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What's the best paint to use to undercoat my Xterra from rust? I'm trying to do it the cheapest way thanks
 

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This was just shared in another thread. They said "My plan for this year is to treat the frame, inside fenders and rockers with Fluid film. My buddy with a 2000 X had to repair his last year because it basically rotted out. So I want to prevent that.

I've done some on-and-off research and looks like lanolin based coats are the best because they self heal. Paint and rubberized undercoatings allow water to penetrate and then hide the rust."


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Firstly, kill the rust. RustKutter is best. Then paint it with a decent paint. I prefer an epoxy paint in spraycan. Then Fluidfilm or Blaster Surface shield.
 

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In Canada, where we throw tons of salt on the highways for 4 to 5 months of the year, we like stuff like Krown, Rustcheck or Fluidfilm.

Decades ago there used to be Ziebart, and they have such a bad reputation now I don't think they are in business. It was a rubberized coating that looked good to the eye but actually accelerated rust by trapping debris and moisture under the cavities between the rubber and the metal.

Regular motor oil used to be a cheap way to undercoat, but time proved that the solvents in regular oil ate away at rubber trim and seals and caused damage or issues like door trim that got droopy.

One of the misconceptions about paint and rust is that it starts on the outside. Really, for hollow body areas, it often starts from the inside. Regions like rocker panels and the tail gate bottom can have condensation from temperature changes collect, which is why it's a bad idea to have a heated garage the vehicle goes into every day, if the outside air temperature is much colder. But this is also where the sprays can do their work. Hollow body cavities are sprayed inside, sometimes via holes drilled at points that are technically inside the vehicle and can be fitted with a rubber stopper. For the second generation Xterra, it should be possible to get spray into the rocker panel area using existing holes (might be drain holes). My Rustcheck guy did.

In addition to the metal, the wet stuff is also good at protecting electronics and connectors in the engine bay from corrosion.

My 2004 Xterra was just sold, and the body was still in solid shape due to annual application of Fluidfilm or Rustcheck. 17 year vehicles are almost unheard of in the east coast of Canada.

One of the key features in getting this stuff applied is experience. There are some shops that run a busy season in the fall and hire a bunch of young guys to basically wave a spray wand left and right. At one shop I inspected the work after and one half of the battery tray was wet, the other half dry. If they don't know how to carefully apply it, and know techniques for accessing the vehicle's hollow cavities, it is the same as not getting it sprayed at all.

I'll post a couple of pictures taken under pair of Toyota Camrys which can help illustrate the difference rust control can make.

Here is a 2004 Camry, photographed in 2017:

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Natural material Automotive wheel system



Here is a 2005 Camry, also photographed in 2017.

Automotive tire Wood Automotive exterior Bumper Natural material


Which would you buy? This is why I care little about mileage when shopping used. If the body has been preserved, everything else can be fixed, as long as I get an idea what I'm in for.
 

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Here's an example of first gen rocker panel rusting out in Michigan, which is similar to eastern Canada for weather. This begins on the inside and rusts outwards over many years. One of the tell tale signs is bubbles coming up under the paint. That's pure rust under the paint, so it's from the other side.

Rusty Rocker Panels -- Found a Cheaper/Easy Fix
 

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I just emailed B'laster's Canadian distributor through their website to inquire about availability timelines in the Great White North. Will advise if they respond.
 
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