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What Are Realistic Expectations For Rust Repairs?


19 replies to this topic

#1 kc27

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Posted November 2, 2012 at 12:23 am

My 2005 Chrysler minivan had some rust on the rear quarter panel, just ahead of the tire. I was told the rust was due to the use of foam type sound deadening that retains moisture and causes rust. This was the only part of the vehicle with body rust.

I had the rust repaired, and within six months the paint where the rust was repaired was bubbling. The repair is going to be redone, but I've also been told that rust is impossible to permanently repair. Can anyone with autobody repair experience comment on the accuracy of that statement. I live in the Midwest USA if that factors into your answer.

Thanks in advance for any ideas on this.

#2 Bob Lincoln

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Posted November 2, 2012 at 08:52 am

Six months is ridiculous - it was a poorly done job. I have gotten 6 years out of repairs that I have done.

It's impossible to stop it completely, but you can buy 6-10 years if repaired properly. That usually means welding in new sheet metal, sandblasting, priming with a rustproofing/rust converter primer, regular primers and paint, and undercoat where applicable.

There may be shops like this near you:

http://www.autorust.com

#3 kc27

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Posted November 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thanks, that sounds about right to me. I had rust repair done at the same shop several years ago, and it held up much better. Six months I know is way too short, I was just wondering what would be a reasonable life of a repair on the upper end.

The shop is going to redo the repair, but as the owner of the shop cautioned me, they do not warranty rust repairs because rust always comes back. But on the other hand, he feels to have the repair coming apart after six months is not acceptable, either. He did state that he will only fix it a second time. So if the repair fails prematurely again, I will be out of luck.

As I mentioned, the rust repair I had gotten in the past at this shop was a quality repair.. But whomever performed that work may no longer be working there. I'm not even sure how hands-on the owner is any more. Apparently he has cut back on his time at the shop, and is no longer on-site every day. I'm hoping that because this is a redo, he will give it his personal attention to ensure a better repair is made.

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#4 Bob Lincoln

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Posted November 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm

There are many ways to do rust repair. I have made very successful repairs in my driveway with rivets and epoxy, and galvanized steel. In my youth I made terrible repairs with bondo and fiberglass screening.

Bottom line, if it's structural, it HAS to be welded. And that means proper prep and then proper sealing. If not structural, you can do the following:

Sand/grind/rip away all rusty metal without mercy, and they cut away a little good metal along all the borders (if you don't do this, it WILL fail early). Wipe clean with a rag and volatile degreaser such as brake cleaner, then within 30-60 seconds, spray with a rust converter such as Permatex Extend or Rustoleum Rust Reformer. It's vital to apply it exactly as directed. Temperature must be over 70F and not humid. Apply at least two coats. Wait 24 hours. Apply Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer, 2 coats. Shape/cut the repair metal, then apply Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer, 2 coats, to the car and the repair metal. Let dry. Attach the metal with rivets and/or JB Weld Industrial Epoxy. Let dry 24 hours. Sand and feather the epoxy. Paint the whole repair with Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer, then regular automotive primer, then automotive filler primer, then sealer primer. Let dry completely and sand between each step, using finer grit paper, from 150 down to 800 or 1000. At that point, apply 2-3 finish coats. Once they have flashed, apply 2-3 coats of clearcoat (within about 20-30 minutes). You can wetsand the clearcoat after it's dry with 2000 grit paper or with polishing compound, careful not to cut through it.

Lesser quality work and shortcuts will yield a shorter-life repair. You get out of it what you put into it.

#5 dana44

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Posted November 2, 2012 at 09:50 pm

I have had good luck with rust converters and then epoxy primering, making sure any excess moisture locations, such as body drains getting plugged up or simply not checked annually, just keeps the rust from stopping properly. I agree with the cutting and welding, clean metal, rust converter, primer sealer, then paint, and for those not visible places, bedliner roll-on you can easily get at any parts store really seals things well, that stuff works wonderfully.

#6 Bob Lincoln

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Posted November 3, 2012 at 09:24 am

For reference, Autorust does not offer a specific warranty, but they claim that you should get up to 10 years, typically, from a repair. Three years later, everything they did for me was solid, except a quarter-sized bubble right at the edge of a repair on the rear quarter. They immediately offered to fix it, but I'd rather address it myself with the above methods. JB Weld, I've found, is virtually impermeable to moisture, sands well, grips well. Never use bondo.

#7 dana44

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Posted November 3, 2012 at 09:30 pm

Back in 1981 I dimpled and bondo'd all the chrome moulding holes( abou the size of pencils) on my 39 Nash. After sitting outside and the sand from sandblasting collected water and rusted through a couple spots I didn't know existed, resanded and cheap painted in 1992, the bondo is still just as good as the day I put it on. It is exposed in the back, all kinds of stuff, so hey, bondo done properly (I guess I did it right), works just fine. Poor prep is the number one reason for any poor job. Just don't wipe your bare hand over any work before the next thing you do to it, hand oils/contaminants are really hard on good work. I did use some JB Weld on wife's door edge where the metal had torn in an accident and it does seem to be holding up well.

#8 kc27

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Posted November 5, 2012 at 04:31 pm

The links below show what how the repair looks now. It's been about 9 months since it was repaired, small bubbles appeared at six months.

I always attributed rust to letting road salt sit on the vehicle. However, in my case, I take the van to the coin operated wash stalls with the high pressure spray wands whenever there is salt on the vehicle, rinsing the body and underside. The body shop mentioned the use of a sound deadener in this area, which has the unintended consequence of retaining moisture and causing/accelerating corrosion. Maybe the high pressure spray saturated the sound proofing and keeping it from drying out.

http://icestormcity...._quarter_01.jpg
http://icestormcity...._quarter_02.jpg

#9 Bob Lincoln

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Posted November 5, 2012 at 07:42 pm

I'd slice away about 2 inches in from the wheelwell and install new metal. If you poke hard enough with a screwdriver, I'll bet it goes right through.

#10 dana44

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Posted November 5, 2012 at 09:55 pm

That wasn't even close to being prepped properly to repair, it was simply covered over. Yes, they should repair it. Rust converter and sealed will do a better job than that.

#11 Dave

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Posted November 9, 2012 at 03:07 pm

I can tell you from my experience that there is a HUGE difference between shops, some simply sand the worst of it off to get the right texture and paint -- no primer required. Some don't even go that far. Some do it right.

#12 kc27

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Posted December 1, 2012 at 09:08 am

Follow up: I got the re-done repair back from the shop. The person who did the work said this time he used new metal to make the repair. But he cautioned me, just like the shop owner had, that rust can never be permanently repaired. i reminded him that previous rust repairs from the same shop had lasted years, not months. I think the shop's contention is that no rust repair will last very long, and that Town and Countrys are especially prone to rust in the rear quarters due to the use of sound deadening material that holds moisture.

 

I do agree with DaveAdmin's comment about the huge difference among shops. This is the second time I have been burned by going on a shop's reputation unaware that their currently level of work no longer lived up to their reputation. First time was a shop where the owner's son had taken over, and the quality had slipped. They repaired collision damage to the right rear quarter pane of a six month old carl. The repair failed after 9 months, and by that time I had moved out of state and it wasn't practical for me to return the car to the shop. A friend of mine is an auto body man by trade. I asked him to take a look at the car for me to see what was going on with the repair. He communicated his opinion of the repair by putting his finger down his throat, and asked if I had a novice tech-ed student do the work. That was somewhat of a surprise, because the shop took over three weeks to make the repair.

 

The shop I used this time had done good work for me in the past, and the owner of the shop was still running the place. What I did not know was that I happened to catch him on one of the two or three days a week that he is on site. When the repair failed and I returned to the shop to speak with the owner and kept missing him, I learned from one of his employees, who said with some disgruntlement and envy, that the employees do all the work, get paid peanuts, while the owner is off enjoying leisure activities most of the week. Which I suppose is great for the owner, he invested the time, effort, and risk in starting the business, so if his reward is to be semi-retired - good for him.

 

I agree with DaveAdmin that there can be a significant difference in quality between shops, but how does one learn which shops to avoid when your are not in the auto body or insurance businesses? Even when you have first-hand experience with a shop, if you don't have recent experiencw with them, you may come to realize as I did that their quality of work has slipped.



#13 Bob Lincoln

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Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

Word of mouth is best. And no one is perfect and always does consistent work on every car. Some cars are just problematic. I took a chance on a tiny, rundown shop that does welding, to have a rotted crossmember cut out and a new one fabricated and welded in, on my last car. The new one was boxy, it fit and worked. It doesn't show, but it was stronger than new. He also patched two small holes in the floor. He charged $750 and I tipped him for his work. It held fine for the two years that I had the car after that.

I heard about Autorust near me when I bought my current Daytona, and they did an overall great job. There were a few small mistakes. A quarter-sized bubble has appeared two years later, and I'm going to fix it myself, it's so small and easy. They did offer to, but I don't want the car tied up for something that simple. The rest of the repair was extensive, fabricating and welding in new rockers on both side, and rear quarters; sandblasting, epoxy and undercoating. All of that has held up great. They undercoated the floorpan inside after the repair, and the only issue there is that it was a little tacky when they put the carpet down, so the jute stuck to the floor a little. Will it matter? I expect not to remove the carpet again, and the rust is fixed. If it were a gem and a candidate for restoration or future repair, that could be an issue. My goal was to get 10 years out of a daily driver, and I'm confident that I can.

Edited by Bob Lincoln, December 1, 2012 at 11:00 am.


#14 donrautter

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Posted December 23, 2012 at 09:46 pm

hi, i just  inherited my mom's  '89 dodge  spirit ES  turbo /auto.  she  is 97 years old and decided to  turn the keys over to me. the car has 53 k on the 0dometer. I helped her buy it  new. it is mint on the inside.well mantained oil changes every 3k, and trans service at 25k.and 2 radiators. the car lives in the U.P.  of MI. basically short drives. I would drive  a few times a year and kick the turbo in and blow the carbon out. the under body has had a LOT of brake and fuel line repair from rust,  and the under carriage is quite rusty. some say it is not safe to put on a hoist.  i will not be getting it  till spring. the car has been garaged  on a cement floor all its life. I am sure it will need some body panels replace such as rocker panel  and floor panel  maybe strut towe or some frame sections. the drivers door bottom is repairable , the other doors are good. IS THERE ANY PLACE  I CAN CONTACT TO BUY THE BODY THE BODY PANELS?  CAN U HELP  . the car is black with grey cloth and red stripe, the oem turbo floor mats have never been turned upside right, all covered with other carpet mats thanks for your time, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS

 



#15 Bob Lincoln

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Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:25 am

I don't think anyone makes panels off-the-shelf for these. If it's not safe to go on a lift, I would NOT drive it.

Have a competent rust repair shop look it over and see if it is salvageable. It may not be. The rockers ARE the frame of the car, they are structural. I spent $3,200 on rust repair and remediation when I bought my Daytona, knowing there was rust that needed to be repaired. Fortunately there is a good shop near me. But I scrapped my last Daytona when it got to the condition you described. Have it checked by a pro.

#16 donrautter

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Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

I don't think anyone makes panels off-the-shelf for these. If it's not safe to go on a lift, I would NOT drive it.

Have a competent rust repair shop look it over and see if it is salvageable. It may not be. The rockers ARE the frame of the car, they are structural. I spent $3,200 on rust repair and remediation when I bought my Daytona, knowing there was rust that needed to be repaired. Fortunately there is a good shop near me. But I scrapped my last Daytona when it got to the condition you described. Have it checked by a pro.

hi,  thanks for the feed back, i'll keep in touch, maybe start looking for a donor  vehicle.



#17 MoparNorm

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Posted December 30, 2012 at 08:29 pm

I agree with Dave.
Rust only comes back if the original rust wasn't completely removed.
On a budget, unfortunately that can get expensive, but there are ways to affordable give you 10 years, or 10 weeks, it all depends upon the shop.
If you want it gone, it has to be completely removed.

#18 kc27

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Posted May 6, 2013 at 03:11 am

Here's my latest update. The repair that was redone 6 months ago is showing rust again. But I also noticed a new area of rust along the bottom of the drivers side, just ahead of the rear wheel. The rocker panel is just about completely gone. It's pretty much the same on the passenger side, except it just hasn't reached the point of falling apart yet. But I could push my finger through what was left of the metal pretty easily. It looks like it rusted from the inside out. I realize this is an 8 year old vehicle with 170,000 miles and driven in the snowy Midwest, but of those 8 winters, a few of them have been mild with minimal usage of salt on the roads. Also, I don't let salt sit on the vehicle, I am always rinsing it off with the high pressure sprayer at the do-it-yourself car wash. Again, if it rusted from the inside out, I suppose rinsing of the exterior probably wasn't going to help.

 

Besides the rust, the van is in generally good shape, and runs well. I checked out some other body shops (some don't even touch rust repairs), and found a shop (different than the first one I used), who is going to replace the rocker panels. I asked about the rust that will be left behind and covered up with the new rocker panels, and he said it would be treated with some kind of solution that will migrate to all the rusted areas. I know MoparNorm commented above that the rust has to be completely removed, and it will be with the replacement of the rocker panels. But in this case, the metal behind the rockers will not be replaced, just treated with the rust converter or whatever rust treatment they will be using. Hopefully that, and maybe with reapplications of anti rust solutions through the new rocker panel drains, I can hold back the rust and ensure the van's structural safety.



#19 Bob Lincoln

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Posted May 6, 2013 at 07:53 am

It will come back.  Rust converter sprayed in will simply slow the process a little.  In my case, the outer AND inner rockers were rotted.  The shop cut out ALL of the rust and fabricated new inner and outer rockers.  Simply replacing the outer rockers will not address the inners that are probably compromised, and probably are rusting from the inside out.  I would suggest NOT spending a lot of money on the proposed repair, or spending enough money to replace inner rockers as well.  Depends on how long you expect to keep the vehicle and how much you drive, to recoup the cost.



#20 kc27

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Posted May 6, 2013 at 01:03 pm

Thanks for the insight. The van has been maintained mechanically, and I'd like to get another 8 years out of it with the body looking fairly decent. The vehicle's body condition is important to me, or I wouldn't be going to this expense ($1,700). I've read the rusting from the inside out in 2001 - 2007 Chrysler mini-vans  is due to unsealed seams in the roof and/or foam sound deadening insulation that absorbs and holds moisture in the rocker panels. 

 

Your comment about removing all rust vs converting it has me wondering if I will be looking at the same rust again in under a year.




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