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Rust at the bottom of the wheel arch

Started by SirDavidAlhambra, March 02, 2022, 10:42:32 AM

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Is rust that's starting to form at the bottom of the wheel arch anything to worry about?

How does one fix it?

Thank you.
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Only way is to cut out the rot and replace with new metal.

Front or back arch?

Front, it's most likely going to be a heap of crud collected behind the splash guard that is rusting through. The front wings are bolt on so not so much of a concern:

Rear, that's a different game. If you catch it early enough then you can grind it all back, chemically treat the rust and reseal but once it's gotten a hold then its new metal time.
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Sadly it's at the rear, down at the bottom on the side which is nearest the doors (the rust is starting to happen on both sides of the car). Basically it looks like the metal is crusting open like a wafer at the edge. There isn't much but it looks like it might spread if I don't fix it. Do you think this would be a pricey sort of thing to fix?
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Depends how far its got into it as said above. It wouldn't be a bad idea to try cleaning it up and rust treatment on it to see if you can stop it. I know the bit you mean, near the corner of the door. mines showing the same area to have some signs of it now, though its 5 years older than yours and just gone over 200k today as well.

March 03, 2022, 09:47:01 PM #5 Last Edit: March 03, 2022, 09:52:38 PM by SirDavidAlhambra
Thank you both, I really appreciate all this kind and helpful advice you have Ben giving me. Attached are some photos of both sides of the motor car's wheel arches. As you can see, the metal is sort of flaking apart. What do you think? Is it a big job, should I leave it a while, will it be ok for several years yet or likely to get really bad.

Thank you
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

That wasn't where I expected you to have the problem, though it is an area that will suffer. Cleaning it up would be your first step really in any case, then once you can see how far its gone you can decide how to address it.

cost to repair depends how much has to be done to repair it really. I think at what you've shown, I'd try a bit of rust treatment on it and see if it stops it (give it a good coat of paint after the rust treatment is done).

March 04, 2022, 09:19:40 AM #7 Last Edit: March 04, 2022, 09:22:24 AM by Mirez
I've only just finished doing the exact same area on mine, its caused by crud building up on the underside of the sill extension and I suspect what you see in the photo is the edge of the rust from there rather then the beginning. Ie the symptom rather then the cause.

One problem you have is that the extension (mini side skirt) has to come off to get to it, since they are bonded on it's a pain cutting through the glue and what you don't realise until you start grinding away is that lip is actually three sheets of metal. You have the body of the car, the inner sill and the outer sill all conjoining there so its a full on metal sandwich! Once rust starts, it can open the layers up allowing water to go into the rear sill void which isn't very well drained so if left it will spread so I wouldn't leave it but equally, having been through it, I highly doubt basic rust treatment will be effective without removing the extension and getting to the cause.
03 Ford Galaxy 1.9 TDI 115 Ghia in Spruce Green Metallic
With cream leather interior, Full Bodykit, Remapped at 145bhp, Lowered on 18's
13 Porsche Cayenne 3.0 V6 Diesel in Umber Metallic
262Bhp AWD and Factory fresh...for now!
58 Ford Transit 2.2 TDI 115 in Frozen White
With retrofitted everything except another slidey door! :)
LAUNCH X431 Pad PRO - Scanning & Coding for all makes and models done in Wiltshire in exchange for winegums! :)

Drat, I will take it to this guy I know who is good with fixing dents and rust but he's always really expensive sadly, what sort of sum do you think we would be looking at here, my wife says I'd be lucky to get away with 500 big ones and so it may be best just to spray it with old engine oil and see if we can get another 5 years out of the vehicle perhaps
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

You also need to check the inner sills and outriggers as it may be worse than it looks.
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I think you need to give serious thought to getting rid of the long plastic trim under the doors, along the outer sill. This trim serves no useful purpose and simply traps crud against the sill with the inevitable result. I disposed of mine 4 years ago. On mine, the trim was clipped onto a long rail screwed to the sill. It is all easy enough to get off, but you are left with a series of screw holes along the sill. I took my vehicle to a local body shop where the rust under the trim was treated, the screw holes filled and a black stone chip finish applied along the length of the sill.
I am also  beginning to see discolouration under the paint finish in the area forward of the rear wheels, where the quarter panel returns inwards. I am just formulating a plan to get the underside inspected from the outriggers back to quarter panels, and I may get the whole lot cleaned off, treated and repainted, probably one side at a time to soften the financial pain.
I am determined to keep my Alhambra going as long as I can. A blinding statement of the obvious, but it is an extraordinarily versatile vehicle; one rear seat out and I can carry a mobility scooter for an elderly parent, and with a 500 litre roofbox installed the load capacity is truly amazing. 

Thank you, yes I agree that the Alhamb is one of the most useful vehicles ever made. The person who designed it must be a genius! I too want mine to go on for another 20 years if I can make it last that long - I just can't see any reason why I would ever want to get rid of it!!

I think I will take it to the garage and ask them if they can sort out that rust before it gets any worse and will also ask them to look under the trim and sort that out too if needed.

If you ever want the trim removed, by the way, I know a local tyre fitter who puts the jack in any old random place under the car and seems to specialise in crushing and splitting trim so that it hangs off. :-/
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

Quote from: Solentview on March 08, 2022, 09:57:43 AMI think you need to give serious thought to getting rid of the long plastic trim

Hello! I agree, is the first thing i do when i get one of these. And throw away the locking wheel nut. Because yours is just showing up, rust i mean, i'd do it this way: take wheel and plastic arch cover of, clean and dry area ( i use a heatgun) and then with a blunt screwdriver, just scrape gently what flakes off. After, i do a bit of kurust, and hammerite str8 on rust paint. On small areas that cant really be seen, is a good option. A bodyshop will filler and paint, and will last 3 weeks in Britain.

Well, I bit the bullet and had the sills and jacking points on my Alhambra cleaned off, treated and repainted professionally at a local body shop. I was half expecting trouble at the front around the outrigger box sections, but to my surprise they were sound and very small perforations were found right at the back of the sill cavity inside the rear wheel arch, adjacent to the quarter panel returns, both sides. I had taken the plastic wheel arch liners off before handing the vehicle over, and when I checked them over carefully before re-installing, sure enough, there were rust stains both sides on the inside of the liner, right down at the bottom where the liner tucks in tightly against the aft end of the sill.

I suppose the obvious answer is to take the liners out frequently and check that paint and protection have not been compromised by the liner chafing in that tight corner. Fingers crossed, here's hoping that the bodywork is now set up for a few more MOTs.