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Post 19
August 2015

Swivel Housing and Steering Arm Clean Up - My Paint Process

1. Rough Clean. The front axle was filthy, so I scrubbed these down with engine degreaser and a scrubbing brush. Just the cheap stuff that comes in a 4L container. I didn’t bother doing this for the rear axle parts, but if I'd gone straight to the wire brush with these parts, everything within a 6m radius would have been splattered.

land rover series 3 steering arm

Steering Arm degreased.

land rover series 3 swivel housing

Swivel housing degreased. You can see how little of the original paint has survived. The surface of the swivel housing has probably been buried under an inch of grime for a couple of decades.

2.Wire Brush. I use three types of wire brush. The twisted steel wire on the angle grinder is best, but it's very aggressive, so I'm careful not to touch gasket faces or threads etc. The angle grinder is much more powerful than an electric drill, and when the individual wires fray off, they do embed themselves in flesh.

On the electric drill I use either of the brushes shown, as needed to fit into gaps. The brushes are much finer, and will polish bare steel. Sometimes they can also polish a surface onto deep rust instead of cutting through it, so I try to use the angle grinder first, to rip through the worst of it. These brushes won’t destroy threads and are good for cleaning up gasket faces, though I wouldn’t use them on gasket faces for more critical engine parts, and obviously I stay well clear of bearing races.

land rover series 3 wire brush tools

land rover series 3 steering arm

Steering Arm wire brushed. You can see that the finer wire brush has polished the head of the brass pin. The brush on the angle grinder would have made a mess of it.

land rover series 3 swivel housing

The recess that holds the oil seal was badly rusted, at least the vertical surface. I cleaned it up but it’s still pretty rough, so I’ll probably end up using a smear of gasket compound when installing the seals, which will really annoy me if I ever have to get them out again.

3. I normally wipe down everything at this stage to get rid of any oils. With something like breaklean or spray degreaser - whatever is sitting on the bench.

Next is the most tedious part, masking all the areas that shouldn’t be painted. This is much less tedious than scraping paint off areas that shouldn’t be painted afterwards. Once masked, I normally give the parts a quick wipe with paint thinner, sometimes I forget.

4. Rust Convertor. I use CRC Rust Convertor, only because it’s available locally and all of the other easily available options are much the same. I buy it in bottles and wipe it on with a rag. It comes in spray cans also, but you end up using twice as much and it costs twice as much.

It treats the rust and provides a paint like surface primer. This is not my preference. There is no way you could use it on body panels without stripping it off afterwards, because the finish is crap, and worse from a spray can because it comes out as foam and sets as a foamy pattern. For mechanical parts it’s fine.

In the past I could get a rust convertor that went on as a gel, and converted the rust, but afterwards the gel washed off, leaving only the converted rust and clean bare steel. All of the convertors are mostly phosphoric acid, which converts iron oxide to ferric phosphate, with whatever else they put in the mix to provide whatever finish they need to claim on the bottle. If I was doing this in bulk I’d go to the effort of sourcing just phosphoric acid and trying that.

Whichever brand, phosphoric Acid chemically reacts with the steel, so I’m pretty confident of a good bond, and it seems fine.

land rover series 3 steering arm

All painted. I went to the effort of masking the head of the pin. A bit OTT I know, but it looked so shiny.

land rover series 3 swivel housing

All painted. The black on the inside of the housing is all Land Rover.

5. Paint. I use Rustoleum out of spray cans. It can be applied directly to bare steel, though I normally end up applying it on top of rust convertor. It is thin, drys to touch quickly, and cures very hard after a couple of weeks. Probably similar to the paint land rover originally used.

I didn’t want to use a 'primer and top coat’ system, partly because of the extra work involved, but mostly because every paint will chip, and nothing screams 'repainted at home' more than oxide red primer paint chips on the front diff.

I didn’t go with a fancy two pack paint or something like por15. Although they would have been superior, everything just becomes more expensive and harder, id have to spray it on with a gun, or brush paint everything, and because it cost a lot, I’d be obliged to put more effort into surface prep. I figure the paint I am using is probably as good as Land Rover used, and that was good enough for the first 40 years of the vehicles life.

Why Gloss Black? Gloss is a bit too bling, satin would be better for looks. I use gloss because, in theory, gloss provides a harder surface, and it cleans up better when hosed down.