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Old 11-15-2012, 04:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Title says it all. Just need a few ideas. I have rust on my quarter panels and trunk lid, but those are easy to replace. I was just wondering what you guys did to eliminate your rust problems.

Looking for the cheapest and most effective way.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

it depends on where exactly its located and how bad the rust is. if you want to do it yourself, youtube has some good tips.

got any pictures?
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

cut it out and weld in a patch. Just make it out of sheet metal. That is about your only option
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

^ not really.


Bondo, fiberglass, many products can help slow rust. Pictures will help decide the best method to remove the rust.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Yes, cover your rusty holes with bondo, that will fix it... On rockers your best bet is to just cut it out and replace it. It will look the best, and repairing it right will save future problems... Or you can slap some bondo or fiberglass over the rusted spots and let water and moisture build up underneath of it and continue to weaken your panel... Ive restored plenty of rusty old rocker panels to know... Bondo and fiberglass both can crack over time, you may as well just do it right... or you can do it the wrong way and just fix it every 6 months... and it will look like shit and when it comes down to it, you will know there is still rusty unfixed edges slowly wearing away under your paint...

<- ASE certified for collision repair...
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

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Originally Posted by teddypal View Post
Title says it all. Just need a few ideas. I have rust on my quarter panels and trunk lid, but those are easy to replace. I was just wondering what you guys did to eliminate your rust problems.

Looking for the cheapest and most effective way.
Sell it....
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Cheapest and effective way is to live in SoCal and check for rust before you buy
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

isellmiataparts.com has patch panels
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Found bubbling under the driver side rear so I just drilled a hole for now. Probably will not touch it since it is minor compared to some Miata's I've seen.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

I had pretty decent rust on both sides. Using a dremel and a cut off wheel, I cut out the rust, sanded everything down I could reach, then used a rust converter. It sat like this for almost two years. Here it is before the sanding and rust converter - I just cut out the bad metal.



In this location and with a black rust converter, not one person ever noticed the hole (or ever said anything about it). Sort of looks like a vent once painted.



Then I went to a body shop to have them weld in new metal, sand prime and paint. You can't tell there was ever anything wrong in that area. Of course, I did have the entire car painted. They charged me $200 for the welding sanding and priming on both sides.

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Old 12-21-2012, 11:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

I had the same problem. I cut, I patched with sheet metal, welded it all in place, hit it with some duraglass, sanded and painted it. I think I did both sides for under $30 with all materials.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:11 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

I had the same problem, I just pay the body shop to paint the whole car.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:31 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

lol bondo

Check out this build thread, has what you're looking for.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Cut out rust-prime/use rust converter-weld in new patch-finish with a small amount of bondo -prime -paint

Repair panels are available most cover the whole rocker and is a pain in the ass to replace theres about 100 or so spot welds that need to be removed/I know because I tried to remove these on my 1st 94 so i would have some back up pieces but it was to damn hard so i just cut the section out that i needed and welded it in place .
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:32 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

For minor surface rust the Racing Beat side flares are an option to cover the rust. How you tackle it depends on how severe it is and how long you plan on keeping the car.
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Just hope it doesn't look this bad once you get to the inner structure:
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Old 12-22-2012, 02:45 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

lol thats probably what mine looks like. I cleaned mine out then used rust converter. Then painted it. Then covered it all with GFuser flares.
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Old 12-23-2012, 10:02 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Ideally replace it with metal. Not the cheapest option, but if you ask around (any car clubs in your area?) you can usually find a competent guy who does body work part time and won't cost you an arm and leg.

Patching (fibreglass, bondo, whatever) will only hide the rust, won't stop it spreading. Moisture can get behind the painted patch between it and the metal, and accelerate deterioration, which is in my opinion worse than just leaving it (where you can get at it later for a proper fix). If only because a paint job is expensive and it won't last long around wheel wells etc if that's how you "fixed" the bodywork.

Once it's welded/fixed, you can do the rest yourself.

After it's repaired, paint with a rust inhibitor / converter ... I like POR-15 but Rustoleum etc can be OK too. Avoid "Naval Jelly" for structural which works fine if you can access the rust area really well, but is acidic so has to be thoroughly removed. So, nothing where it can get into a void.

The best paint for a topcoat is epoxy based, but that's a fairly deluxe fix. But the repair has to be done right first. A proper inhibitor / converter can be a good base coat for epoxy-based topcoat.

A common mistake people sometimes make too with bodywork is to leave the area exposed in primer. Primer is very poor at dealing with moisture and anything beyond a month of bare primer on a body part before it's topcoated is asking for trouble. Even less than a month can be an issue; a day is really best. Moisture will go right through common bare primers.

For prevention, you should be washing the car once a week, get under it a bit with the wand. Moist sand / dirt embedded in there somewhere is a real killer. Wash it winter and summer; winter in any snow prone area is worse for leaving corrosive elements in the underbelly because of de-icing / melting treatments that are used which are basically salt-based and quite corrosive in the presence of water (and any time your car is warm enough to drive, and the temp is below freezing, there's water in there somewhere).

There are fairly benign de-icers available, but they cost more so if your local jurisdiction is el-cheapo, chances are they don't use it. Salt is extremely cheap for a municipality/county/etc. and they mix it with gravel as well as apply it directly.

If you don't drive winter, wash it before you store it.

There are some good anti-rust products you can apply once or twice a year, especially oil-based ones, but whether or not you use them is a bit more complex of a question. For a daily driver I would say yes, for a border-line collectible like a Miata the "keep it clean" route may be better.

I'm a bit luckier than a lot of drivers in that where I live it's too cold for salt to work, so it's use is limited to early / late winter. If living in extreme cold climates can be considered "lucky". But that covers my last + first drives in the Miata, so a wash before storage is essential for me.

Most of the places I've been to in the US or Central/Eastern Canada that experience snow use it way more. If the roads you drive on are slushy/wet when temps are below freezing, you've got road salt (or something).

*IF* you are OK with a fibreglass "half-fix", and are really cheap, the way to go is to use what truckers call "road tape". It's used to patch pipes in oilfield too. Not beautiful but can work on rockers, etc. Perfectly fine on plastic / composite parts, especially on the backside. Once applied it's super-durable. Truckers use it to patch plastic / fibreglass parts like fenders. You apply it with heat (hair dryer etc). Will keep you on the road for a few years but the same issues with fibreglass / bondo repairs still hold. It's not super-cheap but for an hour's work, you're done. If you're (or anyone) interested I'll see if I can find a vendor link.

*Jumbosrule* You would fail a safety with that hole here where I live. If a cop saw that he could pull you over and cancel your registration on the spot; you would have to fix it (and any other deficiencies ... you would have to go through a full safety now) ... to drive it again, and within a certain time or the vehicle would be non-registerable permanently.

In practical terms the chances a cop would pull you over for that are slim, or even mention it if he pulled you for some other reason, but if he had it in for you it's an option and it's not unheard of. More likely you would get stopped at a road check they do every spring and from time to time, and get nailed then. Anything that might allow exhaust fumes into the interior is verbotten.

Last edited by Johnny2Bad; 12-23-2012 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:53 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanty View Post
Just hope it doesn't look this bad once you get to the inner structure:
wow.... how bad did it look on the outside for it to be that f**ked inside?
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:59 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?



The left side actually looked worse from the outside, with an actual hole through the panel, but was considerably better inside
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:10 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Do these cars rust on the rockers due to the water drains getting clogged?
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:17 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

That's what people say.

Mine weren't clogged and i have holes... If you live in a salt state, then it's going to rust even if you hardly drive it in the snow.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:14 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

I know there is 2 drains in the front, and 2 in the rear. Is there any other water drains on these cars?
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Old 03-25-2013, 03:20 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Its not the soft top drains, its the pinch weld drains that get clogged. Back there there are a couple places where the pinch welds are pulled open to allow water to drain out of the fender. They also allow water in though and salt water is the real problem. Mine are really bad, on the drivers side I have to be careful where I put the jackstand. I plan to cut it all out, and weld in all new metal.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:06 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

I have some serious rust where my fenders bolt to. Theres no more metal there as it has all rusted away. This makes it not possible to bolt down the bottom fenders. I just got all the supplies to start repairing it, ill post some pictures here when I finally dig in.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:09 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

i need to do a little rust clean up as well. good info
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:24 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: How did you go about tackling rocker panel rust?

Well I'm almost done with my rust. If anyone is interested in pictures theres a lot in my build thread in my sig.
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