Driver-side Quarter Panel Replacement

Part 3 of 3

Hey, we made it to part three! There's still some more repair and prep work to show you, but things start coming back together in this update.

driver quarter 01

I used the C-pillar brace from the donor quarter panel.

driver quarter 02

Now to transform a square-taillight quarter panel into one for a roundie. First, the bumper mount hole was filled.

driver quarter 03

Here's a view of the same patch from the inside. The patch came from the old quarter panel.

driver quarter 04

Filling the big-bumper trim holes that won't be needed on my car (arrows point to holes).

driver quarter 05

A view from the inside after welding.

driver quarter 06

Two square-taillight mounting holes had to be filled. I used some small pieces of 20-gauge sheetmetal to fill the hole...

driver quarter 07

And then welded them.

driver quarter 08

I used 3M 8463 Flexible Foam to seal the baffle that separates the passenger compartment from the trunk.

driver quarter 09

Here's the foam.

driver quarter 10

I moved the car outside and shot the inside of the quarter panel and the rear quarter of the car with PPG DP primer. Before priming I removed and/or roughed up any excess POR-15. POR-15 is so glossy that other paints, primers, and even POR-15, have trouble sticking to it once it has dried.

driver quarter 11

Rubber weather stripping was used to seal the baffle against the quarter panel. You can also see that I have applied some weld-through primer (the silver-colored stuff) to areas that will be welded.

driver quarter 12

The fender lip was a perfect place to use 3M 8115 Panel Bonding Adhesive. This method was faster and neater than welding, plus I won't have to worry about rust forming here again.

driver quarter 13

Both surfaces were stripped to bare metal and roughed up with a 36-grit disc. Then the adhesive was spread on both bonding surfaces with a popsicle stick.

driver quarter 14

The quarter panel was set into place and the fender lip was clamped. The adhesive has a 2-hour work time at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so there was plenty of time to adjust things. I left the clamps on for about 24 hours. Later, I did several tack welds before lifting the car off of the stand.

driver quarter 15

Next, I tack welded the C-pillar. It took lots of clamps to pull things into shape.

driver quarter 16

After tack welding.

driver quarter 17

Then I tack welded the rest of the panel. Here is the B-pillar. More clamps to pull things into alignment.

driver quarter 18

A bunch of welding. The rotisserie makes it much easier.

driver quarter 19

Welding the latch plate. A large C-clamp and a block of wood were used to pull the latch plate tight to the quarter panel.

driver quarter 20

Final welding on the C-pillar.

driver quarter 21

After grinding.

driver quarter 22

The kink after final welding and grinding.

driver quarter 23

The door opening after final welding and grinding.

driver quarter 24

Even though the tail panel will be replaced later, I tacked the quarter and the tail panels. In order to verify proper alignment, I'll keep the tail panel on the car until the other quarter panel has been replaced.

driver quarter 22

Jack Fahuna suggested to me that I weld the rocker panel seam on the bottom of the car. He explained that this helps to stiffen the shell. I welded four locations where it was easy to get MIG torch into position. Even with the rotisserie this was pretty awkward.

driver quarter 23

Two more welds in the middle of the car. This is under the driver's seat. I did one more weld at the front of the rocker.

driver quarter 24

This is a picture of the inside of the wheel well looking out. You can see the seam weld and the two braces that helped to ensure the replacement inner fender lip was placed in the correct position.

driver quarter 22

Done with welding and grinding!

Well, there's just a little bit more to show you. There are three factory-brazed joints on a 2002 quarter panel, not including the tail panel joint. My original plan was to duplicate the brazing once the quarter panel was on. It was probably my technique, or maybe it was the brazing rod I was using, but all of my practice brazed joints were total crap. So I abandoned brazing idea and came up with Plan B: use more 3M Panel Adhesive.

driver quarter 23

Applying adhesive to the B-pillar braze joint.

driver quarter 24

Adhesive was worked into the joints from both sides and then clamped for 24 hours.

driver quarter 25

Excess adhesive was removed with a small drum sander on a die grinder and smoothed with sandpaper.

driver quarter 26


There you have it. This has definately been one of the biggest single jobs of the project so far. I'll start working the other quarter panel later this Fall. Fortunately, these projects are always easier the second time around.

Thanks for reading!

Part 1

Part 2

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