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Hawk Body Front Fender Rear Seal and rust prevention

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  • Body / Glass: Hawk Body Front Fender Rear Seal and rust prevention

    All, I had some minor rust creeping into my left front fender, rear edge, so I decided to pull the fender to find out why. First, I noticed that there is a double wall on the back 2" edge of the fender that is trapping water. I am planning to flush out with some acid, neutralizing, and treating the inner seam with rustoleum or such. I propose to seal the top hole up and make sure the bottom drain hole is clear. I am sure its plugged.

    A few questions:

    Any better method to treat this very tight space and protect from future rust?

    Should I run a seam of sealer along the forward edge of the L shaped mounting flange so water does not work its way into the seam?

    Should I plug the weep hole at the top? (photo of weep hole, fender upside down, is below)

    Also, suggestions for sealing the back edge of the fender against the body pillar? A long time ago I used soft body welt/putty tape with some thicker weatherstrip at the top where the gap was close to 1/2". Any better state of the art ideas? See where my finger is pointing.

    Any further suggestions before I bolt everything back on and hopefully never have to do this again?

    And the question I don't want to have answered, do I need pull the right fender and repeat?

    Thanks. Al K

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  • #2
    The Age Old Studebaker Fender Rust Problem. There have been probably a Dozen ways people have tried to permanently STOP that from happening, most have helped but I don't know of any that ever reported back 10 , 15 or 20 years Later, as to how well their "Fix" worked.

    There have been some "Fixes" over the years in Turning Wheels, the Forum has not been around long enough.
    The One I remember is the one where the Fender was stood up on it's Rear end and Red Lead poured into that semi open double "Flange."

    I see NO reason to leave that "Weep Hole" at the Top, Open for water coming down from above to pour in.
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner


    • #3
      I like cosmoline for sealing hard to reach areas inside auto body.


      • #4
        What I did and not sure if going to work yet. Only time will tell. I sand blasted as hard as I could into the tight area where the rust starts. Then repaired the rust on outer panel. Then I blasted out as much of any sand and left over rust with a number of shots of air where the water and sand get between the two panels. Stood the fender up on end and pored epoxy primer in that area as much as I possibly could. Let it set for several days to totally cure. Next I seam sealed the opening between the two panels and after that was totally cured I epoxy primed again and sprayed a coat of bed liner over the whole inside of the fender giving that area a couple extra coats of bed liner.


        • #5
          Great suggestions. I noticed that the fender and inner L are not sealed together. I was able to use a hack saw blade to clean out the rust and sand. Mostly sand. But wait, there's more! I realized that this is the 21st century, not the last one. So I switched to using new technology, an oscillating saw. That worked great for working out the sand build up and rust. If you don't have one of these yet, you are missing a real useful tool. So run, don't walk to your nearest hardware supplier and equip yourself accordingly.

          I flooded the area with Muriatic acid and neutralized with Baking Soda. Dried it a bit and realized there is still more junk in the gap. So I will repeat the process tomorrow and cut out the rust spot. Once dry. I will use some phosphoric acid for over kill. Then wash out and dry. Finally, I'll use an old trick that Swvalcon mentioned and pour some epoxy primer into the gap to fill it up. Taping up all the holes first to hold the epoxy in. Once hardened, then put an additional bead of sealer along the edge.

          Fender should be good for another 60 years!!

          Next question: What method do the experts use to seal the fender to body pillar? (ie, where my finger is pointing in the previous photo?

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          • #6
            My only concern is, once that is all sealed up, should ANY moisture ever get in, there is no way for it to escape or evaporate.
            I like keeping the fender fold open and clean and spray it every year or so with Amsoil MPHD or, as James suggested, Cosmoline.
            "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


            • #7
              The British (they know something about tin worm) rave about this stuff.


              It's sprayable.


              • #8
                A thorough de rusting and cleaning then epoxy primer coating has gotten wifes 57 silver hawk past the 15 year mark with ease. didnt seal flange,just coated it with epoxy primer. car sits under open car port and is a daily driver. seam was left open for ventilation,hoping that air moving past will keep any moisture dried up. Finger's Crossed! Luck Doofus


                • #9
                  A splash panel behind the wheel also helps a lot. It prevents most of the dirt and water thrown up by the tire from reaching the seam at the rear of the fender. I made mine from sheet metal many years ago.


                  • #10
                    Instead of trying to cover the inside of that area with epoxy primer after cleaning and etching it, why not just fill that entire "tube" area with epoxy? Just an idea, but if it's solid there's no place for water to get into to rust.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bensherb View Post
                      ... why not just fill that entire "tube" area with epoxy?
                      A solid chunk of epoxy isn't going to expand and contract along with the sheet metal. There WILL be separation, and the moisture that does get in there will not evaporate.

                      "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


                      • #12
                        To continue the saga, I could not get my hack saw blade into the very bottom of the fender. So I used my dremel to cut a small window to see if I could pick the rust out. A solid chunk popped out. So I decided to do a limited peel and opened up the seam a bit. I ground off a few spot welds on the bottom and on the fold over seam, pried up the fold enough for the stiffener to be lifted up. Glad I did as I found some heavy rust in this gap. If I was redoing the whole car, I would consider peeling the whole stiffener piece out. But the rest of the fender is perfect with no rust. Just this seam and only at the very bottom and very top corner.

                        So I have treated with muriatic acid - 10 min. Neutralized with baking soda.
                        Treated with Phosphoric acid. Washed it out.
                        Will clean some more with a hack saw blade with sticky sandpaper wrapped around the edge (3M sticket Roll - best sandpaper to have for hobby purposes).
                        Then will treat with phosphoric acid again.
                        Then dry and spray with epoxy.
                        Then seal up. Good for another 30 years.

                        I don't' want to pull the other fender as it shows no problems but as my brother says "so what kind of wishful thinking is that?"

                        Al K

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                        • #13
                          RE StudeRich’s request for long term results:
                          In 1981, I put NOS front fenders on my 65,000 mile usual rusted 64 Cruiser. Our method back then was to stand them on their tails and flood the crease with red rust primer til it ran out everywhere, let it dry. Then on a HOT day force fill the crease with nasty asphalt based roof tar from caulking tubes. Use a caulking gun to apply and then work it in with your palm & fingers as if you were packing a wheel bearing. Finish with a smooth surface coat.
                          This method kept them from showing any rust for over 30 salted St. Louis winters & they were only showing a couple of small spots down low at the time we cut that very rusted car up 3 years ago.
                          When I do it again I’d look at newer materials, but use the same methods.


                          • #14
                            If original owners had developed a reginine of hosing out the area the "inevitable" probably never would have happened. Today most of us don't use our Studebakers the way we did forty years ago, but the die has already been cast.


                            • #15
                              Would truckbed liner work? Seems to last for a long time when exposed to UV and weather.