To do a thorough job on the chassis, it was necessary to take off the wheel arch liners etc., and since I was also going to take off the brakes and replace the shocks, it was worth doing some work on the wheel arches while I was in there. Thankfully, the metal all looked sound, apart from a small bit of rust at the back right, which I’ll cover later. In general, the process was as follows:
- Remove the liners to expose the metal
- Clean up the metal, taking care to get rid of any road dust/dirt/grime that had been hidden by the wheel arch liners. It’s only when you take these apart that you realise how effective the plastic bits and attachments are at keeping crap out of some places but also trapping it in other places.
- Touch up small pieces of corrosion, typically surface corrosion, and typically around mounting holes etc.
- Degrease, clean and dry the arch liner and replace it
- Using stonechip paint, spray on a protective layer to top up the existing protection and fill in where the existing protection had been worn away over the years.
I mentioned the drivers side rear corrosion, which appears to have been helped on its way by damp, salty mud being lodged in place behind the mud flap. Again, like the arch liners, the mud flaps do a great job of protecting the paintwork but at the expense of storing up crud right at the bottom of the wheel arch. Before I go any further, obviously the correct repair is to cut this small piece out and weld it, but since it was minor, and I wanted to finish the project during my lifetime I said I’d do a quicker job and once the car was roadworthy it’d be much easier to be dropping it into places to get proper jobs done.
This arch was treated as follows, the rusted metal was cut back to sound metal (I only had to go back about an inch or so). The metal was cleaned up with the knotted brush attachment on the grinder, before treating it the same way as the chassis – Chlor-X followed by FE-123. Obviously I didn’t apply the 2-stage paint here, opting for the stone chip to blend in the repair. But before I could apply that, I needed to fix the hole left by the corrosion. I used a small piece of steel mesh which covered up the hole, this formed the basis for the fibreglass repair. The fibreglass repair was effected, a small bit of filler added and then the arch painted up with stonechip.
Hopefully the before and after pics speak for themselves: