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Where will my 1968 / 69 GTO rust?
Sean Mattingly, who drives on salty Indiana roads
Tell Sean about your rust problems by clicking the mailbox.
- Hey - Do you like the way the back window dishes inward? That styling
choice dumps a lot of water over those corner trim pieces. Moisture will
get trapped under those lower window trim pieces and rot some metal underneath.
The rustout areas are usually hidden from view. But (SHRIEK!!) - look what
- Two parts of your trunk floor will be wiped out due to the above water
dripping down unnoticed for many years. See the first sign of rust where
the wheelhouses meet the trunk floor. So - you thought you were smart to
carry around a heavy 40 pound bag of salt in the trunk for extra traction
in the winter? Guess what - That bag of salt got very wet. Salt + water
= rust. Count your whole trunk floor GONE!
- Here's another way your trunk area can rust: John M Hugentober says
on a '69, water can leak into the trunk from the taillight area. The lenses
on these cars have a tendency to crack with age, or warp from the heat of a
"stuck-on" taillight and this damages the leak integrity of your lens gasket.
You may want to remove your lenses and inspect them for cracks.
They especially crack in the flange area at the gasket. If it is simply
a crack in this area, this can be fixed by using some clear silicone
sealer directly on the lens. This area is hidden from view when
assembled, so don't worry about the aesthetics. If you are missing big
chunks of plastic on your lens, you will probably have to replace it.
Finding a good used lens can take some time as they commonly failed. Look
at a swap meet or call Bethel's Goat Farm.
- The bottoms of the front fenders can rust out. You know that place
a few inches under the GTO badge. Rainwater, hidden leaves, and road salt
will do a number on it. Using Bondo on this area only worsens the rust
problem because the filler traps more moisture on top of the rust which
is on top of your precious sheetmetal. Get out the cutting torch, man!
Thanks to Chris & Steve Flowers for the rust illustration here.
- What happened to your GTO's rear bumper? The whole thing looks fine
except for one place. The right side is rusted at the top where it wraps
around the side of the car. Probably due to trapped moist grime and road
salt on that side of the road.
- Do ya like those bright chrome wheelwell trim pieces? They look nice
arched above your rear tires. But rust will start between those and the
painted sheetmetal they attach to. I recommend you unscrew those every
few years, clean out the roadkill, and reinstall them.
- Got a stainless trim piece behind the rear wheel? This almost horizontal
piece of wide metal will trap gobs of leaves and buggy grime. You'll know
when the hidden rust has taken it's toll. That chrome piece will fall to
the ground, attached only by the rearmost phillips screw which won't let
go. Rust may also be evident from the end of the molding piece leading back
to the bumper.
- From Bradley Hollander - See that rocker panel chrome? Looks nice
gleaming under the doors, right? Those long pieces of chrome are hiding a
long stripe of rust. It forms under the chrome rocker molding because of
trapped road salt and dirt.
- From The Spinlers (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Another place that
California cars seem to rust is on the hood, passenger side, just in front of
the hood hinge about 2 inches in. I have a 68 and 69 that both developed
holes from the inside about 1/4 inch around. The hood is double layered right
there, so it's possible that the tack weld of the two layers of metal can't
get painted so moisture in the air starts rust of the weld. That might
explain it looking like it is coming from the inside.
- Tell me where your cars have rusted. It will go here...
- Just_Me (email@example.com) knows the not-so secret formula for rustout
on cars with vinyl tops. He says: - Dirt + rotted seams on a vinyl
top = trapped dirt + moisture = rust out.
- Phillip Biston (firstname.lastname@example.org) says: - I HAVE FOUND ONE OF THE
PLACES MY 69 GTO CONVERTIBLE HAS RUSTED IS WHERE THE RAIN GUTTER DUMPS NEAR
THE LIFT CYLINDERS. THERE IS A DRAIN HOLE THAT IS OFTEN CLOGGED WITH LEAVES,
STICKS, ACORNS, AND MICE THAT COULDN'T SWIM. THAT CAUSES THE AREA TO RUST.
- PMD RACER (PMDRACER@aol.com) says: - If your antenna is not sealed
to the fender properly, water will get in from there too. One particularly
bad spot on 71-72 GTOs is the front edge of the hood. Two pieces of metal are
joined here, and do not get painted. The best way to prevent new rust from forming to your pristine sheetmetal that
you just paid $$$$ to have mended is to KEEP IT CLEAN! After a rainstorm or
the winter time has passed, when you wash your GTO, take the hose and spray it
into the wheel wells to get all the gunk out, and if you can, use compressed
air to blow it dry. Every time you change your oil, you should also get
underneath the car and make certain the drain holes/slots in the doors,
quarters, fenders, etc are free from leaves, twigs, and other stuff that
always finds it's way in there.
Todd Maynard (email@example.com) says: - The wife's 69 had rusted through the drivers door
lower corner, not completely rusted but peppered. Just above where the skin is fastened on.
Ground out the holes with a small grinder and welded up the holes. Ground off everything
smooth, acid etched primed and repainted to match. Car is from Texas, brought to Ohio in 1981.
This car was raced, garage kept till 2000. My wife spotted it in this guy's back yard under a
tarp, tires flat, wet inside and out. He sold it to her. He was into 4x4's now. That is the
only rust on the car.
Dave Gallo (firstname.lastname@example.org) says: - Another place I found to be a problem rust
spot is on the trunk lid - just by the tail lights where the metal is folded over.
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