Ax's are all getting on now and with plenty heading to the scrapyard with terminal rust if you want to keep yours on the road its something you really need to keep on top of. There is nobody that can ignore this guide. If you think your ax is totally rust free, keep reading.. i bet its not.
Some simple facts about rust
Well the simple answer is everywhere really. There are a few common places that ill list here but rust can form anywhere, it only takes a stone chip or a previous body repair to let rust appearer in a strange place. Ill start from the front of the car
Starting to go! This needed a small plate welding in.. which is better than a big plate.
Big plates can be useful too…
That rusty lump of metal still attached to the wing is supposed to be part of the bodyshell.. oops!
Taken from the underside of the car looking up. Showing wing mount just about attached. The hole you see is the same hole you would see when looking under the bonnet behind the headlight just from the other side.
Taken looking down into the scuttle tray (having removed the plastic panel between the windscreen and bonnet.
Also a bit of rust developing in the gutter, with a bit of clever masking this is an easy fix and could be sorted in well under an hour imo.
This needed welding, was probably caused by a small chip a good few years ago.
A nice hole, Easy to repair really so should be sorted asap. It is well within 30cm of the beam mounting point so a 100% mot fail!
Doesnt look that bad does it? Most of it was covered by the window and the window rubber. People would probably try pass it off as “surface rust”
This is the other side of the panel
It may look like this, or just a small bubble under the paint.
Cut the panel away and you can see the rust progressing on the inner panel that you can see behind the rear light
In severe cases this panel rots away totally, its sandwiched between the inner panel and the outer panel so is tricky to get access to weld new metal in. It may be hard to see in the photo, its taken from where the rear light would be and you can see the panel is missing so you can see the tyre.
Also cars with an arch kit can have problems with rust under the bodykit. Out of sight out of mind, until the arch falls off! This is the reason i would never bond a body-kit to a car as it cant be removed to inspect!
Maybe next weekend you need to take your arches off and check for any rust….
Once its been attacked with a needle gun
A bad example!! This is after some small prodding, you can see its not only gone in the boot floor but higher up too. This couldnt get much worse right?
Wrong! The sound deadening and paint was covering up even more rust
So that's the common areas to look at, some are easy to check, others not so, but its worth doing.
First job is to assess how badly its rusted. This involves cleaning it up. Get a screwdriver and give it all a really good prod. Rust has zero structural strength so there's no point leaving it there, if it can be peeled off with a screwdriver or knocked through then do it. Rubbing it with a hard wire brush will help to remove any dead metal.
You can get these sorts of brushes that go onto drills or grinders and go on at different angles. Very useful to have but sometimes are just too bulky to get in the tighter spots.
So now you've got a rusty hole with a screwdriver stuck through it, and it looks alot more rusty than it did before. Good. For those who have no welding experience this is where you need to call in some help, the rusty metal needs cutting out till you get some fresh metal. A new bit of metal welding in then some body filler to get it nice again.
Heres an example of some metal thats been replaced and new stuff spot welded in.
If your screwdriver didn't go through, you need to properly clean the metal. Something like a wire brush, a grinder with a wire wheel or grinding stone .. or if you have a compressor a sandblasting gun is best for the job. Note: if your sandblasting its apprently best to clean the metal with thinners first, the por-15 guide says you can force contaminates into the metal sandblasting so cleaning helps to avoid this - im not too convinced myself!
Your aim is to get down to clean shiny metal, rust is like a parasite so you want it all gone or it will just come back.
Ok, time for me to introduce the first product of a few that can help. Kurust is produced by hammerite, its available from most car places. Halfords being one of them. RRP is about £6-£7 a tub. Note: don't use this stuff with POR-15
Kurust is supposed to work by neutralising the rust, they make some pretty bold claims of which I personally think are quite extreme. This isn't a wonder product you can paint on a rusty item for a cure as it doesn't seem to penetrate very deep. However once you've cleaned your rust up it is useful to give it a quick coating of this stuff. It can also be useful to get to areas you cant easily clean up with other tools.
Carrying on, im going to assume were dealing with a panel that you can get to the back of. It goes without saying that you need to treat both sides of the metal, but its surprising how many people “forget” (aka get lazy). If you cant get to it then its tricky, if you can get any Kurust down there it should help, so will waxoil (see prevention).
So basically its a few simple steps – Clean the metal, repair as required, treat, paint.
Before I get into my personal project im just going to make a quick note, condensation is a problem with ax's on the rear window. Get some kurust, paint, then waxoyl (or even normal oil) and try get as much as you can in the seam round the window. Its tricky to get at, you will need to remove the rear seatbelt mech, rear light, rear speaker pocket and the window rubber for best access but if you can prevent rust here its a real life saver as its a nightmare to fix. If you can get a waxoyl gun with a hose on so it reaches further round the window frame you should get good results.
So now a case study, using my own car im hoping will last a long time. I've done my research, and ive decided on some products that are supposed to be the best for repairing and preventing rust. It might not be what everybody agrees with but its got a lot of good reviews over the intarweb.
The products called POR-15 (it stands for paint on rust btw) They have a range of products focused around their POR-15 paint. This isn't your usual hammerite, nor is it priced like it.
A few mildly interesting facts about POR-15
Keeping in mind where they're prone to rusting… my plan is as follows
My shopping list was as follows:
Total £79.27 INC VAT
Note : Chassis Painting kit = 3x 118mm cans of por-15 and 3x 118mm cans of chassis coat black. Note2 : You only thin por-15 by 5% max so you dont need much of the solvent
Marine Clean removes contaminates from metals
Metal Ready is similar ish to Kurust except it doesn't neutralize the rust. It is brushed or sprayed on then washed off leaving a protective zinc coating.. its important to use this or the por-15 wont stick properly.
Items were purchased from www.frost.co.uk
The theory behind all this is, that if you put a coat of paint on that's so tough and non porous so that nothing can get to the metal, rust cannot start nor progress any further.
Always follow the instructions for each product to the letter for best results.
This storys still ongoing, I shall update this guide with pictures and further info once ive put the paint on the car!
Prevention is better than a cure
Once you've removed all the rust and repainted the area you need to find some way of preventing the rust. Its easy to do and really does make the world of difference
Example waxoil gun. Heating up the oil makes it thinner so it runs into gaps better