AuthorTopic: Car Corner: Rustoration  (Read 2337 times)

Offline Phil Rumpole

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Car Corner: Rustoration
« on: January 20, 2021, 12:32:49 AM »
* kdog pls transfer or duplicate the previous posts in interesting videos here.

In the last post I talked about fixing rusty underbody and mentioned using rust converter. For parts like under the car and inside panels like your trunk or inside doors, you need simple tannic acid rust converter. It's clear like water and cheap. The foto below shows 2 other types that cost more.

The one on the left is a 1 step converter and sealer 500ml  Do not buy this, it neither converts rust to inert, or seals for painting as a primer well.

The product on the right is for outer body panels. 250ml. It is darker in colour, not clear. I don't know what's added to change the colour, but it's lot safer to use where you are going to paint nicer and the paint needs to last long with no bubbling. Of course you still need to clean it really well before painting on.

Both of those cost 15-20$. You can buy 1 L of straight rust converter for that.

Notice the second product is in a squirt bottle. When you buy the straight rust converter you need to also put it in a spray bottle to get to places a brush can't reach. That is often the A and B pillars. Once the hood lining is out, you can squirt it in from the top or through the top seat belt bolt holes. Sill panels from inside and wheelarches and inside chassis rails also.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 12:39:04 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: Plastic body filler
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2021, 01:17:36 AM »
This will be a long series of posts, because it is a fairly complicated art and there is no quick and simple way to explain it. Having said that, what I will explain short cuts what would take years of trial and error, because I've already done it and can provide some principles and tricks to save you the same process, as well as time and money.

If you are going to do panel work, you will need to use plastic body filler. In America this is known as 'bondo', we in Australia call it  'bog'. There is also fibreglass reinforced product for some applications. I've never used it but, you might not have a welder, and use rust converter on a bad patch of metal, then use some fibre reinforced bog to first fill it, before the regular product. A friend of mine took that route on a very rusty RV van about 4 yrs ago and it's still ok now. What I'm showing here is using regular filler. 

4L tin is about 50$ from pro autobody paint supplies. What you buy at regular auto store is crap and expensive for small amount. It sets like concrete and that's just hard work, go to a pro supplier. notice this says less pinholes on the tin. It's a great recent development, as you get very few tiny airbubbles that leave little holes you need to then fill on the final skin. If you don't see them, they show through the paint, so like to make use of this type of bog. Ask for pinhole free if they have it. You're not going to need a tin this size for just one car.

You need to leave the tin upside down overnight before using it. That's so all the resin doesn't float to the top and need an extra ten minutes stirring. You will still need to stir with a big screwdriver for a few minutes. The tube of hardener also needs to remove lid, squeeze out air, replace lid and knead for 5 minutes before using.

« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 12:16:20 PM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: Body filler
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2021, 01:56:46 AM »
Below are the tools used.

1. A board to mix on. Can be plastic, glass, metal even cardboard like a pizza box.

Also two scrapers and a razor. You can get a plastic applicator or flexible metal ones, different sizes, and that helps in smoothing it out because it can bend, though corners are sharp. If you use those you still need a razor to clean them. With practice, using two scrapers (bog knives), one wide and one narrower with rounded edges, makes easy work when you get the feel. Use the wide one for large areas and the narrow one for smaller. You use them to scrape each other off in the cleaning up stage.

You need to sweep off your table first and keep all these clean all the time. Any debris on the bottom of the knife will leave deep lines in your skin. Any lumps of dirt that get mixed in also.

I scrape everything and blow off the board before mixing a second time.  You need to do that before it goes hard, straight after applying it.

Last foto shows other tools used.

There are two board sanders, but you only need one. Having two means you don't need to switch over between course and fine paper all the time. These are about 40$ for a good one. Don't keep it thrown in with lots of other stuff or drop it. It needs to be in perfect shape.

A smaller one with handle, a regular handyman rubber sanding block, a soft block, a wire brush, a small dustpan brush or big paintbrush and a panel or pick hammer.

A good hammer costs about 50-70$ I think when I last bought a Toledo that's not here on the stead but in the city. It should have a genuine USA hickory handle, the control and feedback from that is important. This one is  really old but still ok.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 11:07:50 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: Body filler
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2021, 02:42:04 AM »
I had already started it before making this post so can't show the bare metal before applying filler, the first skin was already done. The lower section needs more because it's over a welded in section done long ago by someone else. They warped the metal because they didn't know the trick of keeping it cool. That's a subject for another post. I should have checked it and straightened it out more before filling it, instead of assuming it was good. The car has been sandblasted so the old filler is gone. Getting it straight enough before filling is also a topic for a future post.

The ratio on the tin of hardener says 2%, but Looking here you can see what the amount is. It depends a lot on the temperature. Cold weather needs more, or at least takes longer to harden. Hot weather use half as much and have very little time. You can't use too little or too much or it will not cure properly. It's just a matter of practice. 

Mixing is not like with 2 part glue, it's a matter of scooping from underneath, flipping that over and spreading that down. Without video, it's a bit hard to explain. You have about a minute to do it and it needs to be uniform colour right through.

Applying it, the surface needs to be rough enough, sanded, and clean enough. A blower or the brush is used. Then the filler is applied as any putty, pushed in hard and then spread out. You need to develop a good feel for putting it in even, smooth and wide. Subsequent skins are always wider than the first one. The better you get at doing this, the easier the job is, with very little  effort sanding and little filler used.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 11:13:03 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: Body filler
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2021, 03:14:27 AM »
You probably are thinking I should use electric orbital sanders and most people do, but my way is to use 40# sandpaper when the filler is still soft, after about 10 minutes. It sands very easy but you need to keep using the wire brush to unclog  the paper. After 20 minutes it's fully hard, so you're working in that ten minute period before that. The board sanders is better for getting it really straight as well.

Finishing off is with 80# then 120# the filler needs to be fully hard at that stage.

An important trick when you are not covering a whole section in a skin, but just filling a low spot, is to start it still soft. That way you are not taking out just as much of the filler underneath and end up wavy. You just take it down most of the way when it's soft then finish it off when it's hard. That way it turns out perfectly straight without dips in it. 

« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 03:27:15 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: body filler
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2021, 04:18:23 AM »
You may be thinking you can never get it as even and correct as original, but there are methods you can use. Professional panel beaters and spray painters develop a sensitive feel in their hand. Using the non preferred hand, usually the left and closing eyes, run the hand over the panel and sense any high and low that shouldn't be there. I'm not regular and practiced enough to trust myself only doing that so I go by sight and sometimes also a guide coat.

A light shadow coat of primer just dusted on and then lightly sand over. That shows up highs and lows, as well as any pinholes and deep scratches.

Highs can be tapped down and might not need any extra skin of filler over, but you can give one there to be safe.

The key to seeing what is not right is an abrupt edge. The edge of the filler should look shadowy where it ends, not like a sudden black and white difference. The more it does appear that way, the more sure you can be that area needs the high tapped down.


A looong post, but thats the minimum description of what you need to know to confidently start doing bodywork to either save or earn money. You might have damage to a car needing fixing or want to buy and sell used cars or do restoration projects and this is one of the main steps in the process.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 05:00:33 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Cam

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Re: Car Corner: Rustoration
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2021, 04:20:52 PM »
Thanks for sharing your wisdom here Phil. Lots to take in here so I'm gonna read this over again later I think.
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Car Corner: body filler
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2021, 05:03:06 PM »
You may be thinking you can never get it as even and correct as original, but there are methods you can use. Professional panel beaters and spray painters develop a sensitive feel in their hand. Using the non preferred hand, usually the left and closing eyes, run the hand over the panel and sense any high and low that shouldn't be there. I'm not regular and practiced enough to trust myself only doing that so I go by sight and sometimes also a guide coat.

A light shadow coat of primer just dusted on and then lightly sand over. That shows up highs and lows, as well as any pinholes and deep scratches.

Highs can be tapped down and might not need any extra skin of filler over, but you can give one there to be safe.

The key to seeing what is not right is an abrupt edge. The edge of the filler should look shadowy where it ends, not like a sudden black and white difference. The more it does appear that way, the more sure you can be that area needs the high tapped down.


A looong post, but thats the minimum description of what you need to know to confidently start doing bodywork to either save or earn money. You might have damage to a car needing fixing or want to buy and sell used cars or do restoration projects and this is one of the main steps in the process.

Nice work....having at least tried to do most of the things you’ve been writing about, I have great respect for your tips and hard-earned knowledge....thanks for sharing it.  It’s such an art, and I doubt I’ll ever be good at it, but I still like to fool around with it. I finally found just the right color paint ( on eBay) to paint the pony stripe on my Donzi, so I hope to be getting that done this spring.

I also bought a rear fender for my bike project that is perfect (but the wrong color)...I already have the paint to do that job....just have to sand it with 400 grit.... The rest of the Harley bodywork is from a take-off set of Road King tins I bought about 15 years ago.....they moved from a shop I once rented.... to storage....and got buried a long time ago....I just dug them out....still like new.  I have most of the stuff for the motorcycle except some of the drive train and wiring...some of the brakes.

Waiting for a little better weather at the moment. Too wet to do much.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 05:15:13 PM by Eddie »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: Rustoration
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2021, 03:42:24 AM »
Thanks for sharing your wisdom here Phil. Lots to take in here so I'm gonna read this over again later I think.

No problem, you know where to find it if you need it
« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 04:50:37 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: body filler
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2021, 04:21:26 AM »
Nice work....having at least tried to do most of the things you’ve been writing about, I have great respect for your tips and hard-earned knowledge....thanks for sharing it.  It’s such an art, and I doubt I’ll ever be good at it, but I still like to fool around with it. I finally found just the right color paint ( on eBay) to paint the pony stripe on my Donzi, so I hope to be getting that done this spring.

I also bought a rear fender for my bike project that is perfect (but the wrong color)...I already have the paint to do that job....just have to sand it with 400 grit.... The rest of the Harley bodywork is from a take-off set of Road King tins I bought about 15 years ago.....they moved from a shop I once rented.... to storage....and got buried a long time ago....I just dug them out....still like new.  I have most of the stuff for the motorcycle except some of the drive train and wiring...some of the brakes.

Waiting for a little better weather at the moment. Too wet to do much.

I hope it made sense. What influenced me was after painting my friends bus, we made two access doors he wanted from from outside without needing to walk in. The same guy I mentioned  who did his smaller Nissan camper van RV with rust converter and fibre reinforced filler. I was in the city and he picked my brain over the phone for that.

On this big bus he couldn't wait until I had time to finish doing it with him and went ahead without me. After showing him how to mix and apply..  he used almost the whole tin of bog that would last me a year just on those doors and around the side one. I couldn't figure out how the hell he could have done that, though he was using a big orbital sander. I mentioned it to the owner of the paint supply place when I got the new tin and he said he sees it happen. He said they either sand it all out repeatedly or it goes hard before they're ready or they make up too much and throw half of it out. So that made me think I should do the post.

That's a 1978 Toyota Coaster and all those stripes got painted on instead of using decal that would have been much easier. Be sure to post up some fotos of the HD beast.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 04:42:43 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline Phil Rumpole

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Re: Car Corner: clearing z track
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2021, 02:05:58 AM »
My friend will pick up his car tomorrow, I needed to clear the track so he can bring the trailer in. It's the second time a tree fell down and I drove around it with Bumpy the 4x4, until I had to fix the problem and get firewood for winter while I'm at it . I thought it went well enough, took about an hour, but I realised afterwards the chainsaw bar was bent, so even though I had it sharpened not long ago, that caused the slow cutting problem. I set up all this stands and jacking so I wouldn't have the weight of the trunk jamming the saw in like last time, which would have caused the bending and bad cutting, extra wear of engine.

  I thought it was worth showing, as I'm still learning such things. Cutting down trees scares the shit out of me, probably because I'm not a tough Trumper,  so a nice thickness one like this already on the ground is a relief. It was 30-40m long as they all are here and I took out 11 pieces all 1 ft long to clear the track. That and the rest of it is a Winter's worth of wood.

   As you see, not cutting right through and kicking off the section of wood caused the jack to tip over. I had to rehydrate and think about what to do next, but got there in the end.

That took me about an hour, my employer provides me accommodation so I will not come back until next weekend. A reasonably productive weekend, finished a car, cleared track and prepared wood. I was telling myself from the start to make sure I took gloves, took the gloves and forgot to put them on. I didn't get any splinters but wore off a little patch of skin. Always wear gloves and eye protection using chainsaws.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2021, 03:03:04 AM by Phil Rumpole »
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Offline knarf

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Re: Car Corner: clearing z track
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2021, 06:12:07 AM »
My friend will pick up his car tomorrow, I needed to clear the track so he can bring the trailer in. It's the second time a tree fell down and I drove around it with Bumpy the 4x4, until I had to fix the problem and get firewood for winter while I'm at it . I thought it went well enough, took about an hour, but I realised afterwards the chainsaw bar was bent, so even though I had it sharpened not long ago, that caused the slow cutting problem. I set up all this stands and jacking so I wouldn't have the weight of the trunk jamming the saw in like last time, which would have caused the bending and bad cutting, extra wear of engine.

  I thought it was worth showing, as I'm still learning such things. Cutting down trees scares the shit out of me, probably because I'm not a tough Trumper,  so a nice thickness one like this already on the ground is a relief. It was 30-40m long as they all are here and I took out 11 pieces all 1 ft long to clear the track. That and the rest of it is a Winter's worth of wood.

   As you see, not cutting right through and kicking off the section of wood caused the jack to tip over. I had to rehydrate and think about what to do next, but got there in the end.

That took me about an hour, my employer provides me accommodation so I will not come back until next weekend. A reasonably productive weekend, finished a car, cleared track and prepared wood. I was telling myself from the start to make sure I took gloves, took the gloves and forgot to put them on. I didn't get any splinters but wore off a little patch of skin. Always wear gloves and eye protection using chainsaws.

  I have used a chain saw for 30 years. It started when I was drafted in 1971 and became a Conscientious Objector. I was assigned to serve my time ( 2 years ) in the California Conservation Department at a camp near Mt. Lassen ( Shasta County ). As a crew leader of about 10 young men we cut a 1/2 mile wide fire break in the Easy Bay Hills above Oakland. The trees had died because of a hard freeze and posed a dangerous fire threat to Oakland. I probably cut down over 500 100 ft Eucalyptus trees. I also learned to "top" the tress. Using the same gear as telephone pole climbing ( boot spikes, climbing belt, and tool belt ) I would climb up about 70 ft, grab my small chain saw and cut the top off. 
  Then in 1986 I joined the Monastery, and we heat with the wood from our forest. We normally go through about 3-4 cords of wood a year to keep us relatively warm.  I incurred many injuries along the way, but always recovered rather fast. I found some interesting facts while preparing for this post:

"The Eucalyptus forest type is by far the most common forest type in Australia covering 101 million hectares, which is 77% of Australia's total native forest area. The term 'eucalypt' includes approximately 800 species in the three genera Angophora, Corymbia and Eucalyptus."

"In the 1850s, Eucalyptus trees were introduced to California by Australians during the California Gold Rush. Much of California is similar in climate to parts of Australia. By the early 1900s, thousands of acres of eucalyptus were planted with the encouragement of the state government."

"There are some native eucalyptus but the majority have been introduced. These hardy plants have delightfully scented, volatile oil in all parts of the plant. ... The plants are considered dangerous in fire prone areas because of their habit of shooting sparks if they catch fire."

"The Oakland firestorm of 1991 was a large suburban wildland–urban interface conflagration that occurred on the hillsides of northern Oakland, California, and southeastern Berkeley over the weekend of October 19–20, 1991, before being brought under full control on October 23. The official name of this incident by Cal Fire is the Tunnel Fire.[3] However, it is also commonly referred to as the Oakland Hills firestorm or the East Bay Hills fire. The fire ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres (620 ha) destroyed included 2,843 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss from the fire was estimated at $1.5 billion ($2.56 billion in 2019 dollars[2])."

I imagine in Australia the eucalyptus trees are a big problem when the fires rage?

Congrats on getting the job done. :)

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