the arch around the wheel?
Take a 40 grit flapper wheel on a 4 inch angle grinder, and carefully grind the outter skin away.
Yes its time consuming. You can do it faster with a grinding wheel on the same grinder but have to be a lot more careful.
So I went for it.
What looked from the outside like two small rust bubbles, turned out to be a rather deteriorated wheel arch.
Thankfully the inner arch is in good enough shape.
It was sad to start cutting, bit now that all the rust is removed, it is clear it was the right thing to do.
By the time you see it. that’s almost always the case.
They rust, from the inside out.
I just realized this was a coupe. You did the right thing!
Not to decide which type of weld repair your going to use. Always a lively debate. No matter which process follow it up by some hollow cavity rust protection ONLY AFTER THE PAINT WORK IS FINISHED.
Tell me more about these different methods… I only know of one: side by side steel, “butt welding” (I think), dot by dot and lots of patience,
Now, this portion of the body behind the bumper is rotten too. More double-skin malarkey…
Anyone knows if this repair panel is available and what its called?
It was to be expected Eric, luckily indeed the inner arch looks good…
If it was me though I would cut it much further up, first to be sure the panel is sane, second you will be able to inspect better and treat the inner arch and cavity and lastly it will be much easier to do a better job matching the two panels on a flat surface and not right on the lip.
Gret the replacement panel, cut it the shape you want and then put it on top to mark where to cut the fender.
Watch this video, (jump at 1:44), it has also a clever trick, jamming a piece of metal in between while welding helps to keep the panels aligned.
Same process… undo the spot welds and start cutting…
A small enough piece and almost straight, so not so hard to fabricate it.
I want to position the repair panel before cutting more, so as to know how far I can go.
Now the other side does not show any visible rust, and I am torn about what to do… chances are there is rust under there… I am not too sure what these 6 holes are about…
Those “holes” look like the stumps of weld on studs for a puller. The car must have had a minor accident and they pulled the panel out rather than replace it.
Itt does look bizarre… it must be from a puller of some sort.
The metal looks pretty clean though.
Only way to inspect the inside would be with a very long endoscope camera.
The silver lining of this situation is that it might be the right opportunity to beef up the fenders to fit broader tires…
I am awaiting for a set of Jaguar lattice / crosslace 8jx16 on its way from Europe, but the DB7 9jx18 would look great on this car (it is also getting an outboard brakes rear end).
This sounds almost like you are starting to build a Broadspeed racer replica!