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Old 06-20-2008, 11:52 AM
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Import quarter panel repair

I know this car isn't a hotrod, but how would you go about fixing something like this? This is my daily commuter car, a 1999 Subaru Impreza, and the rust keeps getting worse. I heard that its difficult to weld against metal on these import cars, so I have been skeptical about fabbing up a patch panel and welding it in. This picture was from a few months ago. It's actually a little worse now. Even worse, I was looking up in the wheel housing and saw what I thought to be surface rust, so I got the bright idea to push on it and my hand went through it.

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Old 06-20-2008, 12:06 PM
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I would cut the rust away. fab a panal to fit it, then glue it in place with some panal bonding glue you can get from the auto body store... newer cars use extremely thin sheet metal... I replaced a fender on my brothers KIA, and it's like 26ga.
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:37 PM
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Glue huh? How well does that hold up?
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:42 PM
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if you dont really care tooo much on looks..


you can cut it until where ever the rust stops. make sure to grind away surface paint & such to see the metal..

then you can primer/coat it with POR or whatever you would like to protect it, get some sheet metal, cut to form (looks like a pretty easy shape), use seam sealer or some sort of adhesive type silicone or something, then drill holes & use rivets..

then the underside, how bad is it rusted? same deal maybe, just cut away, use some sheet metal, form to shape, grind metal away, use seam sealer, then use rubberized undercoating for it since it'll get to alot of water/dirt/etc..


that'll be the least expensive/decent way im guessing without use of a welder & actually replacing major panels..



oh wow i just realized that it's all around the gas filler neck too.. and it's worst now?


maybe it's time to cut it all out & widebody the GD impreza!!!!!
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 122s
maybe it's time to cut it all out & widebody the GD impreza!!!!!
hahaha Don't be putting ideas in my head!
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:29 PM
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Chicken wire and Bondo, .020'' is way too thin for a fender But it is lightweight.


Shane
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffmandirt
Glue huh? How well does that hold up?
holds up well enough that it is a standard repair method at a lot of body shops.
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:36 PM
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Looks like Pa is as brutal as this state, and imports seem especially good at lightening themselfs up.
Yeah, a lot of newer cars, including domestics use awefull thin metal. I've worked on a few newer cavaliers, and the metal is so thin, you can literally dent them with thumb pressure, including pushing some dents out by only getting behind it and pressing with your fingers. Least its on the quarter, really large flat areas like the tops of decklids and hoods can get real hairy welding up without it caving in, or chasing warp around.

Do you have a welder? If you do, you can still probably weld, but must weld in a short sections of you patch at a time and skip around where you placing the short weld sections. Hammer on the welds with a hammer on dolly as you weld it up if possible ( May be difficult in that area unless you can get a dolly behind through the rusted out wheelhouse or have acess inside the trunk and a helper) (the heat from welding will want to shrink around the weld area, and a hammer on dolly will stretch. Keep a air blow gun nearby to keep it cool as you place your welds. You still may need to do some hammer and dolly work or use a stud welder to straighten things out as well as you can after welding in your patch, so you aren't using a ton of body filler over it. Once welded and welds ground down, I like to epoxy prime first, use a thin coat of fiberglass filler over the weld area, and then finish blending in the rest with plastic filler. The trick is to put in as little warpage as possible while your welding in the patch. If your patch is thicker gauge then the metal on the car,angle the weld nozzle to concentrate most weld and heat on patch to avoid blowing away the thinner stuff your welding to.

Unfortunately I really doubt you will find anybody selling premade patch panels for that car, So you would have to make some. If you just fiberglassed and bondo'd it up, it would be rusting and the new paint bubbling up in no time.

I'd probably pick up some twenty guage sheetmetal, even if what they used on that car is thinner gauge, 20 gauge is fairly easy to form by hand. Or maybe you could luck out and find an old fender in a bodyshops junk pile that has a wheel well lip that will match up that will be able to use as a patch, may not hurt to just stop by one and ask, maybe you will luck out and find a nice shop owner that will have something that will work decent in his scrap pile and let you take it. Or if luck is really on your side, find a quarter panel from the same car that was replaced for damage in another area, but wouldn't count on that. You could also check with some junk yards but they may just be in the same condition.

It helps to make a cardboard pattern (as well as look at the other side, if its still in one piece) to figure out how to make your patch, and you can leave enough excess to allow yourself to make a folded over edge along the bottom like the rest( above your bumper cover). First put an any little curvature if needed to match the quarter (i put pressure on the edges of the patch, and put some curvature in using my thigh or knee as backup)in your patch piece, Check by placing it on the quarter behind where you will be patching. Then You can cut some slits the length of the fold you need to make, which will make it easier to form over nice and crisp (and hammer the tabs over a sharp edge of a table or something, or use a duck bill vice grips), as well as to form where the body line-wheel well lip will be, and cut off the excess metal on your patch where the bottom lip and wheel wheel lip. Then when you have a patch that looks like you made somthing right to replace the piece, weld all the slits and areas back up on the patch.

Start Welding it in by tacking along the top, and then down the sides, keeping tight to the quarter panel with clamps or pressure from a hammer handle as you tack in. Once tacked all around into place, then weld up completely placing short welds and skipping around.

As far as the wheelhouse and inner quarter, figuring you don't want to replace the thing, maybe clean up inside well with a sandblaster when you cut out your quarter, and glue in a patch, epoxy and blend in where you will see some with fiberglass filler and then undercoat it. Or por 15 everything inside there and the wheelhouse. You could also glue in your patch for the quarter as well, but then being as the whole piece isn't replaced, its possible a ghost line could show up eventually in the paint, around the patch. But as far as the patch panel adhesive itself, the proper stuff is strong and can be used for non structural panel repairs, means no heat or warping panels or burining off of corrosion protection, and the adhesive itself will provide good protection of the lapped seam area. Don't forget to apply corrosion protection to the back of your patch (do it before welding in and grind off where needed if lapping and spray on weld through primer, unless you will have access afterwards to treat)
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:40 PM
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Don't they have inspections on cars back on the east coast for rust damage. My sister lives in NH and she tells me if there is any rot on the unitized bodies the state pulls the title on the vehicles and makes them non road worthy. The rust in your picture is probably just the tip of the iceberg, you might not like what you find if you go poking around it.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:32 PM
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Not sure about NH but I know in PA, there must be no metal that is rusted away, it will fail inspection until it is fixed ( but painted duct tape is a common fix for that )..

In Ny, structural damage will fail inspection but if it's fixed, it can be reinspected
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:35 PM
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Boy, if they had that here, a heck of a lot of cars wouldn't be on the road. Only a few counties even have emmisions tests.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:03 AM
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Fenders are cheap for those,If you like the car and want to keep it ( WRX?) buy a fender and either learn how to fit it or get some one to fit it.
My self,I can't stand them ,they sound like they have a burnt valve or two but they do have a following . because of this...
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:04 PM
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My car definitely won't pass inspection in August, but as stated above, painted duct tape is popular around here Thanks for all the tips. I might try MIGing something first, then resort to glue.
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Old 06-24-2008, 03:52 AM
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I didn't think of it before, but the wheelhouse would be a structural part on a unibody car, and as of now, the panel adhesives are not recommended for structural repair.
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:22 AM
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The rust in your picture is probably just the tip of the iceberg, you might not like what you find if you go poking around it.
Reminds me of the time my wife had me take a look at a Nissan (in upstate NY) that belonged to one of her friends... the hood wouldn't close all the way. Upon closer inspection, the hood wouldn't close because it was hitting the front strut towers, which were almost completely separated from the unibody due to rust. One good pothole and the whole nose of the car would have been sitting on the ground. No telling as to how long she had been driving it that way. Inspections for rust aren't necessarily a bad thing.
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