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Rust advice Needed!!! Pics included


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Hellllppp!! like many others my 02 is a victim of rust!!! what to do?


^Left rear jack point. are whole new rocker panels needed? or can i grind this down and weld?


?? does it need a whole new nose? everything above this is fine. Can just the lower part be replaced?


My biggest problem... it doesnt appear to be that far along..can i just grind some rust out and patch? or is a new section/ wheel well needed?


The bottom of the well doesnt seem to be rusted. Is this any help?


Then there are little things like this, which can be smoothed out/ welded, or bondo( i know its a curse word)

anyone done resto to sections like this? I hope to do as much as i can myself, but will have to take the car to a body shop eventually to get some paint fixed. Would it be best to take the car to a body shop and have them fix it all?


my buddy is a photography student- the 02 became part of his portfolio :0

'75 2002


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I think your rust is pretty far along but not too far gone. The rockers are a little scary and the rear shock tower is also a little scary. How are the floors? Any rust in the rear spare tire well or under the back seats?

'79 & '80 Vespas, R75/6 + R90/6 (and a Triumph), '76 IH Scout II


'71 VIN: 2574356 - Nevada, Sunroof, RUST and a really nice '76

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That's not too bad for a Midwest car. If you have the patience and resources, most of what you show is pretty repairable. If you post your general location you could get someone to take a look in person. Check the project blogs to find someone who did similar repairs. I have to do the rockers on my car as well as the rear wheel arches.


'76 2002

'90 M3

'90 535i 5 speed

'89 325is '91 318is

'87 325is

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The passenger floor board needs to be replaced. but the rest of them and the frame rails are strong, as well as under the back seat.

I'm down in the Atlanta area, i actually live just south in Peachtree City. If anyone locally would like to take a look and lend an opinion, i would appreciate it. Email me 752dbl02@gmail.com

'75 2002


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Don't be discouraged. It's not THAT bad. The rockers on my '72 are worse than that, and the shock towers on my '76 DD are worse as well.

Just be patient with the repairs and at all costs, don't cut corners. Take your time and prep everything to the best of your ability, and it will be done properly, and give you peace of mind.

-Andrew Poon


1976 2002 - Mintgrun

1986 535i - Bronzit

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I don't think it's that bad - it's a 35-year old car for cripes sake. Read up on welding and do some digging in the blog section to see what others have done. Do you have a place to store the car and work on it, or is this your daily driver? Those are big considerations if you want to preserve the car. Keep things in perspective and don't bite off more than you can chew. Do small manageable pieces at a time - maybe one shock tower over the course of a weekend. The rear towers can be patched easily. I would do them first. Check out the rockers to determine the full extent. They can be patched, but if you cut them out totally, you will need to make braces to fit between the doors and the tunnel. I would leave the door skin and fender rust to last because the best way to deal with that is just replace the panels, and then you are getting into repainting the car. Bondo can be a temporary solution, but you'll be coming back to it at some point for the door corners and fenders, and you'll need a spray gun to paint over it. Same with the nose panel, you can buy a new nose and skin it to replace the lower portion, but that is now an expensive panel, and skinning a panel requires some skill. At that point, it is best to get good panels and find a body guy that can install the panels and shoot the car if you strip it down.

Some people wimp out on rust, but I think this is workable. Also check the front frame rails, especially the ones under the master cylinder. They can be gusseted with patch panel when you get good with your welding.

Patch it, run it, learn, and have fun.

If your life is dull, perhaps your car is too new and you're not driving far enough...

1969 1600 florida (Moonglow)

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-As far as the rockers go- do the hammer test- take a hammer and tap on the rust affected areas. When I did this mine the hammer when right thru!

I had rust in pretty much the same place in my car, it was a 1602 (1 of 198) non sunroof so I wanted to save it.

I decided to find a donor car and I cut the whole rocker out up the b-pillar and A-pillars. Extreme maybe, but rust is like cancer and if you just replace the outside rocker the rust will continue on. I opted to completey remove the affected area.

once I removed my old rockers I could really see how must the rust had spread.

in this pic you can see how far up the body we replaced. Basically sliced the donor car halfway up the body and along the floors....on both sides and replaced everything. Drastic yes, but why do it half assed? Rust will just creep up again. Considering I was going to race the car and the rockers are major structural component it was a no brainer for me. Plus I'm no afraid of a sawzall and a welder.


Doing it like this also avoided me having to patch anything, so it actually saved me some time...

click here to see all my rust repair pics


the rust in the rear wheel well was just like mine and I just patched it. No biggie. pretty commom.

RUST SUCKS.....good luck.

You hav eto learn do do this yourself as bodyshops would of charged me $3000+ to do what I did.....hell probably much more than that even!

In fact reality is that most bodyshop will not take this kind of work. You would have to go to a restoration kinda shop that charges a ton.

68' 1602

98' ///M3 Sedan

88' ///M3 Sold *

06' ///M3 Competition Pkg Sold *



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My advice- start by trying to repair one rear spring perch at a time.

Carefully remove the rust, and the swiss- cheesed metal, then

clean up everything until it's shiny- bright. Don't remove any

more metal than you absolutly have to. With any luck, you can

save the perch intact, and just splice in a small repair strip.

If that goes well, then you can attack further.

If it goes poorly (or not at all) then you can reassess.

And yes, finding a shop to tackle the rust is going to be harder

than getting a bumper cover replaced on your '99 Tercel.

But there are still shops that do it.


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

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Toby's adivice sounds right on. Don't freak out and take your time. If i showed you guys pics of my tii and what I'm doing some of the cali guys would have a heart attack. Chris

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This makes me glad im in good old drought affected Australia :-P

I dont have any advice apart from try and do as much of it yourself as you can - its a great learning curb. Really just wanted to say that last pic your friend took is sweet as! Car looks great int it!



72tii - Whitey

74 - Blacky

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  • 6 months later...

If you decide to go the "donor car" route, give me a buzz. 75 Oklahoma car, very soild from A-pillar back; good quarters, doors, towers, and rockers (as best as I can tell. No external rust there, but haven't removed them.) No drive train, not much suspension,but will roll and steer. $250 with out dash. I'm not a sawzall guy, so carcass only.

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