Unibody rust, the never ending battle - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
Rob K
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Unibody rust, the never ending battle

Actually the battle does end; I always lose. For the last 20 years I've been washing, waxing and painting like crazy trying to keep up. I keep the road salt off as much as possible, but all you can do is slow the process. I usually do touch up and re-paint in the spring and fall, because the rust always comes back. Mostly because the body rusts from the inside out. Whenever I buy a vehicle I feel like I should dismantle the entire thing and paint it properly, but it's not at all practical so I don't.

My 2011 KK is 5 years old now with 28k miles. Bought it a few years ago from someone that kept it real clean. I need it to last for a long time. Even with a lot of undercarriage washing I am getting quite a bit of rust. From my experience , once it starts it doesn't take long at all to completely rust out. I can see a lot of rust inside the rocker panels. All the seams and welds are rusted inside and out. I'm hoping to start a long discussion on how to best deal with rust. I've had a lot of trial and error painting on the vehicles a couple times a year. Nothing I've done has worked really well. I probably should have started painting when I bought it a few years ago, but put it off until now.

Would be nice if this was the last uni-body vehicle I ever owned, but with the market trends this probably won't happen. I've found vehicles with a steel frame to last longer, because the drivetrain is connected to a heavy frame instead of a rusted out uni-body. They can rust a lot and still be safe to drive. Even so, steel frame vehicles still have much of the same rust problems as uni-body construction.

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post #2 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
Rob K
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All the rust I'm dealing with right now is on the undercarriage. Suspension parts and drivetrain are quite rusty. I'm not too worried since they have plenty of steel to last a long time. Will deal with that stuff later. The sheet metal is a different story. Need to get the jump on this before it gets too bad. Here's some photos of what I'm dealing with.
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post #3 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
Rob K
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Over the years I've tried a lot of paints to no avail. No paint will stop rust when the rust comes from inside the body panels. I've done a ton of reading and narrowed my choices down to POR15 and Chassis Saver. They are supposed to stop moisture from getting through the paint which keeps the rust active. I bought some Chassis Saver and did one vehicle with it a couple years ago. Took it down to bare metal. Within 6 months the rust was back in some areas and causing the paint to bubble. Even though it looked like I had bare metal, it was slightly discolored, indicating that the rust had already started coming through from the inside of the sheet metal. Anywhere I had good metal the Chassis Saver seems to have held up well. Seems pretty tough so that's what I plan to use on this project. Any other ideas, experiences and suggestions are welcome.
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post #4 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
Rob K
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So the plan is to sand everything well and paint as much of the undercarriage as I can get to. This will be a several year process since I can never get at everything without removing a lot of parts. I'm disturbed by the huge heat shield that is above the transmission. I can't see how much salt got under it and what there is for rust/corrosion.

Painting should take care of the outer surfaces, but it's pointless to do it if the unpainted insides are not dealt with. I could really use some ideas on this part. How am I going to get the inside of everything coated and protected? All I can think to do is spray something like rust converter or oil in there and hope that it covers everything. The inside door panels can come off and I can paint the lower part where it always rusts at the bottom seam. The uni-frame rails, rockers and other body panels are another story. How am I going to deal with those areas? Rust from the inside is the biggest problem.
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post #5 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 03:30 PM
Timo_90xj
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At this time, what you're seeing is just about surface rust.

If you want to get rid of rust? You need to either sandblast it, or if it's severe enough you gotta cut it off and weld in new steel. No paint or any magic stuff is gonna remove or stop rust. Only slows it down and lets it spread underneath.

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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #6 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 03:48 PM
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POR 15 is awesome. Google it. Prep is important to get the full effect though. Always touching up little sections of my '00 with the starter kits. They do more then you think they would seeing how small the kit is. Another reason I use the starter kits is because people say POR 15 does not store well for longer periods. Also Fluid Film. That stuff is also awesome. Been using it the last two winters. Thing with Fluid Film is that it comes in spray cans but that can get a little pricey to do the whole underneath of a vehicle. Now if you have a decent compressor you buy the Fluid Flim Spray Gun Kit and buy gallon containers. One of the cool things is that both the spray cans and the gun kit come with these flexible wands. They spray out the end in a 360 degree pattern. Great for doing inside your uni-body. Fluid will wash off after some time. I spray it on good in Oct. Use a 1/2 gallon. To me this is not a less is more thing. It will not harm anything under there. It will burn off your exhaust for awhile though and you will notice a smell for about 1 week. Never wash wash the underneath of the Jeep all winter. Every little piece of crud will stick to it. I just run the Jeep through the $5 automatic car wash to do the body. Come Spring power wash it off. I would run it all year long but the Jeep is getting "refreshed" and with the Fluid Film underneath makes it messy when working on it.
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post #7 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 04:05 PM
Timo_90xj
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^-

No stuff stops rust. Nothing. POR-15, Fluid film, or any other - they just slow it down and might mask the problem for a while, before it comes back even worse.
If you want to prevent rust, you gotta start preventing it the day you drive your vehicle off from the dealership parking lot when new. Once rust starts to form, it's a battle that never ends.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #8 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
Rob K
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My experience has been the same as you all mentioned. My XJ is real bad, because I couldn't keep up with it or didn't fix it properly. Someone undercoated it before I bought it which really made it rust out fast when the coating started cracking. Most of the rust probably came from the inside of the panels. Unfortunately it's the vehicle that I learned undercoating is not maintenance free. Hoping to have the KK last longer.

By the way can someone move this thread to the KK forum where it belongs?
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post #9 of 161 Old 06-25-2016, 10:40 PM
jordan96xj
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Fluid Film. It works as advertised. Definitely not a gimmick. I have gone as far as to wire down a few test areas to bare metal and protected with nothing but Fluid Film, and it has stayed rust free for 2+ months. And by rust free, I mean entirely rust free, no tiny traces, no surface marks, no stain, nothing. I wipe with a rag, and it looks exactly like the day that I wire wheeled it to the metal. So I use it pretty generously, and continuously on my XJ. The winters up here basically salt/sand blast the Fluid Film off pretty quickly, so it's not a once or twice a year thing for me, I treat all year long, whenever I'm under the Jeep doing various jobs. If I tear something apart, I use it as an opportunity to treat any of the hard to get to areas I keep my rocker panels, bumper interiors, door inners, and most of the floor pan under the vehicle treated as often as possible. Its especially important to get it into any of the pinch seams on the vehicle, and it works itself in very well. I also added access holes to my rocker panels so that I can keep then perpetually treated. I also do the inside of the frame rails every few months. (I drench them!). It's also on the shelves at Lowe's now, which makes it easier to pick up when I need more (I used to have to order from amazon). Downsides? It makes working on the undercarriage more messy (it will not dry, but it doesn't attract dirt/dust like one would think), and its priced pretty high.

Things I keep around that help fix Jeeps:
AeroKroil and Fluid Film
BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool and Torque Pro OBD2 App for Android
Etekcity MSR-P600 Digital Multimeter
Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch + MAP Gas
1/2 inch sockets, Breaker, Cheater Pipe, and BFH
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post #10 of 161 Old 06-26-2016, 05:22 AM
SemperFiGuy
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Why not buy a winter beater, you could save the Jeep for the rough weather conditions, and run the beater when they put the salt down after the storm?

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post #11 of 161 Old 06-26-2016, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timo_90xj View Post
^-

No stuff stops rust. Nothing. POR-15, Fluid film, or any other - they just slow it down and might mask the problem for a while, before it comes back even worse.
If you want to prevent rust, you gotta start preventing it the day you drive your vehicle off from the dealership parking lot when new. Once rust starts to form, it's a battle that never ends.


Oil stops rust. And phosphate kills rust, so does plain vinegar.

Have you ever tried rust reformer ? I've been using it on my Jeeps and it seems to work pretty well. I havent had the rust come back
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post #12 of 161 Old 06-26-2016, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Candymancan View Post
Oil stops rust. And phosphate kills rust, so does plain vinegar.

Have you ever tried rust reformer ? I've been using it on my Jeeps and it seems to work pretty well. I havent had the rust come back
Nope.. none of those stops rust. They just slow it down. Rust needs to be completely removed to stop it. It is as simple as that.

You can try any of those you mentioned, use you vehicle through one or two winters worth of road salt, cold & moisture - and the rust will start to reappear.

1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 LX daily driver, 1.75" BB, 32" KM2s, HPD30 Eaton e-locker/D44a stock LSD, 4.56 gears, custom- fabbed tube bumpers and tube fenders,...


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1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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post #13 of 161 Old 06-26-2016, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
Rob K
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I own two vehicles. Don't have funds for another which is why I need the KK to last as long as possible. My XJ is getting real bad. I can only use it to drive locally, no long trips. I can't trade up for anything new so I need to figure out the best way to make things last. I've had to learn to do all repairs myself for the last 20 years. It's been good, because I've learned a ton. All my vehicles run good before they end up as junk due to rusted out bodies. I could run them indefinitely if I could keep the sheet metal decent.

I was reading the internet about how you can get 360 degree spray nossles. This would be good on the end of a tube to coat the inside of things. Makes sense that you want it to soak in everywhere so it would have to be dripping out the seams and create a mess to get it done right. Might not be anyway around this. Will be using the hole drilling and rubber plug idea when I can't access an area.
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post #14 of 161 Old 06-26-2016, 03:42 PM
jordan96xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SemperFiGuy View Post
Why not buy a winter beater, you could save the Jeep for the rough weather conditions, and run the beater when they put the salt down after the storm?

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I might do that this year. It's not good for the other car to sit so long between use as well. The challenge is that the weather changes quickly here and I commute 80 miles a day. So it's not always certain how things will go. But ultimately, I do want the jeep to last.


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Things I keep around that help fix Jeeps:
AeroKroil and Fluid Film
BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool and Torque Pro OBD2 App for Android
Etekcity MSR-P600 Digital Multimeter
Bernzomatic TS4000 Trigger Start Torch + MAP Gas
1/2 inch sockets, Breaker, Cheater Pipe, and BFH
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post #15 of 161 Old 06-26-2016, 03:44 PM
SemperFiGuy
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Originally Posted by jordan96xj View Post
I might do that this year. It's not good for the other car to sit so long between use as well. The challenge is that the weather changes quickly here and I commute 80 miles a day. So it's not always certain how things will go. But ultimately, I do want the jeep to last.


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Damn, sounds like you need to move from the Rust Belt to the Bible belt.

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