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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars Type 407 onwards - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

Rust!

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 19-05-09, 12:09 PM
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Default Rust!

My 411 has been in the workshop of Jensen Motors here in Melbourne, Australia for the last 9 years (yes, there's no decimal point missing from in front of the 9).

Anyway, it is about to come out, albeit without the EFI that it went in for in the first place, but it has failed it's Roadworthy inspection (like the UK MOT except more pedantic), because of what has been described to me as a 'large rust problem' with the rear suspension.

This is quite a surprise to me, because it passed a roadworthy inspection just before I bought it, a year before it went into the workshop where it is now and it was barely driven in that year.

I have yet to see the problem, but is it feasible that my car has been quietly rusting away while being in a very dry workshop for nine years?
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Old 19-05-09, 01:05 PM
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Location: Nr Oxford, UK
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Default Rust!

Kevin,

As you are probably aware, unless you haven't been under a post 406-Blenheim
Bristol of late, is that the spots where the rear axle is located to the
body include:

1. The top shock absorber mounts - common issue as quite fragile and if
rusted will break - easily fixed/re-enforced by welding

2. Watts linkage to braces off back of chassis - rarely a problem from what
I've seen, unless bushes are worn

3. Top torque arm connection to chassis - again apart from bush cannot be a
big deal for rust

4. Trailing arm pivots from front of axle through to torsion bars located
under chassis and through to front self-leveling suspension.

I think the usual suspects for rust at the rear, do not include the main
chassis, but may be either rear wheel arches and or rear boot floor only.
In each case some handy cut and weld in new sheet metal should be
sufficient. Also at side/front check the outer sills/box sections behind
the alloy kick plate below both doors. Lastly the front doors hang off
pretty sturdy box section steel upright frame below edges of cowl and screen
pillars. These can rust at the base and behind door hinges.

These are the only areas where my 406 has rust and which have been
addressed. This of course excludes alloy corrosion where alloy meets steel.

Clyde
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Old 19-05-09, 03:10 PM
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Location: Burbank, California
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Default Rust!

I have yet to see the problem, but is it feasible that my car has
been quietly rusting away while being in a very dry workshop for nine years?

Kevin -

Sure. Oxidation will continue with any oxygen to grab onto, just
more slowly. I had an Alfa GT that rusted pretty severely in a few
places, less than 10 years from new, always located in Southern California.

Bob

PS You almost beat my record of 10 years in one restoration shop!
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Old 21-05-09, 11:03 AM
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Default Rust!

Kevin,
A common problem - particularly if the car has any history of service in the UK where salt ingress from winter conditions creates a potential and insidious problem which manifests itself with all the visible evidence later. In our case this was not apparent until the car was stripped. Part of the refurbishment program my 410 went through related to removal and replacement of the entire boot floor + outriggers and work to the under sills areas in order to eradicate the damage but even so, this was not as serious as with some other cars. The possible reason for this could be that my vehicle spent some of its life in Canada - much of that time in an inactive state. As far as I'm aware, BCL do little in terms of corrosion protection. If it's any consolation RRs rot very nicely - especially Silver Shadows.
John Keighley
- Show quoted text -
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Old 21-05-09, 11:36 AM
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John et al,

My car has already been repaired where the rear shock absorbers meet the body and I have spent quite a bit of time working underneath it at the back and never spotted rust of any consequence, so I'm a bit surprised at the reason for the roadworthy rejection, especially since it hasn't been on the road for 9 years. I guess there must have been some rust festering away unseen in that time.

After all this time and the amount I have spent on it, it's really quite depressing news.

I was hoping to drive the car out of where it is now, which is on the other side of town from me, but I think it's going to have to come back on a truck so I can get these things dealt with locally. I'm sick and tired of driving for an hour every time I need to see the car.

Regards,
Kevin
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Old 21-05-09, 02:02 PM
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Default Rust!

Kevin,
Have you seen this rust problem for yourself, or are you going on what you
were told? Shops do make mistakes and perhaps a skim of light surface rust
was interpreted as a major issue.
Good luck,
Dorien
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Old 22-05-09, 02:54 AM
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Dorien,
I'm just going on what I have been told at this point. Haven't had time to go and see the car this week, although it is the roadworthy testers who have flagged the problem.

I know I have to go and see it for myself, but I was wanting to know whether rust continues to develop even in a dry workshop. I always thought the conditions needed to be right for steel to continue rusting?

This would normally be a bit of a moot point, but the relationship with the guy who has been working (or not working) on my car has soured somewhat!

Kevin
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Old 22-05-09, 08:10 AM
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Default Rust!

Steel rusts when there is any humidity at all. It would be unlikely
that a workshop would be de-humidified. Serious rot would suggest an
accelerant like salt was in situ. Other that demonstrating that your
restorer is a bit of a numpty I would say it was nearly impossible
to demonstrate negligence especially over such a long period.
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Old 22-05-09, 10:45 AM
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Default Rust!

Agreed,..... but I have had some cars stored in a barn or garage with no
ill effects over the same period of time. They were not cleaned or treated
prior to storeage and one was a Citroen 2CV. Hardly a high end car.
So it does seem strange that if the repairs were good there is a problem
after storeage. Perhaps the dampness in the workshop was high.
Dorien
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Old 22-05-09, 12:04 PM
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Default Rust!

I can assure you that the rear end of Bristols rust. I had to replace all
the steel work to the rear of the rear torsion bars. this included the
petrol tank area, both rear wheel arches and all of the boot. I also had
to replace the 'top hat' outriggers, the sills, the front wheel arches and
various other assorted steelwork.
With regards to the front axle, the comlete bottom was replaced as were the
top spring bearing surfaces. I replaced the bottom spring pans but had them
hot dip galvanised. to prevent future corrosion. They were badly corroded,
but are a perfect receptacle for water [and salt].
Bristol in line with nearly all manufacturers in the sixties and seventies
did little or no rustproofing, particularly of hollow sections. It was only
after the Lancia debacle that the problem was addressed to any great extent.
My car is a 408, it will not win any serious concours competition due to not
having an origonal painted posterior, but it should still be here to convey
my relations to my funeral, many many years from now [I hope]
David Olivant
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