Body work 101


Staff member
There is one thing that I've learned over the years - Jeeps are rust magnets.

After the paint started to bubble on my old Jeep CJ-7 I knew it was time to take action. The process of repairing rust isn't difficult, but it is time consuming. With a little patience and hard work, you can remove the rust and repair the paint.

This article will go over the process of sanding down and removing all rust, then adding body filler to rebuild the body. Finally, you'll sand and paint to restore that factory shine.
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Step 1 - knock down the large pieces

Here's where we start, with a well rusted side panel on my Jeep. Step one of the clean up is to knock out all big rust pieces with a hammer


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Step 2 - more sanding

make sure you knock out all the big pieces, then start with some real coarse sand paper and sand away


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Step 3 - prevent more rust

Now that the rust is out, coat the area with a rust preventative, I prefer POR 15.


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Step 4 - Prime

Spray the area with some rust proof primer, to give the body filler something to stick to.


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Step 5 - first round of bondo

Get some body filler, my favorite is Bondo. It's also a good idea to wear some rubber gloves, it makes cleanup a lot easier.

Put on the first coat of body filler, just spread it out as good as you can, this layer doesn't have to be perfect. Make sure to let it dry thoroughly.

Sand down the first layer of body filler, make sure there are no points sticking out farther than they should.


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Step 6 - second round of bondo

Put on the second (and final if you're good) coat, and sand it down again

Sand everything down perfectly, and clean everything up. I used a rag and water to clean it


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Step 7 - Prime the paint

Spray with several coats of good primer, and give it the final sanding with some really fine grit sand paper


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Step 8 - paint

Give it several coats of the final color and your done. I chose rattle can blue.


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Bodywork Q & A

Some questions from a reader:

1) I have heard that it is tough to get paint to stick to POR 15. What primer did you use and did you have problems getting it to adhere to the POR 15?

2) How did you sand blast the area? I need to sand blast an entire tub, fenders and hood. I had the frame sandblasted but the medium used left lots of pits and a rough surface. Not sure I want to use the same thing for the tub, etc.

1. I've never had any problem getting paint to stick to POR, I've just primed right over it. If you're looking for something better, try this TIE COAT PRIMER-POR-15 Inc.

2. I've only sandblasted small things, never an entire body, and I've actually heard that sand can be rough on the metal. You can blast with alot of different media, I know that baking soda and walnut shells are both gentler and are pretty popular - you might be better off blasting with something else

I wish I could take a picture of my repairs I made out of a a washing machine I cut up the top of the right ft fender well had a perfect bend the others I cut a little bit larger to size and and shape of the area then drilled pilot holes there and riviteted them in to place and used dry wall tape and a fiber glass mixture to fill any gaps its not perfect but from a distance it not to bad.
I like to use duraglass and fiberglass matting. It works awesome if you do it right. The nice thing about a jeep if you got some got a welder and sheet metal most of the panels are flat so it is easy. Well.. that is if your rust holes are to big to just fill

Sent from my Ally using Jeepz
Havent got a welder,but got an oxy acetylene torch. Had the same problem in that area,I cut out all the rust,got some flat sheet metal and cut it as close to the size of the hole as I could,and brazed it in . Then I got the fiberglass matting to put a thin layer over top of that to fill in any holes.worked out pretty good.
But then ya can say I kinda cheated because I covered it with diamond plate cause the jeep had it on the corners and I thought it looked better with it on the rocker panels also,but none the less I think brazeing is a good way to go .
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