When the outer wheel well was cut out, I discovered a weak and rotten area of metal that is a common place to find rust. The inner and outer wheel well pieces are overlapped a little bit at the forward part of the assembly inside the well. The overlapped area tends to trap dirt and water being run around in there and eventually rust forms. I figured this was worth posting since it's probably happening on a lot of these cars by this point. The rest of the metal around here is in pretty good shape, so it could have been worse.
Once the outer wheel well was gone, the rot is exposed. This shot shows the intersection of the inner well, the floor pan, and the rocker panel.
The bad metal is cut out easy enough.
Here's more rotten metal in the pile. It's about 3 inches by 4, and is completely eaten through very thin in several places, so I'm happy to have it out.
The area is cleaned up in preparation for welding. Those two holes in the upper flange of the rocker panel aren't supposed to be there - that was a result of overenthusiastically drilling out a couple of spot welds that were holding the outer wheel well in place. I'll need to fill those holes before I put the new wheel well in.
New patch made from 20 gauge metal.
The patch was butt-welded in and plug welded where the original spot-welds were before.
Welds cleaned up and it's good as new. It's much smoother than it looks, and I'm pretty happy with it. I'll trim the bottom and outer edge to the right shape later. But you'll never see all this once the quarter panel work is done, as this will be covered with the new outer well and then covered with new sound deadener.
Now I just have to patch a couple other holes here...