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2010 Malibu 1LS Mocha Steel Metallic
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That area is just all around not well designed. My bu also rusted out there. The problem is, its rusted on the inside layer and reaching through to the outside. Its near impossible to properly sand the backside to prevent the rust from coming back, but it can be done. You can either sand it all down both sides, cover it with rust reformer, primer and paint it. Or do what I did, and cut that part of the sheet metal out, fill in the majority of the area with expanding foam body filler, rebuild the body shape with Bondo, then primer and paint it.
It'll be a fair amount of work either way, but if you plan on keeping the car long term its best to get it now before it spread and gets worse.
 

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2010 Malibu 1LS Mocha Steel Metallic
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Jothro, how is your fix holding up? how long ago did you do it? does the foam absorb moisture?
thx
The side I experimented and cut the rusty sheet metal out and filled with body filler seems to be holding up well. No worries about moisture in the foam, as the expanding foam used is sandable filler used for filling holes in boats, homes, etc. And then around that I used a layer of Bondo fiberglass filler, then Bondo body filler. The other side that I just sanded down and painted over the existing metal does have some rust coming back, so I'll have to cut that out and fill it too.
Echoing what Repairman said though, its all just bandaids on what will be a perpetual problem of living in the north/rust prone environments. Its a fun project if you like tinkering and fixing things, but will take you quite a few hours, and is by no means a permanent fix.
 

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2010 Malibu 1LS Mocha Steel Metallic
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It does look a lot better than rusty metal though if done right! And materials to do it aren't too expensive. If you've got an angle grinder, you'll just need a cutting disk, and then some sandable expanding foam, and a little tub of bondo (your choice whether you want to double up and do fiberglass AND body filler). Might wanna get the finishing bondo too to fill any small holes. Then sand it down, either by hand or with a palm sander. Then primer, paint, clear coat! Total materials for when I did everything was like $130ish I think?
Also, project was done last summer. Held up through the winter, minus the side left as metal starting to rust out again.
 

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2010 Malibu 1LS Mocha Steel Metallic
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thanks guys. I did several body projects 35 years ago and have all the tools. Did you use great stuff original foam
Oh boy, good question... I don't remember if it was a specific type of Great Stuff, or if it was another brand. I'll have to take a look to see if I've got any left over
 
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