There isn't a hot rodder alive who hasn't at some time gained firsthand knowledge of a rattle can. For many of us that first can of spray paint generally meant taking something old and worn and attempting to freshen it up. (Of course, there are some with sordid pasts who used the rattle can as a tool to express repressed artistic talents on local walls, but I digress!) In my case, it was bringing back a tired, old, small-block Chevy V-8 with a liberal coating of brilliant orange. Can't imagine how many cans of Chevy Orange I have gone through in my lifetime but it has to be cases upon cases. (My parent's driveway still has the outline of small-block heads neatly stenciled.)

Nowadays there are any number of ways to paint (or repaint) our hot rod projects. However, once you dip below the sheetmetal you realize there's a rattle can in your future—and not just Chevy Orange. The Eastwood Company offers any number of products from cleaning, prep, to final paint. To get the metal clean there are rust dissolvers, rust converters, rust encapsulators, and good ol' chassis black. But it doesn't stop there. Suppose you want to recreate that cast steel look such as found on a water pump—well, there is a spray gray. If you want to recreate the silver cad or zinc plating look, that too exists in Silver Cad. But what about aluminum pieces such as alternators? Well, for that there is Aluma Blast, which gives aluminum that original look. And then there is Detail Gray to give underhood pieces, such as striker plates, its original appearance, or Underhood Black, which gives the OEM satin finish that all of us see every time we pop the hood. There are more Eastwood products but you get the picture.

Gel Rust Dissolver
The Eastwood Gel Rust Dissolver is ideal for large areas such as frames, roofs, decklids, and doors as it dissolves the rust without having to submerse the metal. Wire brush off the loose or flakey rust, then brush on the dissolver over the surface area to be worked, and then let it sit for at least eight hours. Using common plastic food wrap, lightly cover the area as to avoid evaporation of the rust dissolver. Don't put plastic tightly over surface. Uncover and use a putty knife to scrap off gel. Wash off remaining gel with water.

Remember to use a prep material if you are going to use topcoat paint. For instance, Eastwood PRE Painting Prep 10041z will remove any residual dissolver. It is a mild-mannered material as it can be used on copper, brass, aluminum, solder, lead, plastic, rubber, wood, and vinyl.

Rust Encapsulator
A quicker way to handle less serious rust problems is the Eastwood Rust Encapsulator. It requires less time and effort than, say, the rust dissolver. First, remove loose rust, scale, and paint with a wire brush just as you would have done with the dissolver. The same goes for any dirt, oil, or grease that might be present.

The coating is dry to the touch in 20 minutes and thoroughly dries in three to four hours at 68 degrees F. A second coat can be applied one hour after the first. Allow six to eight hours after the last coat of Rust Encapsulator before applying topcoat. Can be used over or under body fillers and is compatible with lacquer, enamel, and urethane coatings.

Rust Converter
Eastwood Rust Converter doesn't turn metal into rust so let's get that straight. What it does do though is attack rust and adheres to it. If rust is present, then the rust converter will attach; if not, then it remains dormant. You will only see it convert rust in the areas where rust is present.

Before using the rust converter you should prep the area by making sure it is clean and dry. Moisture will cause the rust converter to not adhere to the metal surface. Now, be careful when prepping the surface as you do not, repeat do not, want to take it down to bare metal. If this were to occur then you will need to apply a primer in place of the rust converter. However, to properly prep the surface make sure to remove loose rust with a wire brush or heavy-duty rag. Additionally, make sure you have removed any grease, oil, salt (not all salt comes from the Salt Flats), and make sure to use PRE.

When applying rust converter make sure to lay down a preliminary thin coat and allow it to dry before applying a second coat. Drying time should be 48 hours and during this time make sure to protect the area from moisture of any sort. Remember, that the idea isn't to remove all the rust but to knock off the loose stuff. Rust converter will absorb into the rust, leaving little material visible on the surface. If the prep isn't done correctly then you run the risk of rust bleed-through.

(Editor's Note: Always wear proper safety equipment when using cleaning materials and paints.)

Eastwood Tech Tips:

  • When installing valve keepers, put a dab of grease on the end of a small screw driver and stick the keeper to the grease to hold it in place on the screwdriver for the install.
  • Organization during a project will increase efficiency and help you get the project done faster.