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  • Writer's pictureairschooled

Rust remediation and Covid ventilation

In 2016, Buddy and I were on our first lap of the United States, when a few bubbles of orange fluid ran down the interior panels in a sudden storm. Since the only tool required to remove a VW window is a human hand, I removed my VW's window in an Arby's parking lot.

Of course the paint came off in chunks. Isn't it supposed to do that?

I painted those spots in the rain, stuck the windows back in, and didn't think anything of it.

Fast forward five years to today, when Buddy caught the warm San Diego winter sun just right, and I saw bumps under those window seals… Hmmm…

Step one, obtain hand, disconnect wires, push with hand!

I've always felt that rust is actually kinda beautiful when it's non-terminal, or not anywhere near my Volkswagens. Here, it's a nuisance and must be eradicated.

From here, chip the chunks off, masking the good paint nearby if your hands aren't surgically steady. Go to town with an electric wire wheel if you have one, otherwise the wood-handled wire brushes seem to last longer than the plastic wire brushes. (Ironic, as the plastic handle will be in the landfill forever, and the wood will gracefully return to the earth.)

Tape is applied to the opposite side of my grinding, (we do both sides,) to keep the interior clean, and it catches particles pretty well to boot. Grind down to bare metal anywhere the good paint is bubbling/damaged. Wipe clean with a damp rag and let dry.

On bare metal with a LITTLE rust left behind for science, I apply formic acid in the shape of Dupli-Color Rust Fix. If it's breezy like on today's 68° January stunner, spray a few second's worth into the cap and use a watercolor brush to apply locally. Saves masking, too. You do NOT want this stuff on your paint. See how the acid turns the iron oxide (rust) into iron formate, an inert and paintable metal? Science, bitch!

Once the RustFix has had time to work and cure, six hours in the sun minimum, it can be top-coated with any automotive enamel. Luckily, Rust-Oleum makes a white enamel that seems to match Buddy pretty well!

I'll give the top coat a day or two to dry before sticking the windows back in. Tool requirements double for that one; we're adding twine into the mix! In the mean time, I'll be enjoying significantly greater airflow at speed, much to the CDC's Covid Compliance Chagrin.

See you on the road,


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