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 I finally found enough time to begin disassembly of the doors and front fenders.  After drilling out the hinge restrainer pins and removing them I found I could remove the bolts holding the door hinges to the body using only a 1/4" ratchet.  No real effort was required, and the captive nut plates show no signs of rust at all.

Removing the restrainer pins was a bit of a learning experience.  The pin is really a rivet with a flare on the bottom side of the pin.  I found that I could grind off the flare with a Moto- tool, but the pin would not move.  Once the flare is gone I drilled 3/16" hole through the pin from the top side and then inserted a drift into the hole.  A slight twist of the drift did the trick and the rivet came out easily.  That was the second one I removed.  The first rivet was removed by using a punch sitting on a lever and hitting the lever with a hammer.  A lot of work, and possible damage to the car.

Once the door was off of the car I began to remove the fender itself.  All of the bolts were easily removed except for two.  The one with a nut on the underside of the cowl had too much paint on the nut to get a socket or wrench on it.  The bottom bolt on the air-dam was rusted beyond hope.  An angle grinder with a well worn disk (smaller diameter) worked very well on these two bolts.  I ground the heads off and removed them without damage to the fender I was removing.

Body rust is limited to the area around the captive nuts for the two bolts that attach the bottom rear of the fender to the body.  There is quite a bit of flaking rust above these mounting holes and I will need to determine whether or not metal needs replacing here as well.  Once I have the rust problems under control I will clean the metal up and coat the entire area under the fender with POR-15 and the inaccessible places will get a coating of Waxoil to prevent future rust in places like the rocker panel.

Now to get the right side ready for its new fender.

Miata Seats