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Rust at the tail feathers of the hawk - any easy fix - can't afford new paint job

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  • Body / Glass: Rust at the tail feathers of the hawk - any easy fix - can't afford new paint job

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    I had to leave the Hawk with the tail feathers sticking out for a couple of years. Now I have some rust developing at the seams. I would like to kill the rust without damaging the paint job if possible. I can't afford a new paint job right now but want to do what I can to stop the rust from continuing to eat away at the bird.

    Thanks for your suggestions & help! Nick

  • #2
    There's already some damage - probably pretty rusty in the seam, and at least one obvious blister. You can use a thin rust preventive which will soak into the seam. WD40 is probably as good as anything. Let it soak in, then wipe off the excess. It will not damage the paint, and will prevent future rust for a while - how long depends on storage conditions.

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    • #3
      Well...you have often heard the saying..."Where there's smoke there's fire." What you have pictured here is an example of, "Where there's rust, there is oxidation (iron oxide), and therefore a slow burn without the smoke. Others (especially professionals) may chime in here, but my recommendation is to do all you can to clean, and then protect this area from exposure to oxygen. As far as damaging the paint...the rust is already doing that. Your challenge is to control the rot in this area without damaging any more paint than is necessary. A good Dremel tool with wire brush (safety glasses) and a steady hand would be a good start. You will probably have to sacrifice a certain amount of paint to get to the rust. After you have cleaned all you can with the wire brush, then pick the seam with a dental pick (or similar small tool). Next, if you can get your hands on a small quantity of epoxy primer (perhaps from a local body shop), get it thin enough to flow into the crevice and coat it with an artist brush or air brush. Follow up with a white touch up top coat. That should help inhibit or delay the rust progression until a thorough restoration/repaint can be done.

      It might not be the best solution, nor completely match...but I will assure you the touch up will be much better than the fire (rust). An alternative to the epoxy primer would be a rust converter. Hopefully, they have improved these products since I stopped selling them a couple of decades ago. The early formulas were sensitive to moisture exposure during curing, needed a certain amount of rust (iron oxide) to chemically react/bond and cure to be effective, and didn't always play nice with some top coats (paint). So, if you plan to use a "Rust Converter," (Rustoleum, Loctite, POR 15, etc.) do some research before using them and follow the instructions to the letter.

      Good luck with your project. I only wish I was blessed with a finned Hawk so that I could accept the challenge to solve the same problem.

      By the way...I have a '51 Land Cruiser with a similar problem a small area of paint bubbling at a rear fender welt seam. It is very expensive paint. I did the job myself in the late 1980's or early 1990's...so, I'm not perfect and see it as my responsibility for not being as careful in preparation as I am urging you to be.
      John Clary
      Greer, SC

      SDC member since 1975

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      • #4
        I'm speaking from over 30 years of restoring cars. The rust you see is not all of the rust you have. Usually the rust comes from the inside to the outside. By the time you see it bubbling through the paint, it has damaged a lot of sheet metal. You say that you can't afford a paint job now, but you may want to correct this problem now and use epoxy primer to seal the repaired areas until you can afford to paint the car. It ain't going to heal or get better by waiting. Good luck.
        sigpic1966 Daytona (The First One)
        1950 Champion Convertible
        1950 Champion 4Dr
        1955 President 2 Dr Hardtop
        1957 Thunderbird

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        • #5
          http://www.quick-glo.com/
          Bill Foy
          1000 Islands, Ontario
          1953 Starlight Coupe

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          • #6
            One thing that's important whatever you do is to warm it up GOOD before you put anything at all on the rust, not as hot as you would hurt your hand when touching it, but almost that hot! Once all humidity is out you can put on something thin & easy-flowing to creep in & when that's dried you can put one more layer on & so on. & rust in process is acid stuff, that's why it's needed to be heated out.
            But rust is like cancer; if you don't cut it out it will keep on growing...
            sigpic

            Josephine
            -55
            Champion V8
            4d sedan

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            • #7
              It's not unusual for edges like that to rust faster than panels do. They usually have thinner paint and tend to get chipped more often. In your pic I see only one obvious blister of any size. It may be only rust under the paint but could be a small hole as well (JB weld is your friend).

              I'd unbolt the fender , or at least loosen the bolts enough to remove the division trim. Then clean the rust from the fender edges and trim. Then touch up paint as needed. I prefer to use chemicals for rust removal instead of sanding because sanding can't easily get into rust pits, and I'm lazy. Lately I've been using hydrochloric acid. In my experiance it's fast and will only attack the oxidation and doesn't damage the metal or paint. It will damage steel if left long enough (days or weeks) and will remove cadmium plating, zinc plating (galvanization), and damage chrome plating; it will also disolve zinc and white metal parts.

              As a test I removed rust from a Kawasaki motorcycle gas tank exterior that had been stripped of all paint and left outside in the weather for over 5 years. It took 45 minutes to strip it to clean bare metal; simply painting it with acid and a brush every 10 minutes. Yes, that tank has some pitting, it was wasted anyway, so since it was now clean I cut the cap area from it to add to a Harley tank. Oh! I tested it on the paint on that bike too. The fairing still had paint, a repaint not factory paint, I filed a painted recess with the acid. After 45 minutes, washed it off, and it had no effect at all.

              Your results may vary. (try a small test first)
              Last edited by bensherb; 07-12-2019, 02:37 PM.

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              • #8
                As bensherb said, I would start by loosening or removing the rear fender so that you can get to all of the rust and treat it.
                Gary L.
                Wappinger, NY

                SDC member since 1968
                Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                • #9
                  X3 what Ben said.

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                  • #10
                    As always, lots of good advice. I was on the right track but you guys have greatly expanded my thinking about taking on this job. To all of you a very grateful "Thank you!!" It will take some time to get to this project but I fell much better prepared to attack it!
                    Nick

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ndynis View Post
                      As always, lots of good advice. I was on the right track but you guys have greatly expanded my thinking about taking on this job. To all of you a very grateful "Thank you!!" It will take some time to get to this project but I fell much better prepared to attack it!
                      Nick
                      Yep, you have kinda run the gamut of suggestions, fixes, & cures. However, you began this conversation seeking a temporary solution to hold off further damage and progression until you can take on a more serious, expensive, and permanent cure. In my opinion, the temporary solution is to isolate the metal from exposure to oxygen.

                      Rust cannot progress/continue without oxygen. It does not generate oxygen. Oxygen is the essential catalyst for rust to live and breathe. It's like if you light a candle in a bucket, and then put a lid on the bucket...the candle will stop burning. The charred/burnt wick (think rust) will remain, once the oxygen is depleted, the further burning of the wick stops. Same with rust...block it off from oxygen, and the rust will halt. So...my suggestion to clean up the current area, coat it with something to block oxygen exposure and rust/oxidation stops.

                      The trick is to completely block off oxygen exposure. If you can't get to all areas of oxygen exposure and leave a tiny (back door/back side) opening ...you might inhibit the speed of rusting, but to stop further rusting... it must be completely sealed off from air (oxygen).
                      John Clary
                      Greer, SC

                      SDC member since 1975

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                      • #12
                        If that's the only rust you have it could be fixed with out a paint job. Just need to clean up the rust prime and spot paint.

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                        • #13
                          I've never seen rust stopped by just closing it off from oxygen with anything that seriously seals it, if there's the rust-in-proces left there it will keep on growing, & that I've seen plenty of, both on cars & ships, many have tried.
                          If you get down under the rustflakes (it has to be done fast, it dries up quick) you can touch with your finger & it's wet & if you taste it (not the best thing to do) you'll find it's acid!
                          Oxygen or not...
                          & I wouldn't mind at all to be wrong about that!
                          sigpic

                          Josephine
                          -55
                          Champion V8
                          4d sedan

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                          • #14
                            The item you see there is the filler strip that's inserted between the fender and the body. In the chassis parts catalog it is called MOULDING, rear fender to body bead.

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                            Classic Enterprises calls it the "Upper quarter 'T' strip" Click image for larger version

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ID:	1728758But make it as a solid piece.

                            Originally, and I can tell yours IS original (rear edge is rounded, front edge is squared)Click image for larger version

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ID:	1728761, it has a number of metal strips that are rooted between the two to keep it in place, and probably sandwiched in with some ribbon caulk as well.
                            If you loosen the fender bolts in the B pillar, and the ones along the top edge (requiring removal of the back seat and quarter trim panel), you may be able to carefully pry the strip out. Careful; it does bend easily.

                            Then clean your painted surfaces on the fender and body as others have recommended. You may also clean the moulding strip. But I would recommend stripping it completely with some 400 grit or a Skotchbrite pad; then paint with a spray can of touch-up as close to your color as you can find.

                            It's been recommended you spray the open seam with a protectant, and I agree. But a product like WD40 is going to dissipate very quickly. I highly recommend Amsoil HDMP, Heavy Duty Metal Protectant, available at any Amsoil dealer and many parts stores. It sprays on very thin, creeps in to all seams, and will leave a permanent barrier to re-oxidation.

                            Then roll a tiny bead of ribbon caulk along the seam, carefully push the moulding strip back in and tighten all the fender bolts. Then wipe off any excess HDMP.
                            Last edited by rockne10; 07-13-2019, 01:42 PM.
                            "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                            Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                            Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                            '33 Rockne 10,
                            '51 Commander Starlight,
                            '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
                            '56 Sky Hawk

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                            • #15
                              Brad: Thanks for adding your piece to the group! That is really great information and it took some time for you to put it together. Thank you again!
                              Studebaker Forum folks are the absolute best!
                              Nick

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