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I'm looking at a friends 66 Lemans Convert to possibly buy. The car looks great and the body has no visible flaws but the trunk does have a small amount of rust in the front right corner. Is this a huge deal? Also, the 326 is original and never rebuilt. It runs strong but does burn about a quart of oil after a casual summer of driving. Big deal? Comestically the car looks great-1 repaint in 1992 and no bubbles or cracks on the body. Also, since it has a one zone system on the drum brakes I was wondering the cost to split the power brakes to two zone. Thanks for the advice.
 

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If the rust is localized, it shouldn't be much of a concern. However, the area that you describe often has more rust than what you can see: There is an area that drops down and creates a space between the trunk floor drop-down and the inner/outer wheel housing. It's common for rust in the area to have spread into all of these panel joining areas. All parts are available to repair this, but it's not a pleasant job. Just check it out well with a light and a screwdriver so you know what you're getting yourself into. Check down from the top (from inside the trunk) as well as up from the bottom and use the screwdriver to poke around.

Even a pretty tight Pontiac engine will consume some oil. If it's not visibly smoking, leaking excessively, or rattling from valvetrain noise, the engine will have lots of reliable life left in it. Tune it, drive it, and enjoy it. 1 quart for a summer's driving is negligible.

Easiest way to install a 2-zone brake system is to install the master cylinder, booster and associated lines & hardware off of a '68-'70 LeMans with drum brakes. If you want new components, Stainless Steel Brakes sells the 2-zone master cylinders and all the lines brand new so you can retrofit. They're pretty helpful if you call them and tell them what you want to do: they can line you up with all the right parts.
 

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Lars,
Thanks for the info I will look to see how far it has spread. If it has spread a bit whats the range on the repair cost??

Jim
 

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Jim -
If the rust is into the trunk floor drop-off and into the inner/outer wheel housings, it will also be into the area where the housing joins into the quarter panel. A correct repair of this type of rust damage entails cutting off the quarter, cutting out the wheel housings, cutting off the trunk floor drop-down, and welding in new components. The parts are not expensive - I just did this whole operation to a '71 H.O. Firebird, and I think the parts ran about $300. Problem is if you have to pay someone to do it, you're looking at about 12 hours labor plus refinishing costs for the entire side of the car - I doubt you'd get it done for under $2500.

If the rust is localized and only in the floor area as you initially described, it is not difficult to cut out the immediate area and weld in a very good patch. This would be a fraction of the cost of the more extensive repair.

Due to the cost of having this type of work done, many of these cars have been poorly repaired or "covered up" - especially back in the rear wheel housing/quarter panel areas. For this reason, it's important to check it out good so you don't get surprised and disappointed with a money-trap.
 
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