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Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-01 1:52 AM (#560871)
Subject: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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Location: Lower Mainland BC
I had to remove the right grill bar in order to cut a 4"+ hole in the rad support for my "ram air" (cold air) air cleaner project. I was a bit shocked to find so much surface rust on the back side of the grill bar. I am pretty sure that the grill bar is made of stainless so the rust was a surprise.

Naturally when I saw it, I knew that I had to get rid of it (or at least most of it).

So today, while there was a moment, I got out the drill and wire brush (two kinds) and went at it for 20-30 minutes. It became clear that not all of it was going to come off that way. So I switched to a green-gel type rust remover. I "painted" it on with a cheap brush and let it sit for 20 minutes and then tried the drill and the wire brush again and a brass bristle hand brush. Better but not perfect. This would be a job for one of those deep dip electrolytic rust remover systems (or maybe a bead blaster). However, since neither of those were going to happen and my goal is "better", not "perfect". I flushed of the rust remover with water and wiped the inside down with paper towel. Then I left it in the sun and went in for lunch.

After lunch, I gave it another go with the wire brush and then wiped it out (again). Then I got out a can of Tremclad gloss Aluminum spray (rust) paint and gave the inside of the grill bar a couple of coats. Much better.

I also cleaned up and sanded the black metal grill bar brace and sprayed it (and the grill bar hardware) semi-gloss black. Much better.

I will polish the outer surface of the grill bar while it is off. When I re-install it (after I do a bit of body painting behind the bar), I will do so knowing that the bar is much better than when I took it off and it won't ever rust again while I own the car.

Today's photos (note: I consciously left the grill bar teeth on, thinking that if I tried to take them off, at least one of the studs would break or something and open up another can of worms:





(Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_1.jpg)



(Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_2.jpg)



(Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_AfterWireWheelAndGelRustRemover.jpg)



(Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_AfterWireWheelAndGelRustRemoverAndThenTremcladAluminumSprayPaint.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_1.jpg (221KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_2.jpg (179KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_AfterWireWheelAndGelRustRemover.jpg (236KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments Rehabing56DodgeGrillBar_AfterWireWheelAndGelRustRemoverAndThenTremcladAluminumSprayPaint.jpg (198KB - 17 downloads)
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Cormac
Posted 2018-04-02 2:12 PM (#560959 - in reply to #560871)
Subject: RE: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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Is it Stainless Steel? My grill bar has blotchy brown areas and some dude told me that all I have to do is sand it out and it'd be shiny chrome again... What are your thoughts about that?
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-02 2:37 PM (#560963 - in reply to #560959)
Subject: RE: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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Cormac - 2018-04-02 2:12 PM Is it Stainless Steel? My grill bar has blotchy brown areas and some dude told me that all I have to do is sand it out and it'd be shiny chrome again... What are your thoughts about that?


Well regardless of the material, I would not sand anything that looks like chrome or polished stainless. Not being stainless would definitely help explain the rust. Areas where I could get the rust off, exposing the metal looked like stainless but perhaps they were just unpolished chrome areas. I guess I should try a magnet on the grill bar and see if it sticks or not. (But then again, I have magnets on our "Stainless Steel" fridge that doesn't make sense).

Regardless, whatever it is/was, it is better than when I took it off. Even the ones for $300 on eBay have rust on their back sides.

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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-02 10:58 PM (#561021 - in reply to #560963)
Subject: RE: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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56D500boy - 2018-04-02 2:37 PM I guess I should try a magnet on the grill bar and see if it sticks or not. (But then again, I have magnets on our "Stainless Steel" fridge that doesn't make sense).
:)


I tried a fridge magnet on the grill bar. I felt magnetic but when I tried the same magnet back on the "Stainless Steel" fridge (Kenmore/KitchenAid), the pull was even stronger. So inconclusive in my mind OR the grill bar is stainless steel and even better than the fridge.

Or not.
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-03 7:28 PM (#561092 - in reply to #561021)
Subject: RE: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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Took the time to clean/polish near the ends of the "teeth" (difficult to get at when on the car) and discovered that the grill bar *IS* chromed steel: I or someone before me polished a little to hard at the back there and blew through the thin chrome.

Can't be seen and the grill bar is better than when I started. Some thing to look for at future swap meet.

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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-04 12:38 PM (#561138 - in reply to #561092)
Subject: RE: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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While I had the grill bar off, I did a very little (minor) body work and painting behind where the grill bar sits over the fender. There was a little bit of rust at the side attachment hole but it was superficial, not even enough to eat the edges of the hole. See below Before/After.

When I went to put the grill bar back on yesterday, I said to myself, looking at the hardware that I had taken off, soaked in rust-off and then repainted, and said out loud "Dave, you probably don't totally remember where these go, do you?" To which I answered, "Probably not, but will figure it out when I get out there". (I actually did remember where most of them went.) So I proceeded to install the grill bar, and only had one bolt/nut left to go, the one that goes through the very outer end of the grill bar, through the hole in the fender pictured below. Then I realized that I had made a mistake - I should have loaded the bolt into the grill bar before I started the attachment because with the grill bar on, I can't get the bolt through the hole from the outside.

I might be able to use needle-nosed pliers to get it in there, otherwise the grill bar will need to come off again. Not the end of the world - I see some painting that I need to do anyway. Something that I ignore in reality but see clearly in photos.





(56DodgeGrillBarAttachment_Side_Before.jpg)



(56DodgeGrillBarAttachment_Side_After.jpg)



Attachments
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Attachments 56DodgeGrillBarAttachment_Side_Before.jpg (72KB - 15 downloads)
Attachments 56DodgeGrillBarAttachment_Side_After.jpg (71KB - 16 downloads)
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-04-04 1:56 PM (#561143 - in reply to #560871)
Subject: Re: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar


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yikes! I would maybe try rust bullet behind the fender... stuff is like a rock.
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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-04 3:53 PM (#561155 - in reply to #561143)
Subject: Re: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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mikes2nd - 2018-04-04 1:56 PM
yikes! I would maybe try rust bullet behind the fender... stuff is like a rock.


Yikes??!! That hole is virtually untouched by actual rust. The back side has being previously (when??) sprayed with black rust proofing (as has the rest of the car).

Most of what showed in the "Before" photo is just surface staining. All gone know. Sanded down to shiny metal. Some spot filler. Sanding. 2 coats of high build primer. Sanding and then two coats of top-coat light blue, as shown in the "After".

All that said, if I can't get the bolt in the hole with needle nosed pliers, the grill bar is coming off and I am going to make a thin rubber gasket for between the body and that section of grill bar.

Or I might just do that anyway.

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matte
Posted 2018-04-04 5:33 PM (#561161 - in reply to #561155)
Subject: Re: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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Magnets will stick to a much lower grade stainless. The veneer sheeting used over the fridge frame is usually a lot lower grade than say 316 marine stainless or other high quality SS.



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56D500boy
Posted 2018-04-05 6:14 PM (#561200 - in reply to #561155)
Subject: Re: Rehabing a 55/56 Dodge Grill Bar



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56D500boy - 2018-04-04 3:53 PM
All that said, if I can't get the bolt in the hole with needle nosed pliers, the grill bar is coming off and I am going to make a thin rubber gasket for between the body and that section of grill bar.
Or I might just do that anyway.
:)


Turned out that even with needle nosed pliers, I could not get that end bolt back in from the outside. So I removed the grill bar again. This time I did some extra painting up above the grill bar. While the paint was drying I used some of the grey closed cell foam that I had bought to make taillight (and front parking light) gaskets and cut two pieces about 1" x 3" as gaskets between the grill bar and the body. This actually aided the "capture" of the bolt because I could load the bolt through the hole in the bracket at the end of the grill bar and keep it held there with the gasket.

When the paint was dry, I re-installed the grill bar, making sure that I got the end bolt and nut started first rather than last.

Now that I am a grill bar "expert" (LOL ), I will be removing the left grill bar and going through the left grill bar, this time not making the same mistakes.

(Hopefully)

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