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Rust Advice


Billsmith
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I recently purchased a 1972 BMW 2002. The engine is sound and powerful, transmission smooth, interior good and original. Undercarriage is very good for the age of the car. No rust underneath. It has sat under a shed for the last 15 years. The car has 95,000 documented miles. I paid $5,000 for the car. I am learning about rust. There are two or three spots about the size of a dime on the car. The two worst ones are just below the gutter above the right rear side window and on the left front just above the headlight, next to the left turn signal. The one on the front may require some steel be welded in after the rust is removed. All total, there are maybe 10 spots varying in size from pea sized to dime sized. My body guy thinks he can repair these spots and touch up the repaired areas to match the Polaris - Silver paint color that was applied when the car was repainted in 1989. The paint job is good except for the rust spots. My body guy wants $1,900 to do the repairs. My question is, would it be better for me to educate myself on DIY via You Tube and buy some Bondo at Autozone to tackle this issue for maybe 50 bucks or should I hire the professional and pay the price for the sake of the car. The professional is of the opinion that two of the spots could lead to future structural issues if ignored. Advice will be appreciated.

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From my wonderful experience, I'd say it.....depends. Your idea of DIY with some bondo from Autozone or similar will come out exceedingly disappointing I'm afraid unless you have real talent and thoroughly know how to totally get rid of the existing rust. From that perspective, I'd say that you'd probably get the job done, and could sell it off for $2000 when the rust starts to bubble through once again.

It's just my opinion...but I'd go with the $1900 from the professional if you wanted to get it done.

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I have to agree with what "bluedevils" (is that some sort of sports reference?) said. If all you have is cosmetic rust (e.g., in the body panels) and not structural (e.g., shock/strut towers, frame rails, etc.), then you should not be too concerned. However, as has been said many times before, you should be looking for more rust if you see rust on the surface. It is not that the spots on the surface will lead to rust in the structure, but more that these cars tend to get rust all over if they are in a rusting situation.

Just as a point of reference, my '73 had bad rust in the spare tire well and in the front valance, and quite a bit in the seams of the body (mostly in the trunk and boot lids), but none in the frame rails or strut/shock towers. This was a CA (California) car, but it had sat outside for a couple of years before I bought it.

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Body work is not something you can just go read a how-to book and then go do it.

It takes A LOT of practice to get good results. You may end up with something that will cost more than $1900 to fix. Best to leave it as is or pay the body guy. Without pix, we can't tell if $1900 is a good number or not.

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There are two kinds: surface rust, where a scratch or thin paint has allowed rust to begin, and blind panel rust, which is where it's coming up from underneath, forming blisters.

Surface rust can be temporarily slowed with a little "rust converter" until you're ready to sand to the bare metal, etch, prime and repaint. Blistering rust is just gonna get worse until eihter you fix it or it gets out of control. Blister rust can only be fixed properly by cutting away the rusty area back to sound metal, rustproof the area behind the rusted spot so it won't happen again, and finally weld in a patch panel. Window screen and bondo won't do it. I learned how to do the former by taking an evening auto body course at our local vocational high school--that was after all those bondo patches fell out after their first winter.

If you want to slow down the blisters to keep 'em from getting worse, chip away the rust (you'll probably find a hole), coat the rusty spot with a rust converter, POR 15 or your choice, then cover the hole--I've found that Gorilla duct tape is pretty sticky stuff--it's been covering some rust holes on my E30 winter car for two years now!

Just remember...rust never sleeps, and it's the bane of every 02 owner's existance--even the ones that live in S. Cal and Arizona!

cheers, and good luck

mike

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