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BonDevil 10-31-2002 08:20 PM

Hey everyone. Over the past year my baby has developed some pretty good rust bubbles around the gas filler door. I'm not to happy about this because I talked to my autobody guy a few weeks ago and he basically told me, unless I want to drop some pretty good money into the car, I'm screwed. I'll tell you what he told me, and you can tell me if he's telling the truth, or if he's just a lazy basterd. :?

He explained to me that this is a fairley common problem with the mid 90's bonnies, and some Oldsmobiles too. He said behind where you pump the fuel into the car, is a compartment. By this I mean a welded pocket around the gas fill area. What this is for I don't know. My guess is it's there to catch fumes or to keep the pipe from the filler to the tank, in line. Now the problem with this little compartment is that it makes condensation in the pocket, thus making rust, and then it makes me really pissed. :evil:

The reason he says it will cost so much is because, the panel that filler door is on is really friggin big. Not to mention if I wanted to have it taken off they would be cutting it next to the gas tank. So I imagine they would have to take that off too.

SO are you all asleep yet?

I love this car but I'm pretty sure after one more salty Minnesota winter, this is really going to be BAD. SO do I sell it b-4 it gets to much worse and buy a newer model, or keep it and fix it ?

Whew! Thanks for sticking with me. I don't type that fast so that took a really long time .
Your thoughts, and comments will be greatly apprieciated.

bonnie94ssei 10-31-2002 10:50 PM

Hey BonDevil, seems like I have something in common. I have rust there too! It's bubbling around that wheel well and is starting to bubble under the fuel door, several small bubbles. It's pissing me off. :evil: I went to my body shop and was told it was estimated at about $700-$800 to fix!!! And they can't even guarantee it past a couple months. But once you have rust, it will eventually come back. I actually was so pissed I almost sold it bought a 96 SSEI. But it had started to rust in the same places, but on BOTH sides! I decided to keep mine and my dad is good at body work, and I'm confident in painting it. So I decided to do the work myself about two months ago, but haven't had the time yet, and winter in Syracuse SUCKS! I'm afraid if I don't get it done before winter I'll have a huge mess too. If I don't do it before that, I'm actually thinking of having the body shop do it. I'd rather save the money, but if it stays as cold as it is, the paint won't dry right, etc. But under the rubber guard thing on the front side of the rear wheel well (do you know what I'm talking about), the metal under is completely rusted through in one spot. I'm thinking I WILL need to get a pro to do that work.

Well I feel your grief, believe me! Of all the problems my car has had or may have, this is the worst and the most upsetting. I love my car and I think I'm going to put the work into it. That is unless I find another Bonnie (preferably a green/gold) and am able to sell mine.
(Exactly how many/how big and spread out are your rust bubbles? I wonder if it's not too bad you can sand it out, maybe use some body filler, and prime it good/paint it real well and save the money. That's if you feel you can do that kind of thing.)
Best of luck! Hope you can fix it. I'll let you know how I do on mine.

95BonnevilleSESC 11-01-2002 11:15 AM

Re: rust

Originally Posted by bonnie94sse
But under the rubber guard thing on the front side of the rear wheel well (do you know what I'm talking about), the metal under is completely rusted through in one spot. I'm thinking I WILL need to get a pro to do that work.

I wonder if it's not too bad you can sand it out, maybe use some body filler, and prime it good/paint it real well and save the money. That's if you feel you can do that kind of thing.)

My car has the problem under the rubber wheel well/rear door seal. Not all the way through yet, but well on its way. I don't have the problem with the quarter panel rusting under the fuel filler door (yet).

As far as sanding/filling/painting, it won't work. The bubbled paint indicates that it is rusting through from the inside. You will need to have that metal replaced. There are two ways to do this, a patch job or a complete quarter panel replacement. The latter being the more expensive, but also the better of the two. $700-$800 actually sound reasonable for that kind of repair (assuming they are doing the whole quarter panel). Good luck on your decission. I would personally pay to have my car repaired--it is a lot cheaper than buying a new one, and I think the older the car gets, the better it looks relative to the egg cars being made today. the 1992-1995 models are my favorite, followed by the 1987-1991 models. But all of them are better looking than the egg cars.

One thing that can be said about our cars (1992-1995) is that the front fenders will NEVER rust. They are a light-weight plastic compound. They also resist dents much better than steel.

bonnie94ssei 11-01-2002 04:05 PM

My friend with a 94 SE had some rust bubbles in a couple places on his car. He was able to sand them and get rid of all the visible rust and repaint the areas. But he was lucky. He was able to take a piece of sandpaper and do it. His car is in great shape for it age and miles (>150 K). But I knew mine would not be even close to as easy to fix. If my dad and I do it he'll have to use his grinder and do some major patch and fill job. I have actually been recently thinking of getting it professionally done/getting metal replaced. I don't expect to find another bonnie for sale that I like as much as mine. But I've seen how my Pontiac body shop "fixed" the rust on that 96 SSEi I was thinking about getting. I looked at it and it looked as if they just painted over it. And the paint was not even blended smoothly. There were dimples in the paint and the paint flaked off under the wheel well with rust right under it. For $800 I expect them to do a better job, and hope they would, or I'll try to find another body shop.

Do you know exactly how they'd replace that back panel?? It extends up to the roof. There's no seam that I can see, or is it somehow attached at that ridge in that panel?? Anyway, I'll most likely have it replaced since it just started snowing an hour ago!

I'm just glad the other side of my car is perfect, and that the front wells are plastic, just wish the back were. 92-95 are my favorite years too, though the new SLE and SSEi aren't too bad. I'd still buy a 96-99 if the car was right. I've read (not here) on how people criticized the back end of the 92-95 for being "ugly" and "bulgy." I totally disagree, I love the a** on my car. I should be posting pics of it tonight, I hope.

BonDevil 11-03-2002 02:40 PM

Hey fellas!
My body shop quoted me at $1,000 to $1,200 to replace the whole panel. Hell with the miles I have on my car it's only worth maybe $3,000 give or take. So I don't know if it's worth it to have that done. As for the rust bubbles, they are clustered pretty close together, but over the last ten months or so they have started to bleed. So needless to say I'm past the point of no return. I can't sand it because it is definitley all the way through. The thing that kills me is the rest of the is near perfect, interior, etc. I'll probably drive it through this winter and sell it, then buy another 94 from down south somewhere (less chance of rust), or sell it and buy a 96-99. I don't know, I guess i just can't see spending almost what the car is worth to fix it, when i can sell it and use that for a down payment on a better condition one. I'll have to see as time goes I guess :?

95BonnevilleSESC 11-04-2002 12:41 PM

To replace the rear quarter, they will cut the old one out entirely (the seams are ususally brazed and filled so that it looks continuous from roof down to wheel well). They would then weld in a new panel, fill where necessary, prime and paint. If you ever have body panels replaced, make sure that they rust proof their work. My Cabriolet had the left door reskinned. they didn't rust proof the new panel, and they sealed the drain holes at the bottom of the door. Even though I didn't drive it in the winter, the door rusted out at the bottom. The work was done prior to purchase, so I couldn't go back to the body shop.

As far as the 'value' of your car vs the cost of the repair, ask anyone who restores old cars whether the repairs exceed the FMV of the car. They will tell you that it is not about the FMV of the car, but that it is a labor of love. If you don't like your car that much, don't put the money into it. On the other hand, you know your car better than anyone. If it is a reliable car that you would like to own for an extended period of time, than fix it. There are VERY few cars out there that are investments. All cars depreciate in value, so looking at your car as an investment (or looking at the value of your car) as opposed to a utility--something that you will use until it is no longer feasable or desireable to use--is pointless.

What you can do is look at the value of a car in terms of what it will save you by keeping it. For example, if you are looking at keeping your car vs selling it and using the proceeds for a down payment, you may find that keeping a car (and putting $1,200 in to repairs) is cheaper in the long run than financing another car (or buying it outright) for more money. If you do decide to purchase another car, there is no guarentee that you aren't buying someone elses lemon (a risk we cannot avoid when buying a used car--but worth considering).

Just something to think about.

BTW, FMV=Fair Market Value--what a reasonable person would offer in exchange for property under normal cercumstances (loose definition).

BonDevil 11-05-2002 11:18 PM

WOW.....Well done SESC, I will definitly ponder that one. Regardless of what happens, I am going to drive it through this winter. I'll have to make my deciesion after that. Like you said, I know this car and I know it's reliable. So in the end it will probably be worth it to spend the money, rather than buy something I don't know about. Hell, maybe if the money is rolling next summer I'll keep this one and buy another!! I can't get rid of this one anyway, I need to get the all time highest miles record!!!!

Thank You for your input.


2001SSEi 11-10-2002 01:01 AM

If you love it, fix and keep it.

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