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Prevent & Protect With Por-15 title image
Four Important Products to Keep Rust Away

BY Taylor KempkesPhotography BY THE AUTHOR

Four different containers of Por-15 steel treatment

ust is the enemy of a classic truck meant to be driven. Whether it’s your original floorpan and framerails or all-new sheetmetal, if you leave it alone long enough the elements are bound to do damage. Before we go much further, no, a couple coats of black rattle can just ain’t gonna cut it! What you really need is to clean and prep the metal the right way and then seal it with a product that will actually last. From our experience, POR-15 has a robust product line dedicated to doing just that.

All this talk about preventing and protecting came about when we started planning the build of our ’64 Chevy C10. Step one of the build is going to be a complete front subframe install from our friends over at Scott’s Hotrods ’N Customs. While we could pull a Roadkill move and bolt the fancy new front suspension to our grimy old framerails, we’d rather do it the right way. That means cleaning, prepping, and sealing things up beforehand. It’s a process that, depending on your level of filth, could take just a few hours or part of a weekend, but it’s a process that is completely worth it in the long run.

In this article, we’re going to focus on four products from POR-15: Cleaner Degreaser, Metal Prep, Rust Preventative, and Top Coat. Using our C10 as an exemplar (and a couple other In The Garage Media project vehicles), we’ll show you when, where, and how to use each one.

Applying POR-15 Metal Prep to surface rust
The Magic of POR-15 Metal Prep
We noticed POR-15 Metal Prep was advertised to remove surface rust. It seemed too good to be true but we decided to try it out anyway. Scudellari’s Model A body had been sitting inside the ITGM Tech Center for a few months awaiting a complete build (look for it in a future issue of our sister publication Modern Rodding). Even in Southern California, rust finds its way. With the same methodology as he used on the frame, Scudellari sprayed a rusted part of the body and let it soak. After just minutes he was able to wipe away the rust with a clean rag. If you want proof that this isn’t just a cheeky Photoshop job, watch the video. We were impressed, to say the least.
Removed surface rust after Metal Prep application
POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser
This waterbased product is designed to clean everything from minor dirt to serious grime left behind by oil, grease, mildew, and even wax. The fact that it’s waterbased means it can be diluted as little or as much as each situation calls for. It also has an added benefit of leaving no residue behind, and it’s almost completely odorless. Plus, it isn’t flammable so no need to worry about grinding or welding on a metal surface that was just cleaned. POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser comes in a gallon bottle, or pre-diluted in a spray bottle for ease of use.
POR-15 Metal Prep
Even when a surface is free of dirt and grease a final step should be done before a coating can be applied—that’s where POR-15 Metal Prep comes in. It is designed to etch the metal surface for optimal adhesion while also leaving behind a zinc phosphate coating to further help bond paint to metal. Like POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser, Metal Prep is waterbased, non-toxic, and non-corrosive. It is also effective at removing paint scale, loose or flaking rust, and even light surface rust.
POR-15 Rust Preventative
When it comes to stopping rust, POR-15 Rust Preventative is the best we’ve come across. Once the metal surface has been properly prepped using Cleaner Degreaser and Metal Prep, this permanent coating can be brushed on. It forms a barrier against everything from water to salt to chemicals and wear and tear from everyday use. It cures into a “hammer tough” coating that POR-15 claims is virtually indestructible. Beyond just protecting metal surfaces from developing rust, POR-15 Rust Preventative can even be applied directly on rusted surfaces to stop the spread.
POR-15 Top Coat
When a durable, UV-resistant coating is required, POR-15 Top Coat is a great option. Available in a convenient aerosol can or traditional paint can, Top Coat is a direct-to-metal paint that does not require primer or coating. Its UV resistance and rust-preventive qualities are designed to provide a permanent barrier to corrosion and impressive long-term color retention. It can also be used on top of POR-15 Rust Preventative as an additional layer of protection with many colors available.
Removing rusted steering box and linkage
1. The front clip as well as engine and transmission were long gone, so Jason Scudellari began by removing the steering box and linkage.
Removing rusted hardware
2. Next Scudellari supported the front of the truck with jackstands and removed the hardware securing the upper control arms and subframe to the framerails.
Removing entire front subframe
3. After putting the hurt on a few bolts with our Earthquake impact gun, he effortlessly rolled away the complete subframe.
Initial cleaning and removal of dirt from frame
4. With framerails void of old suspension and steering parts, Scudellari spent a few minutes knocking off the bulk of the dirt and grime—not that POR-15 Cleaner Degreaser couldn’t have handled it, but in this instance he preferred to sweep away most of the crud while it was dry instead of making a muddy mess on the ground.
Diluting Cleaner Degreaser
5. Diluting the Cleaner Degreaser is an inexact science. Figure something like 10:1 water degreaser for lightly dirty surfaces up to 1:1 for thick grime. Scudellari landed somewhere around a 4:1 mix, which he poured into a spray bottle.
Covering rusty frame in Cleaner Degreaser
6. He then soaked the frame with the product and worked his way around each surface with a rag. A scrub brush or old toothbrush might be helpful too if your situation calls for it.
Degreased frame drying in the sunlight
7. Once we could brush our fingers across the frame without having to go wash our hands again it was time to let everything dry out before moving to the next step: Metal Prep.
Spraying down dried frame with Metal Prep
8. No diluting is required when using POR-15 Metal Prep. Just put some in a spray bottle and apply to the surfaces you intend to seal.
Rinsing off Metal Prep with hose
9. Keep everything soaked in the product for 10 to 20 minutes, spraying additional Metal Prep when necessary to keep the surfaces wet the whole time. Then rinse it off with water and let it dry completely (it’s OK if there’s a residue left behind).
Initial application of Rust Preventative sealer
10. With the prepwork done, it was time to seal it all up. For this application, we choose to use POR-15 Rust Preventative. It is a permanent coating that can even be applied directly to rusty surfaces with either a roller or paint brush.
Spraying bare sheetmetal sections with Top Coat
11. As for that fourth POR-15 product we mentioned, Top Coat, we used that to seal up some fresh sheetmetal underneath another project we had in the shop. Top Coat comes in a convenient aerosol can and can be used without any primer or undercoating or on top of POR-15 Rust Preventative for additional protection. We were pleasantly surprised with the consistent finish that resulted.
Front portion of frame fulled sealed with Rust Preventative
12. In just a few hours we had a frame that looked good and would hold up for years and years to come. Keep your eyes out for the Scott’s Hotrods’ subframe install coming in a future issue of Classic Truck Performance.
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