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Hi all. First post in this forum. 04 Outback LTD. Bought new.

Up in VT all the 2generation Outbacks are showing rot at the rear wheel wells and inside the rear door jamb "doglegs". Professional body work is extremely expensive for this fix. They need to pull rear fixed glass and replace the entire rear quarter. Anyone have fixes other than "Bob's Backyard Bondo" approach?

I was compulsive about taking a hose and rinsing this area out when I first got the car- and was single. Now with a child and life going bananas, I have not been doing this. And now I'm paying the price.

Sorry if this has been discussed previously; I didn't see recent postings in search results.
 

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I hate to say it, but in my opinion it's too late. Replacing the quarter panel *is* the good cheap fix at this point. Bondo/fibreglass/etc just hides the problem.

You can slow it down a little bit with POR-15 or other chemical inhibitors, but the damage is done. Enjoy the car with its corrosion rash for as long as you can, then find another.

Icy roads cause trouble in the winter, but rusty cars cause trouble all year 'round.
 

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Buy a southern car, undercoat the $*&t out of it.
 

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I've seen people literally cut out the rust on the quarter panel and weld in new metal. Sometimes the job is good enough where it's not all that noticeable unless you take a close look at it. Rust is sort of like a cancer in that if you don't eliminate all of it, it will keep spreading.

From what I understand, rear quarter panels are not easy to replace. Probably not worth it on an 8 year old car. I actually have a minor dent and some spider webbing of paint in one of my quarter panels (fault of a friend), but really doubt it would be worth my while to deal with it.
 

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Just cut the area out, and weld in new sheet metal. That's what I am doing, and did it to my 1st gen. Then grind the welds down, prime and paint. Also a good idea, before your subframe/under body is to far gone, grind the surface rust down and spray with a bedliner. Rino liner works prime.

Other then that, go down south, pick up one with a blown motor, or front end collistion and build one good car. That's a $1,500 option then part out the rest.
 

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Thanks. Afraid this was what I'd hear. I've done the sheet steel and bondo routine on several old vehicles. I'm getting good at it but the fix lasts about two years. And its a great deal of time and effort. Guess I'll just live with it. Friggin Subaru. Still rusting out.

I have the car in the body shop due to a minor rear ender. They said the bumper mount was just about rusted through. They welded on new supports.

Discouraging. Thought that with the second generation Subaru had solved their rust out problems. Guess I need to be paying a lot more attention to wash and rinse of undercarriage and wheel wells in the winter.
 

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Having just pulled two sets of bumpers off 2nd gen Subarus for a respray, I think the root cause of body rot in that area is a little foam strip applied to the area where the bumper meets the body. It's underneath the bumper, so you won't see it unless you pull the cover off. My guess is it soaks up saltwater like a sponge and is difficult to get it all out.

If you get a rust-free one I'd say remove that foam, coat it with an epoxy paint like POR-15 and reapply the foam. Suppose you could leave the foam out but my guess is it's there to prevent the bumper from chafing through the paint and causing rust even sooner.
 

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Thanks. Afraid this was what I'd hear. I've done the sheet steel and bondo routine on several old vehicles. I'm getting good at it but the fix lasts about two years. And its a great deal of time and effort. Guess I'll just live with it. Friggin Subaru. Still rusting out.

I have the car in the body shop due to a minor rear ender. They said the bumper mount was just about rusted through. They welded on new supports.

Discouraging. Thought that with the second generation Subaru had solved their rust out problems. Guess I need to be paying a lot more attention to wash and rinse of undercarriage and wheel wells in the winter.
I don't know why people say Subaru's get hit with rust really bad. Mine has been a New England car all its life and at 125k it has virtually no rust underneath and nothing at all on the body. We've had Fords, Nissans, and GMCs, and they all rusted significantly worse (and more quickly) than any of our Subarus ever have.
 

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I don't know why people say Subaru's get hit with rust really bad. Mine has been a New England car all its life and at 125k it has virtually no rust underneath and nothing at all on the body. We've had Fords, Nissans, and GMCs, and they all rusted significantly worse (and more quickly) than any of our Subarus ever have.
I put it down to usage. If you have the option to stay home when the roads are salty, the car will last longer. If you have the time to wash the undercarriage after every salt exposure, and the means to let the car stay warm and dry while parked... it will last longer.

Having lost some cool cars to corrosion, I've learned a lot about it. Cutting out the rust and welding in new metal is the only real fix once it has set in.

Given that Subarus are built with AWD, they are often used when other cars stay in their garages. This alone will skew the numbers and make Subarus appear to rust out faster.
 

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I put it down to usage. If you have the option to stay home when the roads are salty, the car will last longer. If you have the time to wash the undercarriage after every salt exposure, and the means to let the car stay warm and dry while parked... it will last longer.

Having lost some cool cars to corrosion, I've learned a lot about it. Cutting out the rust and welding in new metal is the only real fix once it has set in.

Given that Subarus are built with AWD, they are often used when other cars stay in their garages. This alone will skew the numbers and make Subarus appear to rust out faster.
Makes sense. We don't have a garage (when I buy or build my own house, that will be high up on the list of must haves!), and I don't get snow days off and tend to drive home often in lousy conditions. I do wash the car pretty frequently in the winter, though--a couple bucks every week or so (depending on how much salt they dumped on the road in the days before) to drive by the car wash and rinse the salt off is definitely worth it. If I just let the salt sit on it all winter like so many people do, I would probably see some evidence of corrosion.
 

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It is not only the rust around the wheel wells that is a problem, but also the rust that occurs at any points where suspension components connect to the unibody frame members, which is a lot of different possibilities down the road!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah I just had my 04 in the body shop because it got slightly rear ended. They said the bumper support was completely rusted out and as part of the insurance work they welded a new bracket in there.

I used to be very detail oriented about spraying out the wheel wells during salt season... but past five years with a new child... this is one of the things I pretty much gave up. Live and learn... another expense to factor in a a new england resident. I'm envious of California... if you don't crash the car or get it stollen,you get to keep it forever... and by and large no snow tire costs either.
 
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