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Rust Repairs Simplified

By Tom Colby, Speedwell Engineering

Originally published in the Austin-Healey Magazine, March 1991

I know, it's still not simple but with today’s available rust repair panels, believe me, it is simplified. To make this job easy though, you will need equipment: a MIG welder and the skill to run it (I learned and got certified through my local adult school), an air compressor to run a cut-off saw (an electric tool will work fine), a small hand-held disc grinder, clamps, vise grips, a pair of tin snips, and some patience. Remember, when doing repair to something structural (big Healey rockers for instance), it is mandatory to measure door openings and/or weld in temporary braces into the door opening before cutting the car apart. Upon refitting, temporarily hang the doors, fenders, etc. and then tack weld the rockers in to assure proper alignment. Have fun!

Bugeye chassis after acid dipping and on its side to facilitate rust repair. Section being repaired is at top left of picture. Car is vintage racer Larry Haile's new racer for the 1991 season.

Using and air-powered cut-off saw, the cancer is cut away. Use a marker to help cut a straight line. This will help when it comes time to fit the repair panel. Note the safety glasses!

​The inner panel formed and welded in place and the repair panel trimmed to size.

The panel tack-welded prior to final welding and grinding.

Take the extra time to get a real good fit. A good fitting panel is easier to weld and less warpage will occur.

Less warpage = less body filler.

The finished product! This one came out so good probably only a little bit of lead or filler will be needed.

Not what you were looking for? Don't forget you can check our back issues using the AHCUSA Magazine Index.

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