Car rust solution...

Hi All,

I’ve got a 93 ford t-bird that is just starting to get some rust around the lower-section of the doors and rear wheel-wells. This is the first year that i’ve noticed it, and it’s just surface-rust from what I can tell. What’s the best approach to stopping the spread of this blight?



Go to a Rhino Liners™ dealer, and have 'em do the whole car. The rust will continue, but you won’t see it.

Take it to a body shop and pay to have it fixed or just let it rust.

Don’t mean to sound unimaginative but NO method of do-it-yourself rust repair is worthwhile. These repairs will neither stop nor significantly slow down the rusting. And they will look like crap.

em… no.

por-15 stops rust. it does this by sealing off the oxygen… or something like that, so the metal cant rust anymore.

I got some stuff at the hardware store that works fine if I put it on asap. Seems to me your doors are hitting the curb, thus grinding off the bottom of the doors, so not much you can do about it in the future.

If you are seeing maybe a little rust on the surface, perhaps where the paint got chipped or scratched, you can stop the rust by using a “rust neutralizer”, then prime and repaint.

If you’re seeing blisters under the paint, then it’s bad news; the panel is rusted clear through in that spot (“rust perforations”). There are two ways to do a good fix: Replace the affected panel with one in better shape, or cut away the rusted area and weld in patch panels. The second takes a skilled workman, and is going to cost a mess o’ money. Frankly, no offense intended, a '93 T-bird isn’t that valuable a car; if the car’s got rust perforations, I’d either sell it and buy a new one, or just let it go to hell and keep driving it.

Incidentally, the lower edge of the doors and around the rear wheel openings are classic areas for rust perforation.

The rear wheel openings get mud and salt packed up against the inside of the opening (there’s a nice ledge there to retain it).

On the doors, the drain holes in the bottom edge of the door get clogged, and water is retained inside the door, where it rusts out the very bottom edge, where the outer skin of the door is crimped over the inner door structure.

In both cases, by the time you see anything on the outside (a paint blister), the panel’s been rusted clear through. And there’s a lot more rust inside which just hasn’t quite gotten all the way through yet.

Another bad spot is the lower edge of the front fender, behind the wheel opening.

Try Conquest on the rust.

If its rusting because of lack of drainage, then see if you can enlarge the drain holes. Sometimes, they get clogged up due to debris.

If you’ve got relatively small rust spots, and you are more concerned with stopping the rust than having a perfect appearance, you can do some DIY work. Procure an electric drill, a sanding pad with a bunch of discs, some good quality etching primer from an auto parts store, a Dremel tool with cut-off wheels, and a can of Bondo. First sand the paint off the rust area so you can get a better look at what you’re dealing with. If there are clearly perforations, there is probably rust on the inside of the panel as well. Use the Dremel tool to cut a little square out of the panel and see what’s happening in there. Cut away the sheet metal until you’ve got clean metal on all sides. Make sure it’s all clean with no dust or loose rust anywhere, and spray the heck out of it with primer. Allow to dry, and then fill the hole with Bondo. Sand, prime, sand again, prime again, etc. until the surface looks good. If you don’t want primer spots on your car, you can get some DupliColor paint and try to respray. If you’re really careful about this, you can get a pretty nice result on a small area. The key to all this is to be very meticulous and not cut any corners. I did a lot of rust repair on my 1986 Pontiac when I bought it three years ago. After I was done with that, I took it to Maaco and had the whole car repainted in the original color (there had been so much rust that most of the car was primer-colored after I was done repairing it). Three years later, I have not had any recurring rust except a few tiny spots (mostly due to stone chips) that I easily took care of before they got bad.

-Andrew L

Many thanks for the suggestions. It’s a pride thing really. I’m hoping to get 200k out of this bastard and i’m 3/4’ths of the way there (which puts me at another 2 years). It’s a mechanically solid vehicle but starting to lack in the looks department. Granted it’s worthless (I hear ya Rocketeer) but let me tell ya, each month of a car payment that I get outta this guy is more I can put down on my next chariot.