Focus TDDI rust and partial rebuild project

  1. DieselPower Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Yorkshire Uk
    I joined the forum a few months back and promised to start a thread once I learnt how to weld. The goal was to repair my 2003 Focus TDDI daily driver that has 152k on the clock. With an MOT approaching I wanted to do a rear suspension rebuild due to failing bushes and clunking. What I didn't bargain on was just how rusty things had become under the fabric wheel arch liners.

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    I found this great forum and got started with a second hand Clarke 110E. Dropped the sub frame and starting cutting out the rust on the passenger side.

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    It spread quite far in on the floor panel all around the seat belt mounting points. This metal was full of tiny holes and very thin so after some cardboard templates and measurements I cut it back to good metal.

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    Not done any metal work before so did some research and found this really inspiring and useful thread on another forum:
    http://retrorides.proboards.com/thread/70135/panels

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    Was using disposable gas at this stage with a temperamental regulator which is my excuse for the soot. When I moved to a proper bottle things got cleaner and welding better.

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    monky harris likes this.
  2. DieselPower Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Yorkshire Uk
    Passenger side had small patch welded over rust for an MOT repair at the garage a few years back. Forgot all about it really but shows how things just keep rusting. Thankfully the underseal applied stopped the fabric wheel arch liner damaging this side further when water logged.

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    I welded from the outside so this is the inside weld penetration.

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    Covered the weld on the outside in PU sealant then over-painted with Simoniz tough black. Will have to get some pics of that!

    At the same time as the above started the sub-frame overhaul. The main sub-frame on mine had some serious corrosion and I wanted to go for rear discs instead of drums. Only certain models came with rear discs on the focus and this came off a 2.0 petrol which was a good find. The 1.8 TDCI diesels usually have sky high mileage so the condition of this is good despite the looks.

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    Cut down external spring compressors, not exactly text book but cheaper than proper internal spring compressor. Straps are just in case when levering it out :-)

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    Inner sub-frame bolts will undo with heat and plus gas but these outer ones always seize solid. Unfortunately the only thing I had that would fit was a trusty saw.

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    Oh the fun got better! Plus saying repeatedly "I wish I had a sawzall"

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    Coated with Flag rust treatment. It's a bit of an experiment but used it under the car 6 months ago and it appears to have worked. The tiny pits in the metal still containing rust go like this with those circle marks and get treated to a few coats.

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    Made a mistake here and used Flag anti rust primer and paint because it was cheap and available. I didn't get it thinned enough and the finish is not pretty. However it should protect from rust which was my main concern.

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    To stop it rusting any more internally all the cavities got soaked in Dynax S50.

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    Will sort out the next batch of photos then could use some advice on the sills. It gets surprisingly rusty but no turning back now.
     
    mr migwire, MarcP, rtcosic and 4 others like this.
  3. bigbadbugga

    bigbadbugga Member

    Messages:
    974
    Liverpool uk
    nice work

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    doubleboost likes this.
  4. AndyStobbs Member

    Messages:
    2,471
    Location:
    North West England
    Top work, nice to see someone who is obviously practical and with a bit of gumption getting stuck in and getting the feel for the job -without a load of questions and too little action.
     
    doubleboost likes this.
  5. gordon stephenson

    gordon stephenson Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    5,987
    Location:
    Skelton in Cleveland U.K.
    Great thread, Well done you.
     
    doubleboost likes this.
  6. DieselPower Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Yorkshire Uk
    Thanks for the comments, I want to post current progress before asking for advice on the sills. Although this is small project compared to most, hopefully it might be interesting to others and spur me on a bit.

    I pressed in new bushes on the trailing arms mix of Genuine and Lemforder parts used. Have done this previously on a sportier focus I owned and used Powerflex. Not wanting any squeaks in the future I'm keeping it standard this time. The cost of doing all ford is stupidly expensive so we have a mix of genuine, lemforder and meyle replacement parts.

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    Cleaned up with rust treatment and new bushes. These got sprayed after this photo especially around the bush to stop rust separating the rubber in future.

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    I don't have room for the press at mine so it's lived at my folks house for the past 4/5 years much to their delight. It does give me an excuse to visit and use my old mans tools. Check out that makita drill it must be as old as me and still going strong.

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    Still keep meaning to buy some proper pressing plates. Half the fun is finding that thing that just fits the job!

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    I bought these off ebay a few years back for cheap. Thought they might come in handy one day.

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    Went into my local ford dealership and parted with some hard earned. Seriously tempted to register a business to get proper trade prices. I always seem to get shafted for hardware where you need to go main dealer and wondered how the trade get these bits?

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    Built back the suspension following the workshop manual to get the correct torque and design height. I will take some better pics of that installed but do have this comedy picture of me attaching the new splash shields. The rivets are extra long body things that required some more force than usual.

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  7. pondy

    pondy Member

    Messages:
    1,220
    Location:
    chedburgh, suffolk. uk
    Hope pro 2 hub support tool spotted ;)
     
  8. DieselPower Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Yorkshire Uk
    lol good spot Pondy. It's had more use pressing out Focus front wheel bearings and suspension above than the bike bearings it was designed for.

    Went slightly off project refurbishing the brakes as I wanted to try Bilt Hammer Deox-C. Seen pictures of people using this and didn't quite believe it so here we are.

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    Left it about a week and each day kept rubbing off the rust with a toothbrush. Gradually it comes off so part way through the process you get this:

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    The end result is this nice clean metal. Some pitting from rust was visible on the top of the sliders but the calipers themselves came up great. Was quite impressed with this stuff.

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    Seemed rude to not rebuild the calipers. I jumped the gun a bit with the rebuild kit and got new pistons, but actually mine turned out to be okay. Could've gone the other way though and wanted to have everything to finish them.

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    This guide was helpful with dismantling the calipers but I used proper red rubber grease. You need to grind down some long needle nose pliers for the snap ring. Spent a hour or so with those snap rings, very fiddly to get right.
    http://www.focusfanatics.com/forum/...is/349185-svt-rear-brake-caliper-rebuild.html

    Finished with new springs and hoses but think I made a mistake with the paint. Used high temp engine paint and already this has stained with rain water on the car. They clean up but I can see me doing a quick brush job on these with proper glossy caliper paint. Lesson learnt!

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    Nearly up to date, sills next...
     
  9. DieselPower Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Yorkshire Uk
    I got some full outer sills and planned to fit these with plug welds along the door shuts and bottom, seam welding the cut lines. As a result I cut the old sill off quite high up, little piece at a time as I was unsure of the internal structure. This explains the very questionable cut line you are about to see and probably chuckle at :-).

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    At this point the corrosion in this sill was worse than I thought. This sill had a partial cover sill welded on last year by the garage for the MOT. You can see the remains of the original sill which must have just been held together by underseal last year. The cover sill has rusted quite well over the space of a year so has really shown me how bad rust gets if covered over and not cut out.

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    Cut out a lot of the middle sill structure and bit of inner sill that was rotten.

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    Bit crude that drain hole but made do with a hammer and file that was the right size.

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    Welded end inner sill section back but yet to shape the end. This section of inner sill is now thankfully sound.

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    This is my problem area I need to tackle next.

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    The inner sill is rotten right where the factory jacking point is. As a result it's bent, something I didn't notice on the car with the outer sill in place. That middle sill structure going up the A pillar is rotten just passed that cut off line so the area had no strength and rust. Scary how cars can look alright on the outside and lesson learnt about cavity protection early as possible in the cars life.

    I'm now starting to think fitting the sill like a repair panel was a bad plan and that I should maybe just do one massive seam weld line across? Might of cut it a bit high now what's everyone's thoughts on this?

    Another area I'm going to potentially struggle with is finishing. Currently I weld then use a 40 grit flap disc to take of most of the weld. Then switch to an 80 grit getting close to the original metal but very careful not to remove good metal. It still doesn't look seamless and don't want to thin the original metal. This would be a concern for blending in a long seam weld on the sill. What's the correct approach and what does everyone use to tidy up the welds?
     
  10. AndyStobbs Member

    Messages:
    2,471
    Location:
    North West England
    I get 10% discount from ford as a business customer. Not exactly saving a fortune.
     
  11. marlinspike Member

    Messages:
    1,023
    United Kingdom
    Hi DP. We have the same problem as you with dressing down the welds on our car resto project. Where the welds are unseen, like in the boot, we have hardly dressed them down at all - too worried about thinning the metal. Where they are seen, we bought an ekectric Makita die grinder for about £80. This removes metal at a good rate, but is quite heavy and a bit scary to use at first. Also produces lots of bits of swarf, so wear both eye protection and mouth mask.

    One of our best buys was a Black and Decker powerfile. Great for removing paint and rust and taking down welds. I found it better than a flap disc on a grinder. I'm still not satisfied with the dressing down of our welds - they are not seamless and invisible like some you see on here - but I guess that comes with experience and having the confidence to take the weld right back to flush with the metal.

    The tonybmw thread on retro rides is really educational. I think at one point he shows how to dress welds. Between this forum and his instructions, we recently built a metal folder which has been a huge help. Guessing you have one already, judging by your pics.

    I am certainly impressed how you have cracked on with your project in such a short time.
     
  12. AndyStobbs Member

    Messages:
    2,471
    Location:
    North West England
    You had to perform the welding repair usually because the surrounding metal was rusted away, I wouldn't get overly concerned about thinning a 0.8mm section to 0.7mm when prior to the repair it wasn't structurally sound at all.
    Do a nice job, yes, and with time and practice it can be got seamless, but don't lose sleep over thinning the metal. It takes longer to pretty the job up, than to cut out, make, weld in new sections.
     
  13. DieselPower Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Yorkshire Uk
    10% is better than nothing I suppose Andy, sometimes I have been lucky and the guy will class it as 'trade cash sales'. I don't think the prices then are proper trade rate and depends what mood they are in. Always a comedy experience for me visiting the dealers, especially when someone's complaining at the service desk.

    Marlin cheers for that I do like the sound of that Black and Decker powerfile and that would allow access to tricky inner curves. Good to know I'm not the only one that doesn't get the invisible joins you see the pro's do. Hopefully it will come with practice and like Andy says maybe I should not worry too much. Might do a test piece and measure it with callipers to give me the confidence to go into that surrounding metal a bit. Have you got a thread going marlin? Would be interested to see how close you're getting those welds.

    I didn't have a metal folder and just used a vice and hammer but replacing the inner sill section will require a few folds. I really messed up yesterday and rush bought a Clarke folder only to realise that's not really going to work and I need one like TonyBmw made in his thread. So I'm waiting for some angle iron and thicker zintec to arrive which is stopping play for a few days.

    Not sure about short time it was only meant to be a weekend suspension swap over this project :ashamed:.
     
  14. marlinspike Member

    Messages:
    1,023
    United Kingdom
    What I have found is that once you get the primer, seam sealer, primer again on the weld line it often doesn't look too bad. Can't really show you a photo as I have seam sealed the welds now. However, I would say that the welds are still a couple of mm proud all along the weld line, but the edges are mostly rounded off. Part of it is that when you are welding from underneath you seem to get too much weld on in the first place, and then because you are grinding from underneath you struggle to remove it.

    All our current welding has been on the sill, boot, and wheel arch so won't be seen. Once we have finished the whole car, and I feel a bit more confident, I might revisit with the grinder and powerfile again.

    We needed to fold metal to make the sill repair panel. Almost bought a Clarke folder from MM, then decided to make one using the threads on here and bmwtony's thread. What a revelation - cost about £20 in metal and has been brilliant. It's a folder, it's an anvil - feel like I could build a car from scratch with it. You won't regret making your own.

    I haven't got a thread but will start one when the car is finished. You've done more in a couple of weeks than we have in 2 years. It has been a much bigger job than we thought, and I have lost my mojo several times over, but we have done quite a bit recently so hopefully we have got some momentum going. It's inspiring to see how much others get done though - makes me want to crack on.
     
  15. Cobbler

    Cobbler Codger bodger

    Messages:
    3,834
    Location:
    Gloucestershire UK
    If you want a power file & can wait a bit, they come up at Aldi at regular intervals. They are half the price of the B&D ones, may not last as long, but they are good for the money, 3 year guarantee is a big plus too. The bands that are supplied are too soft for steel, I think they must be for wood only, I get bands from Screwfix at £2.99 for 10. They don't last long & quite a few break at the join, but at that price I don't worry. Look on the web & good ones are about a tenner, so I'm prepared to put up with a few duff ones. I think you will find it an amazing bit of kit for cleaning up ready to weld & dressing the welds down.
     
  16. steveo3002 Member

    Messages:
    4,484
    cambridge uk
    fair bit of rust there for a "modern" car , has it lived near the sea or something?

    i hate seeing those carpet wheel arch liners , surley they can make something that doesnt hold water
     
  17. Istayinalot

    Istayinalot Member

    Messages:
    83
    Location:
    Durham, England
    Great stuff, interesting thread, well done :clapping:
     
  18. poitch New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    ireland
    Hi dieselpower. good thread I have the exact same issue with my 2001 focus as you have. just curious as to the metal you used for the arch and floor repair. What thickness is it and where did you get it. is there a special name on it?. Thanks your thread is very useful. john
     
  19. Morris Member

    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Northamptonshire.
    Good work Dieselpower and well done for having a go.

    Oversills! Grrrr! A pet hate of mine.
     
  20. visor_down

    visor_down Member

    Messages:
    310
    South East
    Good job you have done on that no small task once you get cutting!
    Have you lifted the door seal at the bottom of the door shuts ? They often rust there at the spot welds (although you may be lucky)
    I did exact same on my old fiesta had full sill but decided to cut it down and do full seam weld and leave the upper part alone, I just sanded it down and treated the rust....in hindsight I would fit the whole panel and spot/plug it along the top, like I say it rusts there and as you know it doesn't stop and soon eats into your nice new panel and hard work! Depends how far you want to go of course and how long you plan to keep it, looks like you have done a pretty comprehensive job so far though, so might be worth considering fitting the whole sill, although as you have found it would entail further repairs to inner sill and possibly floorpan to give you something decent to spot to.
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