R4 - cancer in firewall near battery
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  1. #1
    Tadpole stephanklemens's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    Default R4 - cancer in firewall near battery

    Hello everyone,
    I discovered yesterday that the R4 I am restoring at the moment has sone serious rust in the firewall around and below the battery box streching all the way down to the brake pedal mount. Does anyone know if there are still replacement sections for this part around or has one in the back of the shed????

    In case you have a part catalogue the numbers are
    8204546 for the wall, 8214647 for the battery box.

    Any help / advice with this would be appreciated!

    Thanks
    Stephan

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  2. #2
    Simon's Avatar
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    This is a known rust place, leaves and stuff get jammed between the inner wing and the battery box, rusting out where the inner wing bolts to the battery box. Then battery acid takes its usual toll. The rust around the pedal box mount is associated, brake fluid peeling the paint off combined with acid, debris and water. The sponge rubber chock between the inner wing and base of the pedal box and the bulkhead also adds fun as it absorbs all three fluids and they work their magic on the paint and thin metal.

    As the bulkhead changed on the later models, getting a new one from Renault would be difficult (but probably worth a try) unless there is someone with a NOS panel, or has a donor panel. As it is flat though, it is fairly easy to fabricate a new section, knocking up the flanged edge around the pedal box, and hopefully the rust hasnít extended into the areas where there are the pressed in ridges and grooves, which will only add excitement in trying to reproduce the various pressings. The battery box would be fairly simple to fabricate, and repairing the inner wing on the curve would take time but wouldnít be impossible. Caravelle Imports in Melbourne may be worth a call to see what Spanish panels are still available. Noting that the later inner wings would likely accommodate the glass bottle coolant vase, and the latest ones are different again.

    While it is all apart, check the box section that forms the dashboard, sometimes water enters through the vent flap and rusts the base of the dash panel (through unsealed gaps in the dash), this can also be seen as a line of rust or bubbles where the base of the dash is spotted to the bulkhead from the engine compartment side.

    Also a biggy check is the clutch/brake pedal bracket, this can fracture on the early models where the captive bolt goes through the bracket. Whilst in the car it is difficult to see, but out of the car it is fairly obvious.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have some serious cancer. Given the amount of work to replace such key panels, and the fact that it will never be quite the same afterwards anyway, I would suggest sourcing a rust free shell to use as a base. A much easier and cheaper and ultimatly better solution.

    PS - rust free R4 shells for sale cheap
    I tried to drown my sorrows in alcohol, but the bastards learnt how to swim

  4. #4
    Simon's Avatar
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    That all sounded a bit melodramatic until I saw the PS. :-)

    Whilst the bulkhead is a key panel, it isnít a structural load bearing item by itself, and being virtually a single sheet of steel can be welded by someone proficient in the art. Obviously to weld it properly, the shell would basically have to be removed. But rust in the bulkhead isnít something that I would discard an otherwise perfectly good shell for.

    As for the replacement shell, given the voracious desire for water and brake fluid that the sponge rubber below the pedal box has, Iíd say even the best case used shell would still require some welding of the steel connecting piece of the upper shell that butts onto the chassis below the pedal box. R4 body steel is so thin, if the rusty bubbly surface rust is bead blasted it can perforate the steel.

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