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Old 09-27-2007, 05:45 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ohio
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Had a question for anyone out there who has done bodywork repairs. Iíve got a í96 Camry (the proverbial ďbeater carĒ) that runs wonderfully but is developing cancer over the rear driverís side wheel well. From appearances, it looks to be an area about the size of a cell phone (though not as wide), though Iím sure once I start getting in there itís going to be more involved (Isnít EVERYTHING?).

I have never done any such repairs, though I remember briefly watching my father working on his í65 Buick Skylark back in the late Ď70s and his results, though not quite professional looking, were pretty darn good. I wish I had REALLY paid attention to what he was doing, since heís no longer around to ask. Sigh.

I went to a body shop and found out what I already knew: They want like what the carís worth to do the repair. Thatís not going to happen.


1) Does one need something like an angle grinder or are there other ways to clean up the rusted area? (Iíve got power drill cutting wheels, files, hack saw, etc.)

2) What product(s) specifically would be good to use? Bondo? Fiberglass?

3) Whatís the best source for paint matching? (Iím sort of assuming I could somehow get something in an aerosol can that I could feather into the existing paint.) Again, it doesnít have to look great. (Anything looks better than RUST.)

I know anything I do will eventually start rusting againÖI just want to see if I can arrest the deterioration for awhile, and keep what is basically a nice car from falling apart any faster than necessary.

Any opinions/advice most appreciated!

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Old 09-27-2007, 10:30 PM   #2
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1) Remove the really bad cancer, and wire brush aggressively either by machine wheel or hand.

2) Apply "Rust Mort" rust convertor, can be purchased at auto body Supply stores.

3) (optional) if you have big holes, fiberlass works good (if you don't have welder), but is messy. Smaller holes can be filled with "Dura-glass" marine grade filler with fiberglass strands.

4) (optional) Apply thin coat of "Dura-glass" to seal the bare metal rusted area ONLY, careful not to over cover. Dura glass is much harder to sand down than Bondo filler and makes feathering difficult.

5) Apply regular Bondo/body filler and sand to shape. Regular Bondo is hygroscopic and a chip in the paint or the back of the metal if there were pin holes will let moisture in, and the Bondo will soak up like a sponge and start rotting the untreated metal again.

6) a. Get matching paint codes, or if car has been wrecked before remove the gas flap and bring down to auto paint store and they can match it. I've never tried those rechargeable aerosol paint cans, but those $5 diposable air brush sets at Harbor Freight work awesome for small touch up. A door jamb/touch up gun for bigger jobs. Be careful using auto paints. Most are catalysed now, and they have some nasty chemicals (isocyanates, etc...). You're supposed to wear air supplied respirators, but you're probably ok (it's your life) with $40 charcoal filter type respirator for small quantities. Make sure you have enough ventilation.

I've heard of people using a small foam roller to apply the paint, then waiting for it to dry, and then wet sanding it, and re-applying the paint, repeat...

Ideally, you should use a "sealer" between the paint and bondo. Glazing bondo, and sanding primer makes the job more professional too. Depends on how ghetto you want to go. Whatever you do, make sure you stay with one line of product, because of the chemical complexity of different lines and brands, you can run into problems of lifting, peeling, and so on. For example, if you decide on PPG single stage paint, make sure you use a PPG compatible primer/sealer, primer surfacer.

6) b. Or you can always goto Home Depot and get some Krylon and eye ball it

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