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Thread: Extending Frame Longevity...

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Location:  Cincinnati

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    Extending Frame Longevity...

    I was reading @88mph's recent post about the rust he has with his frame and that got me to wondering about mine...

    My Frame is in great shape. It's an '81 that sat in the back of a KY garage since 1985 until I acquired it about 5 years ago. Although I've been caught in a rainstorm or two, I never even take it outside during the winter time (salt roads here in Cincinnati).

    So what about 20 years from now? What can I do to prolong the life of the frame?

    Keep a diligent eye on it and tackle any epoxy issues / surface rust as soon as I see it?
    Careful washing of the frame every year to keep dirt and grime from settling in?
    Undercoat it? ( not really interested in doing this btw)

    Thoughts?

    Doogie

  2. #2
    DMC Midwest - 815.459.6439 DMCMW Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doogie View Post
    So what about 20 years from now? What can I do to prolong the life of the frame?

    Keep a diligent eye on it and tackle any epoxy issues / surface rust as soon as I see it?
    Careful washing of the frame every year to keep dirt and grime from settling in?
    Undercoat it? ( not really interested in doing this btw)

    Thoughts?

    Doogie
    #1 answer - Never let it get salted.

    Water alone isn't a big deal as long as you allow it to dry relatively quickly. In other words, don't drive from the rain into a tight/sealed garage and leave it for weeks on end. Leave the door open a bit, and take it out next time it's clear. Some of the nicest looking frames I've ever seen were on cars from the pacific northwest where it rains all the time. But it's clean water.

    Don't wash the car and park it in a sealed garage. Same problem, there are a couple of places that catch water and you really want it to dry out.

    Don't store the car parked over bare dirt. Same problem. I've seen cars that were left outside for years on bare concrete and they seem to do fine underneath (interior is a different story!). Cars parked over dirt for a long time can be worse than salt cars.

    It's not a bad idea to get under the car and clean the frame off once in a while if you have the ability (i.e. a lift) but it's not as important as the above. Try to get any dirt out of enclosed areas especially in the front frame.

    Any deteriorated epoxy needs to be scraped and treated ASAP. Don't forget the opposite side, for example if something hits the frame and cracks the epoxy, the opposite side of the same piece of metal is also most likely cracked.

    Personally I HATE undercoating. It just hides the problems, seals up drain holes, and makes everything under the car a real PITA to work on.

    On my personal car I did the above when I bought the car in 1997. It had minor scrape/paint work to do, I coated with POR15 and Rustoleum (for color). Car is mostly garage kept, never in salt, but it does get caught in the rain from time to time. The work on the frame looks exactly the same as when I did it 20 years ago.
    Dave S
    DMC Midwest - retired but helping
    dswingle@DeLorean.com

  3. #3
    Delorean Guru
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    Agree with the post 100%. I would also emphasize not to park the car on dirt for an extended period of time. A lot of the "Barn Finds" are left to rot that way and the moisture from the ground finds where the epoxy is damaged and gets to the thin sheet metal. Besides the damage to the frame you also find a lot of rodent damage. To really inspect the frame you need to remove the fuel tank.
    The most common areas of frame damage are:
    The front Crumple Zone and shock towers
    The engine cradle
    The plate under the fuel tank.
    Anywhere brake fluid can soften and lift the epoxy (the area around the master brake cylinder and the master clutch cylinder) That includes where the fuel tank is. Once the epoxy gets detached from the sheet metal it can no longer protect it. Any loose epoxy must be removed and the base metal cleaned and protected. Undercoating, once it gets old and hard, no longer protects the metal but it can hide damage and is difficult to remove. It should ALL be removed. Big job. And very messy and dirty. Even with power tools there are a lot of areas you must do it by hand with scrapers and solvents.
    David Teitelbaum

  4. #4
    Member
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    Location:  Auckland, New Zealand

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    Protecting the Frame

    David, I too want to keep on top of frame maintenance. My frame is very clean but once she gets to New Zealand she will see plenty of rain. I will only be driving on sealed roads and ideally not when wet but from time to time this will be inevitable. If I see a small chip off the epoxy due to our crappy stone chip tar roads it seems POR15 is the product to use. How would I best apply this. Can I just dab it on or is there a need to use a preparation product first? Is there a spray can option??
    Thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by David T View Post
    Agree with the post 100%. I would also emphasize not to park the car on dirt for an extended period of time. A lot of the "Barn Finds" are left to rot that way and the moisture from the ground finds where the epoxy is damaged and gets to the thin sheet metal. Besides the damage to the frame you also find a lot of rodent damage. To really inspect the frame you need to remove the fuel tank.
    The most common areas of frame damage are:
    The front Crumple Zone and shock towers
    The engine cradle
    The plate under the fuel tank.
    Anywhere brake fluid can soften and lift the epoxy (the area around the master brake cylinder and the master clutch cylinder) That includes where the fuel tank is. Once the epoxy gets detached from the sheet metal it can no longer protect it. Any loose epoxy must be removed and the base metal cleaned and protected. Undercoating, once it gets old and hard, no longer protects the metal but it can hide damage and is difficult to remove. It should ALL be removed. Big job. And very messy and dirty. Even with power tools there are a lot of areas you must do it by hand with scrapers and solvents.

  5. #5
    Delorean Guru
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    If you are diligent with protecting and cleaning the frame POR 15 is OK but all you really nee to do is sand the area to remove any surface rust, feather the edges of the epoxy, and using a spray can use Krylon Smoke Grey (or whatever you can get that's close) and spray it on. Multiple light coats are better than few heavy coats. The alternative is to remove the frame, remove the epoxy, and either paint, powder coat or galvanize the frame.
    David Teitelbaum

  6. #6
    Member
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    Thank you David, your advice is much appreciated. I notice you often post on this forum and I am sure I speak for others in saying "thank you."

    Quote Originally Posted by David T View Post
    If you are diligent with protecting and cleaning the frame POR 15 is OK but all you really nee to do is sand the area to remove any surface rust, feather the edges of the epoxy, and using a spray can use Krylon Smoke Grey (or whatever you can get that's close) and spray it on. Multiple light coats are better than few heavy coats. The alternative is to remove the frame, remove the epoxy, and either paint, powder coat or galvanize the frame.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Location:  Burnsville MN-Moving to Kalispell MT. in June 20111

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    I bin framed!

    Plus one what Dave S said. My car came from a guy
    that lived in downtown Minneapolis and drove it year
    round. I bought it in 1987 and had to replace the frame
    in 1988. Was able to get new one from KAPAC for 1800
    dollars.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date:  Jul 2017

    Posts:    97

    I am wondering how to actually clean the frame without removing the epoxy. I've gotten under there and wiped it off, but do you use anything specific to remove dirt, stains, general road grime? My frame is really clean already in terms of surface rust, but there are still a few areas that look a bit dirty. This is a photo from when I first looked at my car a few months ago, and I've since gotten it cleaner under there. Just wondering some tricks of the trade since I am still a new owner. Thank you for starting this thread!
    Attached Images

  9. #9
    Senior Member Patrick C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hill Valley PD View Post
    I am wondering how to actually clean the frame without removing the epoxy. I've gotten under there and wiped it off, but do you use anything specific to remove dirt, stains, general road grime? My frame is really clean already in terms of surface rust, but there are still a few areas that look a bit dirty. This is a photo from when I first looked at my car a few months ago, and I've since gotten it cleaner under there. Just wondering some tricks of the trade since I am still a new owner. Thank you for starting this thread!
    Lacquer thinner on a rag cleaned mine very well.
    Patrick C.
    VIN 1880
    Modifications done to my car can be seen in this video: https://youtu.be/ncMjW2pI2e4

  10. #10
    Delorean Guru
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    Any "fast" solvent is good to clean the surface contamination but if you see any rust you must remove it mechanically like using sandpaper or chemically like with phosphoric acid. Never paint over rust, it will just come off like painting over dirt.
    David Teitelbaum

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