best method for rust removal?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by skipS, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. skipS

    skipS Member

    I have two donor frames that need work. One frame needs paint but I think its gonna be too small for the happy time motor. The other frame is a Huffy Surfside. I know it will fit, but it has tons of rust on the fenders, handlebars, and rims. What do you folks recommend for rust removal.

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I've always just wire brushed it and painted with cheap spray paint from a can.
    If you do it carefully and finish with a clear coat, the results can look just fine.

    And aluminum foil will "buff" rust off of chrome quite nicely. If we're talking about old, thick rust, then the results won't look like brand new chrome. It'll be all pitted and dull.
    but even that's better than rust.
  3. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    wd40 and a scotchbrite on chrome works well, too.
  4. skipS

    skipS Member

    Thanks for those hints! Sombody at work recomended "Naval jelly"? ever hear of it? Any good?
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    all good points above -- done all of those at one time or another

    also good for light rust and to keep a coat of protection on that THING

    Never Dull -- sold in most auto parts stores
    I had forgotten how good it worked -- until I bought a can a while back

    ride that THING
  6. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Be cautious using this, wear gloves & goggles. " Wood Bleach." Get it from a hardware store in the paint section.
  7. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    If you want to try something different that works really well- electrolysis. Google electrolysis for rust removal. Sanding, sanding and sanding works too. Electrolysis leaves a rust resistant microns thick coat, but if you sand after electrolysis or use a sanding method, I would treat the bare metal with something like Jasco Metal Prep or some other phosphoric treatment. It prevents flash rust, gives some pre-primer protection, etches the surface and prevents recurrence of rust better than primer and bare metal alone.
  8. mechcd

    mechcd Member

    Sand or media blasting takes care of just about everything.

    POR 15 is really really nice. It won't help with rust removal, but works well as either a primer or as a tough final coat. Its a bit expensive, but when its prepped right, its tougher than anything except welding in a new piece. The kit in the link below is what I got for some small tractor parts.

    Naval jelly scares me a bit because if you leave it on too long it starts eating away at everything including good metal. I never figured out how to wash it off enough to put new paint on.
  9. Balloonist

    Balloonist New Member

    The electrolytic method works great and is very simple. It will get to rust in places you cannot sand or brush. Just submerge the metal in a plastic container like a kids swimming pool. You will also need a 12v battery charger and some “sacrificial” steel

    Place the item you want to remove the rust from and the sacrificial metal around (Not Touching) connect the positive battery lead to the metal you want the rust off of (cathode) and the negative to the sacrificial metal (anode), Make darn sure the anode and cathode are not touching then plug in the battery charger after only a couple hours the orange rust will start being removed and by overnight only a black surface should remain where the orange rust was. The black is FeO3 which is like a good primer.

    Archeologists use this technique to remove rust from cannons that have been at the bottom of the ocean for hundreds or years. It takes months of treatment to remove that much rust.
  10. fetor56

    fetor56 Guest

    The electrolysis/electrolytic method has great universal there any reason why it can't be used for the inside of rusty fuel tanks?
  11. Big Blue

    Big Blue Member


    you can use in rusty tank
  12. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    I have used electrolysis on a rusty gas tank, on bycycle rims, on sheetmetal engine shrouds, etc. Works good.

    One thing about using a battery charger. Some chargers have to sense a bit of voltage before they will charge as a safety mechanism so the leads are not energized when disconnected. Therefore, those chargers will not work unless you fool the charger into sensing voltage....which I have burned out a couple of dc power supplies doing.
  13. biken stins

    biken stins Member

    Great idea. On rusty chrome parts does the chrome come off also ?
  14. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    The chrome only comes off if the rust has already separated it from the underlying steel. If the chrome still has a good hold- no problem. Electrolysis only effects iron oxide.
  15. fetor56

    fetor56 Guest

    Well,my rusty tank is in the bathtub now with the sacrificial steel merrily bubbling away so we'll see how it goes by the end of the day.
  16. bikebum1975

    bikebum1975 Member

    Depends how bad the rust is on the chrome but I've used never dull and it works really good especially on tarnished aluminum takes a lot of time but it gets it off I've never tried it but have been told fine steel wool and WD-40 works well too
  17. MoonHog

    MoonHog Member

    Electric rust removal is great for the inside of gas tanks. I usually use a bent coat hanger for the anode (make sure it isn't touching any metal on the tank that you are grounding with the battery charger). A packet of BBs works well too for that, but you need alot more elbow grease to shake the tank for an awful long time.

    Media blasting is good too if you have the equipment, and don't mind the mess (unless you have a blasting cabinet that will fit a whole frame).

    Naval Jelly or any other type of chemical rust removal could potentially remove more metal than you want. It's kind of a mess, and you have to clean the surfaces really well when you are finished or it will continue to eat away at the metal.

    Then there is my favorite, time saver method. The angle grinder with the heave duty twisted steel brush attachment. That'll get a frame down to bare metal in a few minutes. Dont use it on a gas tank or other thin metal surface, as it may heat it up and warp it. Make sure you wear goggles. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled steel brush particles out of my eyes, or sat down somewhere, and had one that was stuck in my pants stick in my butt cheek...or other 'refinement'.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  18. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    Rust removal from chrome is best done with the finest steel wool you can find and W.D. 40. Don't be harder on the chrome surface than you have to be. Chrome will be scratched slightly by steel wool if you apply to much pressure! Most of the rust will come right off and wipe away with the WD residue! Safer than harsh chemicals as no gloves are needed unless you mind dirty hands.

    For painted surrfaces, Strip paint (mechanically or chemically), your choice. Wire brush the heck out of the rust pits. Rust is like cancer that will come back unless you remove it all! Remove it all, down to good steel! Apply a "Metal conditioner" (it's an acid), pits the good steel and cleans out the little places where you might not have gotten with the wire brush brissles. No chemical or other treatment will EVER replace mechanical brush removal of rust. Be thorough and careful (glasses) with your wire brush.
    Use care to neutralize all of the chemicals that you've used on the surface to be painted. Usually it's be rinsing with pleanty of water and a clean rag.

    The new steril surface you've preped for paint will quickly rust. A zink based metal etching primer (out of a buzz can) can be used at this point, if you really care about the product you are producing. The best way to apply this metal etching primer is to "powder it on", it's better to see through it! Remeber your only tryin to get the good primer to stick! Next go with your standard primer and paint!!!

    These methods are time proven and I painted a 68 Cougar over 20yrs ago that had extensive rust in places. The car still looks great and is holding up to the Buffalo weather fine, but is also well cared for!!!

    I appreciate the help you guys are lending this guy! I'll be looking into some of the products and techniques mentioned! I'm just wondering if the whole electricity thing neutralizes the rust enough??? Very interesting!
  19. skipS

    skipS Member

  20. MoonHog

    MoonHog Member

    You are probably going to have to paint those rims once you have removed the rust. I remember when I was a kid, the rims on my 'banana seat' bike started to get a little rust, and I cleaned them with steel wool...spotless. Oh my dissapointment a week later when they were rusted completely all the way around.

    If you *really, really* want to make the rust stay away, use a product called POR-15 on the frame. You actually want to apply it with a little bit of surface rust on the frame, but once you put that stuff on, it seals whatever you stick it on, and it wont ever rust again. If you get it on your skin, you will have a birth mark that will not go away for many wear gloves, and keep your hands away from your face if you are going to work with it.