DIY RUST REPAIR
Although this topic is built around those of the body shop persuasion, rust is nothing to balk at. When spots of rust start to emerge, it's best to address them immediately before they start to disseminate across your paintwork. Personally, this is the time when I should be rushed into the ER on a gurney. All jokes aside, let's take a look at a step-by-step guide on rust repair. Mind you, this method is specifically formulated for those that find joy in taking a commanding stance on repairing their own vehicle.
Please take note, Blackstone Detail does not accept any responsibility for any project that results in misuse, and I do not indemnify anything resulting from the information contained herein. Therefore, I must hold myself harmless with respect to the nature of this procedure.
STEP 1: With a sanding block and a grade of coarse sandpaper (80-180 grit), sandpaper the area of rust until you reach the substrate or bare metal. Check behind the exterior, because there's a high probability of rust forming directly behind the exterior. If this is the case, just apply the same method to the opposite side.
NOTE: Make sure to sandpaper around the relative area so that the finished product will blend in with the rest of the paintwork. As a general rule of thumb, measure out at least 1-2 inches outside of the affected area.
STEP 2: Depending on the size of the area, take a combination of either a hammer, or a hammer and a smaller instrument to pound-in any high spots so that the repair is flush with the rest of the panel. Ultimately, you want to ensure that the exterior has a flat surface.
NOTE: If there are any high spots that aren't addressed, the panel will stick out like a sore thumb and it will look unappealing.
STEP 3: Apply Rust Converter to the areas that where you applied sandpaper. This will add a sheet of semi-permanent protection to the area so that rust doesn't develop in the same area twice.
STEP 4: Apply Body Patch Mesh to the area behind the rust, which will act as the "skeletal framework" or "foundation" for when you apply body filler. Simply cut the amount of body patch mesh that's required to fill the affected area. NOTE: You'll only need a pair of household scissors to cut the desired amount of Body Patch Mesh.
STEP 5: Clean off the exterior with Isopropyl Alcohol so the area is "naked'. If you fail to execute this step, then all of your dedication and hard work will have been all for nothing. Body filler won't adhere to any surface that contains any residue, wax, sealants, polymers, etc.
STEP 6: On a sheet of parchment paper, lay down a small amount of Fiberglass Filler and a very small amount of Cream Hardener. When you purchase these products, there are directions on the back of the can which will tell you what ratio is appropriate. The ratio doesn't have to be exact, but it does need to be within the relative ballpark. This will help to ensure a smooth surface once you apply your paint.
NOTE: The Fiberglass Filler needs to be 1/2" high once it's left sitting on the parchment paper. Only a small amount of Cream Hardener needs to be applied. Once again, take notice of what amount needs to be applied so that you have the appropriate ratios of FF and CH.
STEP 7: Thoroughly mix your FF and CH, but make absolutely sure that you don't mix with a stirring motion. Make sure to gather it in one clump and spread. Repeat this process until you achieve one uniformed color.
NOTE: Mixing the two products in this fashion will eliminate any air pockets. If any air is left within the mixing process, you'll create a bubbled surface. Make sure to spread the two products as thin as possible. Scientifically speaking, an exothermic reaction occurs when mixing these two products. Spreading them out in a thin strip will dissipate the heat, therefore making the application easier and will increase your working time.
STEP 8: Simply apply the filler onto the area. Don't worry about creating a smooth surface, because you'll be using a heavy grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges once the filler dries.
NOTE: Once the filler dries, just be sure to take notice of any body lines. If you run your sandpaper in a direction that goes against the rest of the panel, it will obviously look irregular.
STEP 9: On a new sheet of parchment paper, lay down a small amount of Gold Filler and Cream Hardener. Apply the same method as mentioned in step #6.
STEP 10: Once the filler dries after 20 minutes, then apply 80-grit sandpaper and smooth out any rough edges. Once this is done, then graduate to 180-grit sandpaper to refine any rough edges that were missed from the 80-grit sandpaper stage.
NOTE: Now close your eyes and graze your finger across the area that you're restoring in addition to the rest of the panel. If you feel a smooth surface throughout, then you can safely move on to the next step.
STEP 11: Apply some Spot Putty to fill-in any irregular areas that aren't flush with the rest of the panel. This will simply smooth the finish and will prepare the area for painting. Let the putty dry and simply use 180-grit sandpaper to refine the area.
STEP 12: Spray three coats of Gray Filler Primer to the area. Once your primer dries, then apply 600-grit sandpaper to even out the edges so that the surrounding area blends in with the rest of the panel.
STEP 13: Apply thin coats of Basecoat followed by Clearcoat. Make sure to purchase spray paint cans that are specifically formulated for the color of your vehicle. You'll easily find your paint code online through Amazon or a facsimile thereof. Each manufacturer will show a paint code on different areas of the vehicle, so be sure to contact your manufacturer if you should need any assistance.
NOTE: Don't apply heavy coats, otherwise the paint will drip and it will dry leaving you with a runny consistency. For ease of application and optimal results, submerge your can into a small plastic container of scalding hot water and let the can sit upright for a period of 10 minutes. By using this method, you'll release a healthy spray pattern from your nozzle.
STEP 14: With a clean microfiber towel, apply a small amount of compound to introduce gloss back into the finish. More importantly, you'll be eliminating all of your residual sanding marks. Finally, apply a small amount of polish to add some pop and brilliance into the finish. If desired, apply your trusted form of protection (carnauba wax, paint sealant, etc.)
STEP 15: SIT BACK AND DRIVE IN CONFIDENCE