Car Floor Repair

Cutting Out Rust And Cleaning Up Before Installing New Sheet Metal

Copyright 2008 by Morris Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Omni Project

If It Jams Home

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.

If It Jams Home | The Omni Project | Contact