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Old 09-23-2018, 04:38 PM   #1
praivo
 
Drives: 2000 SCP10, 2001 NCP13
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STEP-BY-STEP PICS: Rust repair on NCP13 rockers/sills, and on almost everything else

Here's the story:

In June, I noticed a Yaris TS being offered rather close to me for a decent price. Everything looked good at first, so I bought it. Unfortunately, upon a close inspection the car turned to be, well, not quite a lemon, more like a drum of pure citric acid: One of the rims had been welded because of a crack, the radiator was damaged, there was a little oil leak from the rear main seal… None of those would be too bad, had that been all.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem was rust. A LOT of it - after taking the skirts off, both rockers crumbled and quite literally fell off, about 50 cm/20 inches on each side. The driver's floor pan did the same thing. And the rear wheel wells initially looked OK, but stabbing them with a screwdriver revealed that they were actually rusted out as well.

I initially considered scrapping it, but then did the math and figured out that repairing all the damage would take a ton of time but not a whole lot of money (certainly less than trying to sue the b*tch that sold it to me), so I decided to go for it.


The following series of photos is mean as an inspiration for anyone who wants to attempt these repairs on their own car. Most of it is not really Yaris-specific, so it's applicable to most other cars. In fact, after this is done, I may end up doing something similar to friend's K11 Nissan Micra - if that happens I'll probably post it, too.

WARNING: This is my first time EVER doing bodywork at this scale, and the car is going to become my next daily driver/do-it-all vehicle, not a show car. As such, my priority is for the repairs to be strong enough for such use but not necessarily pretty (although I do try to make them look somewhat decent).

NOTE: For some spots, I don't have pictures of all the individual steps. I'll do my best to describe them in text, though.

THINGS YOU WILL NEED:

Tools:

- a small (115/125mm) angle grinder + a cutting disc, a grinding disc, and a wire wheel
- a drill with a step bit
- a die grinder with a cutting wheel, a little air reciprocating saw ("sawzall"), or anything else that can cut in tight spaces where the angle grinder won't fit
- a MIG welder (MMA should work too, but will be a lot harder to work with)
- a set of basic hand tools - different-sized hammers, combination pliers, tongue-and-groove pliers ("channellocks"), locking pliers ("vice grips"), tin snips, punches

Materials:

- 40-, 80-, 120-, 240-, 400-, 800-, 1500-, and 2000-grit sandpaper
- rust converter
- primer, color-matched paint, clear coat
- anti-corrosion undercoating
- body fillers
- zinc or zinc-alumin(i)um weld-through primer
- seam sealer
- fiberglass mat & resin
- new sheet metal (1 and 1.5 mm thick, preferably even some 2mm)


In the next post, we'll look at the right rocker panel and start the repairs.

Last edited by praivo; 09-23-2018 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:02 PM   #2
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:02 PM   #3
praivo
 
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Right rocker - first look, cleaning, starting repairs

Here's what I found after taking the side skirt off.



I made that hole with my index finger, but somehow it's still holding together just enough not to fall apart by itself.

I then started to break away as much of the former metal as I could my hands, then hit it with a hammer (not too hard!) to break away even more.



After that, I cut each of the layers far enough to reach metal that's not rusted at all, or that only has surface rust on it and can be welded to without too much trouble. The black stuff on the first inner layer is my rust-prevention undercoating. I wanted to get as much of the loose crap off as I could before doing anything else, and then started on the floor rails, so I did this to prevent the metal from rusting even more in the meantime. Combined with working elsewhere for 8 to 10 hours a day for most of July and August, I only got to this a little over a week ago.

The nut for the axle bolt was removed while the axle beam was off for other repairs (we'll get to those later) and I decided to replace it while I was there, hence why it's gone here.

After it was mostly cleaned, I welded an L-shaped piece of 1.5mm steel between the axle bracket and the first usable part of the inside layer of the rocker. This is what the the first two layers will be attached to.


Last edited by praivo; 09-24-2018 at 01:08 PM. Reason: hold --> hole
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:29 PM   #4
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Kudos to you for giving this a go, body work is darn hard and one of the things I have somewhat always hoped I'd never have to do
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:41 PM   #5
praivo
 
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Right rocker - welding the inner layers

I cut out a 1mm plate to fit the backside of the inside layer and attach the rest of it to the bottom piece, then welded them together. By then, I also had bought a new nut (M121.25 mm, some 8 Kč/0.37 USD a piece), so I welded that on as well. There used to be a square nut held in a small metal "pocket" to prevent in from moving and allow the bolt to be removed, since it looks like there's no access to it normally. Said pocket was gone and the condition of the threads in the original nut wasn't all that great, so I decided to do this instead.

After welding, I cleaned the welds and hit everything with a Zn-Al
galvanizing spray (zinc-only would be better for further welding, but I had just run out of that). Don't mind the holes on the sides, I'll take care of those later.



I then wanted to weld the top of the backing plate to the floor rail, so I cleaned it and... Well, there was a hole right next to the bracket. Not good. I welded a 2mm plate over that, and the last step of the whole project will be spraying oil inside all the cavities to stop the rust that's there and protect the rest against it.



After that, it was finally time to recreate the first inner layer. I didn't bother getting them perfect, just wanted to have something in there for strength. From the other few posts I've seen, most other people don't even try to save this layer and just leave the rest hanging in there.

Each of the pieces had the backside coated with the Zn-Al paint, then it was welded in place, cleaned, and painted from the front.



When those were done, I started working on the second layer. The top was done in exactly the same way, but bottom of this was made as an actual sandwich layer, being bent to fit the line of the original pinch seam. There will then be the outside layer done like this, and then all three layers will be plug-welded together, cut flush, and seam-welded at the bottom for some added strength.

And that's it for today, it's midnight here and I'm going to bed. Tomorrow we'll get to the newest photo I have, almost all the way to where I'm stuck now because of rain and school (I study 100+ km away from home, so I can't do anything until I get back on Thursday afternoon).

@tmontague: I don't like doing it, either. But paying someone to do it with cost a fortune, with no guarantee that the work was done properly (e.g. all the layers have been recreated and not just the outer two). I already got ripped off once by what was supposed to be the best body guy around, so I prefer to do everything myself if I can and get a result that looks like crap but won't let the car break in two mid-trip!
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:42 PM   #6
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Right rocker - making the outer layer

Oops, forgot about this thread yesterday… Anyway, let's continue. Unfortunately, I'm missing a few photos here, but I think that the ones that I do have show what I did well enough: I made the bottom of the last inner piece a bit longer and to that I attached one end of a strip, the other end of which was welded slightly above where the original "wall" of the rocker (or what was left of it) ended. Cuts were made in one side of this strip and the resulting "tabs" bent 90 degrees up, then welded together to recreate the "channel" at the end of the rocker.



The strip also has two other purposes:

1. With the outer layer or the rocker welded to it, it doubles the thickness of the metal on this parts of the rocker, making it stronger without the use of thicker metal (which would be harder to work with), just like the original.

2. It also serves as a kind of a template for the outside layer of the rocker, which was tacked at the bottom, then slowly bent around this piece, tacked again, and so on until the last tack secured it at the top.

Next, I started working on the other side of the outer layer. The two sides will meet in the middle, right where the rocker starts to curve outwards. The second front piece was hard to get right, and I screwed it up a bit by trying to get the curvature right using multiple bends along a straight edge, while I should have bent them by hand to produce a smooth curve. Well, fiberglass filler will hopefully deal with that well enough.



It took two more pieces to joint both ends. The left (thinnest) one was done last and joined the two curves. This was done like this: First, a tack was placed in the bottom left corner, then the other sice was aligned and tacked too. After that, the strip was bent upwards to align a spot on the left side, tacked there, and pressed/lightly hit a hammer to align the other side. This was then repeated all the way to the top. Due to the curvature, in some spots I had to also hit the left (end) piece to bend in inwards a bit. It may sounds complicated, but you'll figure it out quickly when you're doing it.

In the process I also found out that the metal in the top left corner wasn't in as great a shape as I thought and couldn't be welded to very well - I just burned right through. After seeing the size of the area I decided to cut it to a rectangular shape with the air saw and also use the fiberglass filler on it, in order to keep all the welds under the side skirt and therefore (almost) invisible. The difference in strength shouldn't be too bad.

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Old 09-25-2018, 06:11 PM   #7
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Right rocker - end, jacking tab, grinding

I filled the hole in the end using several small pieces tack-welded together and to the inner layer of the "channel" from the previous post. It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough that the remaining holes can be later filled with seam sealer to prevent water from getting inside.

At this point, doing this on a SCP10 would be easier because the inside layer on that is just flat (I'll post a photo of that later). Here, the shape of the bracket means that a little piece has to be bent and welded from the other side to fill the gap between the bracket and the rocker.



There's a fork-like extension of the bracket that's supposed to be a part of the pinch seam, you can see it in the first post. This is going to be the jacking point for this corner. I cut a little rectangular piece and welded it to the extension on the inside, then used a hammer to bent it out and up, right along the seam, and welded it on the outside. Also ran a bead along the bottom of the seam to seal it up. I'd already done this to the rest of the seam after cutting off the excess of the 1.5mm piece.



The last step of the welding process was to grind the welds smooth and then use a wire wheel to remove any oxidation and contamination from the metal so that the fiberglass filler can adhere well.



Unfortunately, this is where weather decided to screw me over, and after I'd done most of the filling but still had some to do, a rainstorm started and I had to stop. Even worse, I had to leave for 5 days (that was on Sunday morning) and there was more rain to come, so with nothing to really cover it well I had to spray some rustproofing stuff (very thin oil) on the area to prevent it from rusting while I'm away (couldn't use any paint because it was already wet), which pretty much ruined my chances of ever being able to do a decent paint job on it, as I doubt I'll be able to ever get it degreased completely without sanding everything off and starting from scratch, with would set me back even further (I'm already running about a week late).

Fortunately, I still have my undercoating that shouldn't mind a bit of oil and has very good corrosion inhibitors in it. As mentioned above, the repaired area will eventually be covered by the side skirt, so getting the color right shouldn't be a big problem-
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:24 PM   #8
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Keep 'em comin'! Love watching the progression. Do you have access to Fluid Film? Nice stuff to blast those rocker interiors with when you're done all your great work. Or, used ATF. I do that a few times a year. Access from above via 1/2 drilled holes. I dump it in and it runs out all along the pinch weld seam.
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Old 09-26-2018, 03:52 AM   #9
praivo
 
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No Fluid Film here, but I do have ATF and old gear oil and have already sprayed the inside of the subframe (through a hole that I've yet to fix) and most of the floor rails. The rockers will be sprayed through the drain hole in the original section for the inner layers and from the inside for the outer layer (by removing the plastic interior panels).
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by praivo View Post
No Fluid Film here, but I do have ATF and old gear oil and have already sprayed the inside of the subframe (through a hole that I've yet to fix) and most of the floor rails. The rockers will be sprayed through the drain hole in the original section for the inner layers and from the inside for the outer layer (by removing the plastic interior panels).
Yes, I think I recall seeing the holes when I removed the trim to refinish my sills some time ago. I did notice minimally two layers of steel when I drilled, one about 1/4" under the outer skin of the sill. One reason I'm interested in your thread is the inner construction of the rocker panels for the purpose of rustproofing. I was never quite sure where all the atf was getting to but I deduced that water would go to and sit in the lowest parts - aka the folded spot welded seam. Once I noticed that it came out all along the length of the rockers, and as oil has a tendency to wick upwards, I felt confident the the rustproofing was at least adequate. A couple times a year I also blast the rocker interiors, sub frames, control arms, all panels, wheel houses, doors, hood, liftgate, engine bay, strut towers etc with Proform oil-based or Fluid film with a 90 degree nozzle attached to the spray gun/compressor. I even do my winter wheels inside and out.

Thanks for posting your work. I love threads like this!
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Old 09-27-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
praivo
 
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Re: inside; right rocker - filling and coating

Sooner or later you'll see everything, because at least the outer layer will eventually need to be redone completely, all the way to the front fenders...

With long enough a hose you actually don't need to drill anything at all. The outer layer can be sprayed from the inside, and the rest can be accessed via a hole (about 20 mm in diameter) that's already there but hidden under a sticker and the factory undercoating. If you tap the inside of the wheel well with a small hammer or something like that you should be able to find it. I'll take a photo tomorrow if you need, it's dark outside now.

I have now filled all the holes with fiberglass filler in 2 or 3 layers, sanded with 80-grit sandpaper between each. After that, I filled most of the smaller imperfections with lightweight filler and sanded that with 120-grit. It didn't come out quite as good as I hoped and more sanding and filling would have achieved a better result. However, as I've already mentioned, I'm way behind my repair schedule, this is an area that will eventually be covered up with the side skirt, and I don't care about how it looks too much as long as it's strong.



I then decided to give the rubberized undercoating a try anyway, because it would cover any pinholes I missed and add some mechanical protection (which shouldn't be really needed, but definitely won't harm anything). The overspray will then be removed by sanding it off carefully and then wetsanding and buffing the paint, which it's going to need anyway.



For now, though, I consider this done well enough, and tomorrow I'm finally moving on to the other side.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:11 PM   #12
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Left side done; fuel tank mounting plates

The left rocker was done in about the same way, with the only difference being that the first inner layer was gone to the point of being impossible to save, so I left that the way it was.





After that, I started slowly getting the ready to drive - not completely done, but capable of driving on its own and replacing my other Yaris as my daily driver because that one is not really working quite right anymore (rear brakes coming out of adjustment and probably a wheel bearing going bad).

The first step was mounting the fuel tank. And I found a problem right away: the mounting plates, or whatever Toyota calls then, on the old tank were very rusty (even had little holes in them), but the replacement tank didn't come with new ones. And they apparently aren't even available here.

So I had to make the new ones myself. I unfolded the old ones, traced the outlines on my 1mm sheel steet, and used tin snips, a bench grinder, and a rotary tool to cut them out. Then I used a step bit to cut the holes. To prevent rust, I sanded them from both sides, painted them with the Zn-Al spray, and then sprayed a bit of rubberized undercoating on the top in order to protect them from the asphalt-based undercoating on the car (asphalt + non-ferrous metals = not good).



The fuel tank could then be bolted in place using new stainless bolts. There's a bit of rust on it, it had been used for about a year when I got it and then it sat outside for 4 months. Shouldn't be a big problem once I spray the underbody with oil.



Sorry, OneDrive refuses to rotate the photo horizontally :-/

Last edited by praivo; 10-08-2018 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:55 PM   #13
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Great progress! Looking forward to the end result with your body mouldings reinstalled. I've really enjoyed your thread.
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:53 PM   #14
praivo
 
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The side skirts may or may not eventualy end up back on the car. If I can fit them around the repaired area (which I screwed up a bit so it's not quite the shape it's supposed to be) and do so using double-sided tape (no holes), I will put them back, otherwise not, as I'd prefer not having the thing rust again (notice that most of the rust was hidden under the skirts and even following the ouline of the top).


Also, "enjoyed" is a bit too soon. The repairs are nowhere near being finished, even though I've done a lot more that I've posted here so far. I still need to do the front part of the rockers and, the right rear wheel well, the subframe, and the surroundings of one of the drain plugs under the spare wheel (I've done the other one yesterday, but I didn't come out very well, although it does seem to be strong enough, so I haven't even taken photos of it). I also just had an order delivered that contains, among else, a bottle of rust converter that will be used on the floor and any exposed steel I can access in the interior before it all gets a fresh coat of paint (and maybe some soundproofing as well).


And after that's done, I'll need to touch-up a few bubbles in the paint, replace the radiator and all fluids, fix the ABS module that's currently not working, and *maybe* change the rear main seal which is leaking oil a little bit.


On a more positive more, today I put tape over the remaining rust holes (to prevent dirt from getting in) and finally took the car on its first trip in 4 months, about 110 km (from home to school, exactly what I bought it for). The suspension is working fine, there are no longer any sounds that shouldn't be there (the rear axle used to creak, I guess that the missing bottom of the rail above it, which now exists again, had something to do with that), and the engine is working like new. Started on the first try and gets around 6 L/100 km, which isn't much more than the SCP10 did, and which I think is very good for a 17-year-old engine that's already done almost 284,000 km with apparently not the best maintenance.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:48 PM   #15
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UPDATE: The side skirts actually do flex enough to fit reasonably well, so they will eventually be put back on. "Eventually" being after the winter when there's no longer salt on the roads.

Tomorrow I'm doing the rear right corner, then the front part of the sills, and then the subframe. After that, I'll scrape off the rest of the factory undercoating and apply the asphalt stuff that's worked really well on the SCP10.
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Old 10-12-2018, 03:43 PM   #16
justanotherdrunk
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wow fun project and great job!

i used to mig tig arc and gas weld in the early 80s

great memories
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:57 PM   #17
praivo
 
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Thanks. I've only welded for a while, and I'm still figuring out the correct settings and technique. Actually, the reason I had to learn to MIG weld were, believe it or not, rusted rockers on my other Yaris.

I hope to get my own welder at some point, as the one I've borrowed for this from my dad isn't quite what I wish it were, mainly the current regulation (0 to 160 A in 6 steps isn't really great for body panels), and I'd also just like to have my own complete set of tools that I can use whenever and wherever I want (right now I'm also missing an angle grinder and a compressor that could run my air tools). When it comes to tools, though, I'm a "go big or go home" kind of person, i.e. if I'm going to buy a welder, it's not going to be a crappy $100 transformer, it's going to be a $1000+ all-in-one (MMA/MIG/TIG) inverter that'll do everything I could possibly need, so it's going to take me a while to save enough money for that.

As for my progress, I didn't finish what I wanted today, because while cleaning I found yet another hole in the floor rail (I'll post a photo tomorrow) and had to fix that first...
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Old 10-16-2018, 04:07 PM   #18
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I don't know what this part of the body is called, but I did know that it was rusted. After a bit of cutting, it looked like this:

Since it was clear that it started to rust in the seams where the individual panels overlap, I decided to try to redesign it slightly so that there's not more than one layer on the bottom.

Making the basic shape:









The front side was a bit more complicated, and my I'm still not very good at making patches, hence the result:



As you can see, I had the wire speed set a bit on the high side - while it's not as pretty (especially in a place like this where I can't grind it flat because I don't have a die grinder and the angle grinder won't fit), I found it easier not to burn through the old metal like this.

The seam sealer I use turned out not to be quite as anti-corrosive as it was supposed to be, that's why I decided to now undercoat the parts both before and after sealing them. Here's the first coat:



While this was drying, I filled the small hole on the top with fiberglass filler. I had already applied rust converter to it the day before to neutralize the rust and prevent it from spreading. The inside of the cavity will be sprayed with oil once I find another way to get the nozzle of my cavity gun in there - couldn't to it from here because the oil would prevent the filler from sticking properly.

After the filler cured I sanded it flush using 80-grit sandpaper. The undercoating had also dried a bit and I could finally apply the seam sealer:



And here it is with the second layer of undercoating applied:





With this done all I needed to do was spray ATF in the cavities accessible from the rear of the car and I could finally put the rear bumper cover back on permanently.



By the way, here's the floor rail mentioned in my previous post. No more pics of this, unfortunately, but there's still at least one more hole in the other rail that I'll need to fix eventually and should even be easier to take photos of.

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