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testlightST 12-24-2004 10:02 AM

rust problems-50 checy coupe
The car I just Got Is a 1950 chevy coupe.I Know the last time it was inspected was 1974. The rust on the top portion of the car(truck, hood and roof)is alot greater than every where else.My question is being that long of time rusting, at least 20 years, what do you guys think is the best way of fixing the problem & is it possible to replace the biggest portion of the roof with sheetmetal and still have the strenth and looks that I want?Thanks :)

OneMoreTime 12-24-2004 11:45 AM

It is a possible thing to make the repairs to that car..check into and the knowledge base here...find some of Randy Fergusons posts and read those..

in orde to keep this within a doable budget figure on learning how to do metal..

there are quite a few threads about rust as well...may just look bad and just need to be cleaned..

Check body exterior for some tips on that..

good to have ya aboard..:welcome:


testlightST 12-24-2004 12:58 PM

Yea, im hoping that it does just need to be cleaned with as little metal work as possible but I got several buddies who will help me out on the welding. and grinding. Thanx alot for the reply. ill check out the link!:)

OneMoreTime 12-24-2004 01:11 PM

check this out
Harbor freight has some fiber brushes that go on your small drop head grinder..they work well for cleaning and do not remove metal tha tis when used carefully..might be just the ticket..just be careful to not get the metal hot and warp it..then look into some of the rust treatment stuff in the body/exterior forum...

One thing not ot do is to do anything that thins the grinding a lot or sanding a lot..Sand blasting can ruin a body big time if not done by an expert..

Just my two cents..


bluechev 12-24-2004 02:39 PM

50 chevy rust
"The car I just Got Is a 1950 chevy coupe.I Know the last time it was inspected was 1974. The rust on the top portion of the car(truck, hood and roof)is alot greater than every where else.My question is being that long of time rusting, at least 20 years, what do you guys think is the best way of fixing the problem & is it possible to replace the biggest portion of the roof with sheetmetal and still have the strenth and looks that I want?Thanks"
testlights, i'm also doing a 50 chevy coupe. i had problems with rustout under the stainless trim around the belt line. what i did was backup the holes with a piece of brass & mig weld them closed & grind them smooth. then i'd shine alight on the back side & find more holes & repeat the process until no more light shone through. the brass did 2 things: 1st it kept the weld from burning & falling through & 2cnd it absorbs heat thereby eliminating most all of the warpage. this method works really well if there aren't too many holes & they aren't too large.
from what you're desrcibing it sounds as if you're car sat out in the weather for a long time & has alot of surface rust on it. try a DA sander with 80 grit & see what's under the rust. ( being careful not to sand too much or too long in 1 spot, possibly making it too thin or warping with too much heat. ) it might not need as much metal replaced as you might think. you'll find pits that sanding won't take out. run over these LIGHTLY with a wire wheel on a grinder. you'll probably find a few holes here & there that can be repaired with the aforementioned method. there may be some small places where it's gotten thin enough for a small patch to be made from 18 or 19 ga. steel. this can also be backed up with brass to greatly minumize warpage. that's the great thing about the roofs of these cars, you can get to the underside of most of it. after all the repairs are done a good rust converter primer such as por-15 or eastwoods' rust encapsulator is in order.
it is also perfectly acceptable to fix badly pitted areas & a few small pin holes with fiberglass reinforced bodyfiller. the fiberglass filler ( also known as kitty hair ) is water proof & can be applied to bare metal. just be sure to get ALL of the rust off 1st!
although i spent twenty years welding in steel fab shops i am also relatively new to sheetmetal, bodywork & rust repair. the best advise i can give is to take your time & work slowly. don't try to get it too perfect. if it gets overworked you can end up with a condition known as "oilcan" ( warped stretched metal that will push in or out but won't go flat ). i feel that if i can work a place well enough that an 1/8 of an inch of filler will cover it that's good enough. start in the easy places 1st & work toward the harder ones as you gain experience.
there are some great books available at your local bookstore on bodywork & paint. get a couple. last but not least check out the eastwood co. for a good selection of bodywork & restoration supplies.

testlightST 12-25-2004 03:21 PM

Thanx Blue chev, I will try your method with the light and brass.Im gonna try to do it all by hand,from what I heard about sandblasting it can be harmfull if not done right so ill just take my time with it/ Thanx alot

Randy Ferguson 12-26-2004 10:13 PM


A few pictures would help greatly for giving you sound advise.

To start with, you will need to get rid of the majority of the rust by sanding. 80-180 grit on a DA will get it knocked down pretty quick. You're not trying to remove the rust entirely at this point, but rather making the surface somewhat smooth. Sanding will not get all the rust out of the pitted areas, so don't worry about it at this stage.

Once you have the surface smooth again, you can start cleaning is thoroughly with a good rust remover. There are perhaps hundreds of companies out there selling rust removal products, and each one will tell you theirs is best. In my experience, they're all about the same. DuPont 5717S is an old standby as is Rust-Mort. If you look at the 'ingredients', you'll find that they all use phosphoric acid. This is what you want for removing the rust.

This is painstaking process and will take several hours, if not days to get to good shiny metal, but you CAN get there. It just takes tons on HARD WORK!!!

Unlike what others have advised, POR-15 and it's counterparts are all gimmicky crap! as is most of the JUNK sold by the Eastwood Co.

Your best bet is to have it dipped at Redi-Strip, which uses a non-acid based formula for removing paint, rust and anything else but good ol' metal from your cars body. For about $1200.00, you can have nice clean metal to work with. You'll know exactly where the problem spots are and with the aid of a few pics, we can help you get started replacing bad metal. With just a little practice, you can metalfinish your cars body and not have to worry about that nasty body filler stuff. When you get to that point, I'd be more than happy to talk you through the process.

Randy Ferguson
Ferguson Coachbuilding

bluechev 12-27-2004 08:11 PM

while i have nothing but respect for the skill level that mr. fergusen has attained, i promise you it will take more than "just a little practice" to get to where you can work metal to a point that no filler is needed. that takes years or in the very least a natural talent which i for one donnot possess. methods using filler & products from the eastwood co. are perfectly acceptable to most of us. i don't have the time or the patience for that kind of work. plus the fact i'm not building my car or my '50 chevy p/u for shows or to win trophies, they're my 1st groundup projects & i'm very proud of them. i wonder if you have $1200 to spend getting your car stripped at redi-strip, ( i sure don't ) plus whatever it takes to get it there. i think the closest ones to AR & TX are in chicago & indianappolis.

Randy Ferguson 12-27-2004 09:11 PM

Hey Bluechev,

Perhaps we'll get the chance to meet one day.

I'll show in just a few hours how to metalfinish. You'll not have to work filler again!!!! It's a learned skill, that believe it or not, isn't that hard once you learn a few basic rules.

Do a search for Redi-Strip. It's a national chain and I think they're scattered all over the US.

If you're doing everything yourself, then I guess maybe $1200 sounds high, but if you're hiring it done, it's a different story. TO me, It's a small price to pay to have every little part of your vehicle totally rust free and ready to go to work on. $1200 is 20hrs of labor, based on $60.00hr. I can't come close to getting one clean in that amount of time, nor nearly as good, so if you look at it from my angle, you save lots of money by having Redi-Strip do it.

If you're offended by my low opinion of POR-15 and the Eastwood Co., then so be it. I only speak from experience! I've been there and done that as the sayin' goes!

Randy Ferguson

bluechev 12-27-2004 11:03 PM

yes i am doing it all myself & 1200$$$ is more than i can afford. most of us do the best we can with the resources we have available to us. mr. fergusen, i'm not so much offended by your opinions as the way you present them. you could have shared your methods as an alternative without being durogatory towards the rest of us & the materials & methods we choose to use. if your ideas are so good then you shouldn't need to run anyone elses down. i learned a long time ago the truth needs no defense.
perhaps we will meet sometime, but for your sake i hope you learn some manners first.

testlightST 12-28-2004 10:19 AM

I am trying to spend as little money as I have to.I would like to do as much as I can myself( or with the help of good friends) for the reasons of im saving money and at the end ill know that I had a big part on my project.I know that a good sum of $money will be needed for my engine and drivetrain and the Mustang II subframe I want. If I had alot of money for this the "dip" would be nice, but Im stuck on a low budget and I know that this car will take me years to build.But it will be done:P

Randy Ferguson 12-28-2004 10:51 AM


I've posted several tutorials here and have tried to help out those who have asked for help in any way possible. I've even opened my shop up to anyone wanting to come by and use my tools and equipment for their own projects, with or without my assistance.
I have 18 years experience dealing with automotive sheet metal and only about 5 years shaping. I've been through everything you guys have and I have absolutely no secret formula other than hard work and diligence to get where I am. I'm still learning everyday, just like everyone else. NEVER have I said I was better (nor do I believe I am) than anyone else. If you have a willingness to learn, you need to keep an open mind. Having read your post several times, I can only come to the conclusion that you have no desire to spend any more time honing your skills.

testlightST asked in his first post "what do you guys think is the best way of fixing the problem"

I simply gave him what I felt was the BEST WAY to fix his problem.
Not often will you find the CHEAPEST way is also the BEST way.

If he had asked "what is the fastest, cheapest way that I can get by for a year or two, until I can afford a better way" then I would have given a different answer.

This is my business and I can't afford to give advice for products and methods that will not stand the test of time.

Since tone and body language cannot be displayed in this manner, it's easy to read more into what someone is saying, or at least misunderstand how it is being presented.

Believe me, I'm not mad, aggravated, upset, annoyed, etc. Nor do I speak with hostility here. I am opinionated and have no problem voicing my opinions, but that shouldn't cause a flame war between a couple fellow hotrodders.

Good luck with your projects.

Should you ever want advice, and I can be of help, let me know!!


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