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I thought I'd share a recent project I completed on my 1998 RAV4 Soft Top. When I bought it, the wheel wells were completely rotted and rusted out. Many folks said I should just slather on silicon sealant or Bondo it. I just couldn't stand the thought of a hack job like that and decided to grind everything out and weld in new steel. Here's some "before" pics as I began to cut out the bad stuff. The "after" pics show the new steel during finish grinding. I then spayed in underbody liner or primer/paint. (Sorry, I don't have the painted pics yet) This was my first welding project but I'm very happy with the result. Fortunately very little of the repaired areas were cosmetic; most everything was either under body or covered up with plastics body panels. It was a fun project but I'm very glad it's done.
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Way to go, you got in there and did a great repair, way more than just a bondo band-aide and you have the knowledge it was well done and will last.
 
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Thanks. I used 20 gauge sheet metal and MIG welded it in with a Hobart Handler 140.
 

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Thanks SlimJim. Actually, this rust was the only major problem with the car. A new (used) motor was put in, all new tires, water pump and timing belt. The car sat in my garage for over two months while I did the repair and there was not even a drop of any oil or other fluid after I was done (OK, there might have been some blood and tears, but that wasn't the car). Everything works...AC, heater, cruise control, etc etc. Plus it's a soft top which is in great condition. I knew the seller very well and he is one of those guys that takes caring for stuff to the ultimate (obsessive compulsive?) level. I've been very happy with the investment.
 

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I was looking at a white soft top rav that was for sale north of Houston tx. It had fender rust and since I don't have the know how not the tools to fix it properly I did not buy it. I wish I knew how to weld like you. Good job
 

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Excellent. Do you remember what settings you used? And with an Ar/CO2 mix?
The table inside the welder recommended volts on setting 2 and wire speed on 30. I found the wire speed to be a tad too high so I bumped it down slightly, around 27 (Volts still on 2). Many of the YouTube videos I watched said that the Hobart table settings tend to run on the high side. I found that to be true. I used .025 solid steel wire with 75Ar/25CO2 mix. Of course, I spot (stitch) welded it; you can't run beads on metal that thin.
 

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wow... want to do mine? I had the same problem... I went the bondo route. i'd love to get it done right but i'm not sure how i'd form the steel and my welder sucks. like you said, that was the worst part about my rav, not much rust elsewhere for a 20 year old car. i didnt notice when i bought it because there was still some material there, till i poked it all away and realized what it was... still no regrets though, love my rav. (wow first post, guess i've been lurking longer than i though..)
 

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In such projects you have to completely cut the "sick" place.
I had only one hole outside, but inside I found more surprises. So apart from welding the wheel arch I replaced the thresholds. The fuel tank did not look so good, so my "blue dolly" got a new one.

I disassembled the whole suspension, fuel tank, exhaust and so on. Using steel brushes and other tools I completely cleaned rust, then locally acid to steel, reactive primer and preservation coating - no bitumen and other asphalt only 2K polyurethane resin-based textured protective coat. Extreme mechanical strength, scratch and solvent resistance. Protects against adverse weather conditions, petrol, oil, water and salt. Sound-proofing and sound-dampening properties. Next week I will put protective wax on chassis, closed profiles, doors, cavities, thresholds -

I am convinced that now it is better secured than new and this way I got a good base for further modifications
 

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1999 Toyota RAV4 with 3MZ-FE 6 cylinder engine, camo wrap, OME lift, heavily modded
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Outstanding work, I recently did all this to my ¡Ay, Caramba! and I agree she's better than new.
 
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