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Discussion Starter #21
Starting the final bits to complete the fab work on the rear left side. This is the lower trim clip tab or the beginning of one anyway:
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Here it is all welded up and primed. Next is seam sealer, prime again with POR15 then Schutz then done. Yes the welding could be better, I have never been that great at it. So if you are thinking "my cuzin Timmy can weld better than that" well he, or she, probably can. I don't have a cuzin Timmy so I do what I can. I can't see the weld and I tend to run the bead too fast but it is burned in though. I watch and lead the bead but I never seem to get it perfect. One method I was taught was to use my hand with a glove to hold the gun tip in place while looking away; with this method I can get perfect tack welds. I will be counting on that technique for the outer patch panels :
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Its solid and everything lined up pretty good:
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So this is what the "B" side looks like from the welding. You can see it is quite easy to get a pin hole but I think I am good. I spent a lot of time plugging them up. Some clean up and seam sealer with primer and wax and it will last along time:
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I started to clean up the rocker and determine how I wanted to approach the repair. This is a an excellent example of the point I made earlier about the seam rust. To do this right i would have to remove the outer rocker , the inner shear panel, and several panels to clean them up (4 material thicknesses in this pic). That just does not make sense for me so I will repair the area with the holes and seal up the rest. I was able to use a hammer and drift and put the lower pinch flange somewhat back in place. I will have some fab work at the end to close it all off but I don't know what that will look like just yet. The rest of the rocker looks good though. Still a long way to go.

81990
 

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Discussion Starter #23
This car never ceases to amaze me. The car has 97K miles on the clock and some bits look like a 60K mile car and others like a 2 Gajillion mile car. I have never seen struts this destroyed before.

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YEP THATS A GINORMOUS MESS

But look at the studs -like new!
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The rest of the bits not too bad
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New parts arriving. I was expecting to refurbish the OE metal but it was so wasted I bought replacements for those too. Before yall get excited about "why didn't you get TEIN shocks or lower springs etc?" this is my son's car and he wants it stock. He is quite familiar with tuning cars and the quirks that come with them. For his car he wants to start out with the base and will figure what direction he wants to go from there (pavement pounder or rally czar) Still cheaper this way but not by much after replacing the OEM metal.

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We still have more bits coming including springs. For such a worn and roached suspension the car still drove remarkably well. Just goes to show you how super cool these cars are.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
OK Back to the program. After removing the shock I could now get to the bad metal that started the whole mess. This it what it looked like:

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The offending metal is to the right

More questions than answers on the failed panel. The corrosion is really isolated to just the one stamping. The part appears to fit poorly from day one and also not undercoated like the surrounding. The worst areas are where all the stampings come together along the front and rear edges.

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I have been trying to remove the panel but there really isn't access to do so. Even though it looks bad the metal that is not rusted through is still thick enough to be difficult to cut, you can't just rocket through it like paper. I have tried to reach it with a die grinder and a dremel with cut off wheels but you can't get the tool up in the strut pocket and see what you are cutting. I was even using a mirror like a dentist to do it but was unsuccessful at that. In the end I just decided to clean it up as much as I could and then seal the metal behind a new patch piece. Not great but I don't see a better way. I will post more pics of that soon.
 

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Hi.
Great job 👏. As for the last post, there is no other way to replace this panel than to cut the reinforcement of the top of inner wheel arch. I will have to do the same thing soon on my impreza gc 😭.
Waiting for a new post about your fight with rust.
Greetings from Poland😃
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Wow great to have a global response!! I am not sure that I have an excellent solution but I am at least going to try to seal it up. I am thinking like Chernobyl, to encase the problem in a sarcophagus. It won't go away but maybe I can manage it for some time.

I cleaned up the whole wheel well with grease remover and wire brushed and abrasive wheeled the corroded area:
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I cleaned up the area a bit more after this picture was taken but as you can see from the photo the corrosion is extensive. It is so difficult to see the metal as you work on it. This is a frustrating job. ARGH! I just can't find access to see it and cut it all out.
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I purchased an EBAY party tent for $65 and covered the car to keep the mess down. All the rust and grinding dust was settling on all my equipment so I wanted to enclose the job and also prepare for the exterior filler work. I lost a few days getting it all set up but in the end it is doing a good job. I had to do some re-engineering of the top frame work because I have a very low garage ceiling.
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So back to templates and patch panels.
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Some 3M Zinc rich primer all over everything then installation of the panel. I am not sure how well this primer actually works but I am using it because it is the right material for the job. Years ago I used a Zinc rich primer on another car but it was brushed on pretty thick and after 30years it is still working. I found with this 3M spray product it will flake off of shiny smooth metal so I make sure the surfaces have a 120 grit scuff then I degrease it all with brake cleaner and Lacquer thinner before I spray it on.
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Now fitting and welding the panel in place. This job is actually on hold at the moment as I wait for a welding hood to arrive from Amazon. I tried to do the job with my weld mask but there is no space for my head, the weld gun and the light to see it all for welding. I did get some decent tack welds in place but they are not pretty. It is a tough job because as you weld you need to keep an eye on the interior of the car to make sure it does not catch fire. I had an extinguisher on hand just in case. A few puffs of smoke and one hole I burned in that I needed to patch and I am leaving it as it is. I also found that I cut the lower edge of the patch piece too short and when I started to tack it in place the cleaned up metal was just too thin and I instantly put a new hole in it. :-( So now I have fabricated a new lower patch piece. Not great again but I did not wan't to remove the larger patch and risk new holes and possible fire in the interior. This is what is looked like at fit up. I am relying on the flanges to weld in place.

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I had to build a little handy jig to help keep it wedged in place for welding and this is what it looks like at the moment:
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So we will see if I can improve the welding when the new weld hood arrives. Hopefully I will be able to see what I am doing. When done I will encase all the seams with sealer then prime over it and undercoat it. I think it will last for some time then.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
While I was waiting for the weld hood to arrive I started to fit the rocker section. It is going as expected for this type of part.
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This is taking a long time too because I kept trying to find the best solutions for all the "what ifs?". Like when I put a weld bead on the upper edge of the new section how will I grind it down to still maintain the defined character line above the rocker molding like the rest of the car. Pretty much I am overthinking it. ;-)

I am a little further than this picture shows and spent nearly an entire day making a pattern to replace the bad metal here - still working on this too. I don't want to be random about it because I don't want to trap water again so I made several patterns and threw most away. In the end I had to "Nike" it and "Just do it". Still lots to do.

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Discussion Starter #28
Good news! This should help. I hope the welding goes better in the strut tower. Its not autodarkening so there will be some challenges. Oh yeah and my eyesight blows too. ;-)
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I made a bit of progress Monday and Tuesday on the rocker patch panel. Progress is good! The metal looks like this today. I am trying to keep the removal of the parent metal to a minimum. Unfortunately I will have to do some lap joints here. Not ideal for all the water, mud, and snow that will be packed into this area. I will do the best I can however to seal it all up.
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This is the early template fab work. It fit pretty good after many iterations.
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This is for the final pattern
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Now to scribe and cut the metal. That will be later this week.
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As usual with these things it takes much more time than expected. I figured 4-6 weeks for the job and well I am on 20 - 24 weeks about now. Looks like Spring by the time this guy will be rolling out of the garage with both sides repaired. I try to post weekly so everyone can see the progress and judge how long it would take them. Some faster and some slower. When I did my first car eons ago I would work from 6-11pm every night and 12 hours Sat and Sun now I am like 1-2 hrs most week day evenings and 5-6hrs on weekend days. Just FYI.

BTW -ANY REFERENCE ON HOW TO REMOVE THE ROOF DITCH MOLDING WOULD BE APPRECIATED!!!! I have the parts reference schematic from Subaru showing the clips etc but I would like to see an example of it actually being done.
 

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Your posts are spectacular! Thank you very much for taking the added time and effort to share this journey when you're already elbows deep in a job this large! I've been working away on my 2001 Couple which had/has similar issues to what you're experiencing here and all of your posts have been incredibly helpful to me! I'm currently in the process of cutting the rear quarters out to address the rust issues with some extensive cleanup work and a widebody overfender kit from 6ovrcrst. Just uncovered some shock tower rust as well.

Thank you again for sharing and you're doing a bang up job! Subbed for updates!
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Thanks for the comments! OK a bit of a hurdle this weekend with a leaky roof that I had to fix so not so much progress this week so far. I have the rocker filler part nearly complete but it has taken quite a bit of time to get to this point. Still some more forming but it is becoming something-- maybe just a fine art sculpture but I will keep tweaking it to perfection.
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Discussion Starter #31
OK it ain't pretty but its in. Lots of distractions the last two weeks but now ready for the "magical" seam sealer to be slathered in all the welds and seams. This was a terrible job because of the lack of access. All the sloppy weld is because I can't look right at the weld surface, I have to look at it from the edge and there is a bit of "hope" that I am welding at the right location. It was a very slow weld process and went something like this, weld a tack, quickly rip off my weld hood (nothing quick about it because it is tight fitting and I wear glasses), check for fire, put the hood back on, hope the sight glass does not fog up, put my gloves back on, position my head back in the shock tower, position the weld gun and the carefully flip down the weld shade then weld another tack. This was done for every weld - every one, and there are many miswelds there. This took forever. I am confident it will be a good to go though.
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That big blob is because I burned a couple holes in the parent metal here. I tried to burn in a bead there but it was just too much heat. Another case of weld, knock down the weld then fill it again.
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