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2G Tower rust repair

Posted by TTnelco, Jun 1, 2020

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  1. TTnelco

    TTnelco Probationary Member

    18
    10
    Joined Aug 25, 2019
    Key largo, Florida
    I haven’t found a really good thread on this, and it is obviously a big issue with these cars. I’ve seen multiple threads people saying to scrap cars and send them to the junk yard because of some rust. I would implore you to at least try to fix it before you send one of the poor DSM’s to the graveyard. First, prior to this I had zero welding experience and minimal body work experience. I do however have a good background in mechanical work and things of that nature so I’m not clueless. I also was certified in weld inspections for the USCG, so again I atleast knew what a fully penetrating weld is , blah blah. Let’s get to it.

    This is what my car was looking like when I bought it from a guy in Wisconsin.

    68DF33F9-A81B-4AC1-8F56-7FD489221BE8.jpeg

    First thing is to measure your car and see how straight the frame is to start. This will also give you measurements to check as much as you can along the way to make sure the tower is not shifting to much. It will move, heat will cause some movement, but more then likely very minimal. You might not even be able to tell. Here is a what the measurement are from factory.

    9EEA15B1-2A27-4863-BA48-B4525C6B0DF6.jpeg A4DF09B6-74D9-4287-8420-C050EA151BB5.jpeg

    I’m not positive what years and models are exactly the same, so make sure you look up you specific cars measurements.

    Once you have that out of the way take a angle grinder or some other destructive tool of your choice and grind off the paint in the area, the rust will be much worse than it looks unfortunately. Be care to just remove the paint, I suggest you use a less aggressive flap wheel so you don’t grind down any metal. Do this on both the top and bottom. Once the paint is removed and you can see rust areas better you can cut them out. I used a cutoff wheel on my angle grinder.

    5334CB74-11B5-4938-83C0-9372E55ECBEB.jpeg 4E14EA80-9627-4622-B74D-5F3AC14CBED1.jpeg

    My car had two layers of rust. The top piece, and the piece you can see from the wheel well. Next is planning the easiest way to make a replacement piece. For me I decided it was best to cut out some
    More metal and weld along the circular portion of the tower. It was a good place to tie into the existing structure as to not make a weak spot. I also removed some exhausting metal so I could tie into the area where the existing button welds were located. This way I could also button weld the two new pieces and tie them into an existing piece of the car.

    FCF7DFE6-7DDE-4A27-A4ED-B9433FF56CA3.jpeg

    After you got good straight cuts, get some sheet metal and shape it how you want. I used a hammer and my vice, which is shaped like an anvil. Take your time it’s frustrating as hell, but you want the pieces to fit as tight and flush as you can.

    I started with the bottom piece, welded it in, then did the first top piece. I used ospho to make sure there was no more rust, then painted the metal that was going to end up enclosed with Rustoleum primer and black enamel. (I’m not going into how to weld, I bought a $99 flux core welder off eBay and went to town. Just do tack welds and move around to keep heat down. Other than watch videos and make sure your confident before you do this on the car.)

    92EFA9F0-B09A-4344-A8F2-7A5748C974CB.jpeg

    I did use some rivots to hold the repair pieces in place. It made things easier. Finally I welded in the final piece. My welds are not pretty, but the penetrated well, and will do. After you can grind the welds down carefully, make sure to go slow and not heat them up too much. You can see if any welds have small crack and redo them if needed.

    D4764480-88D2-47A1-9CF9-265750BCE2B8.jpeg ECC14EC3-4B9B-4AAC-9FF5-141505A2EEDF.jpeg
    Once that was done I used body filler to shape, and hit it with primer.

    50487462-1FC3-4052-8060-F7669F6086E8.jpeg 51AC1D30-CCA5-479B-BD8E-DCA8686D0973.jpeg

    Here is were you check your measurements and make sure nothing moved around too much. You should probably be doing it as you go along, but I didn’t and it worked out thankfully. I will be using fender braces and a couple other braces on the towers. It’s a very important part of the car, and I’m taking no chances, especially as I’m going to be using in time attack. Daily drivers should also consider using at least fender braces and tower braces if you do this for added support.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020

    Road Race Build 257  1

    1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  2. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    44
    30
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    Looks good dude. I am in the camp of people who think this is not worth the time. It's not because you can't do it, it's because there is no way to get all that rust out you can't see between the two layers. Spray in there with some wax to slow down any rust coming back.
     

    Street Build 204  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  3. 91talonts1

    91talonts1 Proven Member

    619
    269
    Joined Dec 29, 2008
    Spencer, North Carolina
    @TTnelco Nice! Looks like it turned out good. Thanks for sharing the whole process.

    @EShield I agree there's plenty of cases where a DSM is rusted to the point it's not worth trying to fix. But I did want to point out that it's individual pieces those layers are made up of. They can be taken apart so that you can be sure you got all the rust out of the tower. KIMG1281.JPG
     

    Drag Race Build 4K  15

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  4. TTnelco

    TTnelco Probationary Member

    18
    10
    Joined Aug 25, 2019
    Key largo, Florida
    @EShield I can understand that, but there will never be any 25 year old cars without rust, and if you properly treat the area you can prevent it from coming back. For me restoring a car is like giving it a second life, but pretty much every classic car when I was in high school was a rusted shell to begin with so I’m used to it.

    @91talonts1 thanks Man, wait till u see the undercarriage, it’s gunna be fun.
     

    Road Race Build 257  1

    1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  5. camocorvette

    camocorvette Proven Member

    43
    19
    Joined Aug 5, 2012
    Spanaway, Washington
    Mad props for just attacking it and doing it.
     

    Street Build 484  3

    1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    300 whp · 315 lb/ft · 2G DSM
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