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What exactly is the undercoating made from?

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  • What exactly is the undercoating made from?

    Hey experts and others generally smarter than I (which I believe is 99.98% of y'all):

    I've been wondering this since the first time I started trying to chisel it off the body of my cars. What exactly did Studebaker make their undercoating out of? What's the favored replacement? (Hopefully something a little more effective against rust!)
    '63 Lark Custom, 259 v8, auto, child seat

    "Your friendly neighborhood Studebaker evangelist"

  • #2
    When I would (properly) dispose of the hazardous waste from the paint shop, I was told it was cleaned and resold as "wash thinner" and some (I'm assuming the thicker waste) was recycled into undercoat. But, don't take that as gospel!
    The undercoat was not the problem that Studebaker had, it was the improper treatment of the steel. and the fact that nobody expected these cars to be around 50 years after their demise! <G>
    But, properly prepared metal, a good e-coat primer, (etching primer) a 2 part primer, and a good couple of coats of paint, along with the car going to live a "cherished life" they will probably outlast all of us!
    I think on my 64 ragtop, once the underside is cleaned and painted, I'll be spraying truck bed liner in it, and hit the inside too.

    Jim
    "We can't all be Heroes, Some us just need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" Will Rogers

    We will provide the curb for you to stand on and clap!


    Indy Honor Flight www.IndyHonorFlight.org

    As of Veterans Day 2017, IHF has flown 2,450 WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans to Washington DC at NO charge! to see
    their Memorials!

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    • #3
      Undercoating is something the devil manufactures to make us say bad things when trying to remove it.
      Jamie McLeod
      Hope Mills, NC

      1963 Lark "Ugly Betty"
      1958 Commander "Christine"
      1964 Wagonaire "Louise"
      1955 Commander Sedan
      1964 Champ
      1960 Lark

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      • #4
        sigpic
        In the middle of MinneSTUDEa.

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        • #5
          Known as "tore" to all of us. If you ever look at engineering specs for blacktop, surprise! It is asphaltic concrete, and available in many formulas, which is why you go to engineering school. Tar and stone chips is formally "tar-bound macadam." A stone road with large berm under, mixed sizes over that, and screenings on the top is "water-bound macadam." In olden times, paving a road was called "metalling." There's some irony (get it?) in that, since roads un-metal whatever's on them.

          That's right about sound deadening over metal protection, and many will recall having that stuff fall off in chunks. There was a kind of scandal in the history of Ziebart when they improved the mix with plasticizers for better adhesion and waterproofing. Big Tar was scandalized. Real car guys, of course, just sprayed them with drain oil. Yep, Studebaker thought of everything.

          I have an old car buddy who runs a Ziebart shop, so I still use it, and believe in it, up to a point. Fallingwater House belonged to a merchant named Edgar Kaufmann, and when Mr. Kaufmann complained to Frank Wright about it (he called it Rising Mildew) leaking and flooding every year, Wright told him "That's what happens when you leave a work of art out in the rain." Wright was just awful that way.

          Tony Lago to Lord Beaulieu, on the Talbot overheating in town: "Well, if you insist on abusing the vehicle..."

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          • #6
            Comatus is correct... applied "warm" it then hardens into an awesome coating. Being a petroleum chemist, I understand it's general make up pretty well. To really get the stuff off best, you have to soak thatever is coated in thinner/turpenteine, etc... probelm on cars... you really cannot soak them. I would suggest getting a 5 gal pail of paint thinner and brushing it on or spraying it on. One thing.... this will be VERY messy and slow if you really want to get it off without damaging the parts. DO it on a very hot day too... it is easier to coem off then.

            If you need to get into some details, pm me. I deal with this sort of stuff all of the time at work (I have to remove this tar type material from meters in the field.
            Last edited by new2drive; 05-14-2012, 03:09 AM. Reason: type like crap

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            • #7
              Heat is my preferred method of removal for stubborn coating that won't peel or scrape off. It is better to heat the metal from the back side if possible.
              Gasoline cuts it pretty well, but use it outdoors only with proper safety precautions.
              Barry'd in Studes

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              • #8
                Hi,

                I got it off with a propane torch. Blanch it just enough to soften it but not to ignite it, and then it sloughs right off with a putty knife. You have to be quick. When it cools it hardens right up again. Best to keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.

                I guess my question would be; since undercoating was original equipment, if one is restoring a car to original condition and intends to show it, must one use the original asphalt-based undercoating or could one use one of the modern liquid rubber undercoatings instead and not get docked points?
                Mike O'Handley, Cat Herder Third Class
                Kenmore, Washington
                hausdok@msn.com

                '58 Packard Hawk
                '05 Subaru Baja Turbo
                '71 Toyota Crown Coupe
                '69 Pontiac Firebird
                (What is it with me and discontinued/orphan cars?)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TX Rebel View Post
                  Heat is my preferred method of removal for stubborn coating that won't peel or scrape off. It is better to heat the metal from the back side if possible.
                  Gasoline cuts it pretty well, but use it outdoors only with proper safety precautions.
                  After my past 3 months experiences, I can categorically state there is NO safe precaution for using gasoline for this purpose. I have the pictures to prove it if necessary...
                  Jim
                  Often in error, never in doubt
                  http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

                  ____1966 Avanti II RQA 0088_______________1963 Avanti R2 63R3152____________http://rabidsnailracing.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jlmccuan View Post
                    After my past 3 months experiences, I can categorically state there is NO safe precaution for using gasoline for this purpose. I have the pictures to prove it if necessary...
                    Thanks for pointing that out, Jim!

                    I cringed at the thought of using thinners or gasoline, followed by the application of heat.

                    Let's be careful out there!
                    sigpic
                    Dave Lester

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                    • #11
                      I bought a Wagner heat gun with two heat settings at Walmart for about $30. I have used that for removing the undercoating on my 1969 Mustang Fastback. It worked great and it will safer then using a open flame or gas. You still have to use caution however. After the large stuff was removed I then cleaned the metal with a rag and carburetor cleaner (no heat was applied during this step).

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                      • #12
                        I stripped the bottom of my MGB with a heat gun, and putty knife/paint scraper. A film was left - a thin layer of gunk which filled a wire wheel attached to a drill with crap and made it useless. I then used Scotch Brite pads soaked in mineral spirits - out doors with rubber gloves - it was messy, but it all came off.

                        The underside was primered with a 2-part epoxy primer, sealed with a urethane sealer (used a plastic spoon to smooth seams). The next layer was Shutz - Rocker Shutz - a 3M product - it is a pebbly grained finish - anti-chip coating. A sealer was sprayed on top - followed with a urethane 2-part paint.

                        I am very surprised - 6,000 miles later - the underside is chip-free. I do avoid gravel roads, and the 2-3 times I have driven a mile on gravel - I have done it slowly...

                        Drew

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                        • #13
                          I think the heat gun works fine, got a milwaukee, surprising how fast it heats stuff. Gets most of the stuff off.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by drew72mgb View Post
                            I stripped the bottom of my MGB with a heat gun, and putty knife/paint scraper. A film was left - a thin layer of gunk which filled a wire wheel attached to a drill with crap and made it useless. I then used Scotch Brite pads soaked in mineral spirits - out doors with rubber gloves - it was messy, but it all came off.

                            The underside was primered with a 2-part epoxy primer, sealed with a urethane sealer (used a plastic spoon to smooth seams). The next layer was Shutz - Rocker Shutz - a 3M product - it is a pebbly grained finish - anti-chip coating. A sealer was sprayed on top - followed with a urethane 2-part paint.

                            I am very surprised - 6,000 miles later - the underside is chip-free. I do avoid gravel roads, and the 2-3 times I have driven a mile on gravel - I have done it slowly...

                            Drew
                            Nice to see someone doing the underside of their car "Right Way" not the "Cheap Way"
                            We do all our restorations with the exact same steps as above. NEVER had a come back!
                            Good Roads
                            Brian
                            Brian Woods
                            woodysrods@shaw.ca
                            1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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                            • #15
                              For "old hard" undercoating, an air chisel with a dull blade at an angle works great. It almost vibrates the undercoat off.
                              Good Roads
                              Brian
                              Brian Woods
                              woodysrods@shaw.ca
                              1946 M Series (Shop Truck)

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