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Oddball 12-16-2003 11:09 AM

Wheel Well Rust/Body Filler Help
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I am working on a 1988 ford escort and I've been trying to repair a formerly very rusty wheel well . I know the metal would have been better off replaced but I do not have the proper tools, so I began to fill it with good old body filler.
I've spent about a week sanding off and reapplying filler and no matter how many times I continue to do it it seems to have low indents in every area I had thought to have filled. I'm not quite sure what I am doing wrong, I am adding the proper amount of hardener to the filler "a thick strait line across" and I've been using a sanding block with the proper X motion and 180 grit sand paper "for fear that the heavy grit sandpaper was the calprit of the filler removal"; after redoing the work 6 or 7 times I'm dumbfounded as to to why it refuses to fill the low spots. If anyone could please help me out it would be greatly apperciated. Thanks for future posts.

Picture is before I applied filler, but basically looks the same as it does there just with cheap primer over it.

Dragon J 12-16-2003 12:08 PM

As you've probably been told, unless that rust is cut out, it WILL come back. The only temporary solution I can suggest is to use a rust neutralizer like One-Step, lightly sand, then use a high build putty mixed thoroughly to remove air bubbles- DON'T STIR RAPIDLY! The method you are using seems fine, just don't sand it all off- it sounds like you are going too far every time if it is wavy or has low spots. It is a small area and you should be able to fill that in two applications. Take your time and remember- 'rust never sleeps'- it will come back if not removed, especially on a driver in the elements. Good luck!

mitmaks 12-16-2003 09:47 PM

id use metal to metal body filler, should hold up on rusty surfaces better.

Kevin45 12-17-2003 01:34 AM

Rough it up with coarse paper and when you use a sanding block, use the whole block and sand down from top to bottom holding the block at about a 45 degree agle but flat and covering the whole pillar.


flamebabe 12-17-2003 01:34 PM

If the inside of the wheel well is rusted, chances are in a few years the subframe of your car will be the next to become rusty.

Thom Laybourne 12-17-2003 02:55 PM

2 Coats
Put the filler on and then apply a white primer and then a red primer. As you sand, true low spots will have both colors of primer. This will also help you to know if the problem is YOU. Too much pressure on the block. As was said, remember rust will come back. Going to put a 5K paint job on it? Hmmm. Look ahead.

hr41pearl :cool:

poncho62 12-17-2003 04:39 PM

ESCORT.........Who the h*** fixes up an Escort?

Hey, whatever. The other poster had it right, they are a rustbucket. But if you must, use metal filler, or short strand fibreglass.

Body(bondo) work is a bit of an art. It takes practice to get it smooth. I stink at it too and Ive been doing it for 35 years.

flamebabe 12-17-2003 05:02 PM


Originally posted by poncho62
ESCORT.........Who the h*** fixes up an Escort?

haha come on now he is only 19 :P

troy-curt 12-17-2003 05:03 PM

Yep the first time you drive when the road is wet, it will bubble up and fall out, but that's what keeps guys like me in business. No more than you are mixing at a time shouldn't take but a couple drops of activator.

Stop sanding just before you think you have gone far enough, and feather it in at the edges.

You should have been able to coat the whole car in a

Good Luck

69 ss rs full custom camaro 98 ISCA grandchampion
69 ss rs bb camaro wifes driver
66 Elcamino 350/all dz parts,ac,windows,loaded,my driver
69 ss chevelle bb conv.fresh frame off
26 T sedan street rod

milo 12-18-2003 03:18 AM

In here are the three best kept secreats to get body filler to behave...

A Step by Step guide to Bondo by "milo"


rpaulsen 12-19-2003 07:37 AM

Originally posted by poncho62
ESCORT.........Who the h*** fixes up an Escort?


I've done my 91 Escort GT twice in the last five years, only because we've hit four deer with it. The insurance company totalled it the second time, and I bought it back for $100, repaired it myself, and pocketed a $600 profit. The last two hits were minor, so I'm driving it as is. If it really got banged again, I would junk it because the underframe is rotting. In the meantime, I'm squeezing every last dime of value out of it. It's got 173,000 miles, runs smooth, and burns no oil.

Oddball 12-30-2003 01:22 AM

Thanks for the posts and I will use this given knowledge on less rusty areas. As for the wheel well, I've just decided to learn the hard way and attempt to cut it out, my father brought home the gas welders so I am going to see just how terrible I can make a simple project. "Rust never stops" so I guess whats the point of wasting my time if theres no means of success. Thanks again

As for the fixing up the escort quote, no offense taken but "all great idea's have to start somewhere" lol.

Thom Laybourne 12-30-2003 08:09 AM

Sounds like you are willing to learn and that in its self is good. Careful of the gas torch. Have extinguisher available. Lots of heat warps metal. Gas is good for small area fixes. ARC is done .75 inch at a time to keep heat down. Arc is the better of the two.

Post some pictures if you have the time.

hr41pearl :cool:

onebadmerc 12-30-2003 08:32 AM

It is good that you are willing to learn and try things, everybody has to start somewhere. You will learn something about doing bodywork, get your practice in and when you move on to bigger and better projects you will know what works and what doesn't. The first car I ever painted was a Ford Fiestiva, then a 86 F150, etc... and finally my 71 Mustang and I will tell you doing those other vehicles before I painted my Mustang taught me alot. Hang in there and let us know how things worked out. :thumbup:

Oddball 01-08-2004 11:20 PM

Thanks for the input I will keep you updated on my attempt at body work; may take a while though with winter and my quick car project, needed for something else to drive while i do this. As for arc welding i've heard all about it from my dad, he yells at me anytime I plan to do something out of the ordinary; meaning pretty much he doesn't agree with gas welding either, lol. He was saying winter would weaken the welds, as to why I don't know but his advice has never failed me before, so I assume he is correct. Not only that but kerosene heat I'm sure doesn't add to the safety level of the project. But I really don't have much of a choice when I can't afford much. At one time or another I was thinking of using a 2 part epoxy on the backside of the metal lol.
As for my get around car that I purchased for this project, it is very similar to the one i'm working on. Its a Ford Escort Exp; I purchased it really cheap for that fact that it had a blown head gasket and torn ring gear on the flywheel. Although I didn't know this at the time I decided to purchase it anyway for a little mechanical knowledge. I found the head gasket to be really easy especially when you have all the replacement parts in your room (cheap spares for my other escort, heh). As for the ring gear my father helped me "ghetto" it together by grinding it down to make the teeth ridged again, I couldn't afford replacement parts nor do I have the knowledge to mess with transmissions. Regardless though it should hold up for a while and it was very fun to learn some new stuff as well.
But I'm mainly looking forward to starting some body work and welding my misguided hand to the panel, lol. Oh a cool thing about the Exp is that it has a manual transmission and a multi-port injection head; maybe in time I can find a way to swap these between cars, after I learn a little more about electrical and modification of course.

Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the interest and input and I will keep yah updated.

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