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I'm looking to buy a 82 280ZX that needs a new clutch and interior. I can do that myself but the problem that worries me is under the passenger side door there has been a thin peice of metal screwed into place across it. It isn't very sturdy and you can see bolt on either end of the peice. Is this a big problem or does it not effect the strength and solidness of the car. Will it have to be replaced????? \
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You didn't say whether this was on the interior or exterior of the body or the door itself. So if the current owner will let you, why not remove the two bolts and see what's underneath?

If it is rust, (could be) then if it's on the door body itself, you might be able to get a new door; have the bad area cut out and replaced; use POR-15 from what a neighbor tells me (haven't tried it myself) and then fill it with their cloth, or put the plate back on.

If it's on the body, if on the exterior, ooh bad, don't like that, sounds like someone did an el cheapo fix on the rocker panel rust or dent. If it's on the interior, then again could be rust, or could also be used to hide the access holes for the rocker panel support part of the passenger area floor pan (if on the side of the floor pan right beneath the door) If on the floor pan itself, then could also be rust, and a quickie repair instead of a cut out and weld.

Bottom line, either ask the owner, or see if you can remove and inspect.
 

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Could be a repair to the rocker panel.

Maybe there's a dent or a rust hole underneat and the bolt on panel is being used to "hide" it. You know, like on an old wooden boat, slap another piece of wood smeared with tar on top of a leak.

Is this piece painted to match the panel? If so, it more than likely is someone's idea of a quick fix. Fixing that might require welding on a new rocker panel if there's a rust hole underneath. If it's only a dent, then a good body shop can usually pull the metal and finish it smooth.

As a weird possibility, could it hide the attachment point for a side air skirt?

Good Luck
 
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