1991 Trooper Restoration

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1991 Trooper Restoration

Postby btw1549 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:37 pm

Looks like facebook changed their photo layout so all my pictures are missing. I'll try and get them back up as I can. If you want you can use the links in my signiture to see all the photos, they are up to date.


[color=#000080]Hello Everyone,
I have become addicted to both my Isuzu and this website and thought after reading some really good write ups such as greasemonkey's, I would go ahead and start one up on my restoration project itself. As I said on the introduction forum My family had a trooper before this that is actually still on the road today with 300,000+ miles on it. Unfortunately there are more riveted on pieces of sheet aluminum then there is original body. The problem with the troopers in my area is the bodies and frames did not hold up well due to PA's wonderful use of calcium and salt to clean the roadways in the winter rather than use a plow! No vehicles really hold up well in my area. About five years ago a friend of the family's had a older Isuzu P-up with about 50,000 miles on it that the frame had rotted through between the cab and box. He mentioned he was getting rid of it and asked us if we wanted it for the diesel motor, being I lived on a farm (He thought we would use it for equipment)!! We accepted the offer and right away I began to look for a new body to drop this low mileage diesel in. The candidates for the swap were Gen I Troopers or a 88-93 Chevy Blazer or S-10 Pick-up (I'm a BIG S-10 guy). I searched mainly on eBay hoping to find a truck with a blown engine from the south so that the frame and body would be in decent shape. About three years into looking (I know it took an extremely long time to find the right candidate for the swap) a co-worker who was hooked on the Paper-Shop and new I was looking for A trooper came across A 1991 Isuzu trooper with a blown 2.8. Being an S-10 guy and having a few extra 2.8's lying around I figured I would look into it not for the diesel swap but to buy, fix, sell and spend the money I make on a diesel swap truck. So i traveled 2 hours south to look at this truck with 100,000+ miles and a bad engine that the man was asking $500 for. When I arrived I was surprised to see what good condition the body and frame were in for that year truck from PA. I made him an offer of $300 which he refused so I left. On my way home I thought about it a little bit and realized what I could do with this truck. I called him back and offered $400 which he agreed too. The next day I drove back down with the trailer and transported it home. When I got it back I parked it for the winter on my property with intentions of working on it in the summer. the summer came and my job had other intentions for me. I ended up spending my summer 4 hours away from home taking training classes to further my carrier. Summer passed and winter came and the trooper hadn't moved. Finally that following summer I began to rip her apart. At first I had no intention of doing anything more than yanking out the motor and dropping a new one in followed by a for sale sign in the windshield; however after tearing in to the project and removing the entire power train I decided to restore this truck to like new condition to have enjoy for hopefully the rest of my life. If your still with me now comes the exciting part, Pictures! I'll add pictures of the work I have done since starting up until today and I will try and add updates as frequently as possible. This is only a weekend project since I have a full time job and train MMA and go to college during the week. I have to give much thanks to this website for I have learned much in the short period of time I have been a member.

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This is a Picture of the body after I separated it. I do not have any photos of the truck before I ripped it apart on my computer so This will have to do.

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Here's the frame. It was already cleaned in this picture but it's the best view of the whole frame I have with it still on wheels.

If you want to see more photo's fast you can visit my online album which is listed in my signature below. Enjoy my write up and I ask all for their opinions and comments to help me along with my project at hand.
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Last edited by btw1549 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:50 pm, edited 5 times in total.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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Postby shooter » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:29 pm

Lookin' fine. Can't wait to see you progress through this project. Sounds like you've definitely got a full plate.
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Postby Metal88 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:37 am

dang thats some good welding on that frame
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Postby greasemonkey » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:44 am

EXCELLENT job on that frame. Mine looked worse, but I wussed out and got a clean one instead of going as far as you did. I am very impressed at the work in that.

Keep us updated, we always need a good build thread going.
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Postby btw1549 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 11:41 am

Yea I was surprised when I saw what "good" shape it was in. It was far from perfect but it was better than 98% of the ones I've seen around my area! Here are a few shots of the worst spots.

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The rear DS section. If you look close to the back portion you can see how it is rotted out.

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This whole section of the back PS was extremely week from the body mount back. Where the visible crack is I took my body hammer to it and it went right through. I was surprised the Shackle hadn't pushed through like most of them I see.

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The rear bump stops were gone. The base was still bolted to the mount but the rubber was gone!

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This is one of the four holes that were found on the passenger side.

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The trans mounting bar mounts were pretty bad.

For more pics you can visit my online album of just the frame before pictures. As I said earlier it wasn't as bad as some I've seen but it was far from good enough to clean and paint and put back under my truck. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some extra time and can upload photo's of the frame with all it's work.
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Last edited by btw1549 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:51 pm, edited 6 times in total.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74448
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Postby btw1549 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:20 pm

On to the frame repair. The first plan of action is to get rid of that rear section that is badly rotted. I went online to the Isuzu parts site and found that back cross member. I took the number and called my friend at an Isuzu parts warehouse to see if I could could get it sent to me. He looked it up and it was available but he said it was on back order and could take up to 6 months to get. 6 months would be a horribly long time to hold off my project so I went to plan B, Make the back section myself. This was probably the better choice in the end anyway because I plan on towing a lot with this truck so that way I could build it better and stronger to take on any load. So here's what I did... I cut the outer rear body mount, The gas tank mounts and shackle mount off of the rear section. Then I continued by cutting off the back section (After taking several measurements and pictures of course)! Some may laugh at this next part but it work out really well. I had an old trailer hitch lying around my garage for years that my father got from a friend who told him it was for an S-10. Well we tried it on the S-10 but it wasn't right so about two weeks prior I had thrown it on the scrap pile not knowing what it was too. Well thankfully enough the scrap man never took it because it ended up being the back section of my frame! Here's some pictures.

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So I took and cut the 2.5'' x 1/4'' square tubing off of the part of the trailer hitch that goes from where you insert the receiver over to those big triangular pieces that bolt to the frame. It ended up being exactly the right length after I cut through the welds from the triangular mount pieces and pounded them off for an extra inch of metal!

I took those lengths and welded them onto the existing portion of the frame where it was pretty solid still. Just to make sure it was strong enough to support anything I made joist that ran inside both pieces and attach them by drilling holes in several spots and welding them together.

I also connected the two pieces in between that outer body mount so after that was welded on it too would add strength to the joint. (You can see the hitches weight sticker still on the tubing in this picture!)

Here's one of the welds on the body mount.

Here's the new exhaust hanger I made. I still have yet to make the one for the other side. I've been putting it off to get other things done.

I'm sure you already figured out what the two inner body mount pieces are made of! I used those triangular pieces from the trailer hitch and drilled the holes for the rubber mounts to bolt on.

The only problem I encountered was when I was welding the gas tank mounts back on the 2.5'' tube was wider than the frame so I had some alignment issues. That was fixed easily by squashing the PS mount piece a tiny bit to keep it straight.

Then I took 2 1/4'' x 1/4'' angle iron and welded two pieces together to form a 2.5'' square for the back section. I notched the ends and welded the cross member on. Now this isn't as wide as the original piece, this is where I make the trailer hitch.

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This is the trailer hitch. I mounts under the cross member I made with 6 grade 8 bolts. If you look closely you'll see more of the old trailer hitch. It's also made with 2 1/4'' x 1/4'' angle welded together to make 2.5'' square tube. Then the remain parts of that old trailer hitch got welded on to the bottom. At first I just had the receiver portion welded on but that had flat ends from when I cut the sides off so I used the remaining tips from the triangular pieces and welded them on the sides for a better look. I also added a 45 and sealed in the ends for a better look and for and added place to put a bolt.


So there is my new design of the rear section of the frame. Its twice as thick as the old frame so I'm hoping it last twice as long as the old section did. I've also realized how many uses there are for old trailer hitches so I grabbed a few more last time I was at the scrap yard!! I'll hopefully be back tomorrow with some more updates.
Last edited by btw1549 on Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74448
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Postby btw1549 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:25 pm

I just had to stop real quick and Give a HUGE THANKS to my father for he has helped guide me along my way throughout this entire project. Plus he's the one with the big garage and huge assortment of tools that none of this would be possible to do without.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74448
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Frame

Postby btw1549 » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:47 pm

On to the next task at hand, the rest of the frame. Now that the rear end has been repaired and strengthened I needed to do something with the outside of the rest of the frame; especially the PS (that's the side that had all the holes and thin spots. So I decided to cut all the body mounts off, repair the holes and thin spots and turn the truck into a tank. I took a big sheet of 1/8'' steel and ran it from my repair joint in the rear to the one body mount I didn't take off. I then took my soap stone and traced the shape of the frame. Next it was over to the plasma cutter to cut out the shape. After I cut out the shape I took every pair of clamps I had and clamped the cut out to the frame. I then started welding a seam from one end to the other. All the pictures already have primer on them because after I was done welding and the metal cooled down I wanted to keep it protected from the environment!!


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It took a couple of weekends and about 12lbs of mig wire to finish both sides but I was extremely impressed with how it turned out.

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These pictures are of the bottom of the frame while it was flipped over. I didn't grind the welds smooth because 1. I didn't think it would have any effect on catching debris since it will be facing down and 2. because when I did the top it took forever!


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Here's the top view. You can see how I smoothed the welds out so it doesn't even look like there's anything extra on the frame. I also didn't want to leave all those grooves for stuff to collect in.
And note to anyone how plans on doing anything like this, Make sure to take lots and lots of measurements for the body mounts. You can never have enough when you go to weld them back on!!

That's half of the frame done. I decided to do this for a few reasons. One, it adds a lot of structural support to the truck (even though it adds a few pounds). Two, It gets rid of all those unused holes that the factor puts in the side of the frame that just allows stuff to get inside and rot it away faster. Three it will take a very long time for this to rust away now. If you're wondering I did coat in between the sheets before closing them together. I used a high temp cold galvanizing zinc coating that wouldn't burn away from the heat from the welder! I have to go watch the cowboy's at their new stadium now so I'll add more updates later.
Last edited by btw1549 on Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74448
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Postby greasemonkey » Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:56 pm

If my welds looked that clean, I would throw the grinder away.
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mounts

Postby btw1549 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:10 pm

Thanks for the comments on my welds! After I got the section up to that body mount I didn't remove I did three things. First I made new rear bump stop mounts since the old ones were really weak.

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I used some c channel and one inch tube to make these. I figured that the c channel was thick enough to support the stops and not bend in the middle but I re-supported the new middle like the factory one with the tubing.

2. I then cut open the body mounts I didn't remove so I could reinforce the inside of that and I attached the new transmission mounting bar mounts that I got.
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Welding inside that body mount even with the bottom cut out was kind of hard but It worked and then I welded the bottom back shut.

I have to get back to work so I'll come back in a little bit and add some more posts. Hope your enjoying the build!! I am :D !
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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Back to frame

Postby btw1549 » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:03 pm

After getting on all those mounts I went back to the frame work. I took the rest of the steel I had an ran it from the body mount where I stopped all the way up to the front.

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After the frame is reinforced completely I went ahead and cleaned and painted the whole frame.

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Now That that's done I will go ahead and finish the frame with the paint and other rust proofing coatings. I'll be back tomorrow with some more posts.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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Postby stusvend » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:14 pm

This is the beginning of something legendary. Adding my comment so I get update notifications. I dont want to miss this one. :D
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Postby Ruination » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:08 pm

Nice!


What part of Pennsylvania are you from? I bought my first car from Papershop.
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Postby Cronk » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:07 pm

I foresee a future Isuzu of the Month Winner in the works here.......
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Postby btw1549 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:02 pm

Basejob wrote:Nice!


What part of Pennsylvania are you from? I bought my first car from Papershop.


North Eastern Pennsylvania. Up in the mountains away from everyone else. Neighbors are annoying!!
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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First Coat

Postby btw1549 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:59 pm

Well the summer in PA has been far from a summer. It rained almost everyday and didn't hit 80's 90's more than 10 days this year! This lead to lots and lots of dew in the morning since over night temp's dropped to the 40's. I learned from this that the rust-oleum rusty metal primmer doesn't like getting moisture on it without it's topcoat; so even though I wasn't 100% ready to paint the frame I went ahead and added the first coat to protect all my recent work from getting ruined.

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I only did the top side since the dew won't form on the underside. I figured if I have to I can sand it down and repaint it. I liked the way the frame turned out with the gloss black though. I wasn't sure if I would like it but with those nice new side pieces as smooth as they are it looks good.
The next step is working on the inside of the frame. I'll try and post that tomorrow and then I will just about be caught up with where I am today!
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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Postby Van_Homan » Tue Sep 22, 2009 10:10 pm

That looks fantastic
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Postby ubs_lover » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:29 am

Great restoration!
Can't wait to see more..

Wish I could do the same things on my SWB.

Andy
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Postby Ruination » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:37 am

btw1549 wrote:
Basejob wrote:Nice!


What part of Pennsylvania are you from? I bought my first car from Papershop.


North Eastern Pennsylvania. Up in the mountains away from everyone else. Neighbors are annoying!!


Nice, I'm from the Poconos Also... I graduated Wallenpaupack Area High School.
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Postby btw1549 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:23 pm

I graduated from Tunkhannock but I started school at Wyoming Valley West. You weren't to far from my area though. The have started to really destroy the beauty that the Pocono's once had however. Having no neighbors up there is becoming very hard to achieve with everyone from NY moving in to PA and building houses there. It's a sad thing to see happen.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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Postby IsuzuGeek » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:49 pm

Nice thread. Looks like a lot of fun.

I also have a 91 and I love it. Its a 100% rust free desert truck. Out here in Reno they don't put salt down or plow! ;)

Are you going to restore it to stock or make a wheeling rig outta it?

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Postby btw1549 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:27 pm

Not 100% sure where I'm headed yet. I'm looking into the Indy4X lift But I'm not sure if I want to or not yet. I originally had a $2000 budget but after I bought my parts truck the other day hit that amount fast!! So I'm thinking about it. I definitely want to make it for both on and occasional off road use. The thing is once it is done, Hopefully by next August, me and my girlfriend our going to take it cross country on a 10,000 mile trip so that's the only thing holding me back from doing the lift. I was gonna do it after but most of the parts in the kit I would like to get now. So I guess now's the time to ask, for all of you who have suspension lifts how much of a difference is the ride suspension roughness wise and fuel mileage wise. I have several sets of 31X10.5's that I'm going to wear off before I go bigger so What are you're opinions?? I can tell you that I'm not going to SAS. Even as awesome as the trucks that I've seen on here with that done are, I can't take it that far!
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
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Postby IsuzuGeek » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:44 pm

If you plan to keep the 2.8, a lift and bigger tires will most likely drastically impact performance and fuel consumption. Right now, I get about 230 miles to a tank. I have the tired stock 2.8L motor, 33"s and the 3" Calmini lift and a monster roof rack. I love the set up. The ride is fine, but the performance is horrible. It has just about no pick up and hill climbing is downright embarrassing. I need to do the 3.4 swap asap.

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Postby btw1549 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:50 pm

OK, This part worked a lot better than I thought it would. Since I was unable to do anything with the inside of the frame and my truck wasn't from Reno (I am really jealous, it would have been nice to find a rust free desert truck, would have saved me a lot of time!) and had a rust problem, I had to do something with it. So I bought this Rust Reformer from Rust-Oleum.

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As the picture says it chemically converts rust back into metal. I was kind of iffy on how the product would work and it cost me $80 for the gallon, but I was impressed with the outcome. Here's what I did with it. Before I put those new sides on the outside of the frame I cut a big hole on each side of the frame to insert my shop vac hose. I then took my air chisel with a big round flat tip and went around the entire frame to knock any of the bigger rust off. I then inserted the shop vac hose and suck all that crap out. I have a schutz gun (Rust proofing gun) that I attached a 5 foot length of 1/8'' plastic tube. At the end I inserted a plug and then drilled several small holes in close to the end of the line to create a spray effect. I started at one end and inserted it as far as it would go and started to spray.

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Then I pulled it out and put it back in several times to get a good coating on all the surfaces. I ended up putting the line in every hole I could get it into so I new I had everything inside coated well. I used about 7/8 of the gallon inside the frame.

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Here's a picture of the stuff running out of some holes in the frame. It originally is a white liquid and dries on none rusted surfaces that way too which is neat because it kind of proves it is working. On the rusted surfaces it almost instantly starts to turn this black purplish color. I also noticed there were still a few chunks inside that had falling off after I had vacuumed the inside but this rust-reformer hardened into a very chip resistant material that I could only explain as an epoxy. This was even better because any other loose stuff is now stuck to the frame and won't fall off later on and expose clean metal.

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As I said I was very happy with the way this stuff worked. It even sprayed very well. The only thing I can say is wear long sleeves and gloves because if you get it on you it takes for every to get off!


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This is that cross tube. I sealed in the sides of it after also cleaning the inside of it so I drilled a hole and tapped it so I could coat the inside of the tube as well. I plan re-coating the inside every so often after it's on the road so this way i can just take out the bolt and spray inside.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
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2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
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Painting inside of frame

Postby btw1549 » Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:09 pm

Well the next step after spraying the rust reformer inside of the frame and letting it dry for a week I was to go ahead and coat the inside with this stuff...

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Rust-Oleum Industrial Gloss Black. This is what I'm doing the whole frame with. It's that "Rust Proof Guarantee" That I have used and seen work in the past that made me go with this. Plus, like I said before I plan on coating the inside of the frame once a year with this stuff and you can both buy this and spray this easily. Here's some pics of the finished project.

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I used my same rust proofing gun but had to modify my holes with a little bone saw to give them more of a fan pattern because the paint was thick, even after thinning it. It worked well though and coated the inside sufficiently. Now the inside of the frame should be coated and protected very well! I'm hoping it holds up very well in my PA winters. I guess well have to wait and see. Definitely not this winter. Hopefully next winter though since my trip is planned for august!! Here's the link you can go to to see all the pictures of the frame up to this point. Now I just have to sand the outside from all the runs and stuff that got on it while doing the inside and put the final coats on it. Then it will be time to put things back together.
BtW - 1991 LS Trooper In Progress, Complete Restoration with 3.4L Swap! (The Tank)
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=72642

2002 Isuzu Axiom In Progress, Complete Drivetrain Rebuild with Suspension Refresh/Lift
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=74409

Tires For Sale
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74448
User avatar
btw1549
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Posts: 1156
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:14 pm
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