Rust repair on a car we’re selling

My wife’s 2005 Corolla is still a great car, even with 196,000 miles on it. Everything works as it should, it gets 34 mpg. What’s not to like? Well, it’s been rusting since we bought it from a nice young couple in 2008. They said they couldn’t make the payments, but also he’d dinged up the driver’s rocker panel somehow, and that’s where it started.


I listed the car for $2800 and a nice guy and his advisor looked at it yesterday but didn’t make an offer. The rust scared them away; they figured it wouldn’t pass inspection like that.

So today I deleted the listing and got after it.

The new air impact wrench made short work of the lug nuts–but the wheel was frozen to the brake drum!

I got out some other tools to do a CAD (cardboard-aided-design) mock-up of the patch panel.


I also got the damaged fender from the formerly-totaled pickup truck. I figured I could use some of the wheel well bead from it, and I was right.

From there it was just work: cut, fit, mark, bend, cut, fit, repeat.

And of course there was more rust than I had suspected, so I made more panels.

I had hoped to get the new panels bonded to the old metal by nightfall (“bonded”=”epoxied,” since I don’t have a TIG welder or any such skill). But I didn’t quite make it: there is still an inner fender piece to make.

Ah well. Not bad for a day’s effort. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some time during the week to lay up the panels over adhesive, and be able to Bondo it next weekend.


I’ve got several other projects to get to–including waking Bridget up for spring.


About stuntmidget

I'm a poor mechanic and general wisenheimer. I love old cars and the stories behind them, true or not.
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One Response to Rust repair on a car we’re selling

  1. Tom says:

    Wake Bridget up for the Spring?!? You mean you didn’t take her out at every “mild” opportunity this Winter? I’m so disappointed….

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