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eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/19/21 7:31 a.m.

I will be surprised and impressed if any yard near us has an NA Miata with a solid enough body to have what you need.

wae
wae UberDork
1/19/21 7:40 a.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

I'm skeptical, but car-part is showing a couple.  The more I think about how this is going to go, though, I'm not sure that even a pristine chunk of car would be all that easy.  Ideally, I think I want to have the quarter panel skin, the inner arch skin, and that rear section of rocker.  But I'd have to take them all apart first so that I could re-attach them one layer at a time to my car.  Even though I'll wind up scrapping a bunch of the material, I think getting those three panels new and then hacking off the parts I need will give me much better results.  if it was just the wheel arch, I could probably get away with it, but I'm already pretty far over my skis on this so maybe I shouldn't overcomplicate it to save a couple bucks.

wae
wae UberDork
1/19/21 8:36 p.m.

This is escalating.

Operating under the theory that once there's one hole in the panel, it's not much more work to patch a small hole versus a large hole, I went back to the grinder.  I thought that the little spot towards the top of the arch would be quick and easy, but of course that little bubble was hiding a small disaster.  Since the other theory that I'm operating under is that going through all this effort to repair one bit of rust while leaving more rust hiding in there is just stupid, I'm glad I kept digging.

I'm getting a good idea for exactly how much I need to cut out and replace.  I'm starting to think that I can probably fabricate patches for the rocker since that's hidden, and I can probably fabricate patches for the inner arch, since that's mostly hidden and pretty flat, and then I can find a quarter panel/wheel arch that comes well-formed.

Zooming in a bit on that, there's this section:

I'd like to not do any unnecessary cutting, but I also want the rust to not come back.  My inclination here is that I need to cut out along that seam since there's probably rust in between the two panels.  I'm going to go grinding a little more to see what I can discover and make a decision from there.

wae
wae UberDork
1/19/21 9:40 p.m.

It gets worse and worse.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
1/20/21 10:35 a.m.

In reply to wae :

Exocet time?

wae
wae UberDork
1/20/21 11:13 a.m.

In reply to Jerry :

Oh, the rust isn't that fatal!  I'm not sure what the exact right product is that I need there - I emailed the friendly folks at Eastwood to see what they'd recommend - but I should be able to treat/coat most of the rust that in that unibody cavity while cutting out and welding in a patch for a relatively small part of it.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
1/20/21 8:04 p.m.

That's the problem with rust, the more you cut, the more you cut. 

wae
wae UberDork
1/21/21 12:08 p.m.

While I ate my gyro for lunch, I decided to open up the other side of the car:
 

Not as bad as the other side for sure.  There is rust on the sill piece but it remains solid.

You're fighting the good fight here. Bring it back...

OneSickGNX
OneSickGNX New Reader
1/21/21 9:28 p.m.

Wae, there is a product made by PPG licensed under flood called penetrol it works great for penetrating, sealing and preventing rust. You can brush it on or spray it. (I use a cheap home depot chem sprayer for in between rocker layers, inside frame/unibody structures, inner fenders, and quarter panels.) It can also be painted over with oil based paints. 

Also be sure to grind your welds flush and thoroughly coat them in paint. Also if you buy quarters or repair panels the capa approved stuff usually takes less work to make fit right.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/21/21 10:12 p.m.

Meanwhile, I'm having panic attacks that you are cutting up such a clean car.

wae
wae UberDork
1/22/21 7:49 a.m.

Thanks for the penetrol tip!  It sounds like a, um, "personal lubricant", but it's also pretty cheap and available locally!  I do have the eastwood "spray-in-the-frame-rail" stuff coming as well as some weld-thru primer.

 
I'm thinking that being 24 years old, a brand new can of SU code paint isn't going to match the actual paint on the car right now.  I need to look around for someone that will color-match the car and get me a couple aerosol cans of single-stage paint along with some compatible grey primer.  But before I can do that, I've got more searching to do and then metalwork.

Pete, that is spoken like a true Clevelander!  Clevelandian?  I'm not gonna lie, though: it took me about five minutes of holding the grinder in my hand and staring at the car before I could bring myself to do it.  But this wasn't going to do anything but get worse.  In the last two years it went from a kind of crusty spot with a little bubbling to this and the car hasn't seen an ounce of salt in that time.

wae
wae UberDork
1/22/21 7:59 a.m.

I really would like to quash the whole myth about the Miata being a hairdresser's car or a chick car.  But it doesn't help my case when I remove the front fender and this falls out:

Front fender? you ask?  Ah, right.  Well, while I was working on the right quarter, I looked up and saw a little bubbling on the underside of the fender.  I want to be able to say that this car is rust free without any caveats, so I needed to investigate.

The good news is that while the fender and the sill behind it both have rust, it looks like I found it early enough to be able to save them both.

It looks crusty but it's still fairly solid.  I may need to patch in a tiny bit of steel on the fender, but more than likely I should be able to clean it up.  I need to get the front of the fender unbolted yet, but my day job needs my attention first.

The good news in this is that I went looking everywhere after I found this and there are no other rust spots on the car.  I will loosen the left fender to clean the gunk out and then spray it with the Eastwood stuff to make sure that it stays clean going forward, but otherwise the discovery phase is complete and I'm on to the repairing phase.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
1/22/21 8:17 a.m.

In reply to wae :

I've had good luck getting spray cans of paint loaded at my local NAPA store. Not all the stores do it, so ask around. I've had them do my silver Miata, my white Miata and my BRG R53 MINI. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/22/21 8:28 a.m.
wae said:

I really would like to quash the whole myth about the Miata being a hairdresser's car or a chick car.  But it doesn't help my case when I remove the front fender and this falls out:

Better than the cheap 22LR rounds trying to clog up the drains I keep finding in my Miata.

OneSickGNX
OneSickGNX New Reader
1/22/21 9:21 p.m.

If you do end up using the penetrol, just keep in mind that it has to cure for about 48-72 hours depending on the ambient temp and coating thickness.

wae
wae UberDork
1/23/21 10:05 a.m.

First off, I'd like find the guy who said "let's put a fender bolt behind the bumper cover!" and kick him square in the tenders.

But, after taking out the bolts on the right side of the cover, I was able to peel it back enough to get to the 10mm bolt in the front to pull the fender off.  In the process, I managed to break the plastic clips that hold on the rubber trim bit under the headlight, so I'll need to replace those.  I also stripped out one of the plastic clips that hold the core center trim bit on.  It's still completely functional, but I don't like the way it looks, especially right there on the front of the car, so I'll track down a replacement for it as well.  More critically, the stud that holds one of the brackets for the bumper cover to the unibody snapped off.  I'll have to figure that out later.

So, the fender is off and I was able to give a thorough inspection.  The good news is that the unibody had some scaling, but it's solid and fine.

The bad news is that the fender is a little more far gone that I first thought:

I'm considering three options:

1 - Find another fender (perhaps a heavy discount on one with the top part banged up, but that bottom section in good nick!) to cut off the bottom section and weld it on to my fender.

2 - Find another fender in SU Classic Red and just swap it on and be done.

3 - Get an aftermarket fender and spray it.

While I realize that it's a little late for this, I'm a bit nervous about my ability to properly paint cars.  The RX-7 turned out absolutely horribly and it's made me very much (paint) gun shy.  That said, I have been able to successfully do some touch up jobs and such since then, so I think I've learned a bit in the last decade.  So #3 worries me.  #2 is the easy button and probably not a very expensive way to go, although the likelihood that I find one locally is pretty slim, so hello oversized shipping charges, but even still it should be pretty economical.

That first option seems absolutely insane except that the fender has this:


 

It's faded and nearly impossible to make out, but as best as I can tell, I think that's the original factory sticker - it looks like the last three digits match the VIN.  If you kind of squint and use some bright light.  While I'm not necessarily repairing this in order to sell it, it would be nice to keep as much value in it as possible.  Counterpoint:  it's certainly not a show car, and there are a bunch of little dings and whatnot in it, so having a replacement fender probably isn't going to really swing the needle.

At this stage, though, the Search For Rust is officially complete.  Now it's time to clean up a bit and get ready to enter the repair phase.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/23/21 11:20 a.m.

Considering where the rust on the fender is, could you clean it up, and just reinstall the fender, since it shouldn’t be noticeable?

wae
wae UberDork
1/23/21 11:43 a.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

If that was the only spot I was working with, I might consider that.  But I think I'm doing enough work on the car, I'll never be able to look at it without wincing, knowing that I have a chewed-up fender on there.

Which reminds me: I also have to deal with un-bending the pinch weld under the right side rocker.  I fell into a hole here at the shop before they re-did the driveway and it landed right on that spot and bent it flat with the floorpan.

wae
wae UberDork
1/25/21 10:18 a.m.

For my own reference later on, the stripped out phillips head clip that I need is NA01-56-145.

The other clips for the under-headlight panel are: NA01-51-SJ3.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Dork
1/25/21 10:51 a.m.

Keep fighting the good fight. Hairdressers world wide will rejoice in the glory

Not sure if this is helpful, but maybe rebuild everything underneath however you can, and a couple of these?

$65ish bucks each on Ebay, 70 at Summitt, on up.

wae
wae UberDork
1/25/21 1:34 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) (Forum Supporter) :

That is my current plan.  I'm trying to get a good idea of which panel is going to work best.  I have heard that some don't have the right depth for the trim line along the bottom and Pete mentioned that the ones on Rock Auto were not properly formed either.

In reply to wae :

I imagined you were on this path, but thought there was a .000001% chance you were unaware.

Carry on, and Cheers!

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) SuperDork
1/25/21 3:00 p.m.

I've been pretty happy with whatever chinese factory RayBuck has pumping out their replacement panels.  I've used them on an NB and an NA successfully. 

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