So this started as a California Car.....then I moved to Michigan. That sweet California patina turned into some good 'ole fashioned Michigan Rust. I wasn't planning to do any bodywork yet - but I already had the interior out (see other post), so I figured I'd nip it in the but while it was easily accessed. The rust isn't too bad - no holes, and it's upper body rust (Cali style) instead of ground- up. The rust is along the rear driver's side window.
- Unscrew the window (there's two areas it's held in place), pop it out.
- carefully take the window seal off the body (I stress carefully, if you don't want to spend $50 on another seal)
- Use Needle-nose pliers to press (carefully) welding rivets on the chrome plate (on the flat area, where the metal isn't shiney, under the window)
- take out the chrome
- Mask off any areas you don't want to mess us (if you drip bondo somewhere you don't want). I'd at least mask off remaining chrome bits on door)
- First, I sanded all the surface areas that had rust, by hand. Make sure you use something stiff under the sanding paper so you don't get low-spots in your surface. The removed the looser rust and dust.
- The next level, I used a small wheel to gently grind the rusted areas, again, working to keep the surface even.
- Most of the rust is removed at this point - aside from the parts that are deeper into the surface (like tiny potholes)
- I used a small dremel with a sanding tip to get the remaining rusty bits. No more rust should be visible.
- Lastly, I used a rust-eating gel on the exposed metal. This is really gentle, and didn't seem to do that much - but should get any remaining dots of dust left behind.
Bondo and Primer Prep
-Mix Bondo (I generally aim for a light pink color so it dries slower)
- Use a plastic bondo speader to apply the bondo to the surface. Aim to have the least amount of bondo possible, while still covering the areas. Use the speader along the surface so the surface of the bondo matches your car.
- When cured, mask off edges with thick painters tape, and sand to the edge, then switch masking and sanding sides. This makes sure you don't loose any edges on the surface of the car.
- Sand the bondo, in diagonal cross-strokes across the surface. Make sure to use something stiff under the sanding paper to maintain a smooth surface. I think I used 300 grit.
- Mask off all the areas that don't have bondo. Cover as much as the car as you can. Leave an inch or so room around the bondo area for primer feathering
- Use a catalyzed Primer. There's two parts - the primer, and hardener. Mix carefully.
- I used a gravity-feed spray gun, and an air compressor to use the gun. Use a breathing mask and safety glasses when you spray.
- Spay a thin coat at first. even and long diagonal strokes.
- Allow primer a few minutes between each coat. Just long enough for it to not be shiny anymore.
- Let cure.
- Use flexible pro-painters tape (you can find it at Finish Masters). It's thicker plastic, and bends around edges, and is water resistant.
- Use the tape to maintain any edges as you sand. Take the tape off any re-apply to opposite areas as you move around
- Wet- with something stiff behind the paper, in cross-diagonal strokes. Sand evenly around the surface to avoid lows.
- Start with 400-ish grit. End at 1,000 grit. Use water to check surfaces (make sure the reflections are lined up smoothly. Huge plus if you have overhead florescent lights to check surface continuity.)
...haven't painted surface yet, but that would be the next step. For now, I'm leaving the primer, since I'll be painting the entire car down the road.
End result should be a smooth, rust-free surface!