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01 GT - Rear quarter replacement

1220 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  SoCal2V
Have a GT that had very light side swipe damage. You couldn't really see anything until you physically inspected it. Now Ive had some rust bubbles pop through at outside on top of the wheel well. A buddy of mine who owns a 94 5.0 and has done a lot of body work suggested you can cut out and patch back in. I was wondering how difficult it would be to simply replace the panel.

Found this post on the forums:

'how to do 1996 Mustang GT Rear Driver side Quarter panel replacement'

Would this be similar to a 01 SN95? Would anyone happen to have a link to a step by step or pictures or guide?

Thanks guys.
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Although a long time ago, I do have some experience in auto body (used to do paint prep and post-paintbooth detailing) so I've at least been in the room for a lot of this sort of stuff. Additionally, after a minor thing a couple years ago I had some work done on my car's passenger side quarter panel.....

Anyway, depending on how much damage - and you'd be amazed how seemingly little it takes, a good shop that is interested in the very best outcome will most often recommend a full panel replacement. The main problem with trying to bend or pound things back into shape is that because the sheetmetal on modern cars is so thin that any efforts to bend it actually just stretch the metal and exaggerate the issue, requiring excess amounts of body filler to true the surface. The problem with body filler is that really anything more than just a small thin layer here and there has a tendency to de-laminate from the metal surface over time (I can post pics later of my '67 where this has happened).

As far as trying to cut out the damaged area and replace with a piece from another panel, it can often be difficult for even an experienced body man to do and get it 100% right. People who do this sort of work proficiently tend to work more in custom body shops than your average collision repair shop, as it really is a specialty unto itself. And that's not to say that a collision shop body man sucks in comparison or is most likely incapable of pulling it off, it's that the two types of body man sort of do different things and have a varied skill set from one another.

Onto my somewhat recent experience... About 2 years ago while driving through a parking lot some guy in a Ranger backed out of a parking spot and into my car as I drove past. His back bumper hit just rear of the fake scoop at about the top of the wheel arch. Very minor damage, the deepest depression was less than 1/4". The area of damage was between the scoop and bumper cover (small gouge on the bumper cover). Would post pics but they were on an old phone that I lost.

Quarter panel replacement on these or really any modern car is major surgery. It requires very careful cutting in all the right places and separating some pretty strong welds. This is not a "nuts n' bolts" sort of operation like a front fender or hood panel, at all. Definitely not the sort of thing for anybody with less than an expert degree of experience (along with all the proper tools, welder etc) to be fooling around with.

The shop I chose to have the repairs done at was where a good friend of mine who has 10+ years experience painting cars was working at the time, so I knew the place had their shiz together and was going to take the best possible car of my baby. They ended up doing a full panel replacement, for the exact reasons stated above. Also included was blending the passenger door, decklid and bumper cover, and then entire car was buffed out as to minimize the difference between the fresh and at the time 11 year old factory paint. Total bill was about $3700 but covered by the other guys insurance, so... End result is the car came back to me absolutely perfect, as if nothing ever happened.

Anyway that is what little I know about this. I have seen enough half-assed paint jobs and body repairs over the years to pretty quickly recognize the difference between doing things the right or wrong way. I'd be interested in seeing pictures if you're able to post a few. If in your shoes, I think your best option is to take your car to at least 2 or 3 local body shops that have a good rep and get their professional opinions on how best to fix it, and any possible issues with the way you are so far proposing to fix.. Take a look at some cars they've recently finished to get an idea for the quality of work they do. If paying out of pocket, it won't be cheap, but good work never is.
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