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Frame Restoration

61 Silver

Well-known member
Dec 27, 2001
Wyoming N.Y.
1961 270HP and 1963 340HP
Frame restoration: When restoring the frame on a Corvette, what would be the best process for treating the interior of the frame. It is my understanding that many frames rust from the inside out.
oil spray

I read somewhere that corvette club members were spraying oil (with an engine degreasing wand that would extend into the frame rails) and were pleased with the results. Oil would drip for a time but they believed it was worth it. I would think that for highly detailed under-carridges it may not be to good to have oil oozing out of every seam,but for daily drivers hmmmm. My own thinking would be the spray wax mist treatment commonly used for unibodys. Mearly my 2cts.
Frame restoration

Thanks! I believe they make a special rust prohibitor that can be sprayed inside the frame and I was wondering if anyone has used this or other products.

Again, Thanks!
Here is a little that I have heard: The best way to strip a frame is by "dip striping" it. The problem is, if you ever had anything dip striped, they tell you to get primer (or some rust treatment) on it as soon as possible. The problem lies in, how do you make sure you got all the little "Nooks and Crannies". Being in the "telephony" bussiness (thats Telephone Man to you Bud) I notice that, back in the old days, when working with open wire (no insulation) they would get a "corosion" on them from the elements in the air. This would create an isulation and even if the wires were touching each other as long as the "corosion" was not rubbed off, no problems would result. Therefore, here is my theory: Blast the outside, including any inside areas you can, prime it with good automotive primer, and paint it. Don't worry about the inside. Do get as much of the dirt and mud out of the inside that you can but, I fear that removeing the inner rust with the possibility of not being able to completly recoat it may be more harmful then just leaveing it........Now, if the frame is sooooo pitted on the outside, that the inside, is the outside, a new frame may be needed............. Besides, I'm not sure that the inside of the older frames ever had anything on them, even when new..................Steve
I thought original frames were submerged but I could be wrong.

Tom, I was thinking that also however, I have never seen any sign of paint on the inside of a frame. Even when the original paint is still fairly good on the outside, rust is always on the inside..........I dunno.......It could be too, that the inside, not being as airy, just rusts faster????????Steve
Frame coating

From Joe Lucia on the NCRS Technical Discussion Board:

No, they were not actually dipped. They were coated with the asphaltic paint
in a recirculating "bath" at the A.O. Smith frame manufacturing plants in
Milwaukee, WI and southern Illinois. In this process, as silly as it sounds,
two men with hip boots stood in the rather shallow bath and used hoses to
liberally apply the coating to the frame. The unused coating (which is what
the shallow bath was comprised of) was returned via a circulating pump to the
hoses and made-up, as necessary. Why a simple dip process was not used is
totally beyond me.

In any event, the characteristics of application of the coating which you
described (i.e. some internal coverage, etc.) was just about the same as it
would have been if the frames had been dipped. So, you can proceed with
restoration on that basis.

Also, if you were not aware, this original coating was NOT a paint. It was
just an asphaltic coating. Unlike paint, it does not cure by polymerization;
it simply dries via evaporation of the solvent. So, it can be re-dissolved and
"wiped off" with a compatible solvent. Although the asphaltic coating remains
available, for driven cars, I recommend restoration with a paint which
produces a finish that appears like the asphaltic coating.

From John Hinckley also on the NCRS Tech Disc. Board:

I don't know about the Milwaukee process (C1's and C3's), but I witnessed the Granite City process for C2's several times; the frame was hung by chains from an overhead conveyor and was sprayed. If there was any treatment in the closed box sections, I didn't see it.

Thanks Joe and John
A.O. Smith?

Wow ... wonder if same A.O. Smith that today manufactures home water heaters? There's an A.O. Smith water heater plant located about 30 miles from me ... near town of McBee SC. Also, wonder if A.O. Smith frame plants at IL / WI are still in production of auto frames? There is a DANA chassis plant at Lugoff SC site ... I toured it about 3 years ago ... at that time they manufactured only heavy truck chassis at Lugoff.
I have an A. O. Smith water heater. Fastest one I ever had. I think it is the same company...obviously a different division.


After re-reading this thread it seems that we missed the point of how to protect the inside of a frame. There are companys around, like Ready Strip, that have tanks big enough to submerge the frame in a paint removing bath and then a rust removing solution. I have had steel fenders done before and they are amazingly clean when done.

I have read articles on restoring about some places that have the resources to submerge the finished product in a zinc chromate primer tank. This would get everything inside and out coated. You would have to check Hemmings Motor News advitisers and bigger city yellow pages to find a source for this service.

I would then check with Ziebart or equivilent to see if they could reach into the the side rails with long wands or flexible wands to thoroughly coat the inside of the rails. Or at least the common rust areas. I would use a non-hardening type of rust proofing.

Just some thoughts. You probably wouldn't have to get this extreme for a car that is never going to see bad weather or a damp storage garage again.

Another thought. With the above discribed method of coating the frames at the frame factory it is obvious that some internal areas could not be reached. This is more than likely why we are experiencing frame rustout from the inside out today.

One more thought. If you have a Corvette that may have seen use in a salt enviroment (seaside or lived in the rust belt) that salt is probably in there working right now. One of us should check into methods of applying a rust inhibitor to a frame on an assembled car.

I have located a rust stopping product called Defender II from State Industrial Products Corp. I call the company and was faxed information on their prouduct. The Chemical is reported to stop rust and react with rust to create a stable metal-organic compound. The product can be painted over, or sprayed inside the frame and left as is. It is advertized to put down a permanent rust sheild. I ask if this would be a good product to use for Corvettes frames and they stated yes. Has anyone heard of or used this product?
Sounds promising.
61silver , I havent used that brand but I have used one made by the SEM company Called RUST MORT. It worked really well. I did a boxed 57 BelAir frame about 3 years ago. The out side was sanded and sprayed metallic silver base clear and it still looks great. as long as the product has some self etching agents sounds like a winner.

Was the Rust Mort product that you used a water base product?
Ray I dont believe so . I'll check it out tomorrow at work
Ray , did some telephone tag today with our sem rep. Rust mort is water based. It has acid alcohol zinc and water . It works great but the water disturbs me . I think im going to try something different.
Almost all new US built cars are painted with water borne paints today. It should be alright. At least you could apply it at home without too much oder or cleanup problems. Do they recommend a fresh air resperator to spray It?

Tom your right about the water borne paints . But the acid in these converters is pretty stout. In the paintshop if we leave it on the concrete it will start to break down the first layer or two . As a general rule i like to wet the floor first. And rinse it quickly. It works great But it is hazardous.
Frame restoration

Hi! jerrys96lt4

What type of rust preventive are you using.

Thanks, Ray

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