Truck rust/paint/body advice
I have a couple of small spots on my truck where the paint has come off and there is rust. It's a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, and I'm not taking it to a body shop for something this minor.
What is my best option for a DIY fix at home? I'm fairly handy, I just haven't done anything like this before.
I know my father-in-law (before he passed away) had some product in a spray can that he sprayed on my wife's van in a small spot, and it turned the rust to a black spot (the van was dark navy, and you could barely tell). I don't know what that was, or if I could use it and then use touch up paint on my truck.
You guys seem to know everything around here, so I'm asking for some help.
Start by sanding the rust and paint away from the affected areas. It looks minor enough now but under the paint that is bubbling you may find more rust than you realize.
After you sand it down, put some Permatex Rust Treatment on it to convert what's left to a useable surface. Depending how rough the new surface is you may need a little bondo or spot putty to make it smooth again. sand, prime and paint as necessary. In addition to Permatex products, most auto parts stores carry Dupli-color paints and can whip you up a small spray can of the right color paint to match your truck.
Most of it looks like you can sand it down to bare metal, then bondo, then sand, then prime and paint it. But, there looks to be like one spot has bubbled. That may mean the rust has eaten to the other side.
The stuff you are looking for to turn the rust black is (I think) phosphoric acid. Along the NW Florida Gulf coast it's sold in gallon jugs under the brand name Ospho. If you have (for example) a boat trailer starting to rust, wire brush it to get any scale or loose paint off, then brush on some Ospho and the rust will turn black. Let it dry overnight then slap some paint on it and your rust problem is solved.
Man, you gotta use a wand wash for the vehicles and reach up with gloves on under the wells and wash out the caked on dirt off any ledges underneath. Wheel wells are always the first to go and need not be if you wash under there. Next vehicle do this.
High pressure washers accelerate the rust problem. The rust starts from a pin hole and the washers force water in these pinholes. If you want to keep rust from happening, hand wash and use a plain hose to rinse, followed by a good wax job.
Phosphoric acid (naval Jelly) eats the rust, but it doesn't treat it. When you use it, the last step is to rinse it off with water, which will start the rusting process immediately if you do not put on your preventer/converter of choice as soon as it is dry. The permatex stuff is very good at stopping and keeping rust from coming back, but it will come back no matter what you do - if you ever drive it again.
I recommend building a 20x40 chamber with a climate control system and antechambers at the entrance. An electric or hydraulic lift is recommended, but not mandatory, both have advantages and drawbacks. Keep direct sunlight off of the paint, and daily waxing wouldn't hurt - plan on spending 30 minutes per panel to do it right. Don't forget to drain and flush all fluids as well, some of them are hygroscopic and we don't want critical lines to rust from the inside, now do we?
A clean metal surface will dry quick enough to not be effected by washing. A solid like dirt will hold moisture against metal long enough to break down paint, allowing the moisture and salts to attack the underlying metal. The only downside to a pressure wand for car washing is forcing grime under seals, so it's best not to hold them in those areas for long periods.
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