It’s been an agonizing week of front end rust removal and I’m glad that it’s finally over! Spending 5-6 days laying on your back wearing a visor and dust mask, grinding and sanding away rust is absolutely no fun and pretty mind numbing. Not to mention the stiff/sore arms, neck etc… But enough moaning and complaining.
Part of the front end work was removing all of the suspension which didn’t want to come off without a fight. After 3 days of soaking the lower A-arms with WD40 the bolts finally came free. The top A-arms were a different story. Their bolts were so rusted you couldn’t even see any threads left on them. Just a hunk of rust.
So I had to cut the nuts off the ends of them and pound the bolts back through using my BFH (Big F%&$ing Hammer). Of course GM doesn’t stock those bolts any more so I’ll have to find some high grade bolts the same diameter & length.
I also disassembled (and cleaned up) all of the front frames used to hold the radiator, AC condenser, fans and the transmission cooler. That way I had access to everything on the front of the car.
I also removed the steering rack and power steering box so that all that was left was the frame of the car. The tie rods on the steering rack were in pretty rough shape. There’s no way anyone would ever be able to make any adjustments. So I picked up some new inner/outer tie rods and adjuster sleeves.
I’ll clean up the steering rack and then use the existing tie rods as a measurement to set the initial adjustments for the new tie rods. If you’ve wondered why I haven’t been posting, it’s because basically every day has been the same. About 4 hours of grinding off rust and making a filthy mess along the way.
You’ll notice in the above pictures that there’s still rust on the inside of the connecting area for the upper A-arms as well as inside the front spring perches. These areas are pretty much next to impossible to get to with the grinder or the small air disc sander. So I sanded them down with the air tools as much as I could with 40 grit in order to remove as much of the loose rust as possible.
These areas (and other seams, creases, nooks and crannies) all would receive some POR-15 treatment. POR-15 is great stuff to stop rust in its tracks. It has a few steps but the end result has you brushing it on. It’s pretty potent stuff so if you’re using it, make sure you have a good breathing mask for chemicals. You can see some of the POR-15 in the picture below and at the top of this post.
It brushes on in a gloss black and they say that if it isn’t exposed to UV rays you can leave it “as is”. It also takes between 4-5 hours to dry. I’ll end up giving it a coat of primer and then paint on top just to be extra sure. You can see inside the frame through some of the holes which of course have surface rust. But there’s not much I can do about that other than stick the vacuum in there and suck out as much of the dust as possible.
Now that everything is rust sealed, I’ll be giving the front end some primer and then the same gloss black paint as the rear of the car. Then it will be time to re-assemble the front suspension and pull the engine in order to finish priming/painting the areas that I can’t reach while the engine is installed.