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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I am trying to figure out just what causes the rust that happens in the engine compartment on top, right along where the fender attaches to the engine compartment. 2 big questions....is this a big "structural damage" issue? and what's the best way to approach fixing it? I can get a closer pic...but it's like a little volcano of rust about the size of a silver dollar...both sides of the engine compartment.
chris "rusty" d
 

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Ahhh yes Chris i am far to familiar with this particular rust.
You see what happens is our cats fenders were made with multi layerd, untreated steel thats been pressed together and then welded. After oh say 35 years or so the moisture and all finally gets to it. The rust actually starts in-between the layers and slowly burst outward generally around the bolt hole area's. This will continue unlees treated.
Generally the fender needs to be removed ONLY if it gets real bad and is hanging on by a thread..so to speak. If taken care of properly and early this should not become a structurall issue, but if left untreated or improperly treated, it can eventually rust out the inner fender aprons and surrounding areas.
I would closely inspect all areas under your hood. POR 15 is a God send and that should be used on the areas.
I hope i answerd some of your questions, i am sure there is someone on here more qualified than I to give you this advice, but i am here to help and learn:)
Good luck and let me know how things go!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So, need to just move the fender off, and re-weld a piece of metal over the area that is affected? Mine is so far only on the top and has not spread to the side fo the engine compartment....hoping I can do something with it soon.
Chris
 

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Make sure you get somthing to kill the rust that's still there. Like Rust-Mort or something like that. I've seen a few people strip a car down to bar metal and paint but never to anything to stop or kill the rust, later the rust is still alive and eventually comes back.

Tad.
 

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It can be a structural issue although the shock tower braces take care of that issue unless the damage is severe, like Dave's (OUCH!). It is not uncommon for it to rust through both the sheet and the 1/8" thick shock tower. Depending on the damage, you may have to first patch the shock tower and then repair the top sheet metal. Do not just weld a new piece of metal over the spot, the rust must be addressed first.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you...I will start chipping away at it to see the extent of the damage...
 

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Dave's 'Tiger' has only a mild case of inner fender rot! You should see some of the really bad Mustangs and Cougars I have seen!

The rust in those areas is the whole reason that I had waited 18 years to restore AlphaCat. Its inner fenders were really bad. The hood hinge on the one side actually ripped right out of the rear inner fender. Of course, the right front inner fender was completely eaten away below the also equally gone battery tray... It took the parts vendors a while to start repopping the rear aprons (for our lost generation of 71-73s), but now that they're here there's no excuse for junking a car with inner fender rot. I had bought the radiator support and front aprons 20 years ago when they were still in the Ford parts books. I had done some patching on the rear aprons, but it looked like crap and of course then I didn't have the proper location to mount the hood hinges. I got disgusted and just quit. Now that the rear aprons are available, I got off my butt and am finally finishing the restoration.

Also, up until a couple of years ago, nobody the correct floors for the 71-73s. Up until then we had to use the 67-70 floors and modify (beat) them to fit. Of couse the modified floors look like crap, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna cut them back out and fit the 'correct' ones in there.

Inner fender rust prevention tip: Waaaay back when, we used to get rid of the factory inner fender splash shields and use the entire front plastic wheelwell from a 70s Granada. They match the Cougar wheel opening real nice so they're just a five minute screw-in operation. They keep the road spray and gunk off of the upper inner fender much better than the original shields.
 

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Wow, every once in a while, you guys give me a real Cougar-Related reason I love livin' in SoCal... :)

Though, come to think of it, a few years back I DID drive my Coug up to Lake Tahoe during the winter...OMG!!! I prolly have ROAD SALT on my baby!!! *sniff, sniff*
 
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