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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I noticed as soon as I bought my Taurus a month or so ago that there was a rusty bit above the driver's side rear wheel, nothing too bad though. I ignored it until recently when I decided the best course of action was to sand at it, spray some rust killer on and repaint/clear-coat. Bad idea... Seems that the factory paint was all that was holding the rusted spot together as it completely fell apart almost as soon as I got the sanding pad at it.

I've uploaded pictures of how it looks now...

Do you guys have any suggestions for what I should do? Should I just cut my losses and throw some Bondo into the hole or do I need to do more extensive work? I'm particularly worried because I noticed exactly how large this piece of body work is, as it seems to wrap all the way over the roof of the car and down toward the front driver's door.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Rust

So I noticed as soon as I bought my Taurus a month or so ago that there was a rusty bit above the driver's side rear wheel, nothing too bad though. I ignored it until recently when I decided the best course of action was to sand at it, spray some rust killer on and repaint/clear-coat. Bad idea... Seems that the factory paint was all that was holding the rusted spot together as it completely fell apart almost as soon as I got the sanding pad at it.

I've uploaded pictures of how it looks now...

Do you guys have any suggestions for what I should do? Should I just cut my losses and throw some Bondo into the hole or do I need to do more extensive work? I'm particularly worried because I noticed exactly how large this piece of body work is, as it seems to wrap all the way over the roof of the car and down toward the front driver's door.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Yea, I live in the rust belt. Look in any parking lot and all these cars show rust in the same place. Mine also, '01 Sable.

I sanded well around the rusted area and used 2 part epoxy and fiberglass cloth to build up a new surface with some strength. Then bondo to bring it to some near net shape. Prime and paint with Duplicolor. Might last 2 years in the rust belt.

And thus is the reason I went 150 miles south into PA to find my '03 which is about rust free as any one year old. Of course 16 days after registering a tree fell on it and totaled it.

You can fix about anything on a car but rust. See picture. This is my gas filler pipe. Got a light. Small vapor leak. Small? Oh yea. I salvaged the screw with muriatic acid.

Happy rust fixing.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The epoxy/fiberglass solution sounds like the way to go it seems. My main worry was that the Bondo wouldn't be strong enough on its own, but your solution seems like the answer to that.

Will this continue to spread if I don't remove all of it? Should I just grab a Dremel and work off all of the rusted metal before doing any patch work? Of course, I'm worried about just how much metal that could be...
 

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Best thing would be to cut out all the affected metal. like chart said, common to see on cars that spent some time in the salt/rust belt. If you are living out in the hot, dry air of AZ, I doubt the rust is going to continue to spread. But if you want to take care of it, it'll take a few hours for a body shop to cut out the affected areas, weld in new seams, and paint..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm actually surprised the car had rust. I don't know the whole history of the vehicle, but I bought it in Oklahoma, and after having lived there for 15 years I never got the impression that the climate was particularly rust-encouraging.

So guys - do you think this is something I can/should do myself? Actually, I think a better question would be - what *should* this kind of job cost me if I'm gonna have somebody else do it?
 

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Shoot me the VIN, and we can check what the registration history is (I have AutoCheck access) :)

I didn't think the roads were salted in Okie land...but maybe the owner liked driving in the salt belt in the winter? Or the car lived in that area for some amount of time.

I know risoworker on here had his 2002 repaired...I'll txt him tmrw and ask.
 

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Used Car History

Shoot me the VIN, and we can check what the registration history is (I have AutoCheck access) :)

I didn't think the roads were salted in Okie land...but maybe the owner liked driving in the salt belt in the winter? Or the car lived in that area for some amount of time.

I know risoworker on here had his 2002 repaired...I'll txt him tmrw and ask.
Maybe late but, I used Carfax and paid for 5 cars. I had looked at them.
Found one with 9 owners in 8 years, and been through auction 3 times.
Found one started in IA, been in NY, PA, WV, MD, NJ as registered in those states.
Found one with a Red PA title. (rebuilt Wreck)

I got a one owner, started in TX and then to PA.

Cars get around.

-chart-
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I'm shocked at my report. 7 owners (I assume I'm #7), and the car started out in Alaska - which explains the rust, where it was apparently a fleet vehicle of some sort (25k miles in yr 1!). Then Missouri, then Oklahoma (where I bought it) and now Arizona.

In the middle it had been to auction twice and has one reported accident, though I guess there's no way to find out how severe?

And it's reported as having had Liens on it twice, though not in the past 5 years, and the newly printed titled I inherited when I bought the car made no mention of a current Lien so I assume I'm fine on that front.

And my registration was the 14th 'registration/event'

Man... 6 previous owners. I would never have guessed. And I would never have bought it had I know, especially if I knew beforehand that it started out as a fleet vehicle.
 

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Fleet does not equal bad. Fleet vehicles are generally maintained according to the manufacturers recommendations by competent mechanics. Problems are fixed as they arize. This is MUCH more than you can say for many privately owned cars!!!!

The ONLY way to permanently fix the rust is cut out all the bad metal, and replace it. Bondo, Epoxy, etc, as noted above, will give you a year or 2 before the rust returns worse than before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Probably. I think I just equate 'fleet' with 'rental', and I don't trust renters to baby a vehicle while they've got it. Though I suppose if you're wanting to rent something for the sole purpose of thrashing it, you're not gonna rent a family sedan.

I think I may try to do this myself, though I'll need to wait until next payday so I can grab a Dremel kit.

But yeah, does anybody have a clue what kind of cost this job should run if I have a body shop do it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I went to one body shop here; $400~ for a cut/weld and $250 for a resin patch job.

He advised I just do it myself.

One revelation though; he says the entire spot is actually a previous repair job, and most of what's fallen off is old body filler. He seems to think the damage is much worse than even I've uncovered and that I should just do a fill-in of what I've dug out, and not try to cut anything.

Hmm...
 

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The rust probably happened from Alaska like you said, and Missouri as well, as they use road salt there too.

Do you have a self service junkyard near you? Could bring your dremel there and play on a couple of cars to get a feel for what the setup is like, as well as cut out a replacement piece for your car.

risoworker said it probably cost around $300-400 for him to get the job done on his 2002.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for asking him. :)

Speaking of 'replacement piece' - is this as hard as it looks to outright replace or does this one piece of sheet metal really encompass the roof, fender and door frame? Can't be...

How far am I willing to go for an $1800 car that's stealing my heart...
 

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Well the floor welds together with the exterior piece (which as you noticed is one big piece of sheetmetal that goes from end to end). You can trim out the affected area, weld in good stuff, sand, prime, and paint for an aesthetic fix. But like the bodyman said...who knows what's hiding behind it.

check this walk through with the last of the Gen 4s built in Atlanta:
The Last Taurus | Taurus/Sable Encyclopedia

You can see how the car is stamped together.
 

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I won't tell you how to do it, but if you want to stop it, you have to remove or encapsulate existing rust and seal both the outside and inner fender well. There are many materials that could work, but Bondo alone is not one of them. Generally, you can have a solid repair(weld in steel, seal, finish) or flexible (metal adhered with adhesive that remains pliable). Both can do the job, but the weld in job will look better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Man, I wish I knew what kind of a job this was going to turn into otherwise I'd have ignored the Quarter-sized brown blemish that was there. :D

I think I'm just gonna revert to my plan from page 1; cut out a bit of the area, wire brush it, clean it with rubbing alcohol, spray some rust inhibitor around, fiberglass/epoxy it, body filler to level it out, sand it, prime it, paint it and clear coat it.

If it spreads, it spreads. I can't afford $400~ for a proper cut and weld and don't have the tools or know how to do it myself.
 

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At first I was surprised to see car from Arizona with rusted out metal... but now that we know it spent time in Alaska and New York, it probably saw lots of road salt in winter. We've got our share of cars in Ontario that are badly rusted and a lot has to do with the winter driving. I've seen many of these cars rot away along the rocker panels and around the wheel wells. Floor pans can rot away and brake lines, fuel lines, gas tanks, etc.

If the cars are kept rust proofed and treated yearly, the cars will survive a lot longer. I've seen cars from the 80s that are treated yearly and they are in better shape then some of the untreated cars from the early 2000s. My 2003 Taurus has no signs of rust yet and I keep it oiled. Not sure whether you have any rustproofing available down there, but you could buy yourself a can of WD40 or something a little thicker and spray inside the panels. This will help to slow it down.

The best way to fix that rusted out metal is to have new stuff welded in. You can buy replacement sheet metal for these cars already cut to shape.

Before you consider spending money on this repair.... inspect the other side of the car and determine whether it's gone the same way. Also inspect the underbody and see whether there's any visible holes. If you've got several areas in the same condition you may want to give this a temporary fix and drive the car into the ground because it'll probably cost you more to fix then it's worth.

You could grind off the rusted metal. Buy a small metal patch and rivet it over the hole. Then apply a coat of fiberglass or bondo. Sand it smooth and then apply primer and paint. You need to have metal patch or something covering that hole before you apply fiberglass/bondo. It just won't hold up on it's own and will start to bubble. Several years ago I replaced the rocker panels on my sister's 1990 Cavalier. I bought replacement rockers ($50 each) and basically glued them over top of the existing rockers. I then put rivets in for added support. Gave it several coats of paint and it held up for a long time.

Definately consider rustproofing that car to prevent it from getting any worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Nah, no New York - just Alaska. And even then it was only from June '98 to November '99; 17 months, possibly even less, the history report is a bit ambiguous. After that though it was Missouri (the southwestern bit) and Oklahoma, registered repeatedly across a total area that would only take a few hours to drive across, and it's not a rust-prone area of the country.

So I'm still confused by the rust. But maybe that first year of heavy driving in Alaska was enough.

And I looked at the underbelly of the car this morning and everything looked well enough; corrosion and dirt in line with what you'd expect, but no obvious rust - at least not anything that's spread obviously.

I'll check around the other wheel wells tomorrow when the sun's up - good idea.

If this is gonna get done properly, I wont be the one doing it because I don't have the skill level, so I'll need to find somebody professional who can do it for cheap. And $400 isn't cheap. :(
 
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