How to Repair Rust Above the Wheelwells on a Ford F150 Truck

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As cars and trucks age, the ravages of road grime and salt take their toll. Trucks are very susceptible to rust in the wheelwell area since a lot of grime is picked up from the road and deposited in the wheelwell. No special tools or skills are needed to repair a rusty wheelwell. With a little time and patience, the rust can be dealt with and the wheelwell can be made to look like new.

Things You'll Need

  • Power drill with a wire brush or sanding disc
  • Body filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Body file
  • Primer
  • Tin snips
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Sheet metal or fiberglass or window screen

Prepping the Area

  • Remove all paint from the affected area with a wire brush or sanding disc mounted on a drill. If power tools are unavailable, then several sheets of sandpaper and elbow grease will do the job.

  • Remove any body trim pieces unless they help maintain the contour of the area.

  • Remove all loose metal and any pieces that are badly corroded using tin snips or a hacksaw. Hammer the edges of the metal to create a depression; fill material will be added later.

  • Remove all of the powdery rust with a wire brush and wash the area down with water. If the backside of the area you are working on is accessible, cover it with rust-inhibiting paint.

Finishing the Repair

  • Block off the hole from behind using sheet metal, fiberglass or a window screen. This will prevent you form using too much body filler.

  • Follow the body filler package directions to mix the filler. Use the supplied applicator to fill the repair area. Draw the applicator across the top to smooth the filler and have it match the contours.

  • Let the filler harden once you have matched the contour. Do not overwork the filler; it will start to harden and stick to the applicator.

  • Allow 20 minutes for the filler to set, then apply another thin coat of filler. Repeat this step until the filler is slightly higher than the surrounding metal.

  • Use the body file to remove excess body filler. Smooth the repair by using sandpaper: start with 180 grit and finish with 600 grit wet/dry.

  • Wash the repair area with clean water, then dry-spray the area with primer. The primer will show any imperfections; fix these with sandpaper and fresh body filler. The area is now ready for paint.

References

  • Ford Pick-ups & Bronco Haynes Repair Manual; M. Christman, J. Raffa and J.Haynes; 1996
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