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Frequently Asked Tech Questions

Frequently Asked Restoration Questions from the Eastwood Shop Talk Forum

Frequently Asked Restoration Questions from the Eastwood Shop Talk Forum

Rust Prevention/Repair | Buffing/Polishing | Painting | Powder Coating | Auto Body | Metal Fabrication | Abrasive Blasting | General Automotive

Rust Prevention and Repair Questions

Q: I recently purchased a 1969 Cougar, and the body is ugly. I found a new hood because the original has rust holes through it on the front lip as does the trunk lid and I'm looking for a replacement for it also. The rear cowel has a rust hole through it about baseball size... there are a few other small rust holes in the door jams and body. I'm not experienced with body work at all but can't afford to get this done professionally, so I would like to give it a try myself. I'm not sure where to start though; can you point me in the right direction?

A: Reading this article is a great start; you're certainly taking the right approach by learning about your options before diving headlong into your project.

The first question that you need to answer for yourself is 'What is the intended result of my restoration?' In other words, do you want a daily driver that presents ok - or do you want a full-boat restoration that will net a show car? For purposes of this article, we'll assume more of a driver.

Start with a thorough assessment. Pull the interior, trunk mats and all to determine the extent of the rust. Determine what will need to be replaced versus patched. Next comes the sanity align your skills with what will be required to conduct each task. Along with that assessment will come the parallel check as to whether you have the proper equipment to do the job.

Let's go through a practical scenario:

You've noted that the your cowling has baseball sized holes. You probe around with an awl, and determine that it's limited to that area, but have concerns that it may have migrated under the rear window channel. You'll need a glass seal cutter kit to remove it. You remove the window and find the lower channel rusted through. This will require a shrinker/stretcher and MIG welder to form the new channel to weld in place. MIG welders are a worthy investment of your project dollars, as they are much more controllable and versatile than stick.

Alternatively, you could grind it out and fill it with fiberglass strips, which would give you a quick but less elegant solution. It's all about choices and what you value. This scenario will play itself out 20 or 30 times throughout the project. Approach each task with a can-do attitude and patience and inevitably it will start to come together. The beauty of this hobby is that you will continually add to your skill set by trying tasks like this example which may seem a little beyond what you're accustomed to. Most of all, organize your activities by writing down the nature, order and magnitude of all the tasks that you forsee in the project. Don't be afraid to farm-out those items that are beyond your scope!


Q. I have a 1960 VW Beetle I just acquired. Luckily, it doesn't have any rust-through, but the pans (floor-boards) are covered in surface rust. While I'm not ready to remove the body from the pan and sandblast/restore the entire pan, I would like to do some preventative stuff to last me the next year or two. I want to avoid, if at all possible, having to use any kind of wire-wheel/cup or sandblasting on the car at this point. Can someone please give me the steps, from start to having a finished surface, that I should use, and which products? I'm kind of confused if I should use Rust Dissolver or Oxisolv. After using one of those, do I just clean the surface with soap and water, dry, then use Rust Encapsulator, or use Metal Wash, or what, then Rust Encapsulator? I want to do this right the first time, so I won't be doing it again in a year. Also, should I remove all of the seam sealer in this area, then wait to re-apply it until I am at the final step (after Rust Encapsulator), or before?

A. For your floor pans, use a wire brush to remove any of the loose rust. Next, clean up the rust dust and then wipe the floor pans with PRE or acetone. Now you are ready to apply the Rust Encapsulator. The Rust Encapsulator can be brushed or sprayed on. If you do not intend to topcoat the Rust Encapsulator, apply two coats. For added durability, top-coat the Rust Encapsulator with Extreme Chassis Black. If you wish to undercoat, our Rubberized undercoating will add an extra layer of protection. For the seam sealer, I remove the old seam sealer and apply the new seam sealer over the Rust Encapsulator. While you are working on the floors, it would also be a good idea to pull the front access plate off (behind the front axle beam) and apply Heavy Duty Anti Rust inside the tunnel. This will prevent and dramatically slow any existing rust in the tunnel. Have fun with your Bug.


Q. What is the best way to remove rust (flaking surface rust) on the underbody and then eventually undercoat a vehicle while it is still on its wheels?

A. The best way is to put the car up on ramps or jack stands, lie on your back, and sandblast till you have nice clean metal. Seal and undercoat as needed. Other methods include wire brushes and rust converters, but the best way is to sandblast all of the flaking, pitted metal. I've had good luck using non-loading wire wheels on my grinder. For tight areas that I can't get to with the grinder and wire wheel, I abrasive blast with my Speed Blaster. With both techniques, be sure you use appropriate safety equipment. There also are many commercial sandblasting companies that do automobiles. Look in your Yellowpages or do an internet search for a company in your area to see if they can help you out.

Buffing and Polishing Questions

Q: I am new to buffing aluminum and I have recently purchased a 3/4 HP buffer. The problem I am having is in the beginning stage. I am polishing up a lot of aluminum valve covers, but they have heavy amounts of oxidation on them. I tried cutting through it with Tripoli compound with no success. I have done a few of the valve covers so far and have been starting with 60 grit all the way up to 400. Is there a chemical solution on the market that will clean up the oxidation so I don't have to sand so much on a part? I know that a bead blaster will do the job but, that is not in the budget at the moment. Every valve cover that I have done so far has involved hours of sanding and there has to be an easier way. Thanks.

A: Oxidized and discolored areas usually do require sanding to achieve the best possible results. Bead blasting and Acidic solutions will remove the oxides but will leave an uneven surface that will need further sanding to level. It should however sand easier with the oxides out of the way. There are a number of acidic aluminum cleaners on the market. Some are used for aluminum wheels. I’d recommend you consider Oxisolv Aluminum Cleaner (16020Z). Once the oxides have been removed the Expander Wheel (13079) with the Trizact Bands will quickly level relatively flat surfaces. The 100, 200, and 400 grit bands can be used dry on aluminum without loading up with aluminum. The 700 and 1200 grit bands will require a coat of Tripoli compound to prevent aluminum loading and galling the surface. I would stop with the 400 grit because this will readily buff with the Tripoli on a Treated Ventilated Buff. I like the Treated buffs because they last longer and buff faster than spiral sewn buffs. The Expander Wheel may not be suitable in corners and between fins. For smoothing these areas you might like a Spiral Sewn Wheel treated with one of the Greaseless Compounds. In a production setting you may want to coat several wheels because it takes about 15 minutes to dry. To keep compound build-up to a minimum around letters, I would apply the compound to the wheel more sparingly. Usually contacting the spinning buff for 2 seconds is enough to load the compound onto the wheel. Also with aluminum it's good practice to rake the wheel when you notice any metallic build-up and when you start buffing to remove hardened compound. You should be able to remove some of the build-up by applying a little more pressure with a Loose Section Buff. The (13416) Finger Buff (very nice on diamond plate) may also help here. For a show quality shine right up to the edge of the letters I’d use the (13147) Felt Bobs in a die grinder or flex shaft at 3600-15,000 rpm. If you don't have an air compressor I'd consider one of the inexpensive benchtop drill presses to power the (13385) 52" Flex-Shaft with the felt bob. Using a drill will eventually get the job done if you have 2500 rpm or more. I love the dremels for light grinding and cutting, but I’ve let the smoke out of a couple trying to buff, so I’d use something stronger like an air powered die grinder. PS - I hope you’re wearing a dust mask. This is a dirty job and aluminum absorption has been linked with Alzheimers disease.

Painting Questions

Q. What are the differences between HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray guns and traditional high pressure guns?

A. High pressure guns were the industry standard until around the mid 80's and applied a beautiful finish. The main problem with high pressure guns is that they produce a lot of overspray. This unwanted overspray makes it difficult to see the surface, and the overspray falls on the surrounding area creating extra labor to clean up the mess. The Transfer efficiency of high pressure guns can be as bad as 25%, which means that 3 quarts of every gallon sprayed, ends up as overspray on the vehicle, and in your spray area. HVLP guns effectively transfer 65% or more to the surface. This means your paint will typically cover more than twice as much and you'll be able to see what you're doing much more clearly. HVLP guns require more accurate mixing and do not atomize the paint as finely as high pressure guns. The atomization can often be improved by using the next slower solvent or thinner than what the ambient temperature indicates. In other words, on a 70 degree day use an 85 degree solvent. Eastwood offers a wide range of HVLP guns from the popular (34566) and (11498) FinishLine 2 gun sets by Devilbiss to high end Sata guns. If atomization is of greatest importance for applying a metallic, pearl, or other custom finish you may want to consider one of the Sata guns or a "Compliant Gun". The Devilbiss Plus (34227) is a Compliant gun that offers the best of both worlds by combining the transfer efficiency of an HVLP gun with the atomization of a traditional high pressure gun at a modest price.


Q. What are the differences between a gravity feed gun (cup above the gun) and siphon feed gun (cup below the gun)?

A. Siphon feed relies on the suction generated by the air flowing through the gun to draw the paint up thru the long pickup tube and into the air stream. This style gun requires more air and does not use the last drop of paint in the cup. Typically about an ounce of paint is unreachable by the pickup tube. The cup below the gun can present a clearance problem when painting the hood, roof, or deck lid. The vent in the top of the cup can also cause paint to be dripped onto the freshly painted surface. The paint in a gravity feed gun flows down from the bottom of the cup to the nozzle. This design completely uses all the paint in the cup. Most gravity guns can also be used with flexible "bag" system. This utilizes a closeable bag in the cup that contracts as the paint is applied. This system absolutely eliminates the drip problem. The cup above the gun also makes it easier to spray horizontal surfaces without bumping the cup into the car.


Q. I am repainting my 1980 Malibu and would like to paint the grille and bumpers the same as the body color. I sand blasted the bumper to give texture to the surface and covered it with self-etching primer. Since then it has a few nicks and I can see that paint won't stick. Do you have any recommendations? I am afraid to sand blast the plastic grille.

A. We offer a product by House of Kolor, called Adhereto. Adhereto is an adhesion promoter that ensures proper adhesion of automotive paints on chrome, plastic, brass, etc. Adhereto is compatible with most automotive paints. Its always a good idea to test for compatibility when mixing paints and products from different manufacturers. Even where the paint has been rubbed off, the surrounding area won't peel.


Q. I am trying to paint an area about one square foot on the side of my car that I repaired. I had the color computer photoed and mixed twice and have not been able to match or blend to the existing paint. I've sanded with 400 grit to get to the base coat and shot the Deltron 2000 base coat and the clear following the directions on the can but still there is a shade or two difference between the old and new. Is there anyting I should try?

A. Due to great number of varaiables such as realtive humidity, barometric pressure, temperature, solvents used, even the length of time a batch of paint is mixed can dramatically affect the appearance and color of paint. it is virtually impossible to make a perfectly matched spot repair. Generally, it is best to experiment making small batches with the variables you can control, create a series of test panels while recording those variables then after choosing the closest one, blend the repair into the entire panel. Also, metallics are the most difficult to match. If you don't know what the paint code is the next best thing is to take the car or a piece of the car to the paint store and force them to "make" the color or tint the paint untill it matches. If they will not help you do this and keep charging you for the scanned paint find a different paint jobber. I am lucky enough to have two different jobbers with about 8 different paint lines to choose from between them. When I am doing a paint job I often order a couple tenths of a liter (quart) of a couple different paint lines and pick which company nailed the color match before I order enough paint for the entire job. Sometimes the employees in some of these stores just don't care when they mix the paint. An extra drop of color in a white paint formula throws the whole thing off. Darker colors will be off too when over-poured but it's just not as noticeable. Another thing to consider is the color of primer that you are spraying over compared to the color of primer that was used under the overall paint job. If the color is a metallic finish, I have had to play with my touch up gun to get the metallic to look the same. With the touch up gun, the finish appeared more metallic.

Powder Coating Questions

Q. I recently coated some upper control arms with semi-gloss black powder #10108. They turned out great, same finish as the Extreme Chassis Black I painted the frame with. I missed a few spots and decided to put a second powder coat on. Now, the control arms are more of a matte black instead of the nice somewhat glossy finish before. One thing that changed was that the oven temp was higer the second time (350-400 the first time, but 450 maybe higher the second). I let the parts cool slowly, so I don't think that's the reason. Was the higher temp the reason for the matte finish? Can I put a third coat on? Or, was the glossy finish not what it's supposed to be and matte is correct?

A. Sorry to hear about the dull finish. The flatter finish was most likely caused by the higher cure temp and or cure time. The dulling is an indication that the coating was starting to fail. For best results I’d strip it back down to bare metal and reapply. I like to use a small high intensity lamp to inspect the part, once coated, to make sure I didn’t miss any areas. It is possible to preheat the part to about 400 degrees and apply a third coat while the part is still hot. I’ve used this technique when applying multiple coats (sanding each coat with 220 grit) to hid surface pits. This technique is more effective than using Lab Metal because the powder always sticks better to itself than it would to a filler.

Auto Body Questions

Q. I have a 1972 Chevy C-10 Pick-up. The filler material (seam sealer?) in the roof gutter channels is cracked and deteriorating. Additionally, rust is forming in the channels. What is this material? Should I completely remove the present filler and replace it with new or, is it ok to clean away the visible rust, coat the existing with some new material, and paint the cab? If it is to be replaced, what product should be used to closely match the original appearance? If it is to be coated, what product would serve to fill/ conceal the cracks and be compatible with the existing material and auto primers/paints?

A. With age, the body seam sealer tends to dry and shrink. You should remove it all and clean the channel thoroughly to bare metal. If any rust is present after cleaning, applying Oxisolv to remove it or applying Rust Encapsulator in Red, Black or Silver, Quart or Aerosol over it would be beneficial. You can then apply one of our seam sealers in the channel, let it dry then paint with the automotive finish of your choice. I've had good luck removing the original seam sealer from the drip rails with a wire wheel mounted on an angle grinder or drill. Be sure to wear safety glasses and proper protection when using a wire wheel.


Q. I would like to use Eastwood Gator Guard II Truck Bed Liner Kit on my newly installed one piece Floor Pan on my 1965 Ford Mustang. This pan was very expensive and very time consuming to put in. I also put in a new fire wall while I was at it. My question is: Is this a smart move? I really don't want to ever have to have to replace these parts again! Have you ever heard anyone doing this? I think this would be a smart move to coat the inside and underside of the car, for water protection, sound deading and to protect the metal.

A. Many of our customers and even some people here at Eastwood have used sprayable bed liner under their vehicles. It offers great durability. For the interior of the vehicle I would just recommend some good epoxy primer and some Dynamat Extreme.

Metal Fabrication Questions

Q. I'm looking for some advice regarding metal fabrication equipment. I have something that I want to prototype. Light steel and aluminum construction, straight lines, few to no curvatures. What would I need to buy in order to produce, for example, an aluminum facial cover 3" wide by 1.5" deep by 24" long, with all bends, cuts, and flats straight as an arrow? I'm assuming that an English wheel is mainly for curve forming, and that shrinkers/stretchers finish out the look of curved pieces, but I'm probably wrong. What would I need to cut and form such an animal? Also, would the same setup be adequate for light steel formation of the underlying skeletal structure such a facial cover would be used for? Or would I need entirely different equipment for light steel? Also, for smaller parts fabrication, such as a collar for the aluminum piece above, measuring 3" wide by 1.5" deep by 1" long, would this be doable with the same equipment or will I need to buy different equipment for smaller piecework? Any help will be greatly appreciated. I like Eastwood's prices, they seem very reasonable compared to other online retailers, I just don't know what I need to order to do what I want to do.

A. How to accurately bend metal is a very commonly asked question, and one for which Eastwood has numerous solutions. The biggest drawback that I see to making an immediate recommendation is the heavy gauge of the material that you're working with. When you elect to go from an 18 or 20 gauge to a 14 or 16, the required bending pressures to create the desired "arrow straight" line increase exponentially. This means that any piece of equipment that you elect to do the chore will need to have a massive bed such that it will not flex (especially in the center). With the described length of about 24" long, my feeling is the Eastwood Magnabend would be up for the task. As for the straight line cutting, at present Eastwood does not offer a box shear, (something that would be a dedicated piece of equipment). Instead, I'd consider the Eastwood Beverly shear, which is an amazingly versatile and accurate piece of equipment capable of cutting straights, curves, angles and much more.

Abrasive Blasting Questions

Q. I am trying to investigate what kind of media blaster would best suit my situation. The pressure blasting units listed in your catalogue do not list what media they are suited for. I am interested in using "bicarbonate" since it is biodegradable and will dissolve. Will the units that are advertised work with that media? If so, what are the disadvantages of using that media?

A. Bicarbonate blastining (AKA Soda Blasting) is getting lots of press these days! It has the advantageous properties of removing coatings without disturbing the metal or fiberglass substrate. Additionally, our testing has shown that it will not etch glass nor damage rubber trim or seals. Regrettably, the equipment required to efficiently and effectively soda blast differs vastly from that of common pressure blasters that typically use glass bead, silicone carbide or aluminum oxide as the media. Soda blasting requires tremendous air volume, different nozzle configuration and internal media agitation. Should you elect to run bicarbonate media in a conventional pressure blaster, it would be like blasting your project at a rate similar to the width covered by a pencil eraser. Whether the advantages of soda blasting outweigh the expense and additional time required to use this technique is difficult to say. If it is imperative to leave only the virgin metal (and I mean it will even leave an original 600 grit sanding scratch on the substrate), without any of the surface distortion and embrittlement associated with conventional pressure blasting, then yes - this is the technique for you. We experimented with a converted 100lb pressure blaster using a special nozzle and it took almost 20 minutes to do an area 6" x 6" (futile). We then had a company bring in a commercial soda blaster that is identical to what the highway maintenance folks use to blast graphite off bridge overpasses. This thing used so much air that it literally had recoil similar to using a 1-1/2" fire hose! It featured an external mixing nozzle that injected water into the blast stream to keep the dust down and give the media some impact. Typically these deals are powered by a tow-behind commercial compressor. It was the real deal, but totally impractical for anything but a dedicated blasting operation. As for the undercoating, I would imagine that the properties of undercoating are similar to that of weatherstripping (which as I mentioned before the soda blasting will not harm in the least), and therefore the soda blasting will not touch undercoating. Essentially, bicarbonate is a friable media where the impaction is only effective on a hard coating such as paint and plastic filler.


Q. What type of respiratory protection should I use with my bench top blast cabinet? The cabinet contains most of the dust but I find that some dust still escapes one way or another. I use glass beads mostly but also aluminum oxide. I definitely do not use sand. However, as the filter gets clogged some dust will escape from the cabinet. That and when I clean my vac I use pressurized air to blow the dust off the filter and vac parts which creates more dust. I do wear a respirator similar to your professional respirator but I just want to make sure that it is adequate protection when using medias such as glass bead and your other special abrasives. I have a dual cartridge half mask that I have been using but reading the instructions I found that it is not recommended for any type of abrasive blasting not just sand blasting. What respirator should I use to protect me from this fine dust or should I even be worried about it since I'm not using sand or silica to blast with?

A. When I use an abrasive blasting cabinet I wear one of our Buff Shop Dust Masks (13000) or a Professional Respirator (34229). I keep in mind that the media contains traces of the contaminants that were removed and may include: lead, cadmium, and other contaminants. You should be using a dust collection system of some type so that there is a slight negative pressure in the cabinet. This helps keep the view clear as well as prevent dust from escaping. The wet/dry vac I use as a dust collector has a very fine filter that keeps particles out of the air. These HEPA filters are usually available from where you bought your vac. It's not just the danger of silicosis inherent to blast media containing silica (like sand), but rather the dust resulting from coatings that are removed. Eastwood does not make any specific recommendation as far as mask suitability for pressure blasting is concerned, however the operative is that it should seal tightly to the face. It certainly is true that no matter how good a cabinet seals, some abrasive will invariably escape when the door is opened.

General Automotive Questions

Q. I've been having problems with backfiring. What causes it, and how can I prevent it?

A. Usually most backfires are a product of timing. A spark is occurring when it shouldn't be or a valve is open when it should be closed. Obviously backfires caused by bad valve timing usually means the timing chain, if it has one, is either extremely loose and about to fail, or improperly installed. Improper spark timing could be way too much advance or retard, or a failed sensor/bad coil pack/shorted wire, depending on how old the engine is and if it has a distributorless ignition. The bottom line is that every Otto-ignition four stoke engine ever produced requires 4 things to run: 1) fuel 2) compression 3) air 4) timed ignition. Possibly there is a problem with respect to any one of these requirements, or a combination including more than one area could cause the symptom that you describe. Let's look at possibilities within all the categories.
FUEL: A fuel mixture that is too lean will not support a spark properly and will not sustain combustion. If the carb backfire is on accelerator "tip-in" or under load, look for problems in the primary fuel metering circuits, a restricted fuel filter and so forth. Very stale gas will also not support combustion and can result in the backfire you describe.
COMPRESSION: Compression creates heat and assists in dispersement of the fuel within the air, helping the spark to sustain combustion. Very low overall compression, and especially compression loss through the intake valves can lead to backfiring through the intake.
AIR: This one's usually pretty easy. I'd probably rule this out since an air restriction usually causes a rich mixture in a carbureted vehicle.
TIMED IGNITION: Carburetor "popping" is generally associated with ignition timing that is overly advanced. In this case, the spark is fired way before piston TDC. Over advanced timing is usually also accompanied by excessive engine heat and lack of power in the extreme case. Incorrect firing order can cause this too. It just takes swapping two plug wires to cause this, a condition that can be hard to pin down on a V8. Start by verifying firing order, then base timing followed by dwell.


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Section 4: Interested buyer's protocol

1.      Caveat Emptor. You and only you are responsible for determining just how good a deal is.

2.      As a buyer, you are obligated to complete the transaction with the seller. You agree to indemnify and hold Eastwood harmless from any claim or demand made by a third party arising out of your breach of this agreement.

3.      Unless you and the seller agree otherwise, you will become the item’s lawful owner upon physical receipt of the item from the seller.

Section 5: Observer's protocol

1.      Observers may not comment on, manipulate, or interfere with Seller's prices within the thread. Any price comments must be kept to e-mail.

2.      The behavior of any trader outside of the Eastwood Online Swap Meet will not be questioned on the Eastwood forum. Any such opinions should be forwarded to a moderator in email.

Section 6: Trade conflicts

1.      Conflicts arising from transactions which do not meet the expectations of either party should be worked out between the interested parties.

2.      Conflicts between traders are not to appear as threads or posts on the Eastwood forum. Disputes will be kept private. Any public posting of a trade conflict will be deleted on sight.

3.      The efforts of Eastwood members to inform the population at large of known bad traders are appreciated by the moderators. However, it is required that the moderators be informed prior to any member posting such information on the Eastwood forum.

4.      Eastwood may suspend or terminate your account if we suspect that you have engaged in fraudulent activity in connection with the Online Swap Meet.

Section 7: Additional information

1.      This agreement shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the State of Pennsylvania as such laws are applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within Pennsylvania between Pennsylvania residents. We do not guarantee continuous, uninterrupted or secure access to our services, and operation of the Site may be interfered with by numerous factors outside of our control. If any provision of this Agreement is held to be invalid or unenforceable, such provision shall be struck and the remaining provisions shall be enforced. Our failure to act with respect to a breach by you or others does not waive our right to act with respect to subsequent or similar breaches. This Agreement sets forth the entire understanding and agreement between us with respect to the subject matter hereof.



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