Seams a Bit Rusty [Geddit?]

I’d been planning to get straight into painting the last white side of Herman this morning, but when I had a closer look at the panel running along the bottom, which had been previously [and badly] painted blue, I decided that - just to be on the safe side - I’d strip that down as well. After my experiences with the roof, I didnae fancy painting straight on top of some other paint of dubious origin.

As it turned out, it was a good job I did. I’d always been a bit suspicious of that solitary blue panel and - sure enough - when I stripped the paint off, I found that it had been hiding a multitude of sins; most of them rust coloured.

Blue side panel, partially stripped down
Blue side panel, partially stripped down
Hmmm... so that's why someone decided to paint this panel blue
Hmmm... so that's why someone decided to paint this panel blue

The rust on the horizontal seams is actually the outward manifestation of the rust along the edge of the floor inside. Funnily enough, although it seems obvious when you look inside the van, I’d not realised up til now that the floor level was quite so high up the side of the van. That horizontal band of rust is rusted right through, but is earmarked for cutting out anyway, when I do the floor. The vertical seams should be OK without welding. They’re nowhere near as bad and havenae rotted through.

This is actually floor level - there's a long hole in the floor up against the inside of this wall
This is actually floor level - there's a long hole in the floor up against the inside of this wall

In an ideal world, after stripping down that side panel and uncovering the rust, I’d have left off the painting until I’d cut it out and welded up those seams. That’s in an ideal world, where I’d have a large workshop, with wall-to-wall tool racks. But in the real world, Herman has to stand outside in the interminable Manchester drizzle, so I had to paint the side up anyway to stop it getting any worse. Of course this means I’ll have to strip it down again, when I start on the welding jobs and then paint it up once more afterwards - but such is life when you choose to practise car maintenance in the great British outdoors.

I gave the seams a good going over with a wire brush attachment on my drill to get the rust and dead metal off - and then gave them an extra thick dollop of Hammerite...
I gave the seams a good going over with a wire brush attachment on my drill to get the rust and dead metal off - and then gave them an extra thick dollop of Hammerite...
...Then I painted up the rest of the side.  The seams will have to be stripped down again when I weld the floor, but at least this should stop the 'tin worm' getting any worse in the meantime.
...Then I painted up the rest of the side. The seams will have to be stripped down again when I weld the floor, but at least this should stop the 'tin worm' getting any worse in the meantime.

If you’re wondering why the strange harlequin pattern on the side, it’s because I found an area in the middle which hadnae been sanded down yet, so I left that - and then I ran out of Hammerite halfway up the front door.

Meta TAGS: rustpaintingpreparation
ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE: 22 Feb 2009
AUTHOR: stíobhart matulevicz