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e30 M3 minor rust repair.




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02:30 PM
e30 M3 minor rust repair.


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

First post on here but I've been reading the forum for quite a w
Started doing some minor rust repairs on my e30 a while ago
it just seemed to go on a little. Here's a few details...

Bought the car in England a couple of years ago now

despite the reg plate being 1990 it's actually one of the early M
It's a 195bhp with the cat and this is how it looked when I fir

Haven't had much time to do a lot with it in the few years sin
it apart from some wheels and routine service work. This is how
before taking off the road.

Unfortunately although she looks reasonably clean in the pic's the old sa
"good from afar but far from good", reason being the dreaded rust had
starting to munch it's way through the chassis. Also there was quite a
the body and the front is severly stone chipped for some r

the most noticeable of the rust was on the rear arches where it w
somewhere during it's life the rear arches were rolled to accommoda
and tyres and poorly done..

So we set about getting the car ready for some small rust re

with the amount of stuff coming out of the bm, shelf space was start
so the poor escort has to double up as a fitted wardrobe for the ti

right ready to begin......

As mentioned the main reason for taking the car off the roa
the rust on the rear arches, but that was far from the least
rust problems. First up was some rust on the drivers side of

under where the rubber seal sits.....

a few years after the car rolled off the production line the re
had an unfortunate coming together with a solid object, oth
known as a tank slapper. The previous owner had provided all t
receipts for the main dealer repairs at the time , which showe
had a rear drivers side section of the quarter panel changed. Su
real oem confirmed that a replacement section of the rear qua
available, and I have to admit that whoever done the repair do
at the time, I certainly couldn't have done better. Unfortunately th
time(17years) and salty water has taken it's toll on the re
and while the main part of the repair (the face of the quarter
still perfect, the sections under the boot lid and under the bum
rusted badly.

So, first thing is to clean away the paint and see how much me
to come out.....

mark up and cut out the rotten area.....

and then make up a replacement section from some shiny ne


and weld it in........

i'm not gifted enough to form and weld in the repairs seemles
original panel so the patches are welded in slightly below the su
to allow for a small skim of filler to blend the repairs.

next up was a small hole in the bulkhead under the battery tray a
of a cue tip which when wire brushed with the angle grinder
up to reveal itself to be a little larger......

same story again, mark, cut out, make cardboard template, tr

metal, tack in place, weld up, sand down welds and apply prim

after that it was on to the windscreen scuttle which on the w

blemish free, apart from a section on the passenger side at t

when wire brushed back it was mostly just surface rust, but as
view the far side of the panel was poor it was decided to play
cut out and replace.......

next up the foot wells, having had the carpets out a year ago a
of a heater matrix leak I was reasonably confident that she w
Flintstone mobile and that the floors were still fairly well in
And sure enough she still looked presentable from the insi

but some routing around underneath revealed some less than

metal, first up was the front of the drivers side inner sill panel,
with the spot welds drilled and section nicked for remova

then it was on to the passenger side which was a little more

At some stage the seamsealer had given way around the fron
box and allowed the elements in on top of the box section. T
section was finished......

but thankfully it hadn't taken to much of the floor with it. Ag

safe anywhere that had signs of even slight surface rust w
to make way for new metal......

after that it was back again to that rear quarter panel repair
rusted section hidden behind the back bumper. Surprisingly w
have to wait for the wire brush to find out the extent of the ru

again cut out all that was coloured that expensive shade of

and make up some new pieces to fill up the holes.....

don't mind admitting this one took a few goes to get the bend

and thats about where it's up to now. Still plenty of rust to

still have to figure out what way to go at the rear arches. L
stuff planed for the rebuild but we'll save that for down th
next installment could be fun though, as we attempt to swap a
good sun roof for a freshly purchased non sunroof roof.

will she end up a soft top??


02:32 PM


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203


we managed to get some progress done since the last

post, the main
item being the attempt to change the roof. When originally
setting out to
look for an M3 in the begining I had wanted one without a
but this proved all but impossible to find at the time so
instead I settled for
a car with one. (which I bought off a member on here,
howya steve if your
still tuned in!). So when planning this rebuild I decided
that if so much work
was going to be done to the shell, changing the roof
wouldn't add much more
effort, plus it'd get rid of a nice bit of weight to.
So after buying the roof skin from the local dealer, which is
the same skin
as any other e30, we set about seeing what was involved
in changing it.
From studying the parts diagrams it appeared that the rear
roof addition
could be removed by drilling some spot welds to get access

to the roof below


however when we started to clean around this panel to

reveal the spot
welds that would have to be drilled we discovered that not
only was the
panel a bit bigger than we had expected but it was also
brazed in
places (i've outlined the panel in red to try and show a bit
clearer what is
all one panel)........

and it continued all the way over to the other side.......

we hadn't minded the taughts of drilling out the spot welds

around the
windscreen lip and the ones across the roof, but, in having
to heat the panel
up to remove the braze and then removing the whole
section across the
parcel shelf we were fairly sure we'd f**k the panel up,
which takes on a little more significance when your told
the panel is no
longer available to buy. So instead we decided to do it like

first up cut out the lower section of the sunroof tray.....

which allows a good view of the brace that runs across the
roof right
behind the sunroof opening. This had to stay, as cutting
this out leaves
the roof very very flexible.
next up cut out the roof behind this brace......

which allows better access to carefully trim the metal off

the brace.....

the sidewalls of the sunroof tray were still stuck to the

brace and while
they at first glance look as if they are just bonded to it......

they are in fact spot welded to it.......

so drill the spot welds and carefully prise it free....

next up, the roof skin at the rear of the sunroof hole rolls
in around
this brace.....

and the lip was buffed with the angle grinder untill the lip
could be broken off without doing any damage to the
brace. With everything now disconected underneath from
the brace all that remained was to remove
the roof skin from above it. Two carefull cuts......

and then peal the skin off.....

revealing the roof brace....

with that done a few more carefull cuts were made to

remove the side bits
of the roof skin.....

the reason why we needed to be carefull with the cuts was

the roof
skeleton was only a few mm below the roof skin and we
didn't want to
touch it.

with the skin cut down to the drain gutters on the side of
the roof, these
were then buffed down with the angle grider to the flat
mating surface,
ready for the new skin to sit on top (sorry lost the pic).
The last remaining piece of skin was the front section
which involved
drilling out the spot welds around the windscreen lip and
cutting it off....

the original roof is brazed on at the top of the front

windscreen pillars
and this was removed by getting out the gas bottles and
melting the braze
again to allow the last little bit of skin to be pulled off.....

after stopping for a brief smoke and whats reffered to in

medical terms
as a sh*te attack when the realisation kicked in that I'd
just cut a
perfectly good roof off my M3 ,
we moved on swiftly.
remove the new roof from it's fancy crate.....

and then offer up the roof to see how it fits. As said earlier
we had decided not
to remove the rear panel which concealed a couple of

of the roof skin and instead decided to cut and weld the
roof here instead.
First up mark the roof to trim off the overhang....

and then refit the roof skin to see if we'd measured


thankfully we did, and the roof sat nicely in place as we

had left an inch
of the old skin protruding out and had joggled this down
allowing the
new roof to sit on top of it......

next up was to trim the "A" pillar joins and get them sitting

a couple of laps around the car buffing down metal to

ensure the roof
was sitting snuggly before welding started......

and then we started welding at the rear first working our

way forward,
after each weld was done it was quickly quenched with a
wet rag to try
stop the heat from soaking into the roof skin and warping

ideally it would have been nice to use a spot welder for

this but we don't
have one and after pricing a decent one decided that it
wasn't worth
buying one just for this job, so mig it is.....

the nice part about this run of welds is that theres a nice
little brace
that sits on the roof which conceals everything.....

we then moved on to the sides, on the original roof the

gutters appear to
be continously roll welded, I've no idea whats required to
replicate this
and hassard a guess that the equipment required would
cost the same if
not more than the spot welder, so, mig welder at the ready

we ran a
bead of weld an inch long every few inches........

and buffed them down flush when finished so the black rail
trim pieces
will fit back over.......

next up was drill and plug weld around the front

windscreen lip.....

and finally braze up the "A" pillar joints.....

and hey presto, no sunroof.....

thank f**k thats done, not that we were ever nervous of

making a balls
of it you understand
hope to tackle the rear arches next.

02:34 PM


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203


got a bit more done since last post.

First up was to sort out the battery box on the passenger
Thankfully it wasn't as bad as the other side, but it was
still far from
perfect, that'd be far to easy.....

when cleaned up fully it wasn't to big....

but it had also spread to the battery box floor aswell....

so out with the grinder....

and make up the replacement pieces, weld in and grind

down neat.....

next up was a little bubble just above this, which when

paint stripped
revealed this.....

no idea how that one started? anywho, it wasn't too bad

from the inside....

but with the outside wire brushed you could see it had to

so, cut out....

make up piece and weld in and clean up.....

was shifting along at a nice pace at this stage and could

see only one
more little piece on this section, lovely, get this finished

aaah fu*k.....

the rust had actually started from the inside wheel arch
skin and spread
to the outer panel as they run quite close together......

so, all together now.... cut

fabricate.... (like that word?, sounds real fancy for beating

the shit out
of a piece of steel till it roughly resembles the bit you
hacked off)

fab and weld inner skin (it's now "fab" instead of fabricate,
with the
amount of bloody rust popin up on this thing i'm going to
be typing that
word alot).....

not getting to carried away cleaning the welds flush on this

one, it's
behind the bumper and behind the bumper bracket.....

if someone sees it, it should mean i've just run over them,
in which case
they're unlikely to tell anybody about it.
right enough of that micky mouse crap, time to start
hackin the arch off.
With the paint stripped off you could see how far the rust
had spread up....

and although the main face of the arch hadn't holed

through with the rust,
the lip inside when bent back down from the

rolling job, looked to be totally shot to bits.....

reckoned that since the outside skin was this bad most
probably the inner
skin would be shite too and both would probably need
cutting back. I then
realised with both bits going to be cut away I was going to
need a template
of some sort to help form the new arch metal in to the
same shape. So
before cutting anything I bent up and cut a bit of mdf to
act as a guide....

with that done it was time to mark up what had to go.....

and then chop it out to reveal a pleasant suprise....

the inner skin was untouched by the brown pox, even the
lip cleaned up
with a slight wire brush, marvelous, see that, if this was an
Italian car the
bloody axle probably would have fell out on that last cut.
These Germans
know what their at.
anywho, now that you could see what need to be replaced
we could get on

with making up the replacement piece.

Draw up a piece from the bit that was cut off....

leaving 10mm above the piece to tuck in behind the

original skin, and
20mm below the piece to roll under for the arch lip....

we picked up this tool a few years ago and it's fairly handy
for pieces
like this, think it's called a "joggler", probably wrong
though, don't blame
me if they start laughing at ya when you ask for one down

the tool shop.....

and when you look at it up close you can see the teeth
which bends the
metal are shaped to bend it so the new piece runs up
behind the
original piece.....

like so.....

next was to cut a few slits in it to allow the 90 degree bend

for the lip on
the bottom of the arch....

and after studying the other arch you could see that the
bend wasn't a
sharp 90degree but a little curved, so we made a little
dolly piece to
bend the metal over....

02:34 PM


and then bent it piece by piece......


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

which left it looking like this....

the last thing to do was drill a few holes in the lip so it

could be plug
welded to the inner arch lip....

and then start the long process of weldin it in, bit by bit.....

spot by spot, till it's one continuous line of weld.....

and when it's finished grind the welds down smooth....

and weld the two lips together and all the little slits....

it's not 100% perfect, up close you can see where metals
been added in,
nothing a light skim of filler won't hide though, isopon, the
life blood of
many a bodger.
with that done there was just a little piece at the back of
the arch which
was left....

time to move inside the wheel arch then, on the whole the
main metal work
looked ok in there, but anywhere there was a bracket or
sticking out had caught the pox, such as this little lad
which supports
the plastic wheel arch liner....

when viewed from the inside it had actually holed through

the panel....

so off with the bracket and cut.....

copy and paste....

bracket it's self wasn't to bad and cleaned up grand to go

back on again...

next up was the little cover that runs over the fuel tank
breather pipes
in the arch and if the other parts of the shell had caught
the pox this bit had
contracted the plague. Heres what it should look like.....

and here's what's left intact of the old one once removed,
the differences
are quite subtle at first glance, but those with a keen eye
should be able
to tell the two apart....

unfortunately while the cover was an easy swap, the bit's

the cover rested
against and had got infected took a little more effort.....

had hoped this next bit would be available from the dealer
as a replacement

but after checking with realoem and then the dealer it

appears that the
shock tower pictured only comes with the whole inner
wheel arch liner.
So she'll get the cut and paste job to.

02:37 PM


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203


Been a while since the last update, reason being we've had some
engine woe's, a bit hard to understand when your cars just a
bare shell,
but alas it was not the M3 engine that was the cause for grief.
Instead it
was the turn of the 325 I bought to get me around while the M
was off
the road that decided it was time she had some attention too.
For a while now I've been the proud owner of an environmentally
friendly "biofuel" 325. She run's on both petrol and water, but
she started to use more water than petrol there was no avoiding
it any
longer. Work had to pause on the M to sort the head gasket on
the 325.

Thankfully the few gaskets needed for the 325 didn't amount to
much and
the job was a quick one, however the other half of Xworks
didn't quite fair out quite so lucky when his engine decided to let
go at the
same time. It took a lot more funds and effort to get this kitten

with the engine woe's out of the way we were able to return to
BM again and something we've been meaning to get around to
for a few
years now. All the shells we've worked on in the past we've
rolled over on to some old tires to gain access to underneath,
and while
this has worked ok, it's not very elegant and an ability to hold a
shell at
a different angle while working on it can be very helpful. So,
some box,
angle, tube, channel and a pair of housed bearings led to the
of this....

the spit is designed for the weight of a bare shell and it can be
rotated with one hand. Both front and back stands are identical,
the locking mechanism welded to the rear stand to hold the shell
at the desired angle. We used an automatic driveplate as it had a
of holes allready in it and saved us having to make up and dill a

the uprights of the spit were made just tall enough to rotate the
shell 90 degrees as seen below....

it has worked out very handy and both of us agreed we should

made one years ago, especially when the metal and bearings
needed to
make it only costed around 140.

one slight modification we made to it when up and running was

addition of 2 outriggers front and back. As we found the shell had
irritating habit of rocking ever so slightly back and forward when
were sanding or wire brushing along the axis of the spit. The
cured this.

if anyone tuned in decides they're going to build one for

in the future I've drawn up a few measurements in the link below
may help.[/color]
[color=white] with the spit finished it was back to the shell and
where we left off
last post. The passenger side rear shock tower. As mentioned

the shock tower isn't available as a separate piece, only as a part

of the
whole wheel arch inner skin. So after a cut and paste this was
the end

the only thing left to finish in this arch was a small bracket at the
of it, which was fairly well gone.....

thankfully with the bracket removed it hadn't done much damage


the arch skin....

the bracket however was kaput....

so make a new bracket.....

and repair the arch skin before rewelding the bracket left it
fine again....

After this it was on to the arch the other side, starting again with
the shock tower. This time the actual tower itself was fine, but
the arch skin right behind it had let go.....

2 choices, either crawl into the boot and cut and repair the skin
in there, or, cut a piece of the shock tower out of the way to do
the repair
from the outside.....

innar skin repair piece.....


shock tower piece remade and rewelded.....

cleaned up and a lick of primer......

After that it was on to the arch itself. Thankfully it wasn't as bad

the far side when cleaned up.....

two small sections needed replacing......

then on to the lip itself. Again the outer lip once unrolled was
wasted but the innar lip was fine once wire brushed.......

so new lip made up and clamped in ready for welding.......

02:38 PM


next up, further down the arch where the side skirt sits
When wire brushed up it looked ropey......


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

So off it came to reveal the source of the problem, the

innar skin

so off it came too.....

inner piece made first......

and then the outer piece.......

next up one of the holes on the sill where the side skirt
go through was looking the worse for ware......

before cutting it out time was taken to make a template of

holes position. The last thing you want to have to do when
a freshly painted car is to have to file or redrill new holes
in the nice
paintwork. So a few bits of tape as markers and a bit of
cardboard with
the holes position marked on it......

with the piece cut out it now became a bit awkward to

offer up and

trim the new piece as there is no access to the inside of

the sill. A nail
came to the rescue.....

and then offer up the template back into position to get

the exact
position of the hole.....

next a few more brackets on the outside of the spare

wheel well
needed replacing.....

after which a few brackets were removed from the engine

bay that
won't be needed down the line......

and finally a modification which probably won't be to

tastes. When I bought the car it had a nice set of rear
speakers sitting
on the rear parcel shelf, but, the sound was poor because
of no real
box to enclose them in the parcel shelf.

So...... (lovers of originality look away now!)

and thats about it for now, thankfully the end of the rust
repair is
near, which means it's nearly time for a 500mile round trip
to give the
shell a bath at the premises of SPL.....

02:40 PM


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

Not a huge update tonight as the car's been away for most of the
time since the last post, however it is back now and it's 101% rust free!
But before we get to that I'll start where I finished off last update,
there was a few small rust repairs to finish before departure....
the rear tail light panel seems to be a week point on e30's for rust
and since mine had all the other common rust points present it
came as no surprise that I had the full matching set...
drivers side tail light section revealed...

magnified for those who frequent to many porn sites...

and some more underneath just to complicate things...

chop, measure, template, offer up, curse, bin, measure again, offer up...

magic wand...

arc eye...

grinder spark burns...

and on to underneath...

and then on to the passenger side...

and underneath of coarse...

and for whats hopefully the final time on this shell,



and paste...

and clean...

and underneath...

end of patches...

although now we had to remove every grommet and plug from the
shell in preparation for dipping...

After this was done we loaded up the shell on the trailer and headed for
the boat, 9 hours later we were at the front doors of SPL in Dudley
Birmingham, where we left the shell and returned home. Well I say home,
but that wasn't untill after some twat overturned a concrete truck on the
A55 and forced us to wait 8 hours in Hollyhead for the next boat.
Beautiful place Hollyhead, loads to do. Moving on.

4 weeks later came the call from SPL to say the shell was ready for
collection. We rigged up van and trailer and headed off again like two
little kiddies off to visit father christmas. Below is the pictures of what
we brought home. The first 2 pictures are not of my shell, but a member
of another forum's car who has kindly let me use them to show what
the car looks like mid process, after stripping but before primer dipping...

and then the finished article, one 100% rust free shell and panels...

Have to say I'm well happy with the outcome. The dipping process is
very good in so far as it reaches every little nook and cranny, no matter
what box section or bracket you look in or under it's clean and coated.
However there is some small downsides, this is underneath all an
industrial process and despite our best efforts to build a jig to keep the
shell safe while being moved around while in SPL's care there are some
"new" dents in the shell. They are few and small but unfortunately one
of them is smack bang in the middle of the new roof skin...

frustrating, but thats life I guess.

Since the shell's been home I've not had a chance to do much, but first
on the list was to give the underneath a very light sanding with 320grit
sandpaper to key the surface in preparation fro schultz and painting...

that last sentence took 10 seconds to write, the sanding took 2 days, it'll
be a while yet before this thing is getting speeding fines.

02:42 PM


Sorry for the delay in updates but unfortunately we had a

tough decision
to make. With the current recession and global economic
downturn we had to do some long hard thinking and in the
end both
came to the same regrettable decision...
It's too f**kin cold to be working out in the garage during


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

Alas by mid January the temperature was picking up and

snow had melted away. Before I go any further I'd like to
that it wasn't to cold for us in the garage, we were
concerned that
the low temperatures would play havoc with the paints and
going on the car next and afraid that the metalwork
underneath might
be damp and the underbody shultz going on might trap
dampness in to the shell. Thats our story and we're
sticking with it.
So back to the work, first things first, heat...

and then back to where we left off last time, the

underneath of
the shell was sanded and ready for a good coat of primer.
We have used this primer in the past and have found it
good. Its
Upol P88 and can either be hand painted or thinned out
and sprayed.
For under the car we went with a good heavy hand painted

after this it was time for seam sealer. We used two types
of sealer for this,
I had 3 quarters of a can of Upol sealer left over from
another job which
was still good to go and also bought another 2 cans of 3m
to finish the job off....

in the second picture above you can see the special brush
that seam sealer
comes with to reproduce factory finish effect. I don't like
using that brush
so instead you can see in the 1st pic the brush I prefer to
use. It's a normal
half inch brush with about 1cm cut off the end of the
On the application itself basically you apply the sealer to
any panel gap on the
underside of the car where water can creep in
to where you don't want it....

as well as any brackets on the underside of the car,

although water
getting in to the car isn't a concern here what does happen
is water seeps in between the bracket and the floorpan of
the car and stays there
slowly but surely rotting the surrounding metalwork....

with the underneath done it was time to move on and do

the inside,
the boot and the engine bay.....

on the whole the seam sealer was fairly straight forward to

put on,
if a little time consuming, there was however one b**tard
an area to get to, the compartment underneath the front
scuttle panel....

I'm pretty sure I got more on me than in there.

The next area that needed sealing was along the roof
gutters and
rear windscreen clip. This will be visible under the final
spray job
so it needs to be a little neater...

so we use this stuff, same principle, it's a seam sealer but

instead of brush on
it's in a tube and can be squirted a little neater....

it can be put on using a normal silicone gun but with the

still a little low the stuff is fairly stubborn in the tube so we
used an air gun to apply it.....

next job after that was to rebond the roof. When the shell
was dipped
all sealer and bonder was disolved so it didn't make much
sense to bond
the roof before dipping, so we done it now....

With all that done we could move on to Shultzing the

underneath of the shell.
Before this started we "masked" off the section off the
garage the car was in.
This was not so much to stop the Shultz getting on
everything, it's a reasonably

tidy application, but instead to stop the dust from the

sanding which was
coming next from getting everywhere. The car itself was
masked of for

and as you may have noticed from some of the earlier pic's
the little threaded nuts and brackets where you don't want
stone gaurd to get were masked up.
For the underseal itself we decided to go with the 3m gear
thanks to some advice from a member on here RJB6
(thanks Roy).
The stuff comes in foil packets and cost 18euro a pack....

The other thing needed was the special gun used to apply
the stuff, it cost 60 euro....

the gun is a little on the expensive side compared to other

products guns
but the one upside, unlike others, is that the sealer doesn't
run through
this style of gun so you don't have to clean it out after or
worry about it clogging up.
The air pressure comes out of the gun and siphons the gue
up out of the packet and splatters it on to the shell....

Having not used this stuff before I made some

"complicated calculations" on how much
exactly I would need to do the whole underside and came
to the conclusion
that 6 packs would be sufficient.....

and the result....

yeah, 6 packs covered one third of the underneath, f**kin

so back to the motorfactors again.
12 packs later....

the finish is sweet, looks more or less identical to the

factory stuff....

02:44 PM


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

With the underside sealed it was time to move on to preping the

bodywork for paint. Before I type any more I'd like to take
a second to point out, I'm not nor ever have I been a panel beater/
spray painter. The reason I say that is the following is how I've
chosen to prep my car for paint, it might turn out nice, it might
turn out horrifically crap, but if you've never made a balls of
something then odds are, you'll never make anything at all.
Moral of the story is if it comes up nice after paint then exellent,
I must have done something right, if it goes t*ts up, then at least
you'll have a detailed guide of what not to do!
First up was to refit the front wings, these will be sprayed on the
car. Thought this would be a 5 minute job until we realised that to
fit the wings on straight we'd also have to fit both doors, the
bonnet, front grill bar and the front bumper. Once happy with all
the panel gaps everything was removed again and the wings
screwed down tight....

the keen eye'd amongst you might have noticed from earlier
pic's that we've eventually decided upon the final color. The
rear of both wings and the parts of the chassis legs covered by
the wings were hand painted Jet black before fitment....

also we ran a little bead of sealer along the top of the chassis
leg where the wing bolts down on to, it stops any stray water
sprayed up from the wheels creeping into the engine bay.
after that we masked off the interior and boot of the car. It's
not 100% tight like you might do if you were about to spray but
it's just to stop the majority of the sanding dust finding it's way

into every nook and cranny inside....

this is some of the stuff we'll be using over the next while.
First up is filler, some decent spreaders and a perspex mixing
board. It appears there's different types of fillers, some easier
to use (apply/sand) than other. I don't know enough to say
which are good and which are not, if your going to use some
your local paint suppliers should be able to advice. If they say
they're all the same please pm me and I'll return to my supplier
and beat a refund from him. The metal spreaders in the pic are
handy as I find them a lot easier to keep clean over the plastic
ones. And the bit of clear perspex is handy as a mixing board

as you can see any dirt on it rather than finding it as a dirty big
plough mark down the middle of that nice smooth run of filler
you just applied.....

next up are sanding blocks. Bought these a while back and love
them. As you can see there's 3 different sizes....

basically they're just block's of rubber with a sheet of spring steel

bonded on to one side.....

the steel can flex but should always remains consistent against the
panel your sanding. How much it flexes/curves can be controlled by
inserting 1 to 3 of the little steel rods into the rubber block....

the sandpaper for them comes in rolls and the back peals off
so it can stick to the steel....

next up is an aerosol of paint called guide coat. Its a little different

from normal paint in that it's very thin, as in thinned out a lot.
This gives it 2 advantages, it dries out instantly on contact with
the panel and it gives a very light coating which can be
sanded off with a light rub....

and last thing is a decent can of grey primer. Like most people
I've used loads of cans of primer over the years and recently
made a discovery. Cheap motor factor cans of primer is cheap
for a reason, they splutter out the paint and take loads of coats
to get a decent covering. Whereas a decent aerosol from a paint
suppliers, sprays out in a nice mist and gives a much better

covering. If you get a chance try one....

Before the body prep starts I'll just take a second to explain
why the choice of final colour took so long. We've decided to
spray the car Jet black and as I've found out a cars bodywork
really needs to be super flat to show off black paint. I struggled
to get my head around this first till it was explained to me.
Lighter colour cars don't throw up the same level of reflections
that a dark colour car does. That is to say a dent will be easily
spotted in any colour car if it's clean but if going for a mirror
type finish then a dark colour will make the imperfection much
easier to see. Heres a few pictures of some Subaru's i found on the
net, which hopefully show how much more reflections black
throws up......

and then a white one....

both cars are spotless, but you can see how a black one will
show everything underneath whereas the white can hide a little.
So, no pressure then.
The next sequence of pictures are taken a little out of sink, just
to show what we're going to do to the whole car.
This is a flat piece of bodywork at the base of the rear windscreen.
It has never been damaged or dented from what I can tell so it's
as it left the factory....

first up is to give it a light sprinkling of guide coat....

then some 120 grit sand paper on the block....

after a light sanding this is how flat it is....

now that we know the section can be gotten a little flatter, it's
preped for filler. I learnt this next lesson the hard way years ago.
Filler sticks to a panel by gripping the surface, if the surface is
silky smooth it don't grip that well, so, a light sanding all over
with 80 grit gives it something to grip to...

next up a little filler and some hardener, well a lot of hardner

actually, it's still f**king freezing out here and the filler is
taking for ever to go off. It took me quite a while to learn how much
hardner to put in the fillers and I guess it just takes practice to
get the amounts right. Rough guide though is if your wrist breaks
while mixing it on the board ease up a little. If you can still draw
happy faces in it on the car 3 days later might be time to try a little
And before anyone has a heart attack
not all this filler is for that tiny panel, most is going elsewhere.
The car needs to fit out the garage doors when finished....

some more guide coat....

and then sand most of it back off again....

sanding is stopped when the highest parts of the metal just start to
show through. As you can see theres still a few patches of guide
coat, so another little bit required. However this time its only a
slight smear of filler required so we thin out the filler a little to
make it easier to apply thin. This is done by using some of this.....

it's fiberglass resin, the stuff you use on the tissue type fiberglass.
A little of this is mixed with the filler before adding
the hardener.....

and then when the whole lot is slopped together the end result
is a mix which is runnier and easier to put on in thin

more guide coat....

more sanding and volla, a perfectly flat panel....

which reflects light straight....

02:45 PM



next up is the most challenging panel on the car the rear

which was previously straightened and repaired and had a

section joined in it years ago.

On first glance it looks nice and straight doesn't it.....

Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

a little closer reveals the joint of the rear section. The stuff
can see either side is lead or solder which is what they
years ago to fill joints which has melted and ran out after
shell was baked after being primer dipped. We knew this
happen but decided to deal with it now rather than trying
to tease it
out before the shell went for dipping.....

The dark stains that show in the pictures are not rust
by the way it's where some of the primer ran down the
after the dipping.
First up was to sand away the solder residue.....

then coat the whole panel in guide coat....

then very lightly rub it down with the sanding block and
240grit paper.....

weren't expecting that were you! The camera makes it

look much
worse than it actually is, I tried to take the pic from
angles to show a true reflection but they all come out like
If you run your hand across the panel you can feel slight
and falls but the picture makes it look like you might loose
finger or two. The panel was obviously dollyed out back
the original repair was done and what you see is as flat as
was got with a hammer and dolly.
So now that we know theres no awkward high spots that
further flattening the whole panel is roughed up for filler....

a light coat is applied to the whole panel....

and some guide coat....

first block sand reveals some small spots that need a

second coat....

you can see from the remaining guide coat where the
section of
quarter panel was added, that the joint was left low so it
be hidden with filler....

so a lighter second coat.....

some more guide coat.....

and after the final sanding.....

the panel is then given a light coat of primer to protect the

metal form any dampness that might seep in before the

for any of you who may be concerned that the car will
stiffer springs to carry the extra weight of filler when its
finished, then rest assured, this is the "least straight"
panel on
the car requiring the most amount of filler. The total
amount of filler
left on the panel after sanding would be equal to about the
size of
a tennis ball. And the rest, well, it's just dust....

02:47 PM


And finally,
Just before I leave the rear quarter panel theres another
little thing that can help sometimes. The joint on the
panel runs from top to bottom and as mentioned the whole
join was left slightly low so as to be covered be fillers. The
part I found trickiest to fill and sand was the crease line's
the wing. With a couple of coats of guide coat and a few
layers of filler of slightly differing colours depending on the
of red hardner that was used, it can become visually hard
to tell
if you've gotten the crease lines straight....


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

so when I thought I was close I gave it a light coat of

primer on it
and the surrounding area and while it is still wet you can
down along the panel and try and catch the light reflecting
on it
and check to see if your lines are straight....

not rocket science I suppose but it all helps.

After that it was on to the front wings. The drivers side
The wings looked reasonably clean and straight with only
or two small dents, but when you ran your hands along
you could feel very slight little dips. So....

this was the only one I could actually see before


now I can't say for sure but I'm fairly certain that that last
would be the only one that that would have showed up if I
hand sanding this instead of block sanding it. Will the final
be any the better for filling all these imperfections? Time
tell, but I've gotta believe it will otherwise it's an awful lot

sanding for nowt. 8O
next up a little sanding to everywhere gettin filled....

and apply a very thin skim of filler.....

followed by guide coat....

and then softly rub most of it back off again till theres no
guide coat left....

when done and you run you hand back over the panel it
feels smoother, but that could be because I've worn away
of my fingers with all the sanding.
There are some areas of the panelwork that are too small
to use
the sanding blocks on such as this bit at the bottom of the
wings, it's got a sharp curve to it and no matter how
flexible the
sanding block is, it's just to big to use....

so for these areas I use these these....

they're small sanding pads, which are used with normal

of wet/dry sand paper....

the black side is soft sponge like, where as the red side is
rubber like....

I use the red harder side to shape the filler first....

and then when it feels reasonably flat, use the black

sponge side
to fade the filler in to the surroundings....

02:48 PM


As mentioned earlier theres been a little bit of a gap since

the last update,
reason being the budget had started to run low for this
project so I
decided I would win the national lottery, for some reason I
can't yet
fathom I haven't been contacted by the Lottery people to
how much I'd like to win. Still I'm sure it's only a matter of
The next plan to rob a bank has come to no end as it
would appear
the banks have even less money than I do, bad timing, I
So after a month working the spanners for other people I
now return to my own project. Where more sanding
With the exterior of the shell wrapped up last time it was
now on
to the individual panels. First up, the doors....


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

looks nice and flat doesn't it, and in fairness it actually felt
flat aswell, but we all know a car doesn't make to through
20 years
without getting the few odd belts of the supermarket
trolley, so, a
coat of guide coat....

and some 320 grit on the sanding block....

and volla, instant dents, I can also make rabbits appear

from hats
but they too would probably be dented or missing an ear
or something...

dents weren't actually too bad, these group of 3 below the

crease line
being the most noticeable...

while those above the line couldn't really be called dents,

more depressions
really, what you might get as a result of a fat kamikaze
bumble bee ...

so a little filler to all and let it dry while moving on to the

next door....

which also looked pretty smooth....

apart from 2 quite obvious high spots at the base of the

door skin...

a little hard to see in the picture I know, but you could feel
fairly obvious when you rub your hand over the panel, and
guide coating and sanding the panel down you can see
where the
high spots has rubbed through to the bare metal....

the high spots would need to be taken down level with the
rest of the
skin and to do this we break out a hammer and dolly...

place the dolly under the high spot....

and then beat the sh*t out of the raised section, well
actually no,
if your like me you have to use all your self restraint and
ever so
gently tap the metal down....

when done another little coat of guide coat just to confirm

that the
raised spots have gone down enough....

and thankfully they have....

a talented panel beater could get that section flat enough

that no filler
would be needed and someday I hope to be able to.....
hire one to
do it for me.
So, all the dents identified....

shovel on the filler...

sand most of it back off again and take a little step closer
insanity in the process...

when that was done, flip the door over and sand every
inch to
complete the task of going insane...

with the doors done it was on to the bootlid, as you can
see it's
still in the original colour because M3 bootlids are made
from GRP
and dipping it in a vat of acid would have resulted in an

pool of gue. So, a quick lick of 320 to break the lacquer...

and then a guide coat, white guide coat this time as the
mensa members
among you will have guessed black guide coat on a black
would be as useful an under water hairdryer....

had to take a minute to admire the quality of the panel

when sanded,
no filler needed in a 20 year old fibreglass moulded panel.

pretty neat...

then as you may have noticed from the picture above it

was on to the
after market spoiler i'd bought to replace the original. It's
a fiberglass
replica of the sport evolution item with the adjustable flap.
I had
considered buying the genuine item from BMW right up till
I phoned them
for the price, after the cardiopulmonary resuscitation I
started searching

for a cheaper alternative. The item was sold as a race

quality part and having
done some work on fiberglass parts before I knew it would
take some work to get totally flat, but given the price
difference it was
worth the extra effort.
First up some guide coat to the main flap....

well maybe quite a bit of work....

was a bit awkward to hold the spoiler for sanding so ended

up bolting
it to the bootlid backwards and forwards to get at it all. It
needed some filler here....

and here...

and here....

tiny bit here....


and here...

and there....

like I said just a little bit of extra effort and a weeks


next up was the flap that bolts on to the wing using these
bolt holes

the fibreglass spoiler did come with a fibreglass flap as

seen in
the pic below, but, I'd also bough a carbon fibre flap to
this with.....

only snag being that while the fibre glass flap was
predrilled with
the correct spacing holes....

the carbon fibre one wasn't drilled at all....

so how to transfer the holes to the new flap and get them
in the
right place without making a balls of it? Sheet of paper the
of the flap taped to the spoiler, punch the holes in it and...

place a few bits of double sided tape on top of the paper...

place the new flap down on top of the spoiler and hope the
sticks to the new spoiler showing you where to drill the
I know, I can't believe it worked either...

tape up the marks for drilling....

and bolt it up with the new bolts....

to be honest the new bolts that came with the carbon flap
were handy,
instead of needing the flap to be drilled precisely for the
heads, these came with a nice little cupped washer which
meant you
could elongate the holes underneath to get everything
lined up right....

02:50 PM


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203


with the rear end panels done it was time to move closer
to the front.
And first up was the front bumper. I wasn't looking
forward to this as
I had a feeling there was going to be a good deal of effort
(read ballache)
involved in getting the bumper fit for paint. The problem
was that the
front bumper was originally off a red car and had been
diamond swartz when fitted to this car, that in itself is not
usually a
problem if done right, however, this bumper looks as if it
fully preped before the black was put on....

the bumper had the usual stone chips you'd expect from a
car of
it's age, but in the corners and along the crease lines you
could see
where the black paint was lifting to reveal the red
underneath because
the bumper wasn't fully sanded before painting.

So, a choice had to be made. It wasn't possible to know

where the
black was stuck well and where it wasn't, meaning that if I
chose just
to give everything a quick sanding over and sprayed on
top of this,
then even if my paint job stuck well the paint underneath
could still lift
down the line and end up looking crap again. I thought
about it for a
while and decided if that happened after this much effort
there was a
good chance I'd set fire to the car, so, no other option
all the black had to come off.

but as with most other things I tend to do, it wasn't that

simple. The
red underneath was the original factory red and was really
well stuck
on, so I wanted to leave as much of that as possible on, as
my paint
job stands a better job of sticking to it as opposed to a
bare plastic
bumper. Yeah, I know, I could probably make boiling an
egg into
a four hour mammoth task.
80 grit paper and elbow set to full power....

only block sanded the top part as it's really the only large
flat surface on
the bumper, hand sanded the rest. Block showed up a dent
right in the
middle of the bumper, should've hand sanded it too....

bit more of the pealing paint in the indicator recesses.....

these channels were a pig to get into....

no need to totally do the bottom couple of inches as there

will be a
spoiler covering it.....




f*cking ga ga....

finished, well actually no, while the 80 grit is good at

getting the paint
off it's to coarse a finish to paint over and you'll see the
scratches through the paint, so, a complete coat of guide

and then do it all again with 180 grit untill you see the
fade away....

next up was the evo two chin spoiler, which was also multi
red and black, unfortunately she'd experienced some
heavy landings
during her time and all the layers of paint had cracked
quite badly,
so she got sanded back to the bone...

bolt it all together for the next part....

which was to size up the next carbon addition. This part

was actually
fitted to the sport evolution and wasn't fitted along with
the chin spoiler
above. But I've decided to fit both, not technically correct I
but if you don't tell anyone and I don't, then maybe they
won't notice,
it can be our little secret. (yep, sanding is starting to get to

sat it up against the chin spoiler and decided on how much

I wanted it
to stick out....

then traced a line on the chin spoiler....

removed it....

and removed the chin spoiler before clamping the carbon

piece to it
again to check all is still square....

then take out the drill and mow a few holes through the
pair of them....

the plan was to sink a few threaded rivets into the chin
spoiler so the
the carbon piece could be easily bolted on and off in the
event of
it breaking down the line during a hard re-entry....

but the rivets were going to sit a little proud of the surface
and as such
not let the carbon splitter mount up flush...

so recessed the hole a little while preying the drill didn't

slip all
the way through and render the hole useless....

whip out the rivet nut squeezers (i'm fairly sure thats not
it's proper name)...

screw on a rivet nut....

cut out a little aluminium reinforcing place...

pop the rivet through the spoiler and plate....

and give it a wee squeeze....

which leaves a nice tight secure nut...

which is flush with the bottom of the spoiler....

8 of them in total....

02:51 PM


then on to the splitter. It's made up of two skins which are

hollow in between.
I didn't want to use a large headed bolt to tighten it and
end up squeezeing
the two skins together, which would probably cause it to
crack over time,
so, two little holes either side of the main one on just the
bottom surface....


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

ream all 3 of them into one...

and cut up a little reinforcing plate...

slip it in to hole (large hammer kept nicely out of


bolt the plate down tight to straighten it out once in


remove bolt, tape up top side of hole....

and pour in some resin to keep everything from moving


when the resin dries, redrill the hole, insert the bolts and
bolt it
all up, which leaves it looking like so....

after that was done it was on to sanding all the little bits
and bobs....

and then, finally, just one panel left to finish the prep
The bonnet...

this had been dipped along with the shell and because of
the bonder that bonds the skeleton to the bonnet skin was
since dissolved which left the bonnet feeling fairly flexible
and weak'
You could feel some new dents on the surface courtesy of
the most noticeable of which was this one....

Still, how bad could they be, few hours and all this would
be finished....

It looked like the whole bloody circus had just marched

over it!
I couldn't fill all them dents, the front tyres would burst
under the
weight of the filler.
dial tone,
"hello, that BMW?, can I have the parts department
"hello parts, can you give me a price for an e30 bonnet

"no you must have misheard me I only need the price for
one please"
. dial tone
one secondhand bonnet later...

nice and clean, no rust, very little stone chipping, and

most importantly
no evidence of previous circus marching....

quick block sand with 320 grit revealed only some small

and some nudge marks across the front from some over
closing of the bonnet....

an hour had them filled and sanded....

and then on to underneath. As this bonnet was from a 325

it had
the sound proofing glued on as opposed to the m3's
clipped on mat.
A steam cleaning took care of the heavy sound proofing
but this
still left the glue residue...

an hour with thinners and a scotch pad got the bonnet

clean and
me stoned from the fumes....

which was convenient as it helped block out the pain from

to sand every inch of the underneath....

after that, a quick sand of the boot, interior and the engine
Spent a little more time in the engine bay getting all the
seam sealer
sanded smooth, I don't like the factory finish brush marks

and then finally it was time to get ready for some primer.
Only problem was the garage was an inch thick in dust and
someone had filled it with various crap over the last 12

a quick wipe of a rag later....

and the expert installation of the "Spray booth 3000"

complete with NASA spec airlock....

car was put back on wheeled dolly during cleaning and

wheeled outside to have the dust blown out of all the
cracks and
crevices (neighbours really love me now, and I even
offered to
do their washing again for them, no pleasing some
With the place now clean and the car back in we could
start taping up
the shell....

the first coating of filler primer is only going on the large

surfaces, so everything else gets taped up......

02:53 PM


managed to get a small bit done again since the last post,
so, roll a fat one or crack open a beer cause here comes
the boring details.


Join Date:
Aug 2009
Posts: 203

As it finished up in the last post the car was taped up and

ready for
filler primer. As you may have noticed from the previous
pic's only
the large surface area's were getting a coating of the filler
and the reason for that is as follows. From my limited
of bodywork there's 3 main types of filler or to put it
another way
3 different layers of crap you can plaster on the outside of
your car
in an attempt to get it as smooth as possible. Taking them
in order of
thickness they are, first, isopon, filler, bondo, call it what
you will, it's
the stuff you've seen me shovel on to the car already.
Then there's stoppers
which we'll get to in a while and finally theres filler primer,
which we're
about to spray on now.
Filler primer is much the same as normal primer it's just

applied alot
heavier to build up a thicker coat. The reason for using
filler primer?
Although the fillers was block sanded down smooth the
shell is still not
smooth enough for the top coat yet, the spraying and
sanding of the filler
primer will get it the last step. Plus, unlike metal, filler is
porous and
will absorb some paint, if the shell was just given a quick
coat of primer
and then top coat the paints can sometimes sink down on
the filler spots
leaving your beautiful pride and joy looking like it was
by a blind man with aerosol cans in a force 9 hurricane.
(may be a slight exaggeration).
And this is how it went,
after the car is taped up all the panels are given a quick
rub down
with this stuff. It's called panel wipe or pre-cleaner and is a
weak version
of standard thinners. It should clean off any crap that
could react with
the paint going on...

with the car now clean and ready to go theres one small
job to do before
painting and thats set up somewhere to clean the gun and
mixing pots
after your finished. The items used are, 1 gallon can of

standard thinners
to clean with, tools for dismantling the gun, some rags, a
scotch pad
and an empty can for the dirty thinners. The professional
work bench
pictured below should be available from your local snap-on

the reason for setting up the cleaning area before hand is,
from past
experience, once you are finished spraying, the paint in
and on the various
tools you've used tends to dry and harden quite quickly.
Should you
wish to take a more laid back approach to cleaning up
afterwards then
these are the only tools you will require....

then back in to the "spray booth" itself. While spraying in a

space the paint fumes and overspray will start to build up
and the need
will arise to extract these somehow. This will require the
use of a highly
expensive, state of the art, high volume air extraction and
filtration unit.
Unfortunately on the day I visited the local hardware store
to purchase
this they had just sold out, so, instead I've ended up with
a 6 inch
fan which would struggle to suck a fart from a fly's arse.
This coupled to
the length of flexible hosing you see below would be our
state of the art
extraction system....

on a clear starry night, if you look just right at the correct

angle, you
can just about make out the little hole in the ozone above
my house.
Once suited, booted and masked up the last preparation
before mixing
the paint can be done and it's the application of this

you've no idea where i'm going with this one have you? Let
me explain.
A long while ago after spraying the interior on an orange
rally car I became
acutely aware that the piece of your face not covered by
the gas mask can become
covered in a light coating of the paint your using as it
blows back off the area your
spraying. When that colour is orange and you spend the
next several days looking
like an Umpa-lumpa from Willy wonka's chocolate factory it
focuses the mind on
finding a solution. Hence, the Vaseline, spread a little on
exposed face to avoid this....

the compressor is placed outside so the noise of it doesn't

drive you insane...

and the shell is given a final wipe over with a "tac rag".
(Lint free rag
with some sticky gue coated on them so all the tiny dust
crap sticks
to it rather than your car)...

Then on to the paint itself, I know nothing about paint, but

as this is
the internet and 50% of what you read on it is lies and the
other 50%
bullshit, I will attempt to maintain the high standard.
The stuff below is what makes up 2 pack paint, on the left
4 litres
of filler primer, in the middle 5 litres of 2 pack thinners
(which is
different to standard thinners) and on the right 1 litre of 2

which shall be mixed in to this old paint pot....

with the aid of this....

it's a paint stick. Basically a graduated ruler which lets

you mix 4 parts of this with 1 part of that without
having to guess...

one side is for top coat which is usually 2 parts colour to

1 part hardner with 10% thinners.
And the other side is for primer's as most primers are
4 parts primers to 1 part hardner and up to 1 part thinners
depending on how thick/thin you want it, like so.....


and then thinners, by which stage you should have messed

enough all
over your hands to make using a camera impossible.
When stirred up and mixed well, it's poured in to the spray

through these paper filters to catch any little crap that'll

clog the gun...

then hook it up to the air line and spray like the clappers.
It can be
helpful to have an old panel in the booth so you can
practice the
technique of getting runs in your paint so that you have it
when you turn your attention to the shell...

the results of which came out looking like this....

after spending the guts of a year working on a mutli

coloured shell it's
actually nice to see it all one colour again, even if it is

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