07 Camry severe corrosion - lessons learnt
While working on the car I discovered a hole in the driver's footwell. It became apparent that most of the floor comprised only non-metallic coatings and some sort of rigid sound deadening material originally applied to the thin sheet floor. It could be broken out with a fist. (Photograph below).
It appears that wherever the material was bonded to the steel that plate was at least partially corroded, including up the tunnel. Beyond the material the paint was fine. In the horizontal areas the steel sheet was gone.
I was shocked at the extent of damage on an 07 vehicle and the way it had been hiding behind layers of sound deadening materials, fitted carpet, and underseal below.
I think the following factors played a part in causing the situation:
- Water from winter use caused wet carpets and foam (this vehicle has never had contoured / deep profile mats (which we now use on other vehicles and highly recommend). Not that unusual to get wet mats in the winter.
- A rigid sound material was stuck to the steel floor before factory painting (as paint was on top). Rust crept between this material and the steel which then had little protection. Directly on top of this was a sheet of water absorbent foam with fitted carpet over that.
- factory rubber backed carpets retained moisture in fitted carpet below. These were always zip tied in due to "unintended acceleration" requirement to fix mats
- once the floor was perforated water from the wheels was blasted in.
The passenger side seems OK but I think a strip out and repaint will be needed sooner rather than later at least to check everything is OK and protected. I suspect there will be rust there but at an earlier stage.
Also behind the plastic wheel liners in the front wheel wells were something akin to a black diaper that was soaking wet. I removed these as they were up against the steel body.
Interestingly while stripping everything out of the footwell I found part of Toyota`s modifications to the accelerator - a piece of styrofoam duck taped to the floor under the carpet beneath the accelerator pedal! (can be seen in photo).
Hopefully this info might be useful for someone with a Camry or other vehicle potentially having these issues.