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What to fix it with?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I was nearing completion. I've been waiting for some drain tubes for the package shelf. Drain tubes???

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Yes, it appeared GM knew the window seal would leak into the car. They did what I always told my men to do when installing new outdoor lot lighting. They were instructed to drill 1/8" holes in the lowest part of the fixture housing, if the manufacturer hadn't. It's near impossible to keep water out, you just have to give it someplace to go. GM did that because the seal was doomed to failure. Note the rivet shaft in the rust hole.

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Sometime in it's 64 years it had a persistent window leak that rotted through the drainage trough, dripping water into the trunk and into the rear footwell. When this car was repainted, they found the rust and gave it a snot layer of silicone that just made the leak move and rot through the trough in a new place. The rust hole keeps water away from the drain.

The problem is the gasket. It's just a fancy H-shaped rubber molding to fit a double layer of sheet metal on the car on one side and 1/4" glass on the other. The gasket is installed on the glass and then string is used to flip the rubber lip to the inside. It does a good job sealing on the metal, the problem is with the lower stretch of the bottom of the glass.

If you have a glass channel that wraps around the glass water can fill the channel and spill over into the inside. Old flat glass pick-up trucks keep the inside dry by having the rubber on the inside taller than the rubber on the outside. The rubber it's mounted with can never spill into the interior as the gasket will reject water to the outside. Most other gaskets for car glass are the same height, meaning the channel can fill, but not spill to the inside.

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Now take that same channel and lay it down from 90° to 41° above horizontal. Every time you wash your car the gasket fills with water and easily spills to the inside like spilling milk over the edge of a tipped glass. Same principal, the more you tip it the more water will come out the low side. Had they extended the rubber 1/2" water would have been rejected, even though the trough was full.

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I've now had this car completely apart. Everything that's detachable has been removed, just so can fit my huge self inside the car. Now the rear window has to come out, a daunting task for a man with a shake. I've decided to call in reinforcements. Anyone know a vintage car glass guy in the Detroit area?

Once the window and gasket are out of my way I can properly install the drains and repair the trough. I won't weld on a car that's not bare steel, so, I'm thinking epoxy of fiberglass repair with a final layer of liquid rubber.

Your thoughts?

The repair method is not etched in stone. I'll know more after the window has been removed.
 

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I don't know anybody in Detroit that can help, sorry. But I do think this sounds a lot like my motto for the house, in particular the porches. Water that gets in and leaves is sometimes a problem. What that gets in and stays in is always a problem. 🍺
 

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What about modern adhesives with a different piece of fitted metal? I've considered that where welding isn't ideal, such as close to good/original paint. Treat the rust as you would if you were welding and bond away.

No, I haven't done it, but it's supposed to be stronger than the metal and should last for decades. It would almost certainly require overlap, but that's not a surprise.
 

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The rubber set windows use a non hardening sealer in the body side and glass side of the rubber channel. I can't remember the name. I have some somewhere it comes in a caulk tube. It's a messy job, but totally necessary in anything that will see weather or water ever. To repair any rust if not welded, I'd say clean it all treat it/sandblast then prime/body calk/paint.
 

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The rubber set windows use a non hardening sealer in the body side and glass side of the rubber channel. I can't remember the name. I have some somewhere it comes in a caulk tube. It's a messy job, but totally necessary in anything that will see weather or water ever. To repair any rust if not welded, I'd say clean it all treat it/sandblast then prime/body calk/paint.
Butyl, maybe? I know on my 60's era stuff, the front and rear windshields are set on Butyl rope, which seals pretty well and doesn't really harden. I assume it would work reasonably well in the channel as a sealant if such a thing was possible.

Barry to your overall question about the repair, plenty of people have layered fiberglass (or maybe even just long-strand fiberglass body filler for such a small repair?) to do small non-structural steel repairs over the years, so I'm sure it would be functional. It doesn't seem like the 'right way' to fix it, though, and I always associate your work with fixing things the 'right way' regardless of whether it's practical to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This is a Rustoration. Had I taken the car to bare metal I would have replaced the floor patches, and welded up any holes, but, as Scott says, "It is what it is."

I have a real fear of welding on a painted car, or a greasy car. One wrong spark, and you end up with a pile of ashes, including the building.

Had this been a structural problem I would have addressed it differently.

Butyl won't help as there's no way to place a bed of the sealant. This has a continuous gasket around the perimeter. This is a typical windshield gasket of the period. This one uses a lock strip that presses in after the glass is installed. Used vertically it barely keeps water out. Tip it by 50° and you can see how water is getting in the top side and will come out inside.

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Yeah, I still think patches with adhesives would be best. At least not counting dismantling the car, stripping it and welding it. You could cut the bad metal away, treat appropriately for rust, flange the patch so there's no high point and adhere it from underneath. With some finishing work I think it would be impossible to see and even difficult from underneath, even if you craned your head under there to look.

This is still just me surmising. Does anyone have actual experience with that kind of repair? Does it hold up over the long term?
 

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I would hold off until you see what the lip of metal even looks like without the glass and rubber in place. You may find whole sections that were corroded and just just has no metal even in certain places holding the seal in.
 

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Hmmmm.

1. Rust hast to be completely removed and the remaining surface encapsulated.
2. Surface has to be rough enough to hold filler/fibreglas.
3. Glas it, but take care to design flow route. Run glass up under the lip of the seal so that the water does not have a direct path to the metal.
4. Find a god and pray. A lot.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had considered using a similar material from the trunk side, but the entire rusted area was covered by the trunk lid spring mount.

Scott asked if we could avoid taking the back window out. He had a few ideas. I came up with building a thin stainless steel patch with a trough to carry the water across the area. The entire existing trough was but a quarter of an inch deep and ran downhill towards the drains.

He tried to reach the area with my Dremel, but couldn't see what he was doing from inside the car. My arms are so long (38 shirt sleeve) and my hands so large (XXXL) that I could stand outside the car and look at what I was doing, barely reaching the area, but I did.

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Scott said the car sat in the elements for a number of years. While a little perforated most of the metal was there. I just needed to make a water-tight bridge over the damage. I needed to get the metal as clean as possible. My plan is to use butyl to set the patch and then give it a good smear along the length of the trench to seal the deal. It's the perfect consistency to fill, seal and adhere.

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I looked around my shop and saw a pile of stainless steel trim left over from various Lincoln projects. I grabbed a section of wheel well opening trim. It had a number of curves to choose from. I homed in a section and chopped it out and went at it on my bench grinder and took the bead off the edge and shaved the edge down to 1/4" tall, just fitting under the rubber gasket. My first test fit fit so well, I couldn't get it back out to finish the work. Persistence prevailed.

About a half hour of hammer and dolly work later It laid down flat. I'll take a photo of the finish piece and the molding it was made from.

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I'm thinking a very thin bead of artfully laid down silicone where the rubber gasket meets the glass on the outside might last for a long, long, time the way it will be used.
 

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Honestly it just looks like some pin holes. I would pull the glass and strip back some paint on the tray and zap some weld in there. Looks like you can just fill it with weld and grind it.

I would be hesitant to just seal it as the rust will just spread and create a much larger problem over the next few years. That's just me though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Honestly it just looks like some pin holes. I would pull the glass and strip back some paint on the tray and zap some weld in there. Looks like you can just fill it with weld and grind it.

I would be hesitant to just seal it as the rust will just spread and create a much larger problem over the next few years. That's just me though.
How does rust spread without oxygen or water?
 

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Honestly it just looks like some pin holes. I would pull the glass and strip back some paint on the tray and zap some weld in there. Looks like you can just fill it with weld and grind it.

I would be hesitant to just seal it as the rust will just spread and create a much larger problem over the next few years. That's just me though.
I agree. I'm no body man but in my experience rust in/around window channels is usually more extensive than what can be seen with the glass in place. Is there a particular reason you don't want to pull the glass?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It was the owner's choice. That's reason enough. He was told it takes 3 people and buckets of soapy water. There's a significant risk of paint damage just getting the window out. I was ready to pull it, I had two moldings off and he stopped me. Again, his choice.
 

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How does rust spread without oxygen or water?
Hey you do you man. That's just what I'd do because I've never has an experience with rust in a area like that where the visible stuff was the only thing going on. All it takes is humid air and some fissures in the paint near where that is and it starts again. But again your experience may vary, mine just is what it is.

I agree. I'm no body man but in my experience rust in/around window channels is usually more extensive than what can be seen with the glass in place. Is there a particular reason you don't want to pull the glass?
It's been my experience too. When I find it I go after it, because it either looks good for a few more years until the unseen is seen or you fix it, cry once and live a happy life there after.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am more than pleased with this solution, it will work fine. You can see that there's a fully formed gully the size of the original. This is the stock I made it from.
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The section I used matches the curve precisely.

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This is what I'm using. It's for use above and below the water line. Many modern car components are adhered using very similar material. I used a similar material on the last two trailers I repaired. It sticks to anything.

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I enjoy restoring mechanical parts, as appearance was not high on anyone's list. Assembling finished parts is the best. Re-assembling something you didn't take apart can be challenging, but this is fun, too.
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