When I bought Guzzler I thought the paint/body was great but on the trip home I noticed that a big chunk of paint blew off the rocker panel during the drive and exposed a rust hole. I informed the previous owner of this and he told me to pound sand and not ever call him again. Well, it gave me an excuse to do a little rust repair project - something that I had never done before.

Here is a side shot so you can get an idea of where the rust is:

I'm not sure how bad the rust is under there so I need to grind off some of the paint:

I found that there was a thick slab of bondo over the hole but the rust did not go as far as I thought it would:

I used some cardboard to keep the grinding dust out of the car:

This is what the rust looked like in the door jam:

A few seconds of grinding and this is what I had:

Overall it doesn't look too bad:

Well, it took me 10 months (started the project in February 2011) to start working on it again but I've finally got my butt in gear. During that time I kept the hole covered with duct tape. Yes, I know that probably wasn't the best thing to do but it kept the dirt and water out of it:

I used a pneumatic cut off wheel to cut out all the rusty metal:

I cut some 23 guage sheet metal to make a patch for the hole. I did some tack welding type butt welds to hold it in. It was pretty hard to keep from burning through the metal but in the end it was solid:

I drilled a bunch of holes in the metal patch to give the Bondo something to hold on to:

I used some masking tape and clear plastic to cover over the passenger side so I wouldn't fill up the car with Bondo dust. I thought about taking the door off but it looked too hard to mess with:

I grabbed a sanding disc and ground everything down to bare metal about 4" on each side of the damage:

I'm not an expert at body work. In fact, I've only done body work twice in my life. Once was in 1987 when I was restoring a Triumph Spitfire and once in early 2008 when I was building the Beer Cooler (Miata trailer). I pulled out my two VERY old cans of Bondo:

How old were they? Well, judging by the haircut they look to be from the 1970's:

Both cans were bad. You can see how the Bondo has separated into two phases:

A quick trip to Wal-Mart and $9.70 later I was back in business. Of course, I still used the 40 year old tube of hardener (which had a hole in it):

To mix the Bondo I used a piece of cloroplast and a Velveeta cheese knife my wife gave me:

The first coat is looking pretty rough:

Much better after sanding. There are quite a few low spots so I will have to apply a few more coats:

After three coats of plastic I was really wanting to get the car on the road. I didn't want to drive it around with bare metal showing so I was ready to throw on some primer and paint:

I looked around the garage to see what kind of rattle cans of red paint I had. I found three cans and picked the closest one to the shade of the car. It ended up being the red paint that I used on "Sippy" (the red convertible Metro I recently sold). It really didn't match the tomato soup red that was on Sippy but it looked a little closer to what was on this car:

The label on the back in case anyone needs to see it. Since Guzzler had been resprayed before I bought her I am not sure if she is a factory red or not. I'm pretty sure she is though seeing how the door jams match up so well on her cheap paint job:

I've always let my rattle can paint heat up in a bucket of warm water before using it (really helps out) but I found another method this time. I let the can heat up 10 seconds at a time (heat up, then shake, repeat) in front of my shop light. I think it worked much better than the water and only took about 1 minute instead of 10:

I sprayed two coats of primer and three coats of red on the spot. After spraying the roughness of the bondo was much more noticable but I'll clean that up another day. I also see that I needed to drill out the hole that is used by the plastic door still protector:

I just hit it with a drill bit and the bondo plug popped out:

As good as new (well, not really). Again, I will revisit this repair in the future and sand a bit more to get the high areas flat:

It is not perfect but it will pass the 10 foot test. I would bet that no one, except maybe a potential buyer for the car if I ever decide to sell it, will ever notice that the car was repaired/resprayed: