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Fixing Rear Fender Rust

Old 01-17-2019, 11:01 PM
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Fixing Rear Fender Rust

I've had my 2006 Brilliant Black GT a little over 5 years now. I learned a lot here before buying and have had a great experience with this car. It's been my daily driver, even through some harsh Canadian winters, and its been everything I had hoped for. That being said, it has 175,000 KM and its age is starting to show. My clutch pedal just broke, my rear fenders are super rusty, my front bumper is damaged, my struts need to be done, my seat heater is broken, my throw out bearing (or something like that) is noisy...But the engine still runs great.

If this was any other car I'd probably tell myself to sell it for a few bucks and put some money towards a new car. But... I'm just not ready to let go. The resale value in this condition wouldn't be much, and definitely not what the cars worth to me. I've decided m going to get this car back to its glory and I'll try to take a few pictures along the way. It won't see winter anymore and hopefully I can enjoy it for years to come. If the engine blows who knows maybe I'll get it rebuilt....we all know these kind of cars aren't coming back anytime soon.

Here is a picture of it before time took its toll...


And now..










So first thing to do is fix this pedal...will have some updates this weekend.

Last edited by kops; 02-10-2019 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-18-2019, 10:15 AM
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Nice to see that you are going to maintain vs. jumping ship. I think you'll be glad you did in the end. Can't wait to see the pictures along the way. Good Luck!
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Old 01-18-2019, 11:41 AM
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Most of the other stuff doesn't seem too bad to replace, but yeah, rust is why I will never drive my 8 in the snow. Living on the West Coast helps.

Good luck with your repairs!
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:07 AM
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I think I would have a compression test done. Make sure you aren't going to sink a bunch of money or time into it just to have the engine go.

If the engine is good it would probably be less work to swap it into a nicer car with a blown engine.
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:22 AM
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Body work can bepainfully expensive. Truthfully it would be dramatically cheaper to buy a very nice Rx8 from here in the states with a good engine and all than it would likely cost to get your fender rust along with other carrage rust removed, repaired, and the whole car repainted a quality paintjob.

Honestly, just buy a nice, clean, rust-free Rx8 thats in superb condition and make your current 8 a gutted autox/track/roadcourse toy that you arent very concerned about should it incur any cosmetic damage.
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:52 PM
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I did consider that. I tried to buy a couple parts cars and deals kept falling through. Even blown engine RX8's around here are about 1-2K, and I would imagine buying and importing one into Canada would put me at least that cost.

I'm going to be doing all the work myself with the help of a very knowledgable friend. I bought a rust free rear quarter panel from Texas a couple years ago that I haven't put in.. picking up a bumper tomorrow for 150. At this point I think it's (mainly) going to cost me time on the body/paint work which I have some experience in.

I had the car compression tested at 90,000km and it was 7.9 - 8.1 on all faces... Be interesting to see where it is now. If I do all this and the engine blows well... Hopefully the rest of the car is now mint and it's worth rebuilding lol. If not then maybe I ****** up I guess we'll see

Last edited by kops; 01-26-2019 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:49 PM
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Well I didn't get as much done today as I would have liked. When we repaired the clutch pedal we didn't leave enough clearance in a few areas so spent some time filing it down. We used some thicker steel and basically made a traced cutout of the thin backplate that it normally uses. Super dead battery wouldn't even work with a jump but ended up borrowing another battery and finally got it started. Been about a month since the pedal broke/it last ran and thats the longest its gone since I bought it.



And here it is mounted back in.



This is the passenger side quarter panel piece that I have. Not a speck of rust on it...I hate (love) southern winter-free cars.



Conveniently my friend works for a steel company and was able to get some high grade automotive steel that we'll use to replace rust as needed...



And I also picked up this winning blue bumper. I think the guy I got it from is a member here but don't know his name...



So thats it for now. Hopefully next update will have the wheels/inner fender liners out and chop away some of the rust to see what I'm really dealing with.
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Old 02-10-2019, 10:31 AM
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Got to spend a couple hours on the 8 this weekend. Even after replacing the clutch pedal, the battery was so dead it wouldn't run on its own. So I put a new battery in and changed the oil and took it for a spin. Been well over a month since I last drove it so it was nice to get back in the drivers seat. The clutch pedal felt better than it ever has, probably because I took the time to properly adjust it as well. Then it was back to the garage.

I took our the fender liners to see how far back the rust really goes...needless to say it wasn't great, but it doesn't look out of reach either.





My good buddy/mechanic takes great pleasure in watching how uncomfortable I am with grinding away at my car. Took a little video as we grinded away a few spots to see how bad it was.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z2ck4wq9zi...31943.mp4?dl=0

Passenger side down by the rocker is the worst of it all, but the replacement pieces I have should cover up until that point



I don't get a lot of time to go work on it, but now that its torn down to the point where we can actually jump in and do some body work, hoping the next update will see some more progress on the body.

Thanks for following along..
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:30 PM
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Wow that's fine serious commitment! Body work is tough DIY. It seems Mazda in general is notorious with rust on the passenger side rear wheel well. Mine has some but it's minor compared to yours. Been working on it to keep it from spreading. Kudos and keep at it!
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by delhi View Post
Wow that's fine serious commitment! Body work is tough DIY. It seems Mazda in general is notorious with rust on the passenger side rear wheel well. Mine has some but it's minor compared to yours. Been working on it to keep it from spreading. Kudos and keep at it!
Thanks!! Body work is definitely a pain in the ***.. not something I enjoy doing a whole lot of, but somehow end up doing more of that than anything

I probably shouldn't have driven through 5 salty winters.. I didn't realize how much of a toll it was going to take on this car. I've driven all kinds of other cars that didn't take this much rust damage. Like you said typical Mazda wheel wells. Hopefully I'll get it back to looking nice and she can spend her winters in the garage
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:30 AM
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If you have to drive it in the winter, maybe do some rustproofing?
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:27 AM
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I did do oil spraying but that only helps so much, especially when it comes to the body. Few pics of oil sprays I had done...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hp3fu6cc9q...110_221706.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0a35q1ddid...110_221716.jpg

Last edited by kops; 02-13-2019 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 02-12-2019, 07:24 PM
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Yeah not everyone sprays the arches and they're a really poor design. Trying to keep mine clean and reoiling them every other week.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:09 PM
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It's pathetic how poorly the wheel arch design was for Mazda. There paint is also terribly thin and easy to chip the primer off exposing bare metal. Honda, Toyota, and the euro makes figured out rust resistant vehicles back in the mid 2000s
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:32 AM
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Its been too long since I had a chance to work on my car. Finally got a few hours in yesterday and well...lets say there's less rust on it now than there was before.

We grinded back a few inches to get an idea of how far the rust went, and then started cutting. You can see the bottom 2 inches around the entire wheel well was rusted on both the outer and inner fender.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n292ua5w2v...56538.mp4?dl=0




The driver side ended up being worse than I hoped, so I'll have to do that whole wheel well too. Going to see if I can find a donor car somewhere that I can take a big chunk out of.




Tada, no more rust...what a hack job



So now most of the rust is gone.. I guess next I'll do some measuring and figure out the best way to chop my donor parts and start rebuilding

Last edited by kops; 04-21-2019 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:40 PM
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Back at it again for a few hours today. I made some measurements and cut some sheet metal that will be used to patch parts of the inner wheel well that have rusted out.

This is one of the areas that needed to be patched


I started by making a template out of cardboard



Then I traced that onto some of the sheet metal you saw in earlier pics...and used a 'nibbler' to cut it out. Never used a nibbler before but it cut through sheet metal like a hot knife through butter. This is what the cutout looked like, and then I just hand bent it into shape for now





Then did the same for the other side..



After that, I started doing some rough measurements for where I will cut the inner/outer fender areas, and where I'll cut my donor parts. A bit tough to see but just above the fender flare is a chalk line across.... and then on the inside i'm going to take it back a few inches





The more I get into it the more I realize how big of a job this is going to be.... but if I can get a driver-side donor panel then I should be able to make it all work!
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:12 PM
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Today was a good day... I could start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I took some more accurate measurements and marked both the car and donor parts off with masking tape. I tried to use things on the car like corners, bolt holes, plugs etc, to base all my measurements from.









After that... I let the more experienced mechanic make a clean cut. Being careful not to cut through the inner pieces near the door jam

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yx92805psx...31961.mp4?dl=0

and the final product..an exposed rear quarter. Other than the first 2" around the wheel well the rest of it is in great shape. Comparing to the 1967 Ford Fairlane my dad is restoring, this job is looking not so bad



Here is the comparison beside the donor part



I think the next steps will be to sandblast/clean up some of the inner fenders, do some patching, then measure/cut some of the inner fender off of the donor. Might as well do all that while I've got easy open access to everything. Once the inner is patched up, we'll cut out the donor parts and tack it in.

Stay tuned....
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:10 AM
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You must have a very big sentimental value to your ride. Our winters are the absolute worse! I bought a new 08 MX5 PRHT 11yrs ago. It was my daily. Krowned it religiously! Even then, after 10yrs and 262k on the clock, the rear quarter paint was starting to curl near the top of the wheel wells. No signs of rust through the paint or anything like that. But I knew if I was going to keep it, she'll need to get fully restored. And that's where you run into the money issue. Fully restored with a proper paint job was going to cost me more than what the car was worth.
As painful as it was to let her go, I did find the replacement car to be totally worth it! I picked up a 2010 RX8 R3 with only 52k on the clock last April. The thing was spotless with hardly any km's on it. Together with the trade in I was going to get on the Miata, I had to make the purchase. It was a no brainer.

Can't tell you how great the R3 feels compared to the Miata. Torsional rigidity is extremely noticeable. Not to mention the smoothness of the engine and the power output is much better. Extremely happy with her. She's seen her first winter and the Krown is doing its job. But knowing what I know from the Miata, I'm taking extra care with this one. I make sure to clean up all the wheel wells now whenever I change over on the wheels. And I touch up in certain areas I know the Krown people won't spray or forget to spray. Survived its first winter without a hitch. I'm keeping a careful eye on all the parts and taking extra care this time around. I seriously doubt I'll let her go as easy as I did with the Miata.

You've got guts to be restoring a vehicle with that much damage. I think it would be easier to find a doner car or a complete replacement than keeping this ride... Still, all the best on the restore!
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Neo View Post
You must have a very big sentimental value to your ride. Our winters are the absolute worse! I bought a new 08 MX5 PRHT 11yrs ago. It was my daily. Krowned it religiously! Even then, after 10yrs and 262k on the clock, the rear quarter paint was starting to curl near the top of the wheel wells. No signs of rust through the paint or anything like that. But I knew if I was going to keep it, she'll need to get fully restored. And that's where you run into the money issue. Fully restored with a proper paint job was going to cost me more than what the car was worth.
As painful as it was to let her go, I did find the replacement car to be totally worth it! I picked up a 2010 RX8 R3 with only 52k on the clock last April. The thing was spotless with hardly any km's on it. Together with the trade in I was going to get on the Miata, I had to make the purchase. It was a no brainer.

Can't tell you how great the R3 feels compared to the Miata. Torsional rigidity is extremely noticeable. Not to mention the smoothness of the engine and the power output is much better. Extremely happy with her. She's seen her first winter and the Krown is doing its job. But knowing what I know from the Miata, I'm taking extra care with this one. I make sure to clean up all the wheel wells now whenever I change over on the wheels. And I touch up in certain areas I know the Krown people won't spray or forget to spray. Survived its first winter without a hitch. I'm keeping a careful eye on all the parts and taking extra care this time around. I seriously doubt I'll let her go as easy as I did with the Miata.

You've got guts to be restoring a vehicle with that much damage. I think it would be easier to find a doner car or a complete replacement than keeping this ride... Still, all the best on the restore!
Thanks for reading, I'm glad things worked out for you! The R3 seems like a very well put together car, I haven't driven one myself. Knowing what I know now I definitely wouldn't put it through winter. Don't let this thread happen to you lol.

I guarantee the two options you listed would have been easier haha. I did consider a donor car, I had 2 or 3 deals fall through on me. Around here even with low compression they go for around $2000, and most of those had rust developing or other issues to deal with as well.

I already had this replacement quarter panel and the ability to do everything myself which saves drastic amounts of body shop costs...my only costs are front bumper, another quarter panel, and paint/body supplies... All coming in under $1000 total. So it's costing me some time (although a lot harder to find than I thought it would be) but in the end buying another RX8 and swapping the motor just wasn't as appealing as giving my baby the attention it deserved. Hopefully it can be something I'm proud of for years to come.

This is still a work in progress so here's to hoping my plan actually works out!

Last edited by kops; 05-07-2019 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by kops View Post
Thanks for reading, I'm glad things worked out for you! The R3 seems like a very well put together car, I haven't driven one myself. Knowing what I know now I definitely wouldn't put it through winter. Don't let this thread happen to you lol.

I guarantee the two options you listed would have been easier haha. I did consider a donor car, I had 2 or 3 deals fall through on me. Around here even with low compression they go for around $2000, and most of those had rust developing or other issues to deal with as well.

I already had this replacement quarter panel and the ability to do everything myself which saves drastic amounts of body shop costs...my only costs are front bumper, another quarter panel, and paint/body supplies... All coming in under $1000 total. So it's costing me some time (although a lot harder to find than I thought it would be) but in the end buying another RX8 and swapping the motor just wasn't as appealing as giving my baby the attention it deserved. Hopefully it can be something I'm proud of for years to come.

This is still a work in progress so here's to hoping my plan actually works out!
Well, I kinda needed another daily since my summer ride is an RX7 (note avatar.. ) If I had the choice I wouldn't put the 8 through the torture of winter. Unfortunately...

You're lucky you're able to do all that yourself. I wouldn't know where to begin. Definitely, if you can get the material for cheap and you have the expertise, you can definitely pull this off.
I'm anxious to see the finished results!
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