I am the proud (new) owner of a virtually unmolested 1916 Touring. As such, I am struggling with how much "restoration" if any I want to do. What I am Very interested in doing is protecting the paint and metal surface from further deterioration. Most of the horizontal surfaces are completely covered with surface rust while the vertical surfaces have rust spotting. I have done a bit of research (thank you Google) and found a few suggestions such as washing with water and a mild Mild soap; using the finest steel wool moistened with old fashioned transmission fluid to gently remove the rust and pitting. Another was applying naval jelly or some other rust bonding/converting agent to the rusted surface. I would be very interested to know if anyone has been in the same situation and any options that were successful while leaving the car as original as possible.
Good, dry storage is the number one thing that will help minimize further deterioration.
I personally would not use Naval Jelly on painted surfaces.
Erik: Please tell what you did to get that. I have one that I would like to do the same way. Thanks, Dan
Very nice indeed Erik! That is exactly what I am looking to do. I am with Dan...please explain what you did to get that result. Here is what I am up against. I believe I am starting with a bit more orange "patina" so I will have to adjust my expectations. :-)
Just a little history: my car was originally owned by a Swedish bachelor farmer in Cokato, MN. He used the car until 1947 whereupon he sold it to two school teachers who used it for regular transportation.
I have photos of the car from the late forties when the teachers first owned it - it was still bright, shiny and beautiful. Unfortunately, the second owners ultimately neglected the car and kept it in very poor storage.
When I bought the car, the first thing I did before even bringing it home was to take it to a car detailer who steam cleaned the engine and running gear removing grease and years of caked on rural road dirt.
Then I did the following:
1) washed the car with soap and water. It doesn't have to be mild soap. Car wash soap will do.
2) used mineral spirits (paint thinner) rags, a putty knife/scraper, soft wire brush to clean more grease and oil off the engine and running gear.
2) the original owner had shellacked the body, hood, fenders, etc. That is the white haze you see on the paint - shellack gets hazy from moisture. I used denatured alcohol and a rag to clean the painted sheet metal. The alcohol will actually liven up the gilsonite paint. Note: denatured alcohol will dissolve unbaked gilsonite paint (the body paint) if left on long enough.
3) additional cleaning of painted sheet metal with fine rubbing compound. I prefer to use a wet rag when applying rubbing compound. Rinse the rag often. Note: baked and unbaked gilsonite paint cannot be buffed and shined like enamel or lacquer paint. The main point of using rubbing compound is for cleaning. You can also wash the car again after removing the rubbing compound.
4) give the body, fenders, splash aprons, etc. a coat of wax. You can use straight carnauba or a combination cleaner/wax. I actually used Turtle Wax cleaner/wax and followed up with Meguiars non-abrasive carnauba wax.
5) When you take a photo of the car to show off, take a photo of the "good side." The passenger side of my car is not as nice as the driver's side. Also, take the picture facing into the sun - the flaws will fall into the shadows. (My car looks much better in the above photo than it does in real life.)
I haven't done anything with the rust on the body. One running board and the corresponding splash apron are extremely rusty.
An acquaintance of mine who "conserved" an unrestored 1914 touring in much, much better condition than my roadster wiped black PPG paint with a rag on the rusty surfaces. I've considered doing that with my car.
Steve McClelland in a recent post mentioned wiping a mixture of flat black with linseed oil on rusty surfaces. That's seems like a very good idea - I may try that next year with my car.
Wipe it down with a nice thin coat of oil. Basically coat the car with oil, then wipe away as much as you can with a dry towel. Just enough oil will saturate in to protect from further rust.
Do NOT use naval jelly. You'll have a huge ugly mess.
Some people like to wipe them down with kerosene, an old used car lot trick.
I know a guy with a super nice unrestored touring who wipes the car down with WD-40.
Kerosene or oil - your car will be a dust magnet.
I wouldn't worry about existing rust if you have good storage. That will keep it from getting worse.
I have to get back to my chores....
Thank you all for the fast responses and excellent suggestions. Erik, great info and I really liked the post from Steve. I WILL have to wash the car to some degree as the barn it was stored in had winged visitors. They were inclined to provide the car with their own version of "patina" though thankfully not too much. This being my first "T", I am dying to begin working on it, but I have resigned myself to watch, listen and learn before I do anything permanent. It feels like Christmas time as a kid when you are waiting for everyone else to wake up so you can open the presents. :-) Currently I am taking care of all of the safety issues as I bought this with the intention of taking my family (....ok, my Grandson) out for ice cream, etc... (OK, that is a good reason but there were others...) It will be stored in a heated garage so I am not under the gun to do much in the way of surface enhancements just yet. I have begun a photo/diary log of her arrival and all I have and will post pictures from time to time. Thank you again everyone!
There is a product called "rust converter" I think you can get it at wal mart. It will turn rust black. It is the other choice instead of navel jelly. Navel jelly is just phosphric acid in a jelly form. It will turn rust oxide to zinc oxide or a form of light galvanizing. But it also turns the bare metal grey. Im not sure what the rust converter does but it turns the rust black. I have never used it as a rust hiding conservation technique, but it may work. I would experiment with it and then maybe finish off with WD-40 and steel wool for a top coat Its just going to be a trial and error process. Nice looking car and Im glad you want to conserve instead of restore.
Patrick, welcome to the affliction. Here are a couple of links for all new arrivals:
If you are anywhere near the ocean or in a damp climate, inside or outside storage will continue to rust. If you live in the desert, you could store it inside or even outside but cover it when it rains. It is my opinion that you should either completely restore the car. New paint upholstery and mechanics, or leave it completely unrestored except what it needs to keep it running. Anything in between doesn't look right.
Check out this thread:
I have not used it but I like the idea of a 80/20 mix of Boiled Linseed Oil & flat black to preserve the old look and prevent more rusting.
Not a big fan of the rusty look. It's amazing what some fine sandpaper, steel wool and a half dozen rattle cans of black lacquer can accomplish.