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The fantastical rear wheel well rot thread


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31 replies to this topic

#26 kjmclark

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 10:40 PM

The rear wheel well rust is just an outside result of rust further in. The problem starts because the outer wall of the rear strut tower rusts through. That lets tire spray run inside the quarter panel. It puddles at the rear corner of the wheel well and you get the rust through you see.

You have to fix the problem in the strut tower before you try fixing the rear wheel well rot, or it will just come right back.


He's right, but people miss it because it's not actually part of the strut tower. It's actually a separate panel that's next to the strut tower.

Here's what you see with the tire off, looking up:
Posted Image

Notice that there's a little discoloration, but no apparent problem. The strut tower looks fine. Keep looking:
Posted Image

I had to put the camera right above the brake drum to get this picture. Still looks OK, kind of, but there's something going on at the left of the picture, up at the top of the strut tower.

Here's what's going on:
Posted Image

I had to put the camera between the strut springs to get this picture. See the gray primer? You're not supposed to see that. It's on the inside of the quarter panel. There's supposed to be a metal panel here that's painted with the same undercoat as the other pictures. You don't see it because it's rusted out. How big is that rusted out hole? After I finished breaking out all the loose rust, I get a hole that's just over 8" wide at the widest, and about 4" high at the highest point.

Here's the template I made of the hole:
Posted Image(All pictures hosted at www.flickr.com)

Until you patch this hole, you're wasting your time going after rust on the back of the wheel well or down in the running boards. This hole is causing the others.

#27 kjmclark

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:01 PM

One more note. These pictures are of the driver-side wheel well. The passenger side has the same problem, along with lots of issues on and around the gas filler neck tube. The template is reversed compared to the last picture of the hole. The biggest part of the hole is toward the front of the car, and the hole tapers toward the back of the car. The holes on both sides are symmetrical, so once you've got your template for one side, the other side is just the same thing, but flipped (again, bigger part of the hole toward the front of the car.)

Actually, I made a pdf of the template on graph paper. I'll have to find a way to post a link to it.

#28 WoodsWagon

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

Thank you for taking good pictures of the strut tower rust I was talking about. Out of all the 95-99 subaru's I have checked in the junkyard, none of them had solid sheetmetal left. Half of them it was totally gone, the other half crumbled when I reached up in and poked it.

#29 Ricearu

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 04:38 PM

i'm hoping to get a new cordless cutoff tool for christmas or tax time. I am gonna start cutting out patch panels for real. I forgot about this post!

Thanks for the pic!, my legacy is kinda iffy there, I am gonna pour some phosphoric acid in there and seal that hole before my rear quarters go to hell too!

Only saving grace is that in texas, we don't get salt because snow and ice (if we even get it) never stays long enough to need melting, so they just find the slippery spots and run a sand spreader over em.

#30 Ricearu

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 05:02 PM

i'm hoping to get a new cordless cutoff tool for christmas or tax time. I am gonna start cutting out patch panels for real. I forgot about this post!

Thanks for the pic!, my legacy is kinda iffy there, I am gonna pour some phosphoric acid in there and seal that hole before my rear quarters go to hell too!

Only saving grace is that in texas, we don't get salt because snow and ice (if we even get it) never stays long enough to need melting, so they just find the slippery spots and run a sand spreader over em.

#31 kjmclark

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 04:09 PM

Thank you for taking good pictures of the strut tower rust I was talking about.


No problem. When "lmdew" wrote that his strut towers looked fine, I thought, "Geez, what we need here are some pictures. Well, duh, I could probably take some, and then maybe other people could catch this problem before their back-ends start rusting out." My little Christmas present to my fellow Subaru owners! :)

#32 grossgary

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:25 PM

I am gonna start cutting out patch panels for real.

you cut all of them you can find and i'll sell them up here for you. LOL

kidding aside - cut me a few, we need 'em!




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