Rust, damn rust, and rust - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old August 31st, 2004, 07:56 PM
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Jason Herring
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Rust, damn rust, and rust

Now that I've had more time to inspect my bought-over-the-internet-inspected-by-a-local-friend-shipped-to-me D90 I've found it's alot rustier than I was led to believe. Unfortunately, this wasn't caught before I made the purchase, but that's life & now I have to fix it.

I certainly am interested in the stainless hardware people have mentioned here, as most of the hardware looks suspect. The front bumper and nerf bars are shot, but I've found replacements through some of the good people on this site. The gas tank plate needs replacing as well, but I think there are a few sources on those. The third tail light is pretty bad as well. The exhaust is also ready to fall out, so I'll be looking at new plumbing sooner or later.

The two most problematic spots I've found so far are the inner steel door structure panels and what I think is called the bulkhead.

The inner door panels are just...gone.. on the bottom. My question for this piece: is it possible to purchase just that panel and fix the door, or am I looking at a replacement door? If so, where to get one? Rovers North seemed like they wanted about $500 for a used one if/when one becomes available.. is that a fair price? In addition, the outer aluminum door skin has corroded to a point that it will need some repair also. Looks like galvanically accelerated corrosion to me. How is aluminum best patched? Or, once again, am I looking at a new door?

The second problem is the metal peice that is above/forward of the passenger's feet. At the corner where it's uppper edge mates with another piece near the bottom of the dash (what I'd call the firewall) it's also rusted nearly through & water does seem to come through there.

Can this piece be purchased, and if so, how hard is it to replace? I've only seen it at Rovers' North for the Series I, II, III trucks.

Are there any other problem spots I should check so I can really assess the damage? Any advice on undercoating now that some amount of damage has already been done?

I'll post some photos later to illustrate the wost of the problems. Anyway, I'm a bit demoralized by this rust mess, and will definitely spend the time/money to fly out to inspect any other vehicle purchase personally. This was the first vehicle I've purchased this way & I'll definitely change the process next time.
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  #2  
Old August 31st, 2004, 08:24 PM
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Sandro
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Doors and Firewalls

The two most problematic spots I've found so far are the inner steel door structure panels and what I think is called the bulkhead

Land Rover doors on Series rigs (and I believe Defender doors are similar) are simply an aluminum sheet wrapped around a steel frame and crimped. It sounds like the steel in your door frame is rusting. One solution would be to disassemble the entire door (remove the aluminum, window and latch), have the door frame galvanized and either reuse or replace the aluminum skin. The advantage to replacing is that you can use thicking (stronger) aluminum but you'll have to paint as well as figure out how to build the right curve.

I believe you're referring to the firewall which _can_ be removed. Unfortunately, removing the firewall requires a LOT of effort. Roof, windshield, dash, all connections going through the firewall, bonnet and fenders need to be removed before you can remove the bulkhead. If you're planning to drive this vehicle forever (and you're actually planning to disconnect everything connected to it), then you might seriously consider galvanizing the firewall.
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  #3  
Old September 1st, 2004, 02:29 AM
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Ken Loy
1994 Portofino Red ST
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Jason, Randy (TDIGuy) has a write up on reskinning the doors. The administrator (Chris) has probably been too swamped to post it, but you might want to ask Randy or Chris if they could send to you. Randy made it sound as though it wasn't too difficult. He, and a few other guys, are rebuilding their trucks and could probably also offer some advice on replacing the bulkhead. Sounds like a lot of work though.

Search the forum for "rust" and "waxoyl" because there are lots of discussions about treatments. There are also several posts about the rust on the gas tank carrier with alternatives to buying a stock replacement.
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  #4  
Old September 1st, 2004, 09:03 AM
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James Morgan
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when you say the bulkhead is rusting how bad is it and where is the rust?

if its rusting at the 2 top corners of the bulkhead (just under the windscreen at each corner)
you can get bulkhead repair panels where you just cut out the rotten bits and weld in the repair panels

if you dont have the panels it would be relativly easy for a steel fabrications shop to make you some up

same with the footwells im pretty sure the place you are talking about is removable
so you might just want to unbolt it and get a sheet of steel bolted in
or cut it out and weld a new peice in

you have to make sure the welds are good on the bulkhead as it is one of the mane structures on the land rover thats why its made outta steel as apposed to alloy

if its in really bad shape then you could be looking at a new bulkhead


the oxidisation you talk about (paintwork bubbling up and the alloy going powdery grey)
can somtimes be fixed just by a good sand down clean and repaint

but you might find that after a while (could be within a week or a year)
the same thing will happen again

its somthing to do with steel being in contact with the alloy and a chemical reaction takes place when water is added to the mix (very common on 1996 - 2004 trucks over here)

this is due to LR not putting a barrier between the 2 parts if you do rebuild your door i would suggest placing a strip of thin rubber between the frame and the skin to stop this reoccuring

IMHO anyway

James
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  #5  
Old September 1st, 2004, 02:22 PM
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Jason Herring
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James, you describe exactly the spot on the bulkhead/firewall area I'm having a problem with - it's at the corners where that seam is. If replacement panels are available, that would be great - where to get them? I guess a fab shop could whip some together, but I was concerned that the corner being rusted would only be the tip of the iceberg - I was expecting to find alot more damaged if I tore into it. Is it common for just the corner to go? If so I'd be OK with replacing just that piece.

As for the door, you are correct - it's called 'galvanic corrosion' which is what happens when dissimilar metals (in this case, iron and aluminum) are in contact with each other and water (or, even worse, salt water) and act as a battery. The 'sacrificial' metal is the iron of the inner door frame & that's what usually takes the brunt of the damage (on steel pipelines you'll often see a strip of metal attached to it. This is the 'sacrificial metal' strip which will be eaten away by galvanic corrosion while preserving the metal pipe). On my door, the aluminum outer skin is bubbled a bit, but the inner door frame on the bottom is *gone* - it's rusted away completely and is now a gaping hole all along the bottom of the door if you are looking up at it from the ground. Reskinning is not an option, because there is no structure to reskin to....and, the skin isn't that bad - just a bit needs some small amount of filler/replacement in that corner. BUT the door frame iron structure is destroyed at the bottom. I think I will either need new lower door steel structure (ST doors) or entirely new doors.

Ken, the gas tank plate is so bad that it's actually flaking away - it looks like a wafer as viewed from the side. Strangely enough the frame all looks fine (crosses fingers).

Are there any other 'gotcha' places I should look for rust damage?
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  #6  
Old September 1st, 2004, 02:28 PM
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J. Landers
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Why don't you just buy some new door skins from RDS for $300 and move on about life. Also he has complete bulkheads for $575.00 Get the bulkhead galvanized and forget about it.

Follow-up Post:

http://www.roversdownsouth.com/body.htm
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  #7  
Old September 1st, 2004, 06:27 PM
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James Morgan
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as for the bulkhead repair panels see
http://www.landroverspares.co.uk/pro...tml?cpdID=2754

i dont know if there is a source for them in the US but if you get stuck i could send you some over

as far as the doors go you might be best just getting new doors as filler and landrovers dont normally work IMO

and other places to look for rot
rear cross member
and seat boxes generally good places to find the brown stuff

James
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  #8  
Old September 1st, 2004, 06:32 PM
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Jason Herring
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrnasd90
Why don't you just buy some new door skins from RDS for $300 and move on about life. Also he has complete bulkheads for $575.00 Get the bulkhead galvanized and forget about it.

Follow-up Post:

http://www.roversdownsouth.com/body.htm
Maybe my terminology is bad. I am defining the door skin as the outer aluminum part, and the door frame the inner steel part.

The outer part is not bad - the skin is OK, mild corrosion that looks fixable, I don't think I need to buy a new one. The inner steel frame is rotten. Also, the doors on that link are wagon doors, and I have an ST. I already looked there, though I haven't called to see what else is on hand besides what's on the website.

R&R the complete bulkhead looks like a nightmare from that picture. If I can get away with the corner patch-in pieces mentioned above then I'm much better off.

Thanks.
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  #9  
Old September 1st, 2004, 08:19 PM
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Chris Cox
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If you are talking about the bend that is just below the dash, you are looking at a nightmare to fix. You will pretty much have to strip the bulkheade to repair it anyway. I was starting to have the same problem on my bulkhead. Sandblasted it to get all the rust out, and had it galvanized. There are ST doors listed on his site. Seems like they were either $300 or $350. It was a pretty good price, about $100 cheaper than RN. The steel frame can't be ordered, but it can be repaired. Generally if the bottom is corroded, there will be other areas, especially in the door handle pocket.

Follow-up Post:

By the way, if you get new doors, make sure you get the same door as you already have, unless you want to upgrade the catch system. LR now does a door with a new check strapsystem. If you get the new style door, you will have to upgrade the hardware for the check strap. Not sure if the doors on RDS are the new or old. I bought the new doors and new catch hardware, as they were about the same price as the old style doors.

Chris

Follow-up Post:

By the way, if you are planning on replacing the bulkhead, I would let the original go to hell before I had it done. It is a job changing it out. Go ahead and get the new one painted and waxoyled, and set it aside until you are ready for it. I think $575 for a new bulkhead is a deal. I bet that thing would be $2k at the stealership.
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  #10  
Old September 1st, 2004, 09:47 PM
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J. Landers
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ALR8104 RH $350.00
ALR8105 LH $350.00

Ok same page....for a soft top. As far as the bulkhead, yes it is a lot of work, but for $575 for the whole thing it is worth it. But I understand the hesitation, I guess I am just not as worried about it anymore since I have had one apart and back together. It is a lot easier than you think.
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  #11  
Old September 2nd, 2004, 03:07 PM
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SHould have ponied up for mine

Seriously though, the thing about rust is you should try to stop it rather than fix it. IN my experience fixing it just makes it worse in the long run unless you really take everything out, weld, grind, primer, repaint etc.

Personally I would wait to replace the bulkhead until you can see through it. Just treat the issue areas and keep on eye on them. Rather then send good money (or time) after a lost cause. Then replace with a galvy one and never worry again. The rear crossmember, area where the trans x member bolts and inside the outriggers on the frame would be my next problem areas to look at. Make sure no crap is stuck in them and then spray the insides with waxyoil or similar.

Same with the doors, first they are not structural, second if you replace the paint won't match. Just treat them and keep $500 budgeted for new ones in the future. And when you get the new ones, treat the inside and preferably dip the frame with a few holes in the bottom before painting.

Ron

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  #12  
Old September 2nd, 2004, 05:55 PM
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Sandro
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Did someone say firewall?
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  #13  
Old September 2nd, 2004, 07:06 PM
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Jason Herring
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heh Ron, with all the accessories you've been buying, today I would have Actually I almost did. Had I known about the rust I wouldn't have bought this one. *sigh*

So here are some pics... I'm not talking about surface rust. The first two are the rust spot near the RH side just below the dash (you can see it in the top of the photo); the third is of the LH door, and the last is the corrosion on the outside of the drivers' door. What would you all do with that?

I didn't see the ST doors on his site - I'm not using Internet Explorer and his page did display a little strange..maybe it's not showing me everything. I'll check again with IE (I rarely use Windows).
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  #14  
Old September 2nd, 2004, 07:11 PM
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Jim Cheney
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The seller didnt mention that kind of rust specifically? Thats not exactly minor. Naturally caveat emptor applies but the gentlmenly thing to do is disclose the faults. Kinda sad.
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  #15  
Old September 2nd, 2004, 07:27 PM
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I'm sorry to say but that's some serious rust, Jason.

That door looks like it's going to require lots and lots of help. You might be better off finding a replacement. The advantage to finding a replacement (other than not having to fix this) is that you can do the full treatment while you're still driving your Land Rover. I'm a big fan of galvanizing so I would take the doors apart, galvanize the frames and have new aluminum skins made.

If it were me, I would try to tackle one issue every so often (annually). That way I could be driving while improving the vehicle.
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