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Underbody braces, turbos and more!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:09 pm 

Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:26 am
Posts: 16
Location: Earlsboro, Oklahoma
Is there any way to deal with the rust that is showing up under each door.?
or Is there a metal cover of some sort that would go over the panels ?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2003 12:47 pm
Posts: 11679
Location: columbus, ohio
if, by "under each door" you mean the rocker panels, you will have to make whatever repairs as soon as possible and probably professionally if you want to save the car.

there are internal structures that usually have pretty advanced rot by the time the out rockers have rust holes in them.

it's a pretty involved process and takes the abilities to do metal fabrications and welding. i'm lucky enough that over the years i have picked up the required skills to do that sort of thing and have the equipment and tools needed. i also grease my guy at the metal fabrication shop with 12 packs of pabst blue ribbon so he'll cut and bend body repair panels when i need them.

for the older cars, 89 thru 94, i can still find outer rocker stamped repair panels through body shop supply houses. i have not been able to find rockers for 95 thru 2000 model north american domestic market suzuki variants for at least 6 years. the last mk4 car, a 97, that i repaired rockers on required me to fabricated and fit in 2 pieces on each side. the rockers on the newer body style cars have stamped flair that i had to replicate by welding the rear part of the panel to the front part and then doing some fine sculpting over the welded seam with dura-glass filler.

like i said, sort of a tough job but something you'll have to hop on pretty quick. think of the rocker panels as tubes that connect the front of the car to the rear of the car. they need to be fairly rigid. when the internal rail/ beam rots inside the tube and then the outside of the tube gets holes in it, it will lose all of it's structural integrity and become the proverbial "wet noodle." the car will flex and wiggle. i've seen some cars that have started to collapse in the middle so badly that they had creases across the roof.

if your car only has some holes rusted on the outer skin under the doors, you can probably save it. go at it with a screwdriver and poke out any rust that will come away. be prepared, it can get ugly really fast. honestly, any steel that's soft enough to fall out with a poke from a screwdriver is not doing anything structurally beneficial.

it's safer to know than to not know when your well being is at stake. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2003 2:36 am
Posts: 896
Location: Vancouver BC
Post some pictures. Generally speaking the 95+ Metro/Swifts start rusting through visibly in two places.

(1) At the middle of the rocker panel, under the door sill where the door-to-rocker brace latch is located. Rust first appears as bubbles about 4 to 6 inches in length.
(2) at the back of the rocker where the rear wheel quarter panel is spot welded to the rocker panel.

In both cases, it is likely due to the multiple layers of sheet metal welded together in these areas, and not treated sufficiently afterwards with cavity wax during manufacturing.

I note that later 1998+ models tend to have wax coatings sprayed inside the rockers, they tend to hold up better than the 1995-1997 versions. (probably took a few years of MK4 production before rust perforation was noticeable while cars were under warranty.)

If you catch it while it is surface rust only, you can prevent further rusting by spraying a suitable anti-rust coating into the interior access holes you will see after you remove the plastic door sill-to-carpet trims.

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