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View Full Version : '53 Coupe - undercoating in trunk



rocinante
04-10-2006, 12:00 PM
Can anybody give some advice on what to do about all this hard crud that the good folks of Studebaker (or maybe the dealer) sprayed all over my car, inside and out, 53 years ago? What do you all do with it? Do you clean it up and paint over it? Or remove it all? Would it be appropriate to paint over it (either its original black color or Loma gray trunk color)? I've removed small amounts of it in the trunk around the rear body mounts to repair a nickel sized rust hole. There is no other rust on the car that I can find, so I'm reluctant to remove all this undercoating just for the purpose of searching for hidden rust. Also, the inside of the trunk lid has some compound (acoustic?) that appears to have been sprayed on after the metal was painted but before assembly of the outer shell to the inner stiffeners. There is some light surface rust on the inside of the trunk lid so I would like to paint it. What do you do with this compound? Can it be painted over? I guess if painted over it would not look factory correct, would it? Any feedback on this would be appreciated!

I'm sure that removal of all this undercoating is a major PITA!

Thanks,
Charles Schneider
Raynham MA

'53 Champion Starlight Coupe
'60 Lark VIII
'50 2R5

jcarmichael
04-10-2006, 01:43 PM
I had to remove hardend sealer from my 1953 Boles Aero travel trailer and found that Permatex gasket remover made it instantly soft enough to wipe off with a paper rag. It didn't seem to harm the alumium at all but may take paint off as well. Use Scothbrite to prepare the surface for paint, it will help save your fingers.

1961 Lark

N8N
04-10-2006, 01:57 PM
There shouldn't be any undercoat inside the trunk, except for what you describe in the trunk lid. It's perfectly acceptable to paint over it and in fact it was painted over from the factory.

Elsewhere underneath the car, I would remove the undercoating. IME once it gets hard, it does more harm than good rust-wise. A stiff plastic scraper will remove a surprising amount of this stuff, once you catch an "edge." Hopefully revealing nice shiny paint underneath.

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

rocinante
04-10-2006, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure what the material lining the trunk is exactly, maybe mortex? Or maybe just plain old asphaltic undercoating. I believe it is only on the wheelarches and not on the floor of the trunk. Was any kind of compound sprayed on the wheelarches or other parts of the trunk at the factory?

Thanks,
Charles

'53 Champion Starlight Coupe
'60 Lark VIII
'50 2R5

N8N
04-10-2006, 03:36 PM
I don't believe any Studes had undercoat on the wheel arches *inside* the trunk from the factory, but it sounds reasonable that it might have been done before delivery as a dealer add-on; that's a logical place to add undercoat to quiet down any noise from rocks etc. getting thrown up by the wheels. Now the undercoat *under* the car, on the floor, inside the wheel wells, etc. could very well have been factory, but like I said before it is likely very hard and not sticking to the metal so well anymore so IMHO it's a good practice to chip off any that you can, and reapply new undercoat if you so desire (after painting over the metal, of course)

nate

--
55 Commander Starlight
62 Daytona hardtop
http://home.comcast.net/~njnagel

Jeff_H
04-10-2006, 07:11 PM
My '53 hardtop was "parked" in about 1961 and had never been repainted, etc. The floor of the trunk was sprayed with asphalt undercoating and then painted grey over that. There was a perfect impression of a few of the "firestone" letters from the original spare in the old rock-hard coating. The stuff was cracked and peeling and rusty underneath so I removed it. The coating was only on the floor and went up under the rear window area but was not on the sides or wheel-wells as I recall. They also coated the outside by the tires. The passenger compartment floor had it too. The inside of the trunk lid will have some as well for sound I think. Use a heatgun and scraper to soften it and some paint thinner afterwards to remove the rest.

You can replace it with similar materials but need a special spray gun. Some folks use truck bed liner instead. That stuff probably will be more durable. I only redid the outside wheel wells by the tires using spray (messy!) and used self-adhesive asphalt "mats" like used in newer cars for my floors under the carpet.

Jeff in ND

'53 Champion Hardtop

rockne10
04-10-2006, 08:12 PM
The trunk floor in my 53 Coupe is heavily overcoated, but not the wheel arches.
As Nate said, this could have been done by the dealer. It's also possible, as Studebaker realized the unexpected demand for these models, they may have made running changes on the assembly line to expedite delivery. The heavy coating on the passenger compartment floor would have been factory.