Rust can be a real car killer, if you’re not careful and you let it go too far, say hello to the scrapheap. Creeping it’s way into every possible nook n’ cranny of a cars bodywork, any area of water accumulation will begin to eat away at the metal and you’re destined to be dealing with a disaster over time.
Rust repair can be the bane of most auto restorers, but will make all the difference in the final product when done correctly. It’s mind boggling that some people think that entire sheets of metal can be replaced by white, gummy filler, but you’ll be surprised how many ‘restorers’ will take this easy route. Plugging rusty holes with filler is a quick fix but in the long run, the filler will either soak up water that would otherwise run off the car, feeding it back into the bodywork, or it will not provide any significant form of protection and will let water and moisture seep through from the surroundings into places you really don’t want it to be. Trust us, just don’t do it! If you’re going to take the time to address the issue, do it right.
Here is a photo set following all the stages of a proper rust repair on a 1979 Nissan Datsun 280ZX rear passenger panel.
There are plenty of manufacturers that offer reproduction replacement panels for common models, but often they are never going to be the standard of the original body panels and are often damaged in transit upon arrival. It’s also a frequent occurrence that you’ll go to line up the outer panel ready to weld it on and it will seem like it doesn’t fit at all. Keep in mind there are often inner structural panels that will reveal themselves once the corroded and rusted outer is removed.
For this 79 Datsun 280zx we custom cut patches to weld in. Of course keep in mind that all surface rust and corrosion must be removed, as only clean, bare metal can be used for efficient welding to take place.
Inner panels for structural integrity also had to be replaced and welded in
Angle grinder is next to clean up and smooth the welds
Smooth and clean to keep the body lines as original.
Good quality work leaves you with a beautiful finish, worth all the time and effort and will last for years to come.