Written by Daniel Livingston
With all the flooring removed, I assessed the condition of the sheet metal. Now I have heard horror stories about rust holes big enough to stick your foot through. And I've seen dozens of pictures of floors pans that had to be patched or completely replaced, so I was feeling quite fortunate and thankful, as there was not much rust at all. Except for one spot on the passenger foot area that had gotten wet when the heater core leaked, and two areas below the gas and brake pedals, it was tough to find any rust at all.
What looks like yellow rust stains in the photo is the glue used to hold down the carpet pad. The reddish-brown color is primer paint showing through in spots where there is no white paint. Apparently, it was not necessary to completely cover the primed floor with the exterior body color. I guess it was hit or miss. Additional there was black seam sealer applied to all the welded metal seams, some of it was the raw black color while some was painted over in white.
Now having a floor in such a great shape, didn't mean that there wasn't much work for me to do. I have plans on putting down some sound deadening material to quiet the road noise and it seemed like the thing to do since I had the floor exposed.
The first thing I did was address the surface rust on the passenger foot area. The leaky heater core allowed some water to drip in this area causing the rust.
I used my new most-favorite chemical called Evapo-rust to address the problem. I had used this miracle liquid when I rebuilt my carburetor with great success. I soaked some paper towels in the stuff and laid them on the slanted metal. I left it there for about a hour, adding some fresh solution every 15 minutes. The rust cleared up pretty good.
My next step was to remove any of the dried and cracked seam sealer. The factory workers didn't do such a neat job when it came to applying the stuff. There were big globs of it everywhere. It reminds me of the scene from Gung-Ho, the movie comedy about the closing of an auto factory. In it George Wendt (NORM!) is an assembly line work whose job is to apply some spray (I forget if it's paint or maybe even seam sealer) to the car bodies and does a very messy job in doing so. Of course by the end of the movie, he is doing it the proper way.
After vacuuming and de-greasing the floor, I used a new tube of seam sealer in my caulking gun to reseal any of the seams that needed filling. After the sealer had dried,. I scuffed some of the spots I wanted to paint over with a 350 grit sandpaper. Next I applied a Metal-Ready made by the Por-15 folks. This product prepares the rusted metal to accept the POR-15 Rust Preventative paint. A final washing and then I allowed it to thoroughly dry overnight.
The next day I was finally able to open up a can of the POR-15 and start applying it to the exposed metal areas. I got a little carried away and overlapped much of the existing paint as one small bare spot seemed to flow right into another. I wanted to coat all the exposed primer and any areas where I had pealed off the excessive seam sealer, and there were many. With the proper preparation to the floor, adhesion should not be a problem.
Now this stuff is messy. I wore rubber gloves and still managed to get it on my hands and a few small dots on my face. They warn you that if you get it on your skin, and don't wash it off immediately, it will have to wear off. Well, they were right.
You apply two coats of POR-15 about 2 hours apart. You wait until the first coat is almost dry to the touch and then you apply a second. It really shines even when dry. Now I'm waiting for some warmer weather to install my FatMat sound deadening material.