Rust - the greatest threat to the MR2?

As some MK1-owners (like myself) are starting to realise, rust is rapidly becoming the worst threat to their pride and joy. Ever since the day I bought this car (December '94), I've had rust in the rear wheel arches. Three attempts to fix it the conventional way didn't work - the rust came back every time. After the last repair, it came back after the first wash! This thing is worse than Alien!

It's been said before, but I'll repeat it again: Toyota are being modest, to say the least, when they put antirust gooey on the rear fenders. Beware! If you have an Mk1 MR2, chances are the rust is very likely about to show it's ugly face. Do yourself a favour - have it checked now, before it gets worse.

So what to do? The solution was clear, though painful to the wallet: Replace both rear fenders. The fenders will set you back some $920/£550/NOK6000, but what really bites is what you have to pay Toyota to get it done. They told me they would use some 14 hours on each fender (!!!), and they wanted $3230/£1900/NOK21000 for labour and paint. Wheee. You still with me? Good.

Now, 14 hours on each fender might seem a lot, but after having seen my car torn apart even to get the old fenders off, I have no trouble with accepting 14 hours. In fact, I'd say 20 per fender is more correct. The amount of parts you have to dismount is horrendous.

As I write this, the car is being picked up from the painter, and tomorrow all the parts will be put back on. Still there's one very important task left: PUT ANTIRUST ON THE NEW FENDERS!!! :-D

Update: After a lot of delays, I finally got my car back today (11.07.96). I went straight over to the anti-rust shop, and had them do their thing. So now I'm well and truly protected from rust. I hope. The job was, by the way, very well done. All the welding were fine and the paint matched perfectly. All I have to do now, is give it a good wash, and it'll be mint again.

Update #2: Today's 12.01.2000, and the rust is still absent! I thought I should mention that a couple of friends of mine have been fortunate in finding local wizards that have made new arches for their MR2's. You can't get arches for the MR2 in any shop, let alone from Toyota. However, considering the cost of my 'little' project, it could be worth the while to check around your local town for 'arch-wizards'...:-) To be honest, I think my solution will last a lot longer than my frineds', but hey, you can't argue with money.

Below are all the gory details from this project, documented by Eivind Andersen (click on the pictures to download the big versions (all jpeg's, ~160-250Kb)).

The holes we (veeery easily) punched through the fender with an ordinary screwdriver
The rust we found after the fenders were off. Had to remove quite a bit of the stuff and do some welding there before the new fenders could go on.
The sorry remains of the old fenders when they (finally) were off.
My poor MR without both rear fenders.
Closeups of the air intakes on both sides when the fenders were being fitted.
The car with both fenders on, the right one welded on.
Closeups of the welding.

Last updated: 30.08.00