Car Frame Repair is Kept Free of Future Corrosion Using the KBS Ultimate Frame Coater Kit
During an automotive restoration car frame repair is often necessary. During the life of the car, or truck, the frame may have been damaged by rust or a collision. Since a damaged frame affects safety, it is important to be sure the frame is repaired properly. The first step of a car frame repair is a thorough inspection of the frame to determine if it has any damage.
In cases of collision a frame may be visibly bent, however, there are times when the damage may not be visible. This might be noticed if the vehicle is pulling to one side as it is being driven. If an alignment is performed and the car is still pulling, there is a good chance the frame is bent. Uneven tire wear is also an indicator of a bent frame. Again, if after an alignment is performed and the condition persists, the frame may be bent. Another sign of a bent frame are shocks and suspension that are worn unevenly. These components will wear faster on the side of the vehicle where more weight is being distributed by the bent frame. Uneven gaps in the body can also be a telltale sign of a tweaked frame and need for car frame repair.
To straighten the frame, autobody shops use powerful hydraulic machines to push and pull the frame back into shape. That is, if the car or truck hasn’t been too badly damaged. In this case, car frame repair may be possible by cutting out the bent portions of the frame and weld in replacement pieces.
Another consideration are cracks in the frame that have formed due to collision, or stress from long-time use. Cracks can be visible to the naked eye, however, some are hard to see or are hidden just below the surface of the metal. Also, visible cracks may have ends that are so narrow that it is difficult to see how far they extend. There are methods to find these small cracks in the metal. The first is visible dye penetrant testing where dye is applied to the metal surface. After a period, the dye is wiped off the surface, which leaves dye that has settled into the crack. Therefore, making the crack visible as a bright red line. The only drawback is that the test will only show cracks that have reached the surface. It won’t show internal cracking of the metal.
Dye penetrant testing indicates cracked metal
A different and more accurate way to test metal for cracks is magnetic particle inspection, which is commonly known as Magnaflux. This process detects cracks that are on the surface as well as defects in the subsurface of the metal. The way it works is magnetic particles, suspended in oil, are applied to the surface of the metal. The metal then receives a magnetic charge causing the magnetic particles in the oil to concentrate where cracks or defects in the metal are and indicate where they are located. Of note, Magnaflux is significantly more expensive than visible dye penetrant testing for car frame repair.
Magnetic Particle Inspection reveals crack
Cracks in frames must be expertly repaired. Common car frame repair methods for flat surfaces include reinforcing the crack with a square shaped plate with the square edges of the plate placed 45° to the crack, which spreads the stress forces out. Another method is to “stop drill”, or drill holes at ends of the crack to keep the crack from migrating, and then installing a sleeve over the cracked area and welding it in place.
Rust is common cause for significant frame damage. Especially with cars driven in the midwest and northeast US, where road salt eats away at metal. Rust damage is usually easily spotted with a visual inspection of the frame. However, frames can rust from the inside out, with little evidence of rust on the exterior of the frame. So, it’s important to inspect inside frame rails to be sure this isn’t happening. Also, the welds throughout the frame, including joints of mounting tabs welded onto the frame, need to be carefully inspected for rust damage that may have compromised the integrity of the metal.
The rust needs to be removed physically, or chemically, and perforated or significantly damaged metal needs to be replaced. Welded-in steel plate patches may work in some cases while in more extreme situations new frame sections can be purchased or obtained from donor cars.
Once a frame has been inspected, and any needed car frame repair made, it should receive a coating that will keep it protected from rusting in the future. KBS Coatings offers the Ultimate Frame Coater Kit to remove rust, prepare the metal for coating, and seal it away from future corrosion.
The first step in the process is to remove any loose, flaking rust with a wire brush or wheel, or sandpaper. KBS Klean is then used to clean the metal. This high-strength non-toxic cleaner removes dirt, grime, grease, and other contaminants from the surface of the metal. KBS Klean can also be used to clean the frame during frame inspection and car frame repair.
The next step is RustBlast, which removes rust and is applied with a scrub brush and allowed to soak for at least 30 minutes. RustBlast contains zinc phosphate pre-primer and etches metal to prepare it for coating with RustSeal.
RustSeal is then applied with a brush, roller, or spray-gun. RustSeal is a single part coating that is hard and durable, yet flexible to handle impacts and dings. It effectively seals the metal away from air moisture and therefore keeps it from rusting. RustSeal provides a beautiful finish, and if flows out well. Which means it smooths out when applied and doesn’t show brush marks. RustSeal looks great and compliments any show car or restoration.
A final, yet crucial step is to protect the inside of frame rails from rust. To do so, the kit includes Cavity Coater, which is a cavity wax and corrosion inhibiting coating. Cavity Coater penetrates deeply to provide protection in hard-to-reach areas. Cavity Coater is applied with the Cavity Wand, which has a 360 degree spray tip for complete coverage.
For a demonstration of Cavity Coater being applied click here.
Proper frame inspection, car frame repair, and corrosion protection are an important part of an auto restoration. The KBS Ultimate Frame Coater Kit ensures the frame will stay in rust-free condition, and looking great, for years to come.
For more information on the Ultimate Frame Coater Kit click HERE.