I've put together a five video sequence to show the preparation for installing
a new floor pan in the car. In the old days, I wouldn't have taken any time
to clean up the existing surfaces, in part because I never had the time to
keep a car off the road, in part because I was lazy, and in part because
I didn't think it mattered. Getting older and having worked on enough nasty
stuff, I've learned that preparation is key to enjoying the work. Instead
of struggling to push jagged, rusty shards out of the way all the time, or
putting in lots of extra screws because you're never quite sure where the
good metal ends and the rust begins, I'm doing my best to lay the groundwork
for a clean repair. The first step is simply cutting out all of the rusty
steel with my cheap Harbor Freight tin snips. The three pair of snips,
left-handed, right-handed and straight, cost $7.99, and they've cut everything
I've asked so far.
After evening up the edges and cutting out the rust, I decided to hit all
the bubbly or surface rusted spots with the wire wheel. I'm using my electric
drill here, which has a maximum speed of 600 RPM, so this is a far cry from
a grinder or a high speed drill. On the bright side, if the wheel comes apart,
I may not take a wire through the eye. Right below that video, I'm following
up with a file, just to take down any sharp points left over by the tin snips.
And below, I'm cleaning up the subframe channel and the rail frame with
compressed air, manufactured the old fashioned way.
Finally we get to the fun part, spraying on the NAPA rust inhibitor. I have
no idea how this stuff works on the chemical level, but the idea is that
it should convert well bonded surface rust into a coating that will prevent
further rusting. Since I've already proven that the remaining steel is sound
by banging away on it, I just want to preserve it, and hopefully the rust
converter will help. Once the new sheet metal is installed, I'll Bondo the
joint under the car, so water doesn't get in and a new cycle of rust doesn't
immediately start. But I hope that cleaning out or converting the old rust
both make the repair more worthwhile and makes it less frustrating as well.