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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #1
This is my new to me 2004 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean. It's a good car, but the previous owner neglected a rust problem. I'm going to fix it. Never stuff a sponge in a rust hole unless your doing an experiment to see how fast you can get metal to disintegrate.
 

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my 2002 wagon has a sponge like that up between the exterior body and the interior panel of the wheel well.
(I thought it was factory sound deading).
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #3
my 2002 wagon has a sponge like that up between the exterior body and the interior panel of the wheel well.
(I thought it was factory sound deading).
I guess that's possible... I don't remember a sponge in the 2001 VDC, and it was rusty as can be in the wheel wells. I'm going to upload a video walk around of the car here in a little bit to show a better idea of the car. I pulled the spare tire out today and found a swimming pool under the tire. I'm thinking the water found its way through the grossly neglected rusted wheel well, but could it have got there another way? Maybe someone can point out if I'm missing how that water got in there like that..
 

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I guess that's possible... I don't remember a sponge in the 2001 VDC, and it was rusty as can be in the wheel wells. I'm going to upload a video walk around of the car here in a little bit to show a better idea of the car. I pulled the spare tire out today and found a swimming pool under the tire. I'm thinking the water found its way through the grossly neglected rusted wheel well, but could it have got there another way? Maybe someone can point out if I'm missing how that water got in there like that..
salty water,.. the in the car from virginia beach?

was the spare rim rusted?

how about the jack for rust :jack up in the drivers side fender, was it rusty? ...those can by hard to remove for the first time like need a breaker bar and penetrating lube)..

was the rear carpet damp?

when you get the drivers side interior panel off you can look at the moon roof drain tube, and see if that is in the right place or poking loose. (its a vynl capilary tube that is about 3/8" diameter, should lodge into a drain hole behind the tire. might see it by the jack but don't grab at it. until you get all the panels off as you are not getting it back to where it belongs until they are all off.

you can see if its clean with a air pump hose, and or a screw driver.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #5
Where the water pool is coming from.

I think that water came under the panel through the wheel well and found its way to the spare tire compartment. I see no water marks or saturation of any kind on the ceiling panel. I don't think it's coming through the window, otherwise there'd be significant rust right under the window, which there is not.

Could water be coming from the bottom and into the spare tire compartment? Probably not. It's most obvious it's simply coming through that wheel well. The gent I bought the car from says he finds the rear cargo area wet after a heavy rain. Before I punched out all that rust, that wheel well may as well have been a spaghetti strainer. With the natural cut outs in the body, minus the wheel well metal that all rusted away, equals a huge waterway right where I'm pointing in the picture.

I was going to do a video upload, but I think this pic says it all.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #6
salty water,.. the in the car from virginia beach?

was the spare rim rusted?

how about the jack for rust :jack up in the drivers side fender, was it rusty? ...those can by hard to remove for the first time like need a breaker bar and penetrating lube)..

was the rear carpet damp?

when you get the drivers side interior panel off you can look at the moon roof drain tube, and see if that is in the right place or poking loose. (its a vynl capilary tube that is about 3/8" diameter, should lodge into a drain hole behind the tire. might see it by the jack but don't grab at it. until you get all the panels off as you are not getting it back to where it belongs until they are all off.

you can see if its clean with a air pump hose, and or a screw driver.
Could you see that drain tube from the pictures I uploaded in my last reply? I didn't check that, but I will. No the tire and jack are not rusted at all.
 

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Could you see that drain tube from the pictures I uploaded in my last reply? I didn't check that, but I will. No the tire and jack are not rusted at all.
I could not, its hiding there though, just look by the screw jack storage location,


I would think the odd shape of the rust hole you got there would let the rain stream down the side of the body into the tire well. probably find out with a garden hose set on the minimum mist, or a spray bottle of water.

glad you got what looks like a mild winter there with lots of mild days to investigate. (probably none up past 60 F until march though to really work product though)
 

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I've got a '10 Outback with rust from poor bodyshop work, so I'll be watching this thread to learn. Thanks for posting this!
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #9
The things you'll need

I've got a '10 Outback with rust from poor bodyshop work, so I'll be watching this thread to learn. Thanks for posting this!
I'll definitely be getting back here to post about this. It's going to be an undertaking, and I'm relying mostly on my own focus to get the job done right. I don't weld, but I will undertake welding. The expense of doing this on your own is mostly in acquiring tools if you don't already have them. I'll post some pics of what I plan to aquire, and what I think you'll NEED to do the job right.

I've added pics of the exact tools I will acquire. Luckily, I already own some milwaukee tools, so I have a charging station for two different types of batteries, 12v and 18v. I stand by the Milwaukee Fuel series as being maybe the most reliable quality cordless tools on the market today. I have an 18volt Milwuakee Fuel 1/2' impact wrench that busts axel lug nuts off like it's nothing. I use it almost anytime I do heavy work on my Subaru. It's the best tool I own. I also have a Milwaukee 3/8 wrench that takes only a 12v lithium ion battery. The 12v lithium ion batteries are cheaper, plus I already have one, so that's why I"m buying these Milwauk tools you see pictured. The tools are on the expensive side, but I just believe in buying good tools, so it's not an issue for me, and where I work on my car I don't have any power, so these are essential.

The gas welder pictured is a good idea of what you will need for an O2 Acetylene setup. If you buy used just make sure you can get the tanks filled at your local gas supplier before you buy. You can go on youtube to learn to use it, but just take your time and be careful, or better yet, just talk to someone who can tell you how to work safely. Your going to spend 200 bucks on a used O2 Acetylene setup, and your gonna have to learn something new if you've never welded, but this is the easiest form of welding. Make sure you practice before you have at it on your car.

Another matter will be getting the right attachments for that drill. You can buy a grinding wheel attachment and sanding attachment for the drill, which you'll need to smooth out the welding globs. Once everything is cut and welded, it comes down to preference, but I will be using Everglass short strand fiberglass body filler to coat all the welds. This stuff is far better than Bondo IMO. Sand it, prime it, paint it, done.

Each of the Milwaukee tools you can get on eBay for less than a hundred bucks. The batteries and station will definitely nickel and dime you an extra 30 or 40 bucks a piece, but like I said, I believe tools are necessity in life, so it's just an investment. The Everglass is around 25 bucks. I'd buy everything you can on eBay or Craigslist. It'll be less expensive than full retail. The cordless Hackzawll is important in the way I'm going to do this job, because I'll be harvesting metal from a Subaru out of the junk yard, so I'm going to need cordless for that. I think molding a piece of sheet metal to the exact symmetry of that wheel well would take far too much time and skill. I'll be happy to hank off a piece from the junkyard and fit it up.
 

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(1) 95 2.2L legacy wagon 243,000 miles; about to instal used 107.000m motor due to knocking rod end. On it's 3rd transmission (# 2 & #3 were from wreckers). (2) 99 Legacy outback ltd, recently purcha
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My 2000 Legacy GT Wagon has the same water on the rear cargo cover after heavy rain, and in the spare wheel well.
It means that one or more of the sunroof area drain tubes are blocked or detached. Time to drop the
roof liner and get in there......
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #11
My 2000 Legacy GT Wagon has the same water on the rear cargo cover after heavy rain, and in the spare wheel well.
It means that one or more of the sunroof area drain tubes are blocked or detached. Time to drop the
roof liner and get in there......
Do you have any saturation showing on the roof liner?
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #12
drain tube

@eagleeye here is the drain tube you were telling me about. Looks ok, nothing out of the ordinary with it, like it's where it's supposed to be...
 

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@eagleeye here is the drain tube you were telling me about. Looks ok, nothing out of the ordinary with it, like it's where it's supposed to be...

on my wagon that blue drain tube happens to be brown.

while you got the interior panels off that drain tube is loose in that lower socket so you can pull it and run some compressed air from a tire inflator up the tube and down the drain.

with the roof open you might get some dust blowing up out of the drain at the top to clean,

some people say they need to use a screwdriver or pick on the drain ports under a car. getting mud/grease/ tire smudge jammed in them.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter #14
@eagleeye here is the drain tube you were telling me about. Looks ok, nothing out of the ordinary with it, like it's where it's supposed to be...

on my wagon that blue drain tube happens to be brown.

while you got the interior panels off that drain tube is loose in that lower socket so you can pull it and run some compressed air from a tire inflator up the tube and down the drain.

with the roof open you might get some dust blowing up out of the drain at the top to clean,

some people say they need to use a screwdriver or pick on the drain ports under a car. getting mud/grease/ tire smudge jammed in them.
Thing is, that thing points down and out the back, and is blocked by a wall for all that water to be going under the spare.... my sun roofs don’t open and I never plan to fix them. I don’t have an air compressor, but some day I will! It’d be worth blowing some air up through there just to see and rule it out. I could try it after I get the car fixed and on the road and before I put the panel back on.
 

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Thing is, that thing points down and out the back, and is blocked by a wall for all that water to be going under the spare.... my sun roofs don’t open and I never plan to fix them. I don’t have an air compressor, but some day I will! It’d be worth blowing some air up through there just to see and rule it out. I could try it after I get the car fixed and on the road and before I put the panel back on.
although air tools with a big tank are nice if you got them already.

I never bought a air compressor either.
just a Viair tire inflator good for 60psi, (probably should have bought the similar 120psi Viair,...amazon really lowered the prices on them).

I have more interest in battery and corded tools like yours.

please keep taking rust mediation pics of your builds and fixes...very helpful
 

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Discussion Starter #16
although air tools with a big tank are nice if you got them already.

I never bought a air compressor either.
just a Viair tire inflator good for 60psi, (probably should have bought the similar 120psi Viair,...amazon really lowered the prices on them).

I have more interest in battery and corded tools like yours.

please keep taking rust mediation pics of your builds and fixes...very helpful
Yeah, the project is going underway inevitably and the battery operated tools just keep getting better and better. It's going to be a while though. I'm slowly getting tools together over the coming months, and fixing the 04 Bean is not dyer, since the 03 Bean is fine.

I just got gauges for my acetylene and Oxygen tanks. I could have got cheaper ones, but since I was buying used, I decided to go with some nice vintage Smith's that look pretty indestructable.

I just poked a hole through the 03 Bean wheel well under the gas cap today, so that's now looking like crapola. It's small enough I could stick something in there, but I'm against that, I'd rather let it rust then stick something stupid in there. I'll fix it after the winter along with the 04 and it's mega rust out. Thanks, I'll always keep updating, even if I'm gone a while.
 

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I just got gauges for my acetylene and Oxygen tanks. I could have got cheaper ones, but since I was buying used, I decided to go with some nice vintage Smith's that look pretty indestructable.
.
torches make sparks. I know you got no A/C down there. (edit: A/C power)

does your garage /shed space have garden hoses? plenty of extinguishers?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
torches make sparks. I know you got no A/C down there.

does your garage /shed space have garden hoses? plenty of extinguishers?
Safety is of the utmost importance. I plan on a homer bucket of water right next to me. I also have a welding blanket already and super heavy duty welding gloves. I plan to buy brand new hoses, like 25 bucks for a 25ft set. I'll keep the tanks pretty far away from the torch. The big thing is not to go over 5 PSI with the acetylene. I should only need like 3 PSI of acetylene going for what I'm doing. You would really never need more than 5 PSI for anything else for that matter. Light the acetylene first, then introduce the oxygen. I've gone through a couple pretty good training videos on YouTube about this, plus when I get my tanks filled, or buy them at the gas store, I plan to get advice and safety tips there as well.
 

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It's a shame that patch panels (pre-formed sheet metal sections to splice into the fender) don't seem to be available for these common areas of rust on these cars. Unless you plan to buy and learn to use an English Wheel, it is very difficult to make compound curves in sheet metal to fit the area. Seems like an opportunity to me since so many of these cars are still out there. You can try to find a junk yard that has a car with un-rusted sections that can be cut out but those are rare in New England... Maybe you'll have better luck being further south.
Also, a die grinder air tool with a cut off wheel does a nice job of cutting the existing fender (trimming and rusted edge removal) without distorting the remaining metal contours. It takes longer than air powered shears but is worth the extra time in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It's a shame that patch panels (pre-formed sheet metal sections to splice into the fender) don't seem to be available for these common areas of rust on these cars. Unless you plan to buy and learn to use an English Wheel, it is very difficult to make compound curves in sheet metal to fit the area. Seems like an opportunity to me since so many of these cars are still out there. You can try to find a junk yard that has a car with un-rusted sections that can be cut out but those are rare in New England... Maybe you'll have better luck being further south.
Also, a die grinder air tool with a cut off wheel does a nice job of cutting the existing fender (trimming and rusted edge removal) without distorting the remaining metal contours. It takes longer than air powered shears but is worth the extra time in my opinion.
I find them unrusted around here every time I go to the yard. I’ll be doing all my cutting the hard way with a battery op drill and the best cutting disk I can get. It’ll be slow but effective.
 
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