We’re going to show you how to fix rust on an old car.  We’re going to show you two ways: with metal, and how to do it quick and dirty.

We’re going to do the better but much harder job first—that’s repairing the rust hole using sheet metal.

I start our sheet metal repair by grinding away all the old paint and plastic filler.  Once I have the damage exposed, I cut out the rusty metal. Note that I cut well beyond the visible rust to make sure I got all the soft metal.

Once the rusty metal is cut out, it’s time to prepare our patch. I’m using regular body sheet metal I had left over from a previous patch panel repair. But first I use an air flanging tool to recess the edge of the opening on the door so our patch will be flush with the existing metal. Now, that’s important because without flanging, the new metal will lay on top of the old metal causing a lump that is visually ugly! Now, I measure and cut the patch being sure to allow for a butt weld at the portion that goes over the door shell.

With the measuring done, I use a power punch-to-punch holes for plug welding the patch in place. I like to plug weld to help prevent distortion in the existing panel. After welding, it’s time to grind the welds to make them smooth. Then comes the real fun…wrapping the patch around the edge of the door shell so it looks like the original. To make the job easier I used a little heat from an acetylene torch combined with a body hammer and dolly to back up that hammer. When I complete the wrapping I hit the edge with the grinder to level any high spots and we have a patch.

Remember that by doing it yourself you can save a ton of money because this type of repair is outrageously expensive in a high quality restoration shop. The tools you’ll need are readily available from companies like Eastwood. The big difference between do-it-yourself and professional tools is how much effort you have to put into using them. The high dollar professional tools are usually faster and require less muscle power.

Well, there you have it.  We have repaired our rust hole with new solid metal.  Next time, we’ll show you how to fill it, smooth it and make it ready for a great-looking paint job.

If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.