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Old 09-23-2018, 04:38 PM   #1
Drives: 2000 SCP10, 2001 NCP13
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: CZ
Posts: 18
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.



- 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


- 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
Drives: 2006 Yaris RS
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 688

2006 Yaris 5 Door RS
2008 Yaris LE
2011 Kia Sedona LX
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:02 PM   #3
Drives: 2000 SCP10, 2001 NCP13
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: CZ
Posts: 18
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; Yesterday at 01:08 PM. Reason: hold --> hole
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:29 PM   #4
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Drives: '08 2zr swapped Vios M/T
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Hamilton Ont.
Posts: 2,170
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
I like to drive a slow car fast...
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Old 09-23-2018, 05:41 PM   #5
Drives: 2000 SCP10, 2001 NCP13
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: CZ
Posts: 18
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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