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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, looks like some of the rust under my RAV is a little worse than I thought, and I am worried about the upcoming winter. Worst spots are on the control arms on the front wheels, and the brakes. Doesn't look like there is any on the frame, but there is a bit on the drive shaft and center diff. I don't think any of it is structural - just surface - would it be possible to get it off with a wire brush/sandpaper and then coat the affected parts with POR 15 to prevent further rusting?

Front driver side wheel:


Front driver side wheel, alternate angle:


Front passenger side wheel. Not nearly as bad on the control arm:


Drive shaft:


Rear driver side wheel:


Rear passenger side wheel:


Those are all the significant spots I've been able to find.
 

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Looks like primarily surface rust, but getting rid of it manually would be quite a job and involve a lot of wire brushing or whatever. Also, that wouldn't entirely get rid of the rust. There are materials which are supposed to be rust killers and are advertised to do so when sprayed or brushed directly onto rust as advertised on agricultural TV shows, such as at: RustGuy.com Despite the web site URL there is no indication of actual cost. I've used Rustoleum (petroleum based) on some rusted items and it works reasonably well, but don't know how well that would be on a vehicle's undercarriage with a lot of rather forceful road spray and road debris.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
By "quite a job", do you mean it would it be more involved than some hours of a dremel and a wire brush to get it off? Would I be able to use the wire brush on everything, or would the more delicate parts require a different tool?
 

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Seems to me that "some hours" as in much time would be needed but much of the rust could be removed. Am not certain what is meant by "delicate parts" since everything which shows rust is either steel or iron. As mentioned, in my experience wire brushing and even a Dremel helps to get rid of a lot of rust, but as you noted some sort of rust prevention needs to be applied to prevent rust from recurring, With those tools and using conventional technology one would need to get down to bare, unoxidised steel and iron and them a coating would be needed to eliminate the rust completely. Using a good "rust killer" should be easier and it incorporates a coating or other product to prevent oxidation from recurring.


Other members may have useful ideas and experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. I'm going to look into that Rust Guy stuff, seemed pretty promising. Does the chemical itself eat away the rust consistently?
 

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Thanks. I'm going to look into that Rust Guy stuff, seemed pretty promising. Does the chemical itself eat away the rust consistently?

Am not certain, but their adverts say that after applying their product rust will not recur. If you decide to go that route please let us all know how it works out..
 

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It would be difficult to get all the rust completely out but do what you can. A wire brush can get into areas that have uneven surface. Try also using a wire brush attachment using a drill. You need to use ramps or put the car up with jack stands to have room to work under the vehicle. I would wear eye protection since stuff will fly every where into your eyes. Also a creeper would be nice to have.
I did some rust painting under my car even though mine is not that rusted like yours. The cross member which is in the very front is expensive to replace so I paid more attention to it. Many people don't bother with painting the bottom of the car but since I live where salt is used for winter snow I need to ensure the rust is not going to take a hold on the metal.
 

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Sorry to tell you it is a moot point to sand it. That rust has "pin holed" and it is no longer "just surface rust". The cancer has started. I found this out coming from the Audi/Subaru/Honda car/crossover where quality of sub-frame and component paint and lower iron metallurgy is far far superior then Toyota. Not to mention the worst bolt/nut anti-corrosion plating I have ever seen. That's just how Toyota rolls. Having had my own hobby Audi repair shop I would not want to be a Toyota mechanic having to deal with this severe corrosion on every part I was touching. When I did the brakes on my Wife's 2014 Rav4 with 23,000 miles on it, the front outer CV joint where the large nut is holding the front wheel bearing tight was so corroded the threads where rounding off. This type of corrosion I would see on a 15 year old Audi/VW/Honda/Subaru NOT on a 2 to 3 year old car. Again, I found out that is just how Toyota rolls. Take it or leave it. They just like to use cheap paint and prep process, low quality high iron metallurgy and low quality bolt /nut anti-corrosion plating. All in the guys of saving THEM money at the cost of our cars and trucks. All this from a company that does not think a $35 to 40,000 Rav4 should not have window and door lock button lights because "that would cost money". I had a $10,800 NEW VW Rabbit that had those. This being my first Toyota, I am unimpressed with their attention to detail.

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Discussion Starter #9
Mainia, can you go into more detail on what pin-holed means? Surely removing and sealing it with any of the aforementioned sealants would help, right?
 

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Nearly all of the rust is on heavy steel components where pin-holing doesn't take place. Having lived in Minnesota when they used a lot of salt on roads in winter pin-holing happens on lesser gauge components such as rocker panels, doors, fenders, etc. I saw pin-holing primarily on Ford cars. The RAV in question is 21 years old, from the pics seems to be in good condition for its age. I've seen a lot worse rust, including on vehicles that basically had disintegrated so badly that they were unsafe to drive.
 
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Mainia, can you go into more detail on what pin-holed means? Surely removing and sealing it with any of the aforementioned sealants would help, right?

It's too far gone to worry about. Really, just drive it. You will take out more metal trying to clean it up then it's worth. As the poster said it's 17 years old, and it's on heavy metal parts under your car. Watch your control arms and welds since it is "Toyota Metal" and is very high in iron, so it rusts faster then other manufactures components. I know all about rust.... I live in a 1st ring suburb of Minneapolis, and do TIG welding as a hobby. When I am welding even if I grind down the metal nice and clean on a old rusty piece I can see the pin-holes as I run into them and contaminate my puddle.

Pin-holing to me is any time corrosion and oxidation happens to steel thick or thin the rust finds pathways form gas paths or the like even if you grind and think you have it clean , just like cancer it comes back fast because you did not get rid of the cancer "rust". The other poster is taking about with sheet metal, it pinholes and goes through the other side and you have a really fast oxidation since now it is rusting from both sides and consumes the steel fast since it is so thin and you get your classic rust hole.
 

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samlo - if it was a show vehicle...it needs sandblasted / Extend rust neutralizer / epoxy prime (to seal out moisture & oxygen).
- if its a DD'er...it needs wax-oil spray undercoating (eg. Fluid Film), every fall.

I've learned what works & doesn't...I stopped using POR15 decades ago, as rust never stops.
- I'm not going to Paint Over Rust & corrosion blisters, that should be removed / just not right
- if its impractical to get rusted metal almost perfectly clean & shinny...wax-oil it

See my Post #2... http://www.rav4world.com/forums/83-4-1-general/264281-rust-proofing.html

I'm not a fan of rust encapsulate products (POR15), that needs rust to aid in adhesion.

If the job is to small or inconvient to sand blast the rust, down to bare metal:
I use wire wheels &/or a $20 de-burring tool (aka small end mill type) on a DeWalt drill.

Next coat de-rusted metal, with Permatex Extend / converts rust to a phos. coating. https://www.amazon.com/Loctite-8-Ounce-Extend-Neutralizer-1381192/dp/B001000VS0/ref=pd_sim_60_4?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B001000VS0&pd_rd_r=EGBNQ4K3KAG9P4MX8BTS&pd_rd_w=vDdT9&pd_rd_wg=adtJ7&psc=1&refRID=EGBNQ4K3KAG9P4MX8BTS
Epoxy prime is best, to seal out moisture, followed by a enamel-oil base metal paint. www.southernpolyurethanes.com/
- below trailer hitch, was severely rusted / the 3/8" diameter deburring end mil, worked great
Finally - Top coat with an oil based paint & spray undercarriage with Fluid Film wax-oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Beaumont67 thanks so much! Exactly the info I was looking for. This is definitely the approach I will take. I will attempt it in a month or so when it starts to get colder here, we're still having 85 degree days here in VA. It is just my daily driver but I do care about how it looks, so I will likely wire brush -> extend rust neutralizer -> epoxy prime if that isn't too much work. At the very least I will like wirebrush everything I can reach.

Should I worry about wirebrushing the driveshaft at all? Is there anything that isn't safe to use a wirebrush on?
 

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Wire wheels DO NOT take rust down to bare metal easily - some comes off and some iron oxide gets smeared around...I want clean metal, and wire wheels take a ton of pushing with limited results.

That DeWalt de-burring tool I pictured above, is the "real cats ass"...tool best $25, ever spent.
HSS flutes stay very sharp (on drill RPM) and bottom flutes included.
- I detailed the trailer hitch, & rust was extremely heavy / some flakes chip hammered off first
- using the end mill running in my 20V drill...got the metal to almost clean "white" state
- Extend...phos acid treats rust pits / don't contaminate jar with a brush, with rust...2 coats best
- metal prime
- Trim Clad oil based emanel, brushed on

^^ 6 months later, zero rust came through / and found a buyer this week, for the Jimmy.
- once I found the special end mill, my wire wheel brushes now get seldom used

PS - I purchased the Extend, at AutoZone...its got a long shelf life, but I never dip a brush in it.

Beaumont67 thanks so much! Exactly the info I was looking for. This is definitely the approach I will take.........Should I worry about wire brushing the driveshaft at all? Is there anything that isn't safe to use a wire brush on?
^^ Use my end mill tool suggestion...you won't regret it !!
- wire brush method / would take forever & not get meal clean enough to top coat
- and rust would bleed through eventually
 

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I'm just another guy who has used POR with good success. Their site is here.

I used it primarily on old VW Bugs. If you do the whole regime, all steps, it will work. One caveat - they suggest you wear gloves when applying the 'paint', and for good reason. It sticks to flesh and everything else like crazy. Washing it off your hands is futile - you just have to wait for the surface skin to grow it out.
 

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I wire brushed and used Rust-Oleum gel rust dissolver on my undercarriage and all the rusty bits then I primed and undercoated the body and "frame". The suspension components and crossover bar I primed and painted. Mine looked much like yours before but it looks great now. I also wire brushed, treated, primed and painted the engine bay, engine, transaxle, driveshaft, differential, etc. I hate rust and I eliminated most from my RAV4. It took quite a bit of work but I did it in stages. See my profile albums for photos.

A word of warning about the Rust-Oleum gel rust dissolver, wear rubber gloves and keep it off concrete.
 

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Its great that you noticed it and that you are going to try to do something about it! In my opinion, it is not to late to try and mitigate the oxidation process, and I don't think the rust you showed is "too" bad.

I have had great success with POR 15 -- but you must use it as directed. POR 15 is not paint: it is urethane. It inhibits rust by effectively water-proofing the surface, and curtails further oxidation by preventing water penetration. The number one thing to remember with any rust treatment is that you need to get to BOTH sides that are rusted. In hollow sections, such as your control arms and many other parts shown, there are inside and outside surfaces. Water will only get into the sections through design holes, holes made by the rust, or failed end closures. It appears to me to be exterior surface rust, but you'll have to take a very close look to be sure.

I would recommend a polycarbide grinding wheel to start with. It will remove the surface rust, which is weakly bonded to the bare metal, and quickly give you an idea of whether or not the rust is mostly on the surface. Here are some pictures of what the surface rust removal with a polycarbide wheel looks like:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/85-4-1-faults-fixes/268594-diy-dealing-rust-windshield-pinch-weld-frame-areas.html

If you decide to use POR 15, there is a dealer on eBay who is selling a quart for about $33, which is a very good price.
 
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