Stopping Rust on a Rambler

How to Stop Rust on a Car


I’m trying to revive a 1971 Rambler Rogue. This car was sprayed twice, and every time, the rust keeps pulling through the paintwork. I started to do it myself and removed all the paint and took the car down to metal. I’ve used acids to remove the rust, but it just comes back again when I leave the car for a while to attend to other things. This job is time consuming but I want to do it properly.


Thanks for the question, although it left me a little confused! When I first read your question it caught my attention. The last year AMC built the Rambler was in 1969, and the Rogue was only built from 1966–69. In 1969 a high-performance version of the Rogue was offered under the name of SC/Rambler. It was common for U.S. auto manufacturers to sell their tooling in foreign countries where they continued production, but my records indicate that Mexico stopped manufacturing Ramblers in 1970. Perhaps you can give me a little more insight into your unique ride? Let’s move to the meat of your question. It’s important to realize that as soon as you strip steel bare, it begins to rust. How fast it rusts depends on the conditions around it. High humidity, salts left by human touch, residue left by paint strippers, all can hasten the rusting process. Personally I do not like the use of acids to remove rust as the fumes are dangerous, it can harden the metal making it more brittle, and great care must be taken to ensure all residual acid is removed and neutralized. My preferred method of rust removal is mechanical in the use of blasting media or abrasive wheels. One of my favorites is the 3M Paint and Rust removal disc, which is available at many auto parts or home improvement stores. It cleans up rust quickly, removes paint, and leaves the surface ready to be primed. Having stripped many cars down to bare steel, I can tell you, there are two options. Either finish stripping the car quickly or take steps to protect the metal that is exposed. When I have a car that will remain in bare metal for an extended time, I wipe down the entire bare metal surface with a rag soaked in WD40 or ATF. The oil will prevent the metal from rusting, and when you are ready to resume work on the car, simply remove the oil residue with a quick wipe of mineral spirits. When it comes time to prime, simply clean off the oils, give the body a quick once-over with the paint and rust removal disc, clean the surface again, and prime. Wrench Safe, -Mark
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20 Responses to “Stopping Rust on a Rambler”

  1. Venustiano mireles

    Ay the stupid ass that recommended that you use WD-40 is not a body and paint technician
    Any chemicals containing silicone will give you fisheyes in the paint job when finished
    Use pre cleano
    Apply wet and leave it alone until ready to continue
    Then take a rag and wipe entire area with lacquer thinner
    Then scuff entire area with a 1200
    Scuff pad
    Do this twice and you will get a better finish
    That or cut and replace metal

  2. jp

    comments refer to “acid”. Is rust converter considered to be acid or is its properties different.
    converter products claim to leave a ready to prime and paint surface.

    • Customer Service

      Hello JP,

      Virtually everything is either an acid or a alkalyn few things have a neutral Ph balance like water.
      But acid isn’t a bad thing,… rust is an alkalyn (iron oxide) and when treated with a mild acid (phosphoric or tannic) it returns the rust to a neutral state (ferric phosphate or iron tannate).
      Most rust converters also contain an organic polymer and together with the mild acid creates a tough primer like surface, resistant to water and corrosion.
      We have had good luck using rust converters on numerous projects over the years and have had lasting results top coating with epoxy primers and paints.
      We don’t recommend using it for outer body work, but typically use it for underbody, frames inside trunks or engine compartments.


  3. George

    Priming bare steel immediately after stripping paint and rust is a critical step, but the choice of primer used is also a factor in preventing future rust. Some primers are not very good at sealing the surface and actually allow moisture to penetrate, beginning the rusting process again. A non-sanding epoxy type primer is best, followed by a primer surfacer which is then sanded to obtain the final smooth surface prior to applying the topcoat.

  4. rein

    use zinc chromate primer directly on the metal. metal needs 28 volts to rust. zinc only needs 18 volts to break down. also have one of those rubber straps with metal inside to constantly ground the car

  5. Kevin L Shenberger

    That’s really interesting since 1969 was the last year they made the Rambler Rogue, or any car baring the Rambler name for that matter.

  6. MARK

    I use Dupont 3158s epoxy primer for protection
    When ready to paint, I use regular primer over it

  7. Maynard Keller

    That car is a 1967 Rambler Rogue. I know because I have one in Sun Gold with a factory 343 engine.

  8. Sherril Stolworthy

    Buy some POR15 it works great but you must follow the directions, it comes in different sizes so get enough the first time.

  9. Jeff

    There is also a metal prep called Pickle-X 20 (not an acid) that you can use after stripping/grinding to address any residual rust left in hard to reach areas or pits before priming. It’s not cheap but has won several green awards and has been featured on the TRUCKS! cable show. It will provide long lasting rust protection, but the car, panels, etc. have to be inside. The company claims zero paint failures if applied exactly as directed.

  10. harold

    I presume you mean surface rust on the exterior or is the rust coming back in the same place each time if so its probably coming from the inside through some pin holes that you cant see. On the outside if its surface rust from sitting each time it should not be to hard to clean off if you have a compressor you can get a hand held spot sand blaster that recycles its sand and next to no dust. Use a rust stabilizer on it where required (read the instructions and follow them) Make your first coat of primer a zinc chromate type, you don’t sand that you prime over it. If its going to be exposed for a while you can get zinc based primer in a spray can and just wash the area off with some wax and grease remover you can get from your local jobber and spray the a bit on each spot as you finish working on it. Hope this is of some help good luck.

  11. Ryan Mifflin

    One thing I don’t hear much about is metal prep – I’m talking about a chemical treatment between dissolving rust and spraying primer. I’ve seen chemicals that can dissolve rust, and they do indeed work, but according to the directions you’re supposed to rinse off the metal with water. That leaves an obvious connundrum. What at lot of those products don’t have is a secondary treatment, which is very necessary. The only manufacturer that offers the secondary treatment is Blue Lightning. They have a chemical rust dissolver which is really effective, but you NEED to buy the ‘Metal Prep’ solution – it stops the flash rusting immediately. DuPont also offers a terrific chemical called ‘Kwik Prep 244S’. I think that what you’re experiencing are chemicals that are leeching through paint, developing small bubbles of chemicals trapped underneath, like a pimple, which is happening when the dissolving chemicals seep into microscopic pores and pin holes in the metal, but are not rinsed away or neutralized with water.

    • Stan

      Several years ago, I bought a product that was called a rust converter. I don’t remember the name of it, but was not POR15. It was specifically for treating the bare metal after taking the metal down to bare. I remember it stating to only work in small 2×2’ sections at a time. Once you had one section of metal completely bare and cleaned with mineral spirits, you could either spray it on, or wipe it on. After a couple of hours cure time, the metal turned a deep metallic blue similar to gun blueing. Once the entire project was treated with this product, you then used 00 steel wool and mineral spirits to dull the shine and it was then ready to prime. I used this on a ‘69 Firebird roof after removing the vinyl top. Rust still hasn’t come back after more than 20 years.

  12. randy

    Hi! I like the idea of using automatic transmission fluid to prevent rust on sheet metal! I have used a solvent sprayer with a compressor to put a mix of diesel and ATF on the chassis of a stored vehicle and it stopped the rusting process from destroying good metal on the bottom of the car. The diesel creeps into very small crevices and stops the rust. As for the WD 40 tip to prevent rust… obviously the person recommending this as a rust preventer between bodywork sessions has NOT painted a vehicle. The WD 40 contains silicones which are difficult to clean from a car body surface, and if you don’t know what fisheyes are, you will when you start painting or priming!!!!!! Randy

  13. phillip timpson

    after you sand down and put aside … prime the spots with PPG . DP PRIMER ….you can leave the car outside for a year and it should not ever rust …if you just use regular prime your wasting your tim and money

  14. John

    Another option is to use PlanetSafe AIM especially if you are using an oil based paint. AIM will take off the rust and corrosion but unlike the acid products you do not have to completely remove it. Once the rust is gone just wipe off the carrier and you can paint right over top of AIM. The active component in AIM forms an ionic bond to metal and will continue to arrest rust providing much longer lasting protection. If you do want to wash it completely off before painting just use a phosphate based soap…usually dish detergent will easily clean AIM off of any surface. It is non-toxic and non-hazardous with virtually no smell. Check out this video from Gulf Copper. They used AIM to strip rust off of hardened ship building steel plates.