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August 01, 2007

3M Rust Avenger Discontinued - Just shoot me

Trusted Rust-Buster Dusted!

A discontinued product creates reader alarm


I was so excited last week to tell you about the beloved 3M Rust Avenger, a product I bought at Home Hardware three years ago and have adored ever since. It’s a pen-sized dispenser of a chemical compound that bonds with rust molecules, rendering it hard, inert and paintable. Perfect for dings on cars, scratches on bikes, spots on shovels, and worth the $5.99 outlay since a recent study reveals that the annual direct cost of corrosion in the U.S. alone is $276 billion.


Many readers wrote to ask where to buy Rust Avenger, eager to watch their personal rust accumulations disappear faster than relatives after a chili dinner.


But I was writing from within a cumulonimbus of ignorance when I touted Rust Avenger’s fabulousness. Alas, it appears I bought the very last tube of Rust Avenger.


When 3M discontinued it three years ago (madness!) I did not get the memo.


John Sawarin, an alert reader from London, Ontario (coincidentally the home of 3M Canada) happened to know that Rust Avenger had been discontinued two or three years ago. How did he know? Had 3M called him? Will they call me next time? Oh to be John Sawarin in London.


Rust in Time

As a woman I’m well-acquainted with the tragedy of discontinued favourites in lipsticks and pantyhose. But automotive products? Who knew they were susceptible to eradication? Sad, sad, sad.


To make amends for misleading you I scoured the world for alternative rust converters. My research revealed a plethora of spray-on, glob-on or paint-on applications, and they all have their charms.


For those of us who have enough money to last the rest of our lives as long as we don’t buy anything, I resisted the urge to order every possible product for testing purposes, but here’s a selection of most-talked-about products from the 319 (I’m not kidding) companies worldwide who are plugging rust inhibitors:


Ospho – (www.ospho.com) a popular phosphoric acid based mixture that causes iron oxide (rust) to turn to iron phosphate, a hard, black, inert, paintable substance. Still needs priming and painting after treatment.

Rust Bullet – (www.rustbullet.com) – guaranteed to stop rust for 10 years and looks to be the newest and most promising technology available in rust prevention. Awkward to order online from Canada, but I will find a way to get some and report back to you.  UPDATE:  Here are two Canadian distributors for Rust Bullet.  In Alberta, contact Pat at Certified Tool and Supply in Edmonton at 780-434-8711 Extension 237.  Outside Alberta, order RustBullet by sending an e-mail order to danis@rustbullet.com or pang5043@rogers.com or by calling 905-579-6764 or 905-391-8664.

EvapoRust – (www.evaporust.com) - a biodegradable liquid bath that cleans rust off smaller parts. Not much help for a whole car, but appears to be one of the least toxic rust removers available.

Rustoleum Rust Reformer (www.rustoleum.com) – a one-step aerosol treatment that converts rust into ferric phosphate, a hard, flat-black layer that prevents future rust growth.

Loctite Extend – (www.loctite.com) – Extend is a classic converter, most effective on ‘mild’ surface rust

Rust Check Rust Converter (www.rustcheck.com) – An all-Canadian product that goes on clear, turns rust black. May need a second coat for heavy rust. Can be topcoated with a rust-resistant paint like Tremclad.

Naval Jelly (Make all the jokes you want. I did.) – A rust dissolver that’s been trusted since WWII. Still cheap and works great on light rust. Needs a primer and topcoat after dissolving the rust.


Steps for Using Rust Converters

  1. If you have tiny pinpoints of rust on your car, spray or pour some rust converter into a small container and paint it delicately onto rust spots using a fine art paintbrush. Let the      converter cure and then top it off with touch-up paint.
  2. If you have loads of corrosion (i.e. on a barbecue housing or wheelbarrow) start by scuffing the surface with a wire brush to remove loose crusty layers of rust.
  3. Vacuum the surface to get rid of rust powder.
  4. If there’s grease on the surface, remove it with mineral spirits or citrus degreaser.
  5. Mask off any areas you don’t want the converter to hit. This is fun, precise work that will make you feel like you have a job in an autobody shop. Oh baby.
  6. Apply the rust converter (I used Rust Check Rust Converter from Canadian Tire). Curing usually occurs within 24 hours unless humidity is higher than 75%. Rusty surfaces should go black when fully converted. Might require additional applications if rust is especially heavy.
  7. Top off the converted rust with a rust-inhibiting paint like Tremclad Rust Paint, which penetrates and binds to metal. Many attractive colours are available in the Tremclad line, such as my wheelbarrow’s new shade, Glacier Blue.



Molasses is actually great at removing rust, just mix it with water in about a 1:8 ratio and immerse the part for a few days or longer. Obviously it's only good for smallish parts, unless you have a big tank and a lot of molasses...


i love you my dear aunt...

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