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Black Bumper paint works too
Krylon flat black looks quite nice too. It's not as flat as it sounds, more like a matte finish. No orange peel at all, very smooth.

Looking inside the door, I was surprised to see how much gloss the original color had. I still like flat - it doesn't jump out at you like a gloss would against slightly faded rubber trim.

Al
 

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Krylon flat black looks quite nice too. It's not as flat as it sounds, more like a matte finish. No orange peel at all, very smooth.

Looking inside the door, I was surprised to see how much gloss the original color had. I still like flat - it doesn't jump out at you like a gloss would against slightly faded rubber trim.

Al
Agreed, a nice semi matte finish sets it off just fine
 

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ODO gears :/

Lots of links on here as to where to find them and how to repair it. Mine went last week at 98K.
Dude, that's not a MN12 thing ... those are Chrysler/Ford gears we buy; and there's a REASON why Chrysler is listed first in a lot of the listings! >:)

RwP
 

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Washing it out won't help, I think every MN12 owner should take the time once or twice a year to remove the bottom fender bolts and splash shield and pull the crap built up in there out manually.
Is there any other modifications or tricks to actually extending the life span on a good set of ""Rockers " that are practically unaffected and look like new 20 yrs later.
Anything people have tried and figured out how to get in the inner rocker valleys and maybe oil them or get some kind of coating barrier inside.

I thought I read the foam insert that hides in front of the hinge pillar and hinges is a culprit too..
This is all just curiosity and questions for even further protecting the rocker /unibody area on an already preserved thunderbird that never seen snow and or rain. And is already undercoated since day 1.
I'm really interesting in knowing if anybody as had any luck with going above and beyond in this area of the MN12 because I know this is where the death of these cars start.
I thought about what if you could create a' few small drain plugs at each end under the rockers directly inline with the hollow portion of the rocker drill and clean up paint the drilled edges and place in a good rubber plug to either get oil lubricant in there periodically or flush out anything maybe check with a flush end of each year to see if any debris flows out .... You know from rain or water dirt getting down past the window moldings

I know this won't apply to most people's thunderbirds, but my car particularly is like mint in this general area.

And I thought my 91 sport was same way till I took the ground effects off that helped pack in leafs and filth for 20+ years even though it was a Kentucky car. It had a really nice passenger side rocker and low behold the drivers side had a nice 1"x6" long rot area going on randomly just one side close to the hinge pillars.
Then toward the rear of the rocker some paint bubbles . It Proved to me you never can tell until you get down close start touching looking at the paint It don't start as visible exterior rust it bubbles the paint slightly from inside working out . ...I was pissed . At that point I punched the rust through took a garden hose flushed everything out "Chunks of dirt "few pieces of rusted metal and was just planning on wire mesh job and fiber glassing it in and and smoothing it out it was the only **** part of the car . The whole underside of my 91 looked clean just like this 97 except for that rocker area Any rate I never wanna get there with my 97
 

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Honestly, any prevention from the inside is speculative at best, Ziebart treatments drill holes into the rockers and sills to coat the inner surfaces with a protective coating, yet every Ziebarted car I've ever come across has above average rust damage vs one with nothing at all.

The inherent problem with internal coatings is that there is no possible way to prep the surfaces (and with the foam only a fraction of the surfaces can even get covered), and the prep is the key to adhesion just like any other paint. Otherwise it'll crack, peel, bubble and then trap moisture, and even accelerate rust development. Undercoatings can be the same, often it'll cause rust spots in atypical areas, whilst possibly protecting others marginally better.

Really beyond the foam, the biggest issue is drainage, moisture gets in no matter what you do, and there are many areas inside the rockers, A pillars, quarters where overlapping structural sheetmetal blocks drainage and corrosion develops. The rockers themselves actually have drain holes at each end, and if not for the design flaws and foam, the rocker panels probably wouldn't rust out. I don't know if anyone notices but rocker rot most often starts on the TOP, not the bottom. For this reason I don't particularly dig oil coatings either(I've done it externally, but not internally), since it can gum up like it does in engines and end up blocking what little drainage there is.


Modifications? Nothing that wouldn't be incredibly intrusive to remove the foam, prep and coat areas
with sealers and add some internal drain holes. Only proven effective solution is to drive the car for 3 seasons.
 

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Honestly, any prevention from the inside is speculative at best, Ziebart treatments drill holes into the rockers and sills to coat the inner surfaces with a protective coating, yet every Ziebarted car I've ever come across has above average rust damage vs one with nothing at all.

The inherent problem with internal coatings is that there is no possible way to prep the surfaces (and with the foam only a fraction of the surfaces can even get covered), and the prep is the key to adhesion just like any other paint. Otherwise it'll crack, peel, bubble and then trap moisture, and even accelerate rust development. Undercoatings can be the same, often it'll cause rust spots in atypical areas, whilst possibly protecting others marginally better.

Really beyond the foam, the biggest issue is drainage, moisture gets in no matter what you do, and there are many areas inside the rockers, A pillars, quarters where overlapping structural sheetmetal blocks drainage and corrosion develops. The rockers themselves actually have drain holes at each end, and if not for the design flaws and foam, the rocker panels probably wouldn't rust out. I don't know if anyone notices but rocker rot most often starts on the TOP, not the bottom. For this reason I don't particularly dig oil coatings either(I've done it externally, but not internally), since it can gum up like it does in engines and end up blocking what little drainage there is.


Modifications? Nothing that wouldn't be incredibly intrusive to remove the foam, prep and coat areas
with sealers and add some internal drain holes. Only proven effective solution is to drive the car for 3 seasons.
In regards to the foam inserts .. I wonder if anyone has actually paid for a full rocker replacement on a Mn12 professionally welded in and can share the same or better end results from new rockers without the foam inside over the course of multiple years . .and compare degrading from the original to the after market .

I guess your right just drive it when it's sunny warm and dry roads only .
I was just hoping for further prevention by some sort of method/means besides just trusting seasonal driving
 

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You'll have trouble finding anyone who can leave feedback there, as most just opt to cut out the trouble spot and weld in new metal in the trouble area. A full rocker panel replacement is incredibly intrusive since it's tucked underneath the pillars and quarter panels, and aftermarket rockers aren't factory contoured stampings. If the rockers are fully gone then they're just the tip of the iceberg, if the inners are gone the car is a total loss, so there aren't many success stories using full panels.
 

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You'll have trouble finding anyone who can leave feedback there, as most just opt to cut out the trouble spot and weld in new metal in the trouble area. A full rocker panel replacement is incredibly intrusive since it's tucked underneath the pillars and quarter panels, and aftermarket rockers aren't factory contoured stampings. If the rockers are fully gone then they're just the tip of the iceberg, if the inners are gone the car is a total loss, so there aren't many success stories using full panels.
One of my rockers has a little hole and arpu d it a bubble. So would it be best to just have a patch welded over it or are the marks the same intrusive process..i just ran into a fellow m8 owner who has somebody to replace his and I was thinking about jumping on the band wagon.
Are the m8 rockers specific or can I use tbird ones? I planned on using these
https://www.ebay.com/i/391913826911?chn=ps&ul_ref=http%3A%2F%2Frover.ebay.com%2Frover%2F1%2F711-117182-37290-0%2F2%3Fmpre%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.ebay.com%252Fi%252F391913826911%253Fchn%253Dps%26itemid%3D391913826911%26targetid%3D412958111504%26device%3Dm%26adtype%3Dpla%26googleloc%3D9017745%26poi%3D%26campaignid%3D1058341566%26adgroupid%3D52118409775%26rlsatarget%3Daud-386092231328%3Apla-412958111504%26abcId%3D1133866%26merchantid%3D6326644%26gclid%3DCj0KCQiAieTUBRCaARIsAHeLDCRTiZzGiK4slgTd6mWrX6-FGoDG3rB-O3qyMmoRplPTG2oG4-SyRPcaAqOGEALw_wcB%26srcrot%3D711-117182-37290-0%26rvr_id%3D1455704014840
 

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I drill 1/16" water drain holes; it helps, as well as ripping out all that foam crap.

spraying a rust preventative like LPS 3 can help.
 

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I drill 1/16" water drain holes; it helps, as well as ripping out all that foam crap.

spraying a rust preventative like LPS 3 can help.
Interesting can you even begin to tell me how you find a way in to remove the foam .
Where's the open end rocker entrance if any.
? At the front of the rocker ? I honestly would take a week straight to pick at this to do this if it's of Any help towards preventative rust against my car . I don't see it happening but who knows what' could be found on one sunny day 5 years away.Even with only sunny day driving .
I'm gonna be pissed if I ever see rust come thru. It's like I said this is what it is all about with these cars the one main reason they all went to hell and rott...
Strange Ford could find so many interior exterior redisgns from 89-97 But failed to help the rocker issue that put every one of these cars in the bone yard.
Is it just inevitable tbird rockers rust the cars a waisted investment.. feel like I'm ranting but one I hate rust and two I know these cars don't come up clean often hence why if anything helps I'm all about it.
 

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FYI, there already are drain holes at each end of the rocker panels, make sure they are unblocked. Drilling holes isn't necessarily a bad idea on the surface but there's so much foam in the rockers you'll just be drilling into foam, not draining anything.

There's no way to remove the foam without drilling out spot welds and removing the rocker panels.
 

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Acetone works, but it's hard on other stuff. :)

The front stuff comes out of the front plastic fender liner, or out the doorjamb, I don't remember.

The rear stuff comes out the speaker hole area; I don't remember If I had to take the entire molding out or what.

Is there another piece?
 

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That's the recycled fabric sound deadener, the foam is the yellow stuff injected inside the structural box sections
Oh. Sorry.

I haven't sectioned one yet.

Yet, lol.
 

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Watch out for shotty welding in the doors, they tend to hold moisture, and will rust inside out. It's a good idea to begin stocking up on parts now. Everything from exterior to interior and engine. These cars just began turning 30, meaning that parts are really becoming quite hard to come by. All sorts of plastic parts are starting to go bad, meaning that windows will stop working, odometers will go out, and whatnot. Copper contacts are also going bad. Take your seats out and clean them once per year. Also, learn how to fabricate parts. Specifically the plastic parts. a 3d printer and scanner will cost you now, but if you plan on keeping your car for the long term... scanning functional parts now to reprint and replace later is definitely a plus.
 

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I drill 1/16" water drain holes; it helps, as well as ripping out all that foam crap.

spraying a rust preventative like LPS 3 can help.
Old post but ...
How did you go about ripping out the rocker foam ?Where is it accessed?
Have you tried rust bullet before? It's a aluminum color based liquid that claims to dig into nooks and over top of light rust and stop it from ever even appearing further.
I really want to do some preventative to this 95 I got , and somehow access inside rockers to clean them out and spray in them this summer even though I will not drive it past sept. I have no idea the driving history on it but the under side pinch welds and rockers are clean.
Scares me to death knowing you finally find a good one its not like these cars are everywhere to be had for 3-4k and still in super clean shape .... and just knowing if you dont attempt to even clean up the littlest of pinch weld rust or slight spot rust it will eventually be the end of the car.
 

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Watch out for shotty welding in the doors, they tend to hold moisture, and will rust inside out. It's a good idea to begin stocking up on parts now. Everything from exterior to interior and engine. These cars just began turning 30, meaning that parts are really becoming quite hard to come by. All sorts of plastic parts are starting to go bad, meaning that windows will stop working, odometers will go out, and whatnot. Copper contacts are also going bad. Take your seats out and clean them once per year. Also, learn how to fabricate parts. Specifically the plastic parts. a 3d printer and scanner will cost you now, but if you plan on keeping your car for the long term... scanning functional parts now to reprint and replace later is definitely a plus.
I give it 10 more years before the rest of the average to decent Thunderbirds left on the road are so forgotten and gone rotted that the only remainder will be the handful of premium shape scoupe owners maybe some v8 lx's and a very few sport 5.0s who just garage there car and look at it only.
The parts even 10 years ago were a hard find . It's the strangest caR for having such a fan base but No non aftermarket production of decent parts even 5 years after 1997 ended . Not one company cared to model the parts and offer them As average as they were to the consumer in 89-97 Noone would have guessed it would had developed into it's own version of the fox body craze .
One day they will be as gone and pointless as a pinto is today.
 
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