We Canadians have a lot of experience with rust in the 2nd generation Escorts. The problem is largely with the poor joins where Ford joined the inner and outer fenders, particularly at the rear but at the front as well (the plaster fender liner protects better at the front.) Water -- and salt, here in northern climes -- make their way between the inner and outer fenders, causing the fender edge to rust from the inside out. This is also an issue along the leading edge of the hood, where the crimped edge is -- even worse -- hidden beneath a layer of filler. By the time it´s noticeable, metal underneath the paint has already corroded away, making surface repairs a temporary solution at best. My car ("Ultraviolet" purple) also suffers from peeling paint, which doesn´t help.
This is specific to the Escorts; my same-generation Mazda 323 didn´t have this problem. Grrr. With the different bodywork, I don´t know if it´s as serious an issue with the UK Escort. But I bet Ford cut corners on both sides of the pond.
Anyway, I searched for months to find an EGT that didn´t yet have this rust problem. What I do to try prevent it from happening is very carefully aim a garden hose from the inside of the wheel well towards the inside of the fender lip during every wash. By running a finger along the ridge created by the join, you can clear out a lot of sand and dirt which tend to trap the water. I´m also making a point of immediately touching up and rock chips in this area.
I´m also curious to know what anti-rust remedies people are using. I´ve found red oxide rust primer to be effective on other cars I´ve owned. But the thick consistency and dark colour of the paint make it hard to hide with top coats. I´m now first treating the sanded rust spots with "rust remover" -- a strong phosphoric acid solution, as far as I can tell. (Don´t let it get on any painted surface!) I assume that it´s designed to force the extra oxygen back out of the oxidized metal. I have no idea whether this will work any better in the long run or whether the rust primer I´m applying over top will fail to bond with this treated layer later on.
Other opinions? How about that idea of replacing the inner and outer fender entirely? The rear fender does not appear to be a bolt-on piece: Would this therefore involve a lot of expensive bodywork?
- Never Resting