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1988 Ram Charger, 318 Auto rust bucket and it’s all mine
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just trying to figure out which way is going to benefit in the end. Frame on the 88 RC is not rotted through although it has A LOT of surface rust. Which way have you guys gone with a frame swap or repair? Is it worth the time to do the POR-15 system or start looking for a frame to swap?
 

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Pictures! I would still lean towards POR-15.
 
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No one here can give a definite answer. You need to examine the frame, and determine how much thickness is gone, and how big of areas.

A minimum, clean the rust off, and coat it with something.

If your state allows rusted frame repairs, Some areas could be strengthened by welding on plates.

but if you have any state inspections, then it may not be allowed.

Frame swapping is an option, but may be tough to find a candidate. You can use any RC,or trail duster frame from 81 to 93. (74 to 80 with using a 3" body lift" But be prepared, it is a lot of work. I have done it three times, And can give some advice when the time comes.
 
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A frame swap is a lot of work - even a cab swap is a lot of work. Yes unless it is full of holes i would wire brush as much as you can and seal it. POR-15 puts a hard coating on it but good ol' used engine oil stops rust in its tracks too. I poured oil everywhere when i bought mine over a decade ago and none of the rust has expanded. My frame had a tiny bit of scale towards the rear and i soaked it in oil and it's fine, no new rust and a great way to get rid of old oil as the metal soaks it up.
 
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Post pics of the worst areas. "Lots of surface rust" means different things in different states. I disagree on the por 15- I think its junk but the alternative of needle scaler and sanding and acid treating then epoxy primer is a ****-ton of prep work requiring the tub to come off. Again, post pics
 

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I'm with @jerseybud in thinking Por-15 is not as good of a solution as it's competitors. It's essentially old technology with no where near the solids % as alternatives such as KBS Rust Seal.

but yeah, lets see pictures. Surface rust is not necessarily something that warrants a frame replacement.
 

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the best option is to literally remove, or convert, the rusty areas, then paint with good paint. I used to use POR-15, but I found it not to be any better than Rustoleum, and wow is it spendy; I am a 100% die hard Rustoleum fan now.

If it were my truck, I would consider driving/hauling the truck to a sand blaster and having the worst areas blasted. While blasting is great it doesn't get it 'all' at the microscopic level, so after blasting I would treat the area with Rustoleum Rust Reformer (to 'treat' the areas - that 'get's it all'), then prime everything with Rustoleum rusty metal primer, then top coat with Rustoleum oil-based paint. In my experience nothing is 'better' for preventing rust from reappearing, and wow is the 'Rustoleum' route way less spendy...not to mention POR-15 is extremely bad stuff to get on your skin and for damn sure bad to breathe.

- Sam
 
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POR-15 is concrete paint. It works but Chassis Saver is better:



Friends of mine had a shop and would paint all their frames with that stuff. They once got asked by a cement company to coat the inside of the barrel of their trucks. My friend BigFoot (he is 6'7" and strong as an ox) was painting with a brush and some of the paint spilled down the side of the can and hardened around the base of the can. When the job was done he tried to remove the can from the truck and couldn't pick it up. Kicked and kicked, nothing. Got a sledge hammer and assaulted the can until it finally let go. It took all the paint off the truck where the can was. Chassis Saver is pretty amazing stuff!


Here is a video I just scrounged up comparing rust products and they all are pretty much the same:

Buy whatever makes you happy.
 

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I've done a lot of sandblasting. You will find that no matter how hard you try, that sand and dust will get EVERYWHERE! It'll be inside the truck, in the heating ducts, in the fabric. It will stick to any oil/grease on the engine/trans/t-case, even coating the tie rods where the grease seeps out. The only way to properly blast it is to remove it from the truck. If it were me, and you want to clean the frame that much, I'd buy another frame, blast it, properly prime/paint it and swap. Lots of work (I've done it on three trucks) but the results will be far better and will save a lot of cleanup. If you redo the frame, you'll then have the opportunity to replace any brake lines that are on their way out, replace any bushings in the springs and check the body bushings. It also gives the opportunity to address any seals or issues on the drivetrain since that'l be sitting on the garage floor.

Many years ago I sandblasted the empty engine compartment of my 69 Mustang. I tried to cover every hole in the firewall and wrapped the rest of the car in plastic. I still had sand coming out of the defrost vents for years after.
 
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the best option is to literally remove, or convert, the rusty areas, then paint with good paint. I used to use POR-15, but I found it not to be any better than Rustoleum, and wow is it spendy; I am a 100% die hard Rustoleum fan now.

If it were my truck, I would consider driving/hauling the truck to a sand blaster and having the worst areas blasted. While blasting is great it doesn't get it 'all' at the microscopic level, so after blasting I would treat the area with Rustoleum Rust Reformer (to 'treat' the areas - that 'get's it all'), then prime everything with Rustoleum rusty metal primer, then top coat with Rustoleum oil-based paint. In my experience nothing is 'better' for preventing rust from reappearing, and wow is the 'Rustoleum' route way less spendy...not to mention POR-15 is extremely bad stuff to get on your skin and for damn sure bad to breathe.

- Sam
I used some of that recently when I dropped my tank to drain old fuel, fix the vent grommet, swap out the fuel sending unit, replace the fill tube gasket and replace some fuel and vent rubber lines. It turned out pretty nice, and I feel like it's got some good protection on it. I want to go through it, section by section, and take care of the surface rust and stop any more from forming. Most of it is surface stuff, but the few areas where it's bad are in areas like the little flaps at the rear of the wheel wells aren't load bearing and can be easily replaced. It will be a lot of work, but the type of work/cleanup that I don't mind doing.

I'm definitely going to use it in the future. It doesn't look perfect, I didn't take time to sand down the bumps, too much work. I did give it a surface sanding and use my wire wheel where I could reach, but it looks better.
Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tire Bumper
 

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Way back when my dad and I were restoring his Jeep, we used the Rust Reformer in a bottle using those small tin utility brushes, and I'm using the same things curing some rust on our truck, tho nowadays you can get the stuff in a spray can, which is really nice for the larger panels - seems to work real good. 'Converting' the rust into something else is, I think, the key - not just 'coating it with uber expensive paint' - the rust has to stop 'being' rust and start 'being' something else.

From one website "converter takes the iron oxide (rust) and converts it into a ferric phosphate. The resulting inert compound which is produced offers some protection from further corrosion. Rust converters are a water-based chemical solution which contains one of two main active ingredients - either phosphoric acid or tannic acid, or a combination of both. The other ingredient added is an organic polymer, which serves to provide a protective primer layer to the substrate it is applied to. Phosphoric acid converts iron oxide (rust) into an inert layer of iron phosphate, which is black in color. This inert layer then acts as a barrier layer or protective coating".

I just talked with the tech folks at Rustoleum, and they said the active ingredient in their rust reformer is Sulphonic acid...which is similar/different from all the others...
 

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My dad and I used the Rust Reformer in a bottle using those small tin utility brushes, and I'm using the same things curing some rust on our truck, tho nowadays you can get the stuff in a spray can, which is really nice for the larger panels - seems to work real good. 'Converting' the rust into something else is, I think, the key - not just 'coating it with uber expensive paint' - the rust has to stop 'being' rust and start 'being' something else.

From one website "converter takes the iron oxide (rust) and converts it into a ferric phosphate. The resulting inert compound which is produced offers some protection from further corrosion. Rust converters are a water-based chemical solution which contains one of two main active ingredients - either phosphoric acid or tannic acid, or a combination of both. The other ingredient added is an organic polymer, which serves to provide a protective primer layer to the substrate it is applied to. Phosphoric acid converts iron oxide (rust) into an inert layer of iron phosphate, which is black in color. This inert layer then acts as a barrier layer or protective coating".
Good info. My concern is always what's on the other side of what I'm painting. Sometimes I can get to it and try to overspray onto the other side, sometimes I can't. :cry:
 

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My dad and I used the Rust Reformer in a bottle using those small tin utility brushes, and I'm using the same things curing some rust on our truck, tho nowadays you can get the stuff in a spray can, which is really nice for the larger panels - seems to work real good. 'Converting' the rust into something else is, I think, the key - not just 'coating it with uber expensive paint' - the rust has to stop 'being' rust and start 'being' something else.

From one website "converter takes the iron oxide (rust) and converts it into a ferric phosphate. The resulting inert compound which is produced offers some protection from further corrosion. Rust converters are a water-based chemical solution which contains one of two main active ingredients - either phosphoric acid or tannic acid, or a combination of both. The other ingredient added is an organic polymer, which serves to provide a protective primer layer to the substrate it is applied to. Phosphoric acid converts iron oxide (rust) into an inert layer of iron phosphate, which is black in color. This inert layer then acts as a barrier layer or protective coating".
I just cheaped out and soaked the "bad" areas in oil and it works as a rust inhibitor but I've always wanted to do some kind of a proper coating on it. I've never used POR-15 rust inhibitor but i have used their gas tank sealer on an old '73 Triumph Bonneville gas tank that was really rusty inside and it coated the inside with a hard fuel resistant coating and i assumed that their rust coating was the same but i guess not. When you use any of those rust inhibitors, can you just brush or spray it on right over the rust or does it HAVE to be wire brushed first? Does that rustoleum stuff dry as a hard surface? Sandblasting is messy stuff as mentioned, I'm sandblasting a Cuda right now and the sand is everywhere, i come out looking like The Mummy!
 

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I just cheaped out and soaked the "bad" areas in oil and it works as a rust inhibitor but I've always wanted to do some kind of a proper coating on it. I've never used POR-15 rust inhibitor but i have used their gas tank sealer on an old '73 Triumph Bonneville gas tank that was really rusty inside and it coated the inside with a hard fuel resistant coating and i assumed that their rust coating was the same but i guess not. When you use any of those rust inhibitors, can you just brush or spray it on right over the rust or does it HAVE to be wire brushed first? Does that rustoleum stuff dry as a hard surface? Sandblasting is messy stuff as mentioned, I'm sandblasting a Cuda right now and the sand is everywhere, i come out looking like The Mummy!
According to their data online, you don't have to prep it first (sanding, sandblasting, etc.), just paint over the rust. I tend to do that anyway, probably don't need to but for some reason feel better about it.

I like your idea about oil for the stuff that you can't reach, do you spray it on somehow or just brush it where you can? Would something like penetrating oil suffice do you think?

Good conversation!
 

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Fluid Film works great for places you can't reach:

The 3rd gen Chrysler minivans have a problem with insulation in the rocker panels holding moisture and rotting out the rockers. You can fill those with fluid film and it helps prevent rot. Removing the insulation is the only fix.
 

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I use an old fashioned oil can and squirt it around on the metal and then brush or wipe it in. It actually works well believe it or not but its not good if you ever plan to paint over top of it. Penetrating oil would work but it will wash away much sooner than motor oil will, the oil makes a great water repellent also cause it sticks to metal pretty good and displaces the moisture. I got the idea from noticing how old cars used to rust, i noticed how mint the metal under the cars would be around the tailshaft area of the transmission and around the pinion seal area of the floors as those areas looked like brand new yet the rest of the cars were rotten. I noticed that the oil leaks were preserving the metal like new so i started pouring oil down my quarter panels and inner fenders and so on and it worked. Its a bit messy at first but its cheap and it works but i do recognize that there are better options but if you're on a budget then its beauty.
 
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Fluid film is good for that also, yes, just a little more expensive. Fluid film does not do a good job at loosening rusted bolts though.
 

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According to their data online, you don't have to prep it first (sanding, sandblasting, etc.), just paint over the rust. I tend to do that anyway, probably don't need to but for some reason feel better about it.
it's always a good idea to remove as much flaky rust as possible to reduce the amount of tiny hidden 'layers', but otherwise yup just slather it on. The ironic part is, these rust converters 'need' rust to work - otherwise there's nothing to 'convert' 🥴. In my case I actually 'let' some areas rust so I can use the converter - the 'damage' is done, and then on to painting the already-rusted-and-now-protected areas (y) .

Other nice perk is most of the Rustoleum products are available at Home Depot (y)

- Sam
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A frame swap is a lot of work - even a cab swap is a lot of work. Yes unless it is full of holes i would wire brush as much as you can and seal it. POR-15 puts a hard coating on it but good ol' used engine oil stops rust in its tracks too. I poured oil everywhere when i bought mine over a decade ago and none of the rust has expanded. My frame had a tiny bit of scale towards the rear and i soaked it in oil and it's fine, no new rust and a great way to get rid of old oil as the metal soaks it up.
It’s funny you mention that. Engine has blow by coming from somewhere and everything that’s coated looks a lot better than the bare parts
 

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If you don't plan to strip the frame bare and recoat, My idea is to clean off all the loose scale, power wash/degrease, get a pump bottle of corroseal, spray the snot out of the frame. once dry, there are several options. you can use aerosol cans of RP-342, Ammsoil MP HD, fluid film, woolwax.

or if you're cheap, spray some bar-chain oil. The stuff will work for one season and you would need to rinse and re-apply every fall before winter time. I've even heard guys melt down toilet bowel gaskets with grease and WD-40 and spray away with that.

The idea is to slow down oxidation with petrolium based items. Paints/undercoatings chip away over time, and if you did not prep right. the oxidation will continue.
 
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