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July 26, 2014


Updated Sept. 27, 2014

I am an amateur when it comes to body work on a car. I've never shied away from doing it; sometimes I do better than other times. A lot depends upon what part of the body needs to be repaired and how? I've never worked at a body-shop. I was an auto tech, not a body specialist. Still, given the interest in changing my temperature sensor, I thought some body work as an encore would be appropriate.

In most way modern day Subaru's since the late 1990's are a great car. Like any car there are problem areas. Seems Subaru doesn't have many, but one obvious problem is that the rear fenders tend to rust out:

This is my car before I started the repairs. I had sprayed some silver paint on the rust to make it less obvious, but you can see how bad it is.

Here is a close-up:


The other side is only starting to rust. This is the side that I need to repair. If for no other reason than it wouldn't pass inspection.

I begin by grinding as much of the bad, rusted metal away as is necessary. Then I swab it with gun bluing acid.

It doesn't take long to dry. But here is where one has some serious choices to make. One can probably buy the body panel. It would cost a lot I'm sure, and the labor would be a lot also. One could weld metal onto the area. It would take additional time preparing the area to be welded, and getting those curves would take talent, which I don't have. 

What about Bondo? Auto-body filler? Well those are some seriously large holes. Spray-in foam? That would trap moisture - no good. My choice is to spray the area with primer and use fiberglass.

Looks messy. It is, sort of. Actually you cut the fiberglass mat to size, mix up the resin with the hardener, and paint the mat on with a throw away paint brush. I probably should have used epoxy first to glue the mat in place - More work and also messy, but provides a much better bond to the metal.

Now we use the auto-body filler. Sorry, no pictures of that part. I was to occupied trying to fill all the holes. To get it smooth; involved a lot of sanding, refilling with filler.

I ordered the factory matched paint online. So here we have it. It'll pass inspection; I doubt I'll get a very good grade in auto-body repair. I think it looks worse in the picture than it does looking at it. Of course it'll weather. It'll fade and blend.It won't rust to quickly. And it's better than it was.

UPDATE: After another day and a half work I improved on the final product:


  1. You don't give yourself enough credit Bob: you were not afraid to try and you did good work.

  2. Thanks Slam. I'm a perfectionist at heart. I enjoy perfect. But this was very difficult work, so you're correct.. I meant to say, "Not a bad job, eh?"