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2001 2.5RS Coupe
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just got this car and figured I'd start a log. I have a lot of work to do, and a lot to learn, so I'll be posting what I'm doing here and hopefully I can get some pointers though bare with me cause I'm VERY new to this.

So come with me as learn to fix cars, and hopefully I can save this one from a slow rusty death.

Right now I'm grinding out all the rust I can, but as I go fixing this thing up is starting to show signs of feature creep already.

Phase 1: Stop the rust from getting worse.
- Let's get the car ready and get a closer look: Getting the panels off
- Starting to grind out the rust: Not as bas as I thought... But what's this?
- Grinding out the other side: Starting to think bondo wont cut it
- Getting the old bondo off: This car's been hit before

Here's a couple pictures of the car as I bought it:
 

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2001 2.5RS Coupe
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Phase 1: Let's get the car ready and get a closer look: Getting the panels off

So step 1 for me is to just stop the rust from getting any worse than it already is. I plan to grind out all I can, generously apply rust converters and rust primers, Bondo and fill any holes to stop ingress of water, then save up for a more permanent fix.

So last week I spent my time getting the car ready to grind out the rust. Pulling off panels, making sure I have the tools I need etc.

First thing was pulling a pretty big dent in the driver's side rear quarter panel. The car was in a hit and run incident back in December; someone in a parking lot hit me while pulling out. I got it pulled out the best I could but there's still a small dent there that I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to fix, I need a smaller suction cup. For now the big dent is out though.



Once I got the dent out as much as I could I got the side molding off which revealed a TON more rust, and at this point I'm starting to wonder if I'm in over my head.



I got the Tail lights, bumper and side skirts off after a couple days, as it was getting late, and finally got a good look at the car in daylight. I tapped around the rust with a small hammer just to get an idea how much was metal and how much was just totally rusted out and was left with this:



At closer inspection it's nothing too unexpected or alarming, I should be able to grind out, rust convert/primer, and Bondo over most of it just to stop the rust from spreading for now while I save up for replacement panels and a welder and such.

The other side looks a lot better at first glance:



There is one part that concerns me though, under the bumper, on the actual structure there is a LOT of rust and a busted seam and it actually wiggles around s I'm not sure how much actual metal is left.



We'll see once I start grinding. It's been really rainy here the last few days and I didn't want to start grinding down to fresh metal with all the moisture in the air, so hopefully this Friday I'll be able to get the grinder out and assess the actual damage.
 

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Turbo, LS swapped Impreza RS
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The bondo you plan to stack on top will last a year or two tops before it starts to bubble and crack from the rust forming. If you intend to keep the car for an extended period of time it would be wise to remove all rust and replace with good clean metal.
 

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95 GC 371hp/355tq ej25 1.5xtr
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I would recommend using Duraglass. I have used this product when repairing 1/4s. Its some tough stuff! much harder and ridge than bondo. That is a ton of work though so goodluck!

You should use the Duraglass first, than bondo over to get a smoother/final finish. Especially if your not willing to do the entire restoration in the first attempt.

Amazon.com: DURAGLASS, QT: Automotive
 

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2001 2.5RS Coupe
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Discussion Starter #6
The bondo you plan to stack on top will last a year or two tops before it starts to bubble and crack from the rust forming. If you intend to keep the car for an extended period of time it would be wise to remove all rust and replace with good clean metal.
I know its a temporary repair, I only need this to last until I can put together the cash to fully replace the body panels. This might take a while as for now I have my eye on the Aerosim panels. I am going to grind out all I can in the meantime to try and slow down the spread.

I would recommend using Duraglass. I have used this product when repairing 1/4s. Its some tough stuff! much harder and ridge than bondo. That is a ton of work though so goodluck!
I picked up some fiberglass reinforced bondo filler which looks to be the same idea as what you liked, I hope its as tough as what you suggested, but I suppose we'll find out some time next week!
 

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2001 2.5RS Coupe
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Phase 1: Starting to grind out the rust: Not as bas as I thought... But what's this?

So today I finally got to work grinding out some of the rust. I got out the trusty zip-cut and a brush cup and got to work. I was actually quite pleased with what I found; It was nowhere near as bad as I was dreading. Most of the metal was still very much intact and seems to still have a good amount of thickness to it.





I was however very surprised to find that this side seems to have a rather healthy layer of body filler liberally slathered on it already and it was proving pretty difficult for the wire brush to get through so for now I just ground out the rust and left it at that. I'm still debating if I want to grind out all the previous body filler and see what I find.



Once I got everything ground out as much as I felt I was going to get, I applied a rather liberal coat of rust converter to the previously rested out areas. I soaked the really bad spots just to be double-plus sure I was killing the rust as much as an inexperienced guy in his building's back parking lot can be expected to.



As you can see a bunch of is still almost immediately turned jet black showing that, as expected, there was stilll some iron-oxide to be found. Rust spots like this are super porous and rust forms this tiny little holes you're never quite going to be able to clear out. The rust converter was applied to try, as much as possible to get these last bits.

I'm still debating if I want to grind out all that previously applied body filler. I feel like I probably want to get that thick layer off and try to pull the panel out more to avoid such large amount being used, but does anyone with any real experience in auto body have any suggestions?
 

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2001 2.5RS Coupe
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Discussion Starter #9
Phase 1: Grinding out the other side: Starting to think bondo wont cut it.

So I've been meaning to post this for a few days, I got the other side of the car ground out, and I'm starting to think that rust converter and bondo isn't going to cut it. I'm using the rust converter now as more of a "turn this **** black so I can see for sure where the rust is" tool more than a rust mitigation tool.

The Back of the car is quite a state, with rust eating out actual structure, it's pretty flimsy here, and I'm sure I'm going to need new metal



The rest of it is pretty okay, though the rocker panels will definitely need some extra work



At this point I'm starting to poke around wondering just how much it's going to cost me to get my hands on a welder.
 

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2001 2.5RS Coupe
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Discussion Starter #10
Phase 1: Getting the old bondo off: This car's been hit before

So following el_govna's advice:
Gride out all the old body filler you have no idea what else could be hiding, eating it from the inside out
I decided to get all that old bondo off and get a good look at the bare metal. Luckily noting was too surprising underneath, though the panel was pretty severely dented up. I don't even need to run my hand over it to see all the weird rippling going on. This car has definitely been hit pretty hard before.



The body filler was so thick in some spots, especially along the door gap that the door now is visibly sticking out from the car



My next steps are to start getting the interior out, I'm reasonably sure that I've seen some pictures that indicate that if I get the trim out of the back I should be able to access that panel from inside the car to try to straighten the metal, and push it back out. I already cleared up some storage space, so tonight is going to be stripping and hauling stuff into storage so I can keep working.

I've also managed to source a welder from the local "tool library". It's a pretty neat gig, $60/year and you can borrow all the tools you need, they have a mig there, so I'm going to go that route.
 
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