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Do-It-Yourself Projects
Rust Never Sleeps
By Debbie Murphy/
Printable version
Degree of DifficultyModerate
Estimated Time240 minutes
240 minutes
Like anything else, proper application with the best rust converters is key to a rust-free future. While you can toss your grinder and sandpaper, you still have to start with a clean, dust-free surface. A soft wire brush is the best tool to remove any errant particles, followed by a thorough vacuuming of the impacted surface. Soluble salts, like those used to de-ice winter roads, should be rinsed with water, and road grease needs to be removed as well.

Converters can be either brushed or sprayed on the surface in an environment where the metal's surface temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees. Check your weather forecast before starting and choose a day where there's no chance of rain for a full 24 hours after application. Even if the procedure is done in a closed garage, avoid days that threaten any form of moisture.

Once the converter is applied, it takes about 20 minutes for the rust to turn coal black. The reaction is completely cured after 24 hours, longer if the humidity is higher than 75 to 80 percent.

Rust converters should not be sanded, but should be followed by a compatible topcoat. It's vitally important to fully read and understand the manufacturer's directions and recommendations. Like any creeping disease, the best time to deal with rust is immediately. It won't heal itself and the longer the bubbly patch is allowed to feed on your vehicle, the more radical the procedure required to neutralize it. So catch it early so it can't neutralize your vehicle while you're sleeping.
Photo 1 - A replacement floor pan is in the foreground, ready to be welded into a rust-damaged '66 El Camino.
Replacement Floor Pan Ready to be Welded into a Rust-damaged '66 El Camino.
Photo 2 - Here is a prime example of holes and pits from rust.
Prime Example of Holes and Pits From Rust
Photo 3 - Remove as many loose scales of rust as possible and grind down to the bare metal before beginning a welding repair.
Remove Loose Rust Scales and Grind Down to the Bare Metal Before Welding
Photo 4 - Welding in a replacement floor panel.
Welding in a Replacement Floor Panel.
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