Honda Civic EG Rear Quarter + Rocker Panel Rust Repair – Slideshow

Welcome back to the 6th gear garage. Long
before iPhones existed and youtube was just getting started, I repaired the rusty rear
quarters and rocker panels on my 1992 Honda Civic. Today we’re going back in time and
I’ll show you the process from start to finish.
Honda civics are known for rusting out. Road salt and moisture seep into spot welds, especially
around the rear wheel opening, and once rust starts, it spreads like cancer on these cars.
Because I did this repair back in 2006, There were only photos taken, because video resolution
back then was the quality of a potato. So, yes it’s a slideshow, but very well documented…
So I hope you enjoy! In the year 2000,I bought this 92 Civic with
100k miles. It had only one tiny bubble in the paint on the passenger fender. By fall
of 2005 at 177k mi the body wasn’t so pretty. The car had been driven in northern Ohio winters.
I loved this car, so I decided to give bodywork a try. I had many of the tools, or was able
to borrow them.I bought a Lincoln 110 volt MIG welder & accessories which would pay for
itself on this job. ($430 shipped brand new from ebay)A compressor & air tools made life
easier too. A cutoff tool, angle die grinder, and 5″ sander were used. The sander wasn’t
as nessacery though.I also used an electric 4.5″ grinder and drill, both of which are
needed. The drill is used to drill out the spot welds so have some sharp bits. Also have
a couple wire wheel attachments for the drill to remove the factory body sealer. Other tools
were vise grips, c-clamps, quick grip clamps, and some special clamps to hold on the panel
for welding (although I found it easier to hold the panel by hand to tack it on)
Let’s get started! Remove the rear bumper, tail lights, tail
gate/trunk, side skirts and side molding if your civic has it. Pull out the interior plastic
panels. Lift the car & support with jack stands, then remove the rear wheel. Using the new quarter panel, hold it to the
car and use it as a template to trace. Remember it is better not to cut too much out than
to go over and remove too much metal. It is always easier to remove metal than to add
it back in! Here, I have drawn the cut line with a sharpie marker and cut another 1/8″
outside that line using the air cutoff wheel. Using the drill with a wire wheel on the end,
I brushed the seams of the panel, removing the factory seam sealer. After removing all the sealer, you can see
the spot welds holding the panel to the body. Each spot weld must be drilled out (unless
you’re lucky enough to have a spot weld remover.) The drilling takes a while, so keep a cup
of oil near so you can frequently dip the tip of the bit in the oil to keep it cool After drilling them ALL (there’s always
a couple you don’t see at first) pull the panel from the body. This pic was taken looking down into the fender
well from the top where the cut was made. That black strip is the seal that honda
put between the quarter panel and inner fender. I guess it wasn’t enough. There are more spot welds to drill on the
fender lip. If your rust was bad like mine, some of them will be rusted through. After
you drill these, there are a few more on the bottom holding the panel to the rocker. Then
you can pull the old quarter panel off. Here’s what your interior will look like,
I’d remove the rear seats, trunk carpet, and plastic. You’ll need access to the panels
from the inside and when you start welding, it will help avoid any accidents with hot
metal and catching things on fire. Here is my rocker panel. when I removed the
plastic side skirt, I saw there was rust showing through. I poked it with a screw driver and
it went right through! Back in 2006, nobody was producing replacement rocker panels for
the 92-95 civic, so I made some. Using some sheet metal, I measured the dimensions
and drew some rocker panels up. You could also make some out of thin cardboard first
and use that as a template for the final metal ones. To bend the sheet metal, I clamped it in a
bench vise with a thicker strip of steel on the front side to use as a straight edge.
Then clamped the sheet metal to the straight edge all the way across. Next I hammered it
evenly across with a mallet until it was just about at a right angle. Then flipped the rocker
panel piece around and repeated the process for the other bend. Not bad for my first time with basic tools! The rotted area was pretty long. my pieces
of sheet metal weren’t large enough to make the new piece in one sheet. Next I made a
piece to go toward the front of the hole. But first I coated the inside with rust inhibitor.
There are many types, some brush on, some spray on. After the Rust inhibitor cured,
I primered the inside. Then I cut an angle on the pieces where they
taper in, Tack weld them both in and made sure everything fit. When welding body pieces
like this, it is best to tack in a few places. Then go back and tack between the first tacks,
then tack between those tacks etc. A clean weld looks nice, but it will get too hot welding
in a straight bead and the sheet metal will likely warp or even burn through. Keep tacking and eventually the holes will
fill in. Then, I ground it down smooth and filled in any spots I noticed I missed. Repeat
the process again and again. Although it doesn’t look pretty, nobody
will ever know. I cut out the rotted areas of the inner fender and welded in new sheet
metal. Then sealed it inside & out. After the rocker panels are completed, or
if yours weren’t bad like mine, It’s time to weld in the quarter panel. The First task
is getting the fit just right. It is not easy, and trimming is a subtractive
process so take your time. You can see near the bottom of the body I trimmed off too much,
and had to tack in a gap that was 1/4″ at the bottom. Before you weld, grind the paint
off the inside and outside edges of both pieces of metal. This will produce cleaner welds,
free of contaminates. An extra person would be helpful here, or
get creative with the clamps. When you have the panel positioned, begin tacking. Just
tack it in a couple spots and keep checking to make sure it didn’t move. If everything
is good, then begin tacking in between those tacks…. just like before.
Keep filling in more tacks again and again..(Also note that you see there is no hole drilled
where the rear bumper attaches to the quarter. You will need to do this after the quarters
are welded in. Fitting the rear bumper will come last since it is more flexible and can
adapt.) After being ground smooth, the Next task was
to weld the bottom of the panel to the inner fender well. Originally these were spot welded
from the factory, but I’m just going to tack weld the seam and seal it from the inside
& out. I Got creative with the clamps again. Now
welding on the passenger side is complete! Note the tail light nearby. Keep the tail
light around when you’re test fitting your quarter panel, to be sure it’s centered
when installed. Next I started on the driver’s side. Here’s
the rocker panel after I poked through all the rusted areas. The driver side panel must be cut to go around
the gas door opening. My driver side rust didn’t go up too high so I didn’t even
need all of the new panel. I used the wire brush attachment again to
remove all the body panel adhesive, exposing the spot welds. The inner wheel well wasn’t rotted like
the passenger side was, but there was a different problem… First, I cut away all the existing rust with
the angle die grinder. I used a piece of cardboard to make a template
for a patch. Then traced the shape onto a piece of sheet metal. Here it is welded in and sealed. Now I’m Drilling out the spot welds on
the driver side rocker panel. Note the marks I put above the square side skirt mounting
holes, so that I know where to drill the holes on the new panel. After cutting out the old rusty piece, more
rust inhibitor was applied to the inside. Before applying the inhibitor, I ground as
much as I could to remove surface rust, and then cleaned the inside. From there, follow
the directions of the type of rust inhibitor that you use. The Driver side is all welded in and ground
smooth.Now I’ve done the majority of the work. From here I need to tack up where your
the welds once were, as I did on the right side of the car… Then I sealed everything up, inside and out.
I was also sure to apply body sealer between the inner & outer lip of the wheel well. Then
I applied generous amounts of sealer from the inside of the car to be sure that the
problem won’t return. I Also undercoated the underside of the inner wheel wells too.
After all the work that just went into the car, it is worth going the extra step to protect
it. Here is the inside of the rear panel after
installation. I used a wire wheel brush on the inside to
clean the weld area and then coat it with aerosol Undercoating.
Before you start getting the body ready to paint, there’s one more thing you should
consider… rolling the rear fenders. If you’re lowered and running a wider tire than factory,
then you should do this. There is a normally the risk that you could crack the paint, but
now is the time you don’t have to worry about that!
Put your wheel/tire on and with the car on the ground, look at the amount of space. Find
a bat or pole that isn’t too big. Lift the corner of the car up a little so the wheel
is still touching the ground. Insert bat (may want to put a piece of cardboard or similar
between bat and fender so you don’t scrape up your bat). Slowly lower. Now just turn
the bat between your fender and tire and roll it along. Go slow and take your time. I went over it
twice and gained about an extra inch of clearance. Now for the installation of the side skirts….First
I had to measure where the holes would be. (During all the rocker panel work, I ended
up removing the black marks I made above the holes.)
This wasn’t too hard, I installed all the white plastic clips onto the back of the side
skirt. The original holes toward the front are still there. Putting the clips on the
front of the sideskirt part way into their holes, it will pretty much line up where your
new holes will need to be toward the back. I did a vertical measurement first, to make
sure the holes weren’t too high or low. Now I just had to be accurate from Left to
Right. I put a small dab of grease on the tip of the white clips and lined up the side
skirt. I partially put the white clips in the front holes and this showed me where the
rear holes will be. I already marked where they should be vertically, now where the grease
mark was left is where the hole needs to be horizontally. Where the 2 lines came together
is where to drill! Now if you are a little off, it is OK. Next
you will need to file the small round hole into a bigger square hole. Keep test fitting
the side skirt with the white clips installed. Each time you test fit, you will see which
side of the square hole you need to file on. If your skirt looks to be too low, then file
the top of the hole away. If the clip is not going in because the hole does not go to the
right enough, file that side. Be careful not to file too much though, or the clips will
be too loose. best thing to do is keep the side skirt with white clips installed right
there and keep checking. After your panels fit, you can clean & primer
the area.You’ll know they fit when the skirts pop in with an easy punch. if you keep punching
them hard, then you need to file a little more.
To get the skirt & clips off after installing, slide the whole side skirt forward from back
wheel to front wheel. The skirt will release from the clips. Then turn each white clip
45 degrees and wiggle it out. Here it’s Cleaned & painted with some self
etching primer. When you are welding, be VERY careful not
to get the metal too hot or it WILL warp. The metal on these cars is so thin it can
happen very easily. Both sides of my car were warped inward after I was done welding. I
kept checking them in the beginning and they were ok. It must have happened at the very
end when i was going back and tacking in between all the welds. So I had to use some filler
in the warped area to fill in the recessed part. It was very time consuming to sculpt
it back to the shape of the car. But after much sanding, it is complete. This was the
first time using body filler and It was hard to get everything perfectly smooth and not
wavy. Basicially you will start with a long board or long sanding block. Start big and
then work your way down to the minor imperfections.From here, you will prep the body to get ready
for paint. I was able to drive another vehicle during
the time I was working on this one. This is not a weekend project, I worked on this project
one day a week for a couple months. My civic was extra rusty, having to fabricate the lower
rocker panels made this project longer than expected.
When deciding if you should attempt to do this yourself, remember time is money!
Here’s some pictures of the final product: Cutting and welding in new metal is the only
sure way to stop rust. I ended up selling this car 11 years after completing this repair,
and no rust had returned on the rear quarters or rockers.
So how do the rear quarters and rockers look on your honda civic? Somehow, My 96 civic
HX had no rust after 15 years -not even a bubble on the rear quarter panel.
Do some years rust more than others? This repair is a featured DIY Tutorial from
the forums. I’ll post a link to the original thread in the description.
You can join and comment on the forum, or below in the youtube comments – I read em
all. Thanks for watching and please consider subscribing
for more how-to videos and vehicle updates, here at the 6th Gear Garage.

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32 thoughts on “Honda Civic EG Rear Quarter + Rocker Panel Rust Repair – Slideshow

  1. This both terrifies me and gives me hope. My '96 hatch has quite a bit of rust on the fender, but it looks like it might be much worse than I thought if it rusted like yours.

  2. Absolutely the best Civic Eg rear quarter panel replacement tutorial on the internet! I am glad that you were able to elaborate upon the details.

  3. First thing when buying a 90's Honda: Peel that rubber liner off the inner edge of your wheel wells. It traps water and causes rust.

  4. Very helpful even with slide show ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  5. i got really big problem on my eg.. i dont have where to tighten my left Rear Trailing Arm Bushing because of the rust… my body is rusty crap just tell me is it there a way to fix that problem… does somebody done it already? im searching for months the whole internet and i cant find anyting.. PLEASE HELP ASAP!

  6. Now thats love! For the civic! If I knew how to do that and had my own garage, I would enjoy working on my white ek 4 door.

  7. Actually bought a similar civic last month for around 450dollars. Had a thought to try to do an amateur repair on the rust spots but after watching this videos I'm kinda scared to even try. Looks like a big job for a first timer. It's not as rusted as the car on this video but who knows what I'll find if I take it apart. It has also been painted mint green(used to be red) for some reason by the previous owner. Might just fix the easy spots and leave the rear panels alone. But who knows, it was supposed to be a project car anyway besides my main drive.

    Great job on your civic, tho. Looked spectacular if you compare to what it was.

  8. Nicely done. Iโ€™m into final assembly on my 96 ej6 and just now cruising around seeing how others approached their Honda cancer for comparison.
    Glad to see you not glossing over the need to address the inner wheelwells. Seems some people just stick quarters on and I dunno, try not to think about the rot holes behind them?
    Also similar to my case, I did it because I love the car. Most people would say it isnโ€™t โ€œworthโ€ fixing, but all Iโ€™m really out is a few hundred bucks in materials and my sweat equity.
    Oh, AND also similar, I took it as an opportunity to roll the fenders without worrying about cracking paint haha. Brilliant minds…

  9. Nice work! I am looking into doing this exact job on my sedan. I am just not sure how to coat the inside of the welds on the lower dogleg of the quarter (narrow section that runs down into the rocker). There isn't any acces on the inside since the inner panel runs almost right agains't the outer that is being welded in. If I don't coat the inside of the welds at the bottom, will the patch rot from the inside?

  10. It's true. Some cars have more rust even if there is the same model. My father had some Civic Aerodeck from 00 full of rust everywhere. My brother have the same from 01 and totally clean . Maybe they learned their lessons or they cure better the metal in different periods or factories. Or they use different kind of metal from different supplier

  11. pluging thoes holes in rockers is better and use newer 02 si 3dr skirt clips there held on with 3m adheasive and fit eg skirts

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