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DIY Rust Repair

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by agranner, May 17, 2008.

    agranner guest

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    About two years ago I found rust around the jack points on my '93 325i. I have not had the money to take care of it (grad school) but I'm determined to do it soon before it really gets out of control. My basic plan is the remove as much rust as I can, paint to protect the metal, then spray rust preventative fluid into all the body cavities.

    The spray fluid I can get from Eastwood. But I need some advice about the other two steps:

    1.) I'm going to survey the rust very carefully before I decide how to remove it. If it is just heavy scale, I'm going to grind it off and use POR-15 (and call the holes around the jack-point "drainage"). If I can easily poke through the metal farther away, I'm going to cut a panel and weld it in.

    According to http://www.realoem.com/bmw/ I can get the entire rocker panel, or smaller "repair" sections. Either way, I'm not going to replace the whole panel, just cut a patch from the new one. Where do I actually buy these? Can I ask the dealer to order them? Will the price be as listed on this site? Would a cheap after-market panel work just as well? What would a body shop do?

    2.) Where can I get the "pebble" texture paint that was used on E36 (maybe others?) rocker panels and fenders? What kind of primer will I need between it and the POR? I'd like the repair to be decent looking, not just "50 - 50".

    BTW - I have replaced rocker panels before (once, on an E28) so I know what I'm getting into and what my skills are: "Novice" but patient.


    -- Aubrey Granner
    '93 325i 5sp

    agranner guest

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    bump (it's been a week)
    • Member


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    If you have welding know-how why would you settle for Por-15 especially around jack points ?
    For panels try Steve Haygood -

    agranner guest

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    What's wrong with POR-15? It seems to be just as good as Eastwood's "Rust Encapsulator" or any of the other surface rust treatments. I don't think there's anything wrong with using a product like this as long as I don't expect it to perform miracles, just cover and treat surface rust.

    I'll try to get some pictures up next week, after the autocross in South Bend.

    -- Aubrey Granner
    '93 325i

    turkis_tii guest

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    Rust repair

    How much is the car worth??

    What a body shop would do depends on the integrity of the body shop and how much you want to pay. A cheap job would bondo over the rust and it would look good for a few months. A good shop will weld in a new patch panel.

    POR-15 works great to keep rust from growing, but it's a cosmetic cure only. You can also try filling holes with LabMetal, but, again, it is only cosmetic.

    Replacement panels can be obtained from the BMW dealers. After-market, non-oem parts usually don't fit as well, and will probably involve extra work. In any case, this requires skill in welding the new piece in, and, if it's a structural piece, needs to take into account underlying structures.

    Realoem.com prices are not the same as dealer prices.

    You need to find out why the area was rusting before you do any repairs...it will just come back again.
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    Yeah, I would find out if it is structural first. You do not want to have your jack points give way while jacking the car up. Cosmetic rust is easy to fix, I sand or brush the scale away and then spray a rust converter to "seal" the rust and the spay a rubber undercoating product over that. But this is just for cosmetic NOT structural rust.

    AlexW guest

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    I'd definitely see if it's structural. If it isn't, then I'd go with the POR-15 and then paint from there.

    If it's structural, I'd talk to some 2002 owners around here, or your local chapter who have tackled this sort of thing, or if they know someone who has. Lots of their projects being lives as total rust buckets. I've seen 2002s with rust that would make your blood turn cold, and seen them made in to concours quality cars by the right owner.

    Check out the '02 forum here, and browse the net for others and see what the owners are having to say about rust repair and issues.

    I wouldn't expect yours to be as bad as a project 2002, but they are the most likely in the BMW crowd to know rust treatment and prevention.

    Take care,

    EDIT: Didn't catch that you've already done rocker panel repair. You obviously know the issues there! Sorry!

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