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Old 08-13-2015, 12:38 PM   #19 (permalink)
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On this episode of Prius Rust CSI...

Yesterday evening I opened up the passenger side rocker panel.

It's not quite as rusty as the driver's side. Interestingly, there is no rust hole on the "shelf" inside the wheel well (though the coating is gone from it, and the bare metal is rusty).

So how is salty water & dirt getting inside to make a mess of things?

I think Speeed3 already explained it:

Originally Posted by Speeed3 View Post
If you remove the rear tire spat, underneath it there’s a hole... Tire spat has seal in it that will seal the opening.
Here's the tire spat/deflector.... showing telltale signs of rust beneath it:

Spat removed, you can see the factory drain hole in the end of the rocker (which I already cleaned out before I took this pic):

Inside my rusty rocker was a lot of very fine grain grit & sand. Most of it was concentrated near that hole. How did it get in?

Toyota put spongy gasket material on the spat where it contacts the wheel arch in an effort to prevent grit & water from getting inside the drain. Gasket highlighted in this pic:

But judging by the amount of fine grit and rust I found in the rocker in & around that drain hole, it's clearly not an effective seal.

Another view of the drain from other side of the crime scene:

Moral of the story for gen. 2 Prius owners: pull those plugs/fasteners out of the bottom of your rockers and get some rust-inhibitor inside.
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