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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,
okay - so I was feeling really good because after the tragic hit and run on my 71 Spider last summer I used it as an excuse to have it painted for the first time in its life and I had the seats reupholstered and managed to get them back in and it looks beautiful. I was looking at the driver's side floor mat and decided it had a lot of dirt on it and took it out - upon which I noticed the insulation was wet and, presumably, had contributed to rust damage enough to create small hole in the floor pan (about 3/4 of an inch). I have no idea how the insulation got wet - the car hadn't been moved since it was moved back from the body shop on a flatbed in November - although it was raining that day. I am wondering if it is more likely that the hole had been worn down over time and the water came in from the outside. It seems to be exactly in the place where my heel sits while driving and the insulation and rubber mat were weak there. Years ago, when my dad drove the car, he had worn a hole in the mat and patched it. One way or another, it seems like I had had wet insulation over the entire winter while it sat in the garage and now I have a hole in the bottom. Several years ago, my mechanic had noticed some rust in the passenger side floor pan and had cleaned it up and simply removed the insulation, so maybe this is a week spot?

So, I'm really bummed about this - but am trying to look on the bright side that at least I found it and the damage doesn't look too bad. Now, I am wondering what I should do. Can I drive it this summer and fix it in the fall? I ask this because 1) I really don't want to have to take it back to the shop after it sat there through the later summer and all fall last year and 2) shops are all closed now on account of the pandemic anyway. Would it be crazy to clean it up (I already took out the wet insulation) and maybe lay a piece of sheet metal and rubber pad down and then the floor mat and drive it until the fall?

Thanks for any advice - always grateful for what I learn here.

Thanks.
Ryan
 

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Many of us would lay awake at night dreaming of having just a single small rust hole to deal with.
It is worth checking further, including the passenger side, but subject to not finding other disaster areas, or heaps of rusted, pitted, thinning metal, I think you could certainly put things off for a while.
Do dry it out and clean it, and toss the absorbent underlay for something closed-cell.
A rust-converter or rust-encapsulation product would slow the rust down until you get to it. Or even just fish oil...but it pongs a bit.
Check the underside for rust too, and give it the same treatment.
if you do suspect the water is coming up from below, put a patch on the underside too or instead.
Check it from time to time for dryness.
Then go and drive it to help take your mind off you-know-what.
 

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Check your scuttle and doors are draining ...

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Many of us would lay awake at night dreaming of having just a single small rust hole to deal with.
It is worth checking further, including the passenger side, but subject to not finding other disaster areas, or heaps of rusted, pitted, thinning metal, I think you could certainly put things off for a while.
Do dry it out and clean it, and toss the absorbent underlay for something closed-cell.
A rust-converter or rust-encapsulation product would slow the rust down until you get to it. Or even just fish oil...but it pongs a bit.
Check the underside for rust too, and give it the same treatment.
if you do suspect the water is coming up from below, put a patch on the underside too or instead.
Check it from time to time for dryness.
Then go and drive it to help take your mind off you-know-what.
Thanks Ranz, that makes me feel a lot better. I did check around and it seems like the problem is just in that one spot.

Do you have any advice for a suitable closed-cell product to replace the old stuff?
 

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Any foam supplier can sell you closed cell foam (think exercise mats). Some with sticky back surface. The idea about using closed cell (rather than open cell, like a sponge) is that it doesn’t hold water.
specialised Auto products are available from suppliers like Dynamat. You often pay extra for the name. Soundproofing is said to be better, but how do you block out sound in an open car?
Chances are your local auto parts store stocks specialty products too.
 

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Can I drive it this summer and fix it in the fall? I ask this because 1) I really don't want to have to take it back to the shop after it sat there through the later summer and all fall last year and 2) shops are all closed now on account of the pandemic anyway. Would it be crazy to clean it up (I already took out the wet insulation) and maybe lay a piece of sheet metal and rubber pad down and then the floor mat and drive it until the fall?
Sure, go ahead and drive it - the floor isn't structural and that little hole won't do any serious damage. Yes, the hole may admit water when you drive on a wet day, but not enough to rot out the whole floor area. If you remove the water-absorbing insulation and replace it with closed-cell foam, the car will be better protected than it was before. You might also lift the carpets and insulation after each drive in the wet, to allow things to dry.
 

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Check your scuttle and doors are draining ...

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sure, go ahead and drive it - the floor isn't structural and that little hole won't do any serious damage. Yes, the hole may admit water when you drive on a wet day, but not enough to rot out the whole floor area. If you remove the water-absorbing insulation and replace it with closed-cell foam, the car will be better protected than it was before. You might also lift the carpets and insulation after each drive in the wet, to allow things to dry.

thanks Jay, this is all making me feel better. I'm going to look for closed cell stuff. I noted that the when the mechanic fixed the rust on the passenger side, it seems that he just removed all the insulation, so it will be nice to replace that over there too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Any foam supplier can sell you closed cell foam (think exercise mats). Some with sticky back surface. The idea about using closed cell (rather than open cell, like a sponge) is that it doesn’t hold water.
specialised Auto products are available from suppliers like Dynamat. You often pay extra for the name. Soundproofing is said to be better, but how do you block out sound in an open car?
Chances are your local auto parts store stocks specialty products too.
got it, thanks Ranz.
 

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thanks Pete, that's good advice. Any advice on how to find and check the scuttle?
Coupes have a scuttle drain hose, that if split will empty water on to your floor, or if the scuttle rusts you also end up with water on the floor (as per my GTV). I assume Spiders have the same. I would stick your head under the dash each side and check this hose is not split and everything is dry. Maybe even pour water into the scuttle while somebody else looks for water entering the car (while there you should clean the scuttle out as they often get fill of leaves ... wet leaves cause rust). The water might be coming up from underneath, but best to check all options.

I do not know anything about how Spider doors drain, but I had a Mk3 Ford Cortina, as my first car, and the rear carpet used to get wet because the bottom of the door was trying to imitate a pool ... I poked a stick through the drain holes and it took minutes to empty ... lol. As my first car it took me a while to track that one down!, and I do know that my GTV's doors have 3 drain holes each.
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Coupes have a scuttle drain hose, that if split will empty water on to your floor, or if the scuttle rusts you also end up with water on the floor (as per my GTV). I assume Spiders have the same. I would stick your head under the dash each side and check this hose is not split and everything is dry. Maybe even pour water into the scuttle while somebody else looks for water entering the car (while there you should clean the scuttle out as they often get fill of leaves ... wet leaves cause rust). The water might be coming up from underneath, but best to check all options.

I do not know anything about how Spider doors drain, but I had a Mk3 Ford Cortina, as my first car, and the rear carpet used to get wet because the bottom of the door was trying to imitate a pool ... I poked a stick through the drain holes and it took minutes to empty ... lol. As my first car it took me a while to track that one down!, and I do know that my GTV's doors have 3 drain holes each.
Pete

thanks Pete - I'll check this out
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Following up on this. I've cleaned the area out and the insulation was damp about 3 inches up from the floor. A fair amount of surface rust, but the only weak spot is the hole (photos attached). I found two sections of rubber tubing under the insulation, which I can't imagine the purpose of (photo also attached). I plan to take vinegar to it next and then use a rust converter and paint. I have some closed-cell insulation on order. I haven't investigated where the water is coming from, but Pete's suggestion about the scuttle seems likely.

Questions:
1. Would it be crazy to patch that hole with Por 15 Epoxy Putty or a similar product?
2. Would it be crazy to do this if I had no experience using it?
3. If I did do it successfully, would it be crazy just to stop there and not seek professional fixing?

thanks everyone.
 

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They always look worse before they finally look better. Scrap the isolation off until you have solid metal of at least 1" width around the hole, and then take a photo so we all can fully understand the rust severity issue.
  • If you end up with a 1 or 2" rust hole, I recommend getting somebody to patch the floor (properly butt welded) and then paint and as long as the water leak is resolved problem solved for a long time. If you have a mate that can weld, a slab of beer might be your only financial outlay.
  • If you end up discovering that the whole floor panel (from chassis rail to gearbox tunnel) where your feet sit is rusty, then I recommend removing the seat and checking the quality of the rest of that floor panel (goes from front bulkhead to rear seat ankle bulkhead [sorry don't know proper name]). If only where your feet sit is rusty but it is bad, you can get a repair panel that is half the full floor panel and the right person will be able to put it in relatively easily. Then again paint (other panels where they were welded too) and solve the water leak too ... and that part is a good as new.
Rust has to be fixed by metal replacement, and you are lucky here it is just the floor pan and not a visible panel that has to be repainted at great expense :)

Best
Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They always look worse before they finally look better. Scrap the isolation off until you have solid metal of at least 1" width around the hole, and then take a photo so we all can fully understand the rust severity issue.
Okay, photos included here. Lots of surface rust but the metal is clean around the hole. Utility knife included as a size reference.
1621053
1621054
 

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Pete provides good advice above. There are other options for a temporary repair but removing all of the corrosion and installing new metal is the best approach for a permanent solution. I would not call that surface rust. At least a small portion of that floorboard is pretty much toast.
 

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Agree with 65Sprint

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Pete provides good advice above. There are other options for a temporary repair but removing all of the corrosion and installing new metal is the best approach for a permanent solution. I would not call that surface rust. At least a small portion of that floorboard is pretty much toast.

Thanks Rich. Yes, agree, I know part of it is toast - I just mean that the areas away from the hole, fortunately, seem to jsut be surface rust - but yes, the hole is toast and needs new metal. Might have to wait a while until people who can weld stop social distancing, which is why I'll probably go with a temporary solution until the fall. Glad I found this before I lost too much of the floor. Thanks for the very useful advice, everyone.
 

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Sounds like a good plan. Certainly several options exist to preserve the good metal until there is an opportunity to do a permanent repair.
 
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