Jump to content
  • When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Rear End Body Work Question


Recommended Posts

Hi guys.  Have a question.


I'm re-storing my first '02.  Had I known then what I know now, I would not have purchased this car; however, what's done is done. 


Everything is looking good except I'm not really happy with the rear end.  It had been rear-ended prior to me buying it and initially I didn't think the damage would bother me once it was painted.  Well, it did.  Next step in the process was to do some bondo work, which is where I sit now.  It's ok (not great) but there's lots of bondo...  It's got primer on it and close to painting should I decide that's what I want to do. 


Here's my question.  After doing the bondo work I came across a good rear end that can be cut out of an '02 parts car for $200.  Has anyone done this? Is it worth it or should I just live with what I have now?  If I went forward and based on the attached pictures, are there any pitfalls I should avoid when cutting out the parts rear end?  Or better said, what/where should I have the rear end cut out?  The spare tire well in my car is good and not rusted out. 


Any suggestions would be much appreciated. 





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Simple answer: is your skill at welding better than your skill with bondo? Obviously minimising the bondo is a good thing but depending upon how and where you make the join you may end up with just as much filler to hide the welds. You also need to be pretty good to get everything aligned perfectly. Not an easy option unless you have done similar before.

You may sleep better at night knowing it is all steel but that is a personal thing. The car in the picture looks ok to me - no rust holes and structurally sound. Fill it, paint it and drive the snot out of it.

rtheriaque wrote:

Carbs: They're necessary and barely controlled fuel leaks that sometimes match the air passing through them.

My build blog:http://www.bmw2002faq.com/blog/163-simeons-blog/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't really tell from the photos, altho the lower valance looks uneven along the bottom and the toe hook is bent down.  Imperfections on the valance can be partially be hidden with the textured chip guard.  For any competent body work, bondo should be kept to a minimum. Replacing the rear panel is fairly straightforward and not that difficult.  The main caveat is to cut the corresponding panels so you preserve the tabs along the welded seams.  This will give you material to weld the replacement panel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'd keep the original panel to the car if given the choice.  'oil canning' is the issue i've had to deal with before and the 1st time i just used a lot of bondo.  i'm a bit wiser now and am learing how to shrink metal and it works.  lot's of educational videos on youtube.  you'll never quite have the factory spotwelds and getting the seam just right is work.  i think the shorter path is to fix what you have.

Former owner of 2570440 & 2760440
Current owner of 6 non-op 02's

& 1 special alfa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, the tail panel is a pisser- lots of fussy angles that run into each other, so you have to spend a lot of time finessing the metal.


Then there are the long straight lines that need to be straight, the curves that need to be held to a constant radius...


I really don't like working on those panels.


That said, the more I do, the more metal work I do to them.  You really do need to get all the oil canning out of them.

You really do end up guidecoating the metal- you can prime it, or just use a light- color guide coat.  It does help, especially

when you get lost.  There is a lot of detail that's subtle, and they have to match the bumper, the taillights, the trunk lid...

that said, the factory fit on a roundie is not all that exceptional.  Not that there are too many factory- fits running around

any more.


I have changed one panel- the original was gouged and torn.  It sucked.  The seams are very hard to cut apart, and the lower seam

is visible under the bumper, so you end up doing bodywork there, too.  If I was to do it again, I would replace only the really damaged

section, and leave the rest.


So no, unless your original is a rusty holey mess, I'd spend more time with the hammer and dolly, then a judicious amount of filler.




oh, if you do end up changing it, cut away ALL of the butt weld that holds it to the rear quarter.  I don't know how

they welded those at the factory, but that weld is STUPID hard, and also doesn't like to be re- welded AT ALL.

There is usually plenty of flange left to re- weld once you grind away the original.  Be careful not to over- heat it.

Edited by TobyB

"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your other option is to buy the new rear panel and install that, with all of Toby's caveats. Not sure what the price is today as I haven't done that one in 14 yrs., but they are still out there. There is a certain comfort in having fresh metal there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • BMW Neue Klasse - a birth of a Sports Sedan

    BMW Neue Klasse - a birth of a Sports Sedan

    Unveiling of the Neue Klasse Unveiled in 1961, BMW 1500 sedan was a revolutionary concept at the outset of the '60s. No tail fins or chrome fountains. Instead, what you got was understated and elegant, in a modern sense, exciting to drive as nearly any sports car, and yet still comfortable for four.   The elegant little sedan was an instant sensation. In the 1500, BMW not only found the long-term solution to its dire business straits but, more importantly, created an entirely new
    History of the BMW 2002 and the 02 Series

    History of the BMW 2002 and the 02 Series

    In 1966, BMW was practically unknown in the US unless you were a touring motorcycle enthusiast or had seen an Isetta given away on a quiz show.  BMW’s sales in the US that year were just 1253 cars.  Then BMW 1600-2 came to America’s shores, tripling US sales to 4564 the following year, boosted by favorable articles in the Buff Books. Car and Driver called it “the best $2500 sedan anywhere.”  Road & Track’s road test was equally enthusiastic.  Then, BMW took a cue from American manufacturers,
    The BMW 2002 Production Run

    The BMW 2002 Production Run

    BMW 02 series are like the original Volkswagen Beetles in one way (besides both being German classic cars)—throughout their long production, they all essentially look alike—at least to the uninitiated:  small, boxy, rear-wheel drive, two-door sedan.  Aficionados know better.   Not only were there three other body styles—none, unfortunately, exported to the US—but there were some significant visual and mechanical changes over their eleven-year production run.   I’ve extracted t
  • Upcoming Events

  • Supporting Vendors

  • Create New...