Range Rover Classic Corrosion
Range Rover Classics are constructed from a steel body shell mounted to a steel ladder chassis. The shell is clad with a steel bonnet and tailgate and 'Birmabright' alloy panels. The panels do an excellent job of hiding the rust on the steel shell whilst it is silently corroding away. The reality is that under the body panels, most Range Rover Classics are suffering to a greater or lesser extent with most or some of the below issues:
Chassis - The body shell is fixed to the chassis with 10 rusty bolts. You can lift the shell of if you break/cut and occasionally unbolt those. Beware however if the shell is already weakened by rust - it's not strong enough to remain in shape by itself. Weak spots of the chassis are the rear and front crossmembers, outriggers and coil spring mounts.
Front Inner wings - They rot easily especially if the vehicle was used off road or if its is a later model with wheel arch liners. Mud tends to accumulate here and traps moisture. Repair sections are available as well as complete new inner wings, (which we have to modify extensively to make them correct for the model year of the car and fit). On early cars are bolted on, generally with lots of rusty bolts (on later cars the inner wings are welded which necessitates butt welded sectional repairs as can be seen below). Often the wings have been previously had patches welded over the holes which eventually rusts through - the only solution is to cut out all of the cancer back to good metal and seamlessly butt weld new metal in.
Windscreen - Bubbling under the windscreen rubber usually is quite worrying which as it has corroded, again this need not be terminal but the only way to understand the depth of the corrosion is to remove the windscreen.
Footwells/A Post - A rust prone spot is in the front footwells near and including the bottom of the A-posts. Lift the carpet in most cars and be prepared for a shock. If no holes are already here, try to make some by pushing hard with your thumb (with protective gloves) Now, grab the A-post and try to move it at it's base. If it moves only a fraction of an inch it means the body structure is seriously weakened. We can successfully make perfect repairs but they aren't easy and due to the amount of labour and therefore tend to be quite expensive.
Luggage Area - Completely remove the carpet and the soundproofing from the load bay area and brace yourselvers. Large holes will probably have developed without you ever being aware.
Rear Inner / Outer Wheelarches - On a four door car its quite easy to see the corrosion on the outer wings, they often have a section missing at the bottom and are starting to hole in the top corners - quite a straight forward but time consuming repair. On the inner wheelarch chech that the seatbelt strengthing plates have not started to corrode as this is the only item securing your back seat passengers.
Rear Cross-member - This is a very important structural beam which connects the rear of the floor to rear 'goal post' to the chassis by two mounts. Corrosion is difficult to see from the top as its hidden by the floor and disguised but it can easily be seen from the underside of the car.
Sills - Check inner and outer sills thoroughly. They are crucial to the shell's strength and again a rust prone area. Push up right behind the plastic cover and press as hard as you can over the entire length, making sure to wear your gloves again. Proper sill repairs are difficult and time-consuming. Check seat mountings too as rust from the sills can spread to the floor. On early Ranges seat belts were fixed at the same point as the seat so this place should be really sound but on later cars its not unusual to have the mounts rotted out.
Outer wings - Front and rear outer wings are made of the famous Birmabright aluminium alloy. They are held in place by bolts and pop rivets, easy to change once you get enough to determined to take them off. But you can't judge the supporting structure by looking at these panels.
Bulkhead - Corrosion is quite common to the bulkhead and the most expensive problem you can encounter as repairs here usually necessitate the removal of the wiring harness.It can be felt from under the front wheel arch after digging your way through dirt and mud. Small holes aren't too much of a problem, you will just get wet carpets and rot in the footwell. Large sections however require a replacement bulkhead which means an almost complete restoration with all the costs and work involved.
Tailgate - Sometimes so rusty they literally fall apart. Some did even seem to have come from the factory in pre-rusted condition! Upper and lower halves are equally rust prone. You can buy upper tailgates as an aftermarket aluminium item in varying qualities but new lower tailgates are generally unobtainable and good used ones can be quite challenging to locate.
That's the bad news but we have a solution which is successful long term.