How to Treat Rust on a Van/Vehicle

As you all know, we bought a used 2005 cargo van to convert into our home.  During the process of cleaning it out, we discovered a large rust patch on the rear floor of the van.  It is extremely important to treat the existing rust to the best of your ability in order to slow down the rusting process and prevent it from rotting out.

Here are the 5 simple steps you can follow to treat existing rust.

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>>OR for a VIDEO of how to treat the rust, click here. <<


STEP 1: SCRAP UP ANY SURFACE RUST/PEELING PAINT

  • You will want to use a metal scraper or a wire brush, or a combination of both to do this.  Scrape up the surface until it is as flat as possible.Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 10.58.45 AM.png

STEP 2: VACUMN UP ALL PIECES YOU SCRAPED UP AND WIPE UP ANY REMAINING DIRT ON SURFACE

STEP 3: SPRAY A RUST EATER/CONVERTER GENEROUSLY ONTO SURFACE

  • An example of a rust eater and converter (the one we used) is StarBrite.

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  • Spray this generously on the affected area until completely covered.  Let this product sit for about 20 minutes.  You will know when it is ready when the colors of the rust change from a red/orange color to a blue/purple color. Before and After pictured below.  You can see how the reds and oranges changed and faded into dark purples and blue.  This is the most important step to slow down the rusting process.

STEP 4: APPLY RUSTOLEUM PRIMER 

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  • Spray affected area with a primer. Wait for it to dry.

STEP 5: APPLY RUSTOLEUM TOP COAT PAINT

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  • Obviously make sure to choose the top coat paint color of your vehicle.  For us it was gloss white. It comes in spray form, which makes it super easy to use. One coat worked fine for us, but often 2 coats works best or may be necessary.  In our case, it was going to be covered by flooring so it did not need to look aesthetically perfect.  If it will be in a visible spot, you may want to prime and paint more than just the affected area to have an even paint coat at the end. Pictured below is when we finished the top coast of Rustoleum paint.Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 11.00.51 AM.png

Pictured below is our van before and after treating the area affected by rust.  

Hope this helps! Check out more van build blogs and videos below – Kelly and Dave


Back to: Complete Guide to Self-Convert a Van into A Home

Related Pages (coming soon): How to Install Windows, Insulating a Van, Setting up Van Power Supply, Setting up Van Water Supply, Building Van Layout, Choosing Appliances for Van, Flooring/Cieling/Walls

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