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Our tech team answers a lot of technical calls and emails each day and there are a lot of common questions asked and advice given. Many of them are about when and where to use our different coatings and paints. Rust products might be the most confusing as far as when to use them and which one is correct for your rust situation. I decided to put together this quick article to help you decide when you should use Rust Encapsulator vs. Rust Converter.
Rust Encapsulator is one of our oldest and most well known products we sell. We've been an innovator in rust treatments and this product has stood the test of time. Encapsulator is probably the safest and most universal of our rust products as it doesn't much care what it is applied over. Below are some examples of situations where Rust Encapsulator is ideal and where another product may be better.
1. Surface Rust- Encapsulator will easily go over areas of surface rust and stop the rust from spreading. One medium coat usually covers light surface rust.
2. Medium Rust- This is rust that is more than just surface or flash rust, it may have started to lightly pit the metal, but hasn't started to affect the rigidity of the metal. Start by wire wheeling or mechanically removing any loose rust and apply 2-3 medium coats to get complete penetration into the rust.
3. Bare Metal- Rust Encapsulator can be used over bare metal, but I wouldn't suggest it over an epoxy or etch primer if you ONLY have bare metal to deal with. It can be used to quickly seal bare metal in a pinch to avoid flash rusting as well.
4. Mixed Surfaces- Rust Encapsulator is the best rust product to apply over surfaces that might vary in grades of rust, have bare metal or old paint present. If you have an area that you cleaned to bare metal or repaired and there's still rust around that area, I'd suggest Rust Encapsulator.
While Rust Encapsulator can be applied to almost any surface, it isn't always the best option. Below are instances where we'd suggest a different product for the best results.
1. Over rubberized undercoating or heavy duty anti-rust- Undercoating and Anti-Rust are great products for undercarriage, or hidden areas on a vehicle but using Rust Encapsulator over them is unnecessary and isn't using the product to it's full potential. I absolutely prefer to use it as a base under rubberized undercoating for piece of mind.
2. In hidden, boxed, or hard to reach areas- Rust Encapsulator needs some basic prep before application (wire brush loose rust and degrease with PRE). It also needs complete coverage to properly stop the rust and it can be tough to get it to cover properly on an area that hasn't been prepared completely. For hidden, boxed, and hard to reach areas we suggest our Internal Frame Coating.
Rust Converter is a coating that will convert heavy rusted areas into a protective polymeric coating with little prep. This product works well when used as directed, but doesn't have room for error when it comes to using it on the incorrect surfaces. Rust Converter NEEDS 100% rust present in order for it to work correctly and to fully cure. The surface does need to be top coated after cured. For the best protection we suggest to apply Rust Encapsulator over the Converter and then top coat.
-Medium Rust- Areas that are completely covered in substantial rust are ok to use Rust Converter on as long as it isn't mixed with bare metal or other coatings around it.
-Heavy, Flaky Rust- Rust Converter works best on rust that is HEAVY. This would be scaly rust that has begun pitting the surface and has covered all of the metal. We still suggest to knock off (wire brush/wheel) the loose, flaking rust before applying the product. The goal is for the entire surface that is rust to turn a purplish-black once the converter has finished curing. It may take 2-4 coats to fully convert a surface.
-Bare Metal- DO NOT EVER apply Rust Converter over bare metal. This product needs 100% rust present for it to work. In fact virgin, clean metal could actually flash rust if Rust Converter is applied and left on it.
-Mixed Surfaces- Rust Converter needs 100% rust present in order for it to fully cure. This means it won't work completely on areas that are a mix of rust and bare metal, or a mix of original paint and rust. If you're trying to treat small rust spots that have paint surrounding them (that we assume you don't want to damage) you can use Fast Etch to saturate the area and get into those small rust spots. Then touch up with paint as needed.
-Painted or coated surfaces- This product won't work on bare metal areas to protect or prevent from rust. If applied to areas that are painted or used to coat for prevention the Rust Converter won't fully cure and the surface will stay sticky.
If you follow these quick guidelines you can quickly determine if you need Rust Encapsulator or Rust Converter. Feel free to drop us a comment if you'd like to see a buyers guide for any other product.
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Whats the Best Way to Get Rid of Those Annoying Spot Welds?
While you're tearing down your project it's inevitable that you will come across some spot welds that need to be removed. They can be a pain to remove. especially when you want to save as much of the original metal as possible. Just like many parts of automotive restoration there is more than one way to do the same task. It all comes down to which method works best for you. All of these methods accomplish the same goal it all depends on what tools you have and how in depth you want to go.
Lets start with the simplest, Spot Weld Cutters, but even these have multiple variations.
The first and very common is this Spot Weld Cutter. It utilizes a small centering pin which makes contact with the panel first which stops the cutter from wandering. The pin is on a spring so once you put pressure into the panel it will depress and begin to cut through the panel. The cutting wheel is similar to a hole saw for wood which is slightly larger than the spot weld. These can be swapped out with different size cutting heads depending on your project. This type of cutter has an advantage over the rest because once the cutting head bores through the first panel the panels are able to be separated. You will not be left with a hole cut all the way through both panels. Spot Weld Cutters like these range from about $25-$80. This costs more than some other methods, but it is the most professional, accurate method for drilling spot welds.
The next spot weld cutter is slightly cheaper and performs the same basic function. This Spot Weld Drill essentially a very wide but flat drill bit with a self centering tip so it will not wander. These have an advantage of being made out of one piece of metal so there are no pieces that could break. They do have their drawbacks because each cutter is for a specific size spot weld, unlike the first where the cutting head can be changed out to accommodate various spot weld sizes. At a price point of $30+ dollars they may be more expensive than a standard drill bit, but they are far more accurate and last much longer than a standard drill bit (and won't drill through both panels as easily).
The next method is by far the most simple and easiest way. No speciality tools are required all you will need is a drill and a set of drill bits. This method works very well but it takes a lot more time and it can wear down your drill bits quickly. Although it's the easiest, using a drill does have its disadvantages. First is that it is near impossible to save both panels since you will have to drill completely through both panels. The problem with this method is that you will not be able to remove a lot of spot welds because even the best drill bits will get dull over time. One way to reduce the wear on your drill bits is to drill a small pilot hole first and then use a larger bit to remove the spot weld. This method is very time consuming and can be frustrating if your drill bits become dull.
Whenever you are doing any type of drilling whether it is with a specialized spot weld cutter or with a normal drill bit you should always use some type of lubricant or cutting fluid which will help keep the bit cool and increase the longevity of your bits.
If you don't have a drill or drill bits and you still want to remove spot welds there is another method which is more of a last resort. The tools you'll need for this are a Cut Off Wheel and a Hammer and punch or Air Hammer with chisel attachment. First cut a star shaped pattern directly over top of the weld, you will only need to cut through the top panel. Then using the punch hit the center of the cut lightly to break the rest of the metal free. If you are able to get to the under side of the panel this step may become easier withe use of a screw driver to pry the two pieces apart. This method should only be used as a last resort when you don't care about the top panel.
The last method is also somewhat of a last resort but in a pinch it will complete the same task. Using an Angle Grinder remove the metal directly above the spot weld without burning thorough the panel. Once you have removed the majority of the first layer of metal, use a punch or chisel and hammer to break the rest of the metal free. If you are unsure of how much metal you have removed, hit the center of the spot weld and the outline of the spot weld will appear.
All of these methods will remove spot welds but only the Spot Weld Cutter and Spot Weld Drill will allow you to remove the weld without damaging the other panel. In the long run the higher price will be worth the time they save.
Check out the Eastwood Blog and Tech Archive for more How-To's, Tips and Tricks to help you with all your automotive projects. If you have a recommendation for future article or have a project you want explained don't hesitate to leave a comment.
- James R/EW
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