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biggles933

Subframe and floor pan rust

Question

Hi guys - after a bit of advice please.

 

I have been toying with the idea of having the underneath of my car restored (complete strip, shot blast subframes/floor pan and paint/seal etc) for some time now to the extent that I have had a a couple of garages take a look and also received a quote for the work (£2.6K). Thinking about it though, I just don't think I can justify spending that kind of money as the rust doesn't seem bad enough to warrant it. As such, I am thinking about have a bash at it myself using some axle stands, a wire brush and some paint!! 

 

To that end, I would welcome club members views please - do you think the rust is bad enough to justify a £2.6K outlay......or do you think having a go myself is the right way to go?  

 

If you do think having a go myself is the right thing to do, what paint would you use on the rear floor pan (the rust is only superficial and not as bad as it looks - it is solid enough underneath the rust).  

 

Many thanks.

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17 answers to this question

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£2.6k is mega money; is the car worth that much?

 

What did the MoT tester say about the condition at the last test? The thing about rust is that it's hard to tell how bad it is just by looking at it. Sometimes it doesn't look bad when it actually is, and vice versa. On the Gen7, we know now that the rear subframe tends to be the first thing to get you an MoT fail. Until you start to brush and poke it, you don't know what you've got.

 

I have a low mileage 7 which is now 17 years old and I've spent a lot of time doing the following;

  • clean as best possible with a wire brush on an angle grinder
  • paint using zinc phosphate primer* (at least 2 coats)
  • apply topcoat*

I never use underseal; I think it just hides what's going on, and I'm really pleased with the outcome of what I've done on the 7 and the same was done on my 21 year old family saloon also.

 

Regarding*, for quite some years now I only ever use the zinc phosphate primer made by Johnstones and the top coat on that is Johnstones metal cladding paint. I first discovered Johnstones when I bought some "Red Oxide Primer" from Screwfix and found it was brilliant stuff (the term "Red Oxide" now only refers to the colour of the paint, though in the past, it referred to lead-based paints, which are now illegal). Looking in to it, I found that it was actually made by Johnstones, and I then found a (one-off) seller on ebay offering 5L cans of both the primer and the top coat at a knock down price. Those are pretty much used up now, but money well spent.

Edited by bazz54

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Wire wheel on a grinder will clean that up, then some rust treatment brushed on like Bilt Hamber then whatever paint or underseal you want. Bit of time but minimal cost to do yourself.

 

That spare wheel well looks suspicious though. Looks like that might go through on harder inspection. Hard to tell from pics though

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12 hours ago, bazz54 said:

£2.6k is mega money; is the car worth that much?

 

What did the MoT tester say about the condition at the last test? The thing about rust is that it's hard to tell how bad it is just by looking at it. Sometimes it doesn't look bad when it actually is, and vice versa. On the Gen7, we know now that the rear subframe tends to be the first thing to get you an MoT fail. Until you start to brush and poke it, you don't know what you've got.

 

I have a low mileage 7 which is now 17 years old and I've spent a lot of time doing the following;

  • clean as best possible with a wire brush on an angle grinder
  • paint using zinc phosphate primer* (at least 2 coats)
  • apply topcoat*

I never use underseal; I think it just hides what's going on, and I'm really pleased with the outcome of what I've done on the 7 and the same was done on my 21 year old family saloon also.

 

Regarding*, for quite some years now I only ever use the zinc phosphate primer made by Johnstones and the top coat on that is Johnstones metal cladding paint. I first discovered Johnstones when I bought some "Red Oxide Primer" from Screwfix and found it was brilliant stuff (the term "Red Oxide" now only refers to the colour of the paint, though in the past, it referred to lead-based paints, which are now illegal). Looking in to it, I found that it was actually made by Johnstones, and I then found a (one-off) seller on ebay offering 5L cans of both the primer and the top coat at a knock down price. Those are pretty much used up now, but money well spent.

Thanks very much for taking the time for the comprehensive response Bazz. The car is worth a lot more than £2.6k - it has only had 1 previous owner only (I have had it for the last 8 years) with currently only 64K on the clock. It is completely standard/unmolested and has a full Toyota service history with a fully stamped up book.....and is immaculate....apart from the underneath that is! I have spent a lot of money maintaining it over the years including replacing the wheels (managed to source some direct from Fondmetal, as Toyota had none left), the front headlights, rear lights etc etc etc. The only modification I have made is to install a GT86 head unit including Toyota Touch and go sat nav (and a reverse camera) the head unit isn't great sound quality wise, but I wanted to stick to a Toyota head unit.

 

I had never had cause to look underneath the Celica until fairly recently - I had been looking to buy a Ford Focus RS MK 2, which are renowned for rusting underneath and so had been looking underneath a lot (and seeing a lot of rust). Because I had been looking underneath so many RSs, I decided to look underneath the Celica......and got a shock!

 

I took it to Toyota and asked them to take a look underneath. They took the view that the car just needed some TLC....but it needed doing sooner rather than later otherwise I would be looking at a big job if the rust was allowed to progress. After doing some research, I identified a reputable Celica specialist/restorer, who gave me the £2.6k quote. I do however think paying that kind of money is excessive in view of the rust that is present. It has never previously been picked up on any MOTs - I did ask Toyota if it would be a factor for the next MOT and they said that it wouldn't. I guess I am looking to tackle the issue now before it becomes a real problem at some point down the line.

 

I actually took it to a classic car specialist yesterday, who after having a bit of a poke around (particularly on the rear back floor pan), gave me the thumbs up and advised me to do the job myself as it would save me a stack of cash. So I was ready to have a go at it myself when I decided to get enthusiasts view first - as they are the people who know the car best!

 

I appreciate you view, which gives me a bit more confidence in tackling the matter myself.

 

Many thanks for your thoughts and advice.  

 

        

6 hours ago, 99GT said:

Wire wheel on a grinder will clean that up, then some rust treatment brushed on like Bilt Hamber then whatever paint or underseal you want. Bit of time but minimal cost to do yourself.

 

That spare wheel well looks suspicious though. Looks like that might go through on harder inspection. Hard to tell from pics though

Cheers for the response.

 

Yeah I was concerned the most about the spare wheel well. I took it to a classic car restorer yesterday to get his opinion - he was also not sure about the spare wheel well but after getting underneath and having a damn good poke around and a scrape, he gave me the thumbs up and said it was ok/not a problem (it looks worse that it actually is).    

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Has anyone taken the sill covers off yet? There well be rust starting under there too.

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35 minutes ago, bazz54 said:

Has anyone taken the sill covers off yet? There well be rust starting under there too.

Sorry, I am showing my ignorance now - what/where are the sill covers??

 

Just ordered a 115mm angle grinder, but need to order a wire brush - who knew there were so many/types! Any recommendations as to which one I should go for?? Also need to order some axle stands as well...

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49 minutes ago, biggles933 said:

Sorry, I am showing my ignorance now - what/where are the sill covers??

 

Just ordered a 115mm angle grinder, but need to order a wire brush - who knew there were so many/types! Any recommendations as to which one I should go for?? Also need to order some axle stands as well...

buy a cup type wire wheel but please  please also buy a quality pair of safety goggles , impact rated as not all are , I have lost count of the amount of times I have had bits of wire break off them and end up in my leg even going through overalls and jeans . Oh and some dust masks and a decent pair of gloves.  

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This is type of brush I normally use https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Draper-80mm-x-M14-Crimped-Steel-Wire-Cup-Brush-For-Angle-Grinder-41444/301927977938?epid=26012039447&hash=item464c4f53d2:g:uC0AAOSwj~VcwTVj

It's worth buying a decent quality one; cheap ones can be badly balance and just don't last.

 

The sill cover is the strip of plastic that is at the bottom of the body and runs below the door from the from the front to the rear wheel arch. IIRC, it's held on by 6 platic clips on the underside, remove these and then I think it slides off to the rear. Beneath it is the important welded seam between the floor pan and the upper body shell. As a minimum, you will probably see some rust around the jacking points, but some owners find much more.

Edited by bazz54

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31 minutes ago, bazz54 said:

Celica with sill covers removedP1020100.thumb.JPG.b1a46502675aabeb7d25a377e9fc1bd0.JPG

That's brilliant - thanks very much for all the advice, which is much appreciated! My next dumb question was where should I position the axle stands when I tackle the subframes/floor pan etc, but the jacking points seem the obvious spot.   

1 hour ago, Bumblebee said:

buy a cup type wire wheel but please  please also buy a quality pair of safety goggles , impact rated as not all are , I have lost count of the amount of times I have had bits of wire break off them and end up in my leg even going through overalls and jeans . Oh and some dust masks and a decent pair of gloves.  

Thanks very much for that ;-)

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Yes. the jacking points are best, but if they are rusted, you'll need to move the stands slightly to the side.

What Bumblebee says is all good. The bits of wire come off the brush at hellish speed, and a few of them will go through ordinary clothing. As automotive men, and women, we are called upon to do these things, like salmon swim upstream to spawn!

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Axle stands I just bought the Halfords ones when they were on offer. Plenty good enough.

 

Position under the subframe at the rear and main chassis rails at the front. That's what I do on the gen6 anyway. I wouldn't trust the jacking points on the sills.  

Edited by 99GT

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The sills have been rotting on some of these for a while now, more than 5 years when I first found a rotten one after taking the side skirts off, looked fine with the skirts on

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22 hours ago, 99GT said:

Axle stands I just bought the Halfords ones when they were on offer. Plenty good enough.

 

Position under the subframe at the rear and main chassis rails at the front. That's what I do on the gen6 anyway. I wouldn't trust the jacking points on the sills.  

Thanks :-)

26 minutes ago, ams said:

The sills have been rotting on some of these for a while now, more than 5 years when I first found a rotten one after taking the side skirts off, looked fine with the skirts on

Hopefully going to make a start on this next weekend - I'll take a look at the sills then. Thanks!

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I'd plan to do the job in a number steps; concentrate on a limited area(s). There's quite a few days work in doing the whole floor. I did the back end one year and the front the following year. The primer I recommended needs 16 hours to dry, some others may be faster, but it is probably best to work on two limited areas at once so you don't get held up. Have you looked at the various previous threads which point out the particular areas on the rear subframe which are the problem parts?

 

I'm pleased to say that 2019 is going to be a largely paint-free year here :), having been busy over the last 2 or 3 years.

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19 hours ago, bazz54 said:

I'd plan to do the job in a number steps; concentrate on a limited area(s). There's quite a few days work in doing the whole floor. I did the back end one year and the front the following year. The primer I recommended needs 16 hours to dry, some others may be faster, but it is probably best to work on two limited areas at once so you don't get held up. Have you looked at the various previous threads which point out the particular areas on the rear subframe which are the problem parts?

 

I'm pleased to say that 2019 is going to be a largely paint-free year here :), having been busy over the last 2 or 3 years.

Yeah I have taken a look at the previous threads. I'll do it over a few weekends - there's no rush as it isn't particularly bad just yet (it is a case of prevention is better than cure!!). Thanks again ;-) 

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Im cutting some sills out of a car this week for a customer , looking at that spare wheel well I think I might cut that out as well for future use

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I have 2 front subframes left now if anyone needs one - when they are gone they are gone

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