Restore front crossmember, anyone?

Wanted to patch up “that hole on the front crossmember” so took it off (after 4 years thinking about it). Guess what? “that hole” was gone, it now had “those voids” instead. After only 4 years!! Well, it’s now been sandblasted, new metal welded in, waxed inside and primed and painted. Another 30 years (or so) of happy motoring, eh? What is this thing made of, cornflakes?
Interesting note is that engine mounts seem new, even though I got a new pair I’m pondering whether to replace them at all. And all the bushes I replaced over the last 10 years? In worse shape than the originals I replaced!! People, please buy original bushes only.

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First I’ve heard of anyone going to this kind of effort. Most just go to the junkyard and pick up a crossmember from an XJ6.

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This was my ‘65 ‘S’ not so many of them around in NZ and I enjoyed the challenge. The replacement ribs were cut from a length of reasonable thickness galv pipe I had lying around.

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Thaaat explains it! Good work!

You will be surprised within next 4 years I’m afraid…
Rumours saying that galvanised corn flakes are the best…

I am going to get mine powder coated.

I know I was thinking about hot dipping, but then didn’t. I’ll have 4 years to find a mint one and dip that.

Don’t know about that, plenty or restorers are against it for various reasons.

Other than fealty to originality, not sure why: PPing is a great and WAY more durable finish for parts like that.

If by PPing you mean powder pcoating then it has to do with the way stone chips and cracks let moisture in and keep it there and let rust eat away without anyone noticing and proper basecoat and paint scratches but keeps rust local to the scratch. It’s a long discussion thread I’ve found one one of american muscle restoration forums. Really, it would have cost me the same money to do either but a rather more experienced chap and the aforementioned discussion made me believe that was the right choice. Plus the wax on the inside should keep things in check.

I PPed many suspension pieces, a lot on race cars, where stone chips generally decimate the best paints. It doesn’t chip as easily, and in fact, I never saw PP chip, at all.

I tend to agree… and I have seen this happen, where the bubbled power coat was all that was left.
In some occasions even bare metal will last longer than Power Pcoated. And the front cross member, with all it’s flexin and twistin, is one place I personally would not do.
Even worse on aluminium.

Well, I have an example of powder coat being chipped and flaking off right on my xjs - namely anti-roll bar and front springs. Also have an example on my boat - ANYTHING that was powder coated. No scratches on the starter motor yet the whole thing is exploding. No scratches on the swim ladder yet luckily they are aluminium so the flaked-off powder coat didn’t do too much damage. Brand new boat 7 years prior to that. I re-coated them so we’ll see what it looks like later on.
Anyway, this should not be a contest of any kind. Some things are good for powder coating (I think even some ferraris have powder coated shells, 360 maybe?) and some for base/paint. I opted for paint this time round, we’ll see how it fares.

I submit they were not done properly.

Most of those won’t be. Unless you are powder coating for yourself… Still internal cavities won’t be coated. Every 4WD maniac will go for galvanised finish due to a reason…

Hmmm, i may look into that, there’s a hot dip galvanizing company in the area.

Have no idea how costly it is? I assume I’ll need to get it sand blasted first, then galvanized, and then normally painted.

The galvanizing won’t mess up clearances on holes for bushings/bolts will it?

Hi Greg, the company I retired from was a pipe and tube manufacturer, with a galvanize dept. I worked in that dept for about a year, when the company decided that they needed a mechanic, and I was it.
Everything galvanized had to be acid dipped, then neutralized, then flux dipped, then processed.
All bolt holes would have to be" cleaned out" unless they were already oversized.
Painting zinc covered metal would need a special primer for the topcoat to stick, also.

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Yeah…still not 100% sure what I’ll do, but as I’ll have the subframe out, which has surface rust, I want to have this rust free for at least 20 years. Is galvanizing overkill? Or is waxing/painting fine, and much cheaper?

I’m trying to stay within a budget, but do not want to have to pull out the subframe again.

And Posix, sorry for hijacking your thread! :slight_smile:

Zinc chromate paint? It’s what the military uses, or at least did at one time.

P&WA had an entire department of metallurgists, and I once asked them about preventing rust on a bicycle. They told me of a study that was done where researchers took a whole bunch of pieces of sheet steel, applied various coatings or whatnot to them, and then stuck them in the sand on the beach where the surf could lap at them. At high tide they were immersed in salt water, at low tide they were exposed to bright sunlight, in between they had waves smacking them. They said the only treatment that protected the metal at all was zinc chromate paint.

I ended up using zinc chromate paint on my brand new bicycle – on the inside. Poured paint in a tiny hole, shook it around in there, poured it back out. That bike still has no rust, although it hasn’t been ridden in 20 years now. It did see a lot of use for a while there, including some touring in rainy weather.