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Rust Protection Done Right

The best way to deal with rust is to remove it. This can be achieved through mechanical (abrasive blasting, wire wheel, sanding, etc.) or chemical (Fast Etch Rust Remover, Rust Dissolver) means, or through the direct approach of cutting out the affected area and replacing with new metal. When the metal is perforated or the strength is compromised, cutting out and replacing is the only way to go.

But there are always those areas in every project that are only slightly corroded, and strength has not been compromised. For these sections use mechanical means to at least remove the loose rust, then use Fast Etch Rust Remover or Rust Dissolver to completely dissolve the rust. For areas where you can't readily reach to remove with Fast Etch, use Eastwood Rust Converter on heavy, scaly rust, followed by Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. If the area is not heavy and scaly rust, use Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. If you can't access the area to remove the loose rust, use Eastwood Internal Frame Coating or Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust. That's a brief summary of the proper use of our best-selling rust treatments. Now let's look at the individual products.

Eastwood Rust Dissolver is a gentler rust remover than Fast Etch. It penetrates deep into the metal, dissolving the rust in a few hours. Works as longs as the surface is wet. For vertical surfaces, use Rust Dissolver Gel. Rust Dissolver leaves metal ready to paint, plate or powder coat. So gentle, it's suitable for engine parts and is harmless to copper, brass, aluminum, solder, lead, plastic, rubber, seals, wood and vinyl. Will not remove paint that is in sound condition.

Fast Etch Rust Remover is a phosphoric acid-based product that leaves a zinc phosphate coating for temporary rust protection. As with all acid-based products, it works faster at 70°F than at 50°F. Fast Etch can be heated up to 100°F for even faster rust removal. Prior to using Fast Etch, make sure the surface is grease- and oil-free (PRE Painting Prep works great here!), knock off the loose rust, then spray or wipe-on the Fast Etch. For heavier rust, saturate a cloth with Fast Etch, lay it on the surface and cover with plastic to prevent evaporation. Check the surface every 30 minutes or so and rinse with water (or to prevent flash rusting, use PRE Painting Prep), and prime. Fast Etch will not remove paint (though it may discolor it), grease, or oil deposits. Do not leave parts in contact longer than it takes to remove the rust, as base metal erosion will take place.

Eastwood Rust Converter works great over heavy, scaly rust. This product chemically converts rust to a paintable, inert surface that must be topcoated. Do not apply to clean metal; this product needs rust to work. Perfect for rusty frames, floor pans, battery trays and other heavily rusted areas. For ultimate rust protection, we recommend topcoating Rust Converter with Eastwood Rust Encapsulator.

Eastwood Rust Encapsulator seals the surface with minuscule glass flakes. Very little prep is required to apply Rust Encapsulator. Just knock off the loose rust, make sure the surface is grease- and oil-free (PRE Painting Prep again) and brush or spray-apply 2 medium coats. Allow 2-3 hours between coats, and 6-8 hours after the final coat before topcoating. If desired, the surface can be rubbed down with a fine wet/dry abrasive paper, allowing an extra hour to dry before applying the top coat. Rust Encapsulator is dry to the touch in 1-1/2 to 2 hours, and is thoroughly dry in about 4 hours at 68°F. Thicker coats of Rust Encapsulator will proportionately increase dry time. If more than 36 hours elapse before the top coat is applied, be sure to sand the surface with 320-grit wet/dry paper to assure good adhesion.

Rust Encapsulator allows you to paint over rust and prevents rust from spreading. It works over or under plastic body fillers, and withstands up to 400°F, making it ideal for priming rusty engine blocks too. Though it can be sprayed through our Undercoating System, this application is not recommended as it usually means it's being applied inside a door or rocker panel, where even basic prep cannot be done. (See Internal Frame Coating or Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust below.)

Rust Encapsulator is UV-resistant, so it does not need to be topcoated, but is compatible with most topcoats.

POR-15 is a rust-preventive coating formulated for application directly on properly prepped rusted or seasoned metal surfaces. It dries to a rock-hard, non-porous finish, and prevents rust from recurring by protecting metal from further exposure to moisture. Use it to coat rusty frames, floor pans, farm equipment, marine equipment, or even a heavily corroded battery tray. POR-15 is sensitive to UV light, so must be topcoated for prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Self-Etching Primer should only be applied to rust-free, clean, dry metal. Self-Etching Primer sticks well to steel, stainless steel, aluminum, even scuffed galvanized surfaces. Traditional self-etching primers are 2-part acid-based products. Our Self-Etching Primer uses an aggressive solvent with acid to thoroughly bond to the surface. Chassis Black does not adhere well to our self-etching primer but will work fine over 2-part epoxy primers. Do not use our self-etching primer on surfaces that reach temperatures in excess of 180°F, as failure will occur.

Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust is a waxy, oily coating that seals the surface against moisture or air. This is obviously not for use on surfaces that will subsequently be painted. Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust works great in doors and rocker panels or inside frame members. Prep is very limited. Just make sure the surface is dry. Use a heat gun or heat lamp to gently heat seams and closed areas where moisture may become trapped, then apply.

Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust is sometimes used in wheel wells as a primer under Rubberized Undercoating. Though this procedure does not appear to enhance adhesion, it does add an extra barrier of protection that will help prevent rust should the undercoating become damaged.

Rubberized Undercoating is best used inside wheel wells and undercar areas. This product is not recommended for use inside rocker panels or doors (for that application see Internal Frame Coating or Heavy-Duty Anti-Rust). Rubberized undercoating can be painted over with lacquer, enamels, and urethanes, as was manufacturer's practice in some vehicles. The thickness of the coating provides some sound deadening as well as a resilient layer to protect the surface from rock chips.

Zinc-Rich Galvanizing Compound is applied to bare, clean steel for excellent corrosion protection equal to hot dip galvanizing, thanks to the 95% metallic zinc content. Not recommended as a primer as subsequent coatings do not adhere well. Works great when applied in a thin coat to a joint prior to welding, or for coating bare steel surfaces that will later be hidden, as in a rocker or quarter panel replacement.

Internal Frame Coating was developed to treat and stop rust inside frames and other areas where rust could not be effectively treated. Internal Frame Coating converts and encapsulates the rust, and uses zinc phosphate to prevent future corrosion. It's formulated to flow into tight areas and penetrate the rust. Application with the nozzle system included allows for complete coverage inside frames and other tight spots. Great for use inside frames, bed sides, and other tough-to-treat areas. Most average car frames require 2-3 cans, and truck frames require three cans.

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Contributing Eastwood Rust Expert:

Nick C.