Driver-side Quarter Panel Replacement

Part 2 of 3

Welcome to part 2. We'll take a break from the replacement quarter panel and work on the car for while. But before removing anything, I added bracing wherever I thought it would help. I didn't want anything to move while I removed the old panel and installed the new one.

Once again, there are lots of spot welds to drill and I think I'm starting to get these things figured out. I'll describe my process again here. I've ditched the fancy spot weld cutters and bits for some fresh 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch drill bits. I start by drilling a pair of 1/8-inch pilot holes near the edge of the spot weld depression. Then I switch over to the 1/4-inch bit and remove just enough material to separate the two layers with a chisel. I've found that the work goes much faster, and I do a lot less damage to the metal I want to keep. Your mileage may vary, but I really like this approach. After drilling all of the spot welds, I made cuts in the B and C-pillars, the trunk hinge area, the tail panel, fender lip, and the door latch area. This made it easy to remove the old panel. Later, once the main part of the old panel was off, I went back and removed any remaining metal.

driver quarter 01

After drilling out all the spot welds, I made some cuts in the B-pillar.

driver quarter 02

Then the C-pillar. I left a lot of extra material so I could carefully match up the seam with the replacement panel.

driver quarter 03

Then the trunk hinge area. Extra material was removed later.

driver quarter 04

Moving back to the tail panel. The cut locations were chosen save some donor material to be used later to fill the bumper hole on the replacement panel. I won't be saving the tail panel.

driver quarter 05

Even though the tail panel will eventually go in the trash, I left it in place as a reference for the replacement quarter panel.

driver quarter 06

I cut just above the fender lip. The rest of the fender lip was removed later.

driver quarter 07

The trunk spring bracket was cut at the weld.

driver quarter 08

It's hard to see in this picture, but the body sealer (between the quarter panel and the inner fender) had to be cut. This spot is a nasty rust trap. If BMW had never applied sealer here, a lot more 2002s would still have solid rear fenders.

driver quarter 09

It's too hard to locate all of the spot welds where the quarter panel attaches to the inner door latch plate, so I opted for the easy way and just cut the quarter panel.

driver quarter 10

With some prying and a little more drilling, the old quarter panel popped off.

driver quarter 11

Now that I could see where the spot welds were, it was easy to remove the door latch section.

driver quarter 12

Ugh, here's what I found underneath.

Now that the quarter panel was off, I turned my attention to some C-pillar repairs. You can't see it in these pictures, but the inner C-pillar was badly rusted from a leaking vent window seal. I attempted a repair early on in the restoration, but it kinda sucked. So I'm gonna fix it right this time. If you've been following this project, you may be picking up on a theme; rotten window seals = rusty '02. Our local old-BMW parts wheeler-dealer, Richard, was cutting up a car and hooked me up with pretty solid chunk of Hoffmeister Kink that I'll be using for this repair. Thanks again Richard! What's a Hoffmeister Kink? It's the name for the part of the car where the C-pillar wraps around the rear vent window. The Hoffmeister Kink is a signature BMW design element and ranks right up there with the kidney grill. You can still see it on BMW's modern cars.

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Here's our donor Kink.

driver quarter 14

The donor was a bit rusty, but salvageable. The sandblaster cleaned things up quite well.

driver quarter 15

After trimming and fitting.

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You can never use too many clamps.

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The first round of tack welds.

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Welding the seam.

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Welding complete.

driver quarter 20

The vent window bracket was welded back in.

driver quarter 21

After carefully removing the outer fender lip. This is good example of how things rust from the inside out. When I bought the car, there were a few small holes and some rust bubbles. You wouldn't have thought it was this bad.

driver quarter 22

Before cutting the rusty fender lip out, I prepared the donor fender lip.

driver quarter 23

And cut it with the body saw.

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I then transferred the cut line to the car and cut.

driver quarter 22

Here it is after cutting. You can see two pieces of square tube that I tack welded to the spring perch in this picture. They will help locate the replacement fender lip in the correct position.

driver quarter 23

The donor lip was clamped into place after many evenings of measuring and grinding.

driver quarter 24

My daughter, Grace, shows off the repair after tack welding.

driver quarter 22

After the whole seam had been welded.

driver quarter 23

Making a mess with POR-15. I'm using an Eastwood undercoating gun to blast the black stuff up into the pillars.

driver quarter 24

Working the POR-15 into the nooks and crannies with an acid brush.

That concludes part 2. In part 3, the donor quarter panel will get cleaned up and everything gets put back together.

Part 1

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