I wasn't going to put a post up about this for fear of devaluing my car. However, I've just got to let you lot know what I've found. Also, I think the very fact that I'm taking such good care of my car will hopefully show what a good owner I am.
Anyway, A few weeks ago I took all the wheels off my car, popped it up on axle stands and jetwashed the whole underside of the car - suspension, brakes etc etc....
This week I have been stripping down the front suspension so I can check all parts and replace "consumable" items such as wishbones, drop links, track rod ends.
When the whole lot was in bits I noticed a little brown rust staining on the underside of the wheel arch. I thought I'd investigate with my screwdriver - which went straight through
The rust mark soon became a rather large hole. Then another hole, then another....
Here is a pic of what it looked like a little while later
Bits of car!
And here is a more detailed pic with some description...
1 - Long (3cm) thin hole at corner of suspension turret reinforcement
2 and 3 - Large hole and flaky rust in "blanking plate"
4 and 6 - Large hole and flaky rust in "blanking plate"
5 - Rusty corner I later put my screwdriver through
7 - Long (3cm) think hole in corner of suspension turret reinforcement
The whole problem seems to have been started by some spongy foam just behind these rusty blanking plates. The blanking plates close off the side of a very thick steel "leg" that protrudes from the bulkhead to the bumper. The leg has an (intentional) hole in it that can let water in from the engine bay side. This water can then sit in the foam and gradually eat away at everything around it.
I'm just glad I found this when I did. Its only the thin metal that are rusted and the (much thicker) structural parts are all fine - thank God! This is all about 1" from a subframe mounting point remember so I am very lucky the thick structural parts are ok and completely unaffected.
I've now removed the rubbery foam and I will treat the remaining rust in the cavity with copious amounts of waxoyl and get a plate welded over the holes I've uncovered.
Remember all this started off with me noticiing a TINY rust stain under the wheelarch. I wouldn't have noticed that if I hadn't jetwashed the arches to within an inch of their lives.
I also had a look under the rest of the (jetwashed) underside of the car. There are a good few small bubbles in the underseal (with rust staining) but I haven't found anything other than superficial corroson yet - but there is a fair bit of that.
This is a second car for me and I take a kind of perverse pleasure in getting my cars absolutely perfect so it can stay on axle stands on the drive for a few weeks until every spot is discovered, shotblasted, treated and waxoyled. When I'm sure I've found everything, the car will be going in for welding.
In the meantime I'm doing a DIY refurb of my lovely 17" teledial wheels - and they look great so far! So its not all bad news...
Seriously though - You MUST get out there and check your cars! Mine is bodily sound - no obvoius rust anywhere. Get your front wheels off and do a bit of prodding - it could save you hundreds in the long run!