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Old 01-01-2009, 02:36 PM   #1
Mag Red C5
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Default Removing Rust from Rotors

I have a dilemma. My Corvette was perfect until the other night. Our temperature had been about 9 degrees, then suddenly went up to 70. My car cover was wet on the bottom from the condensation, and now my rotors are covered with rust. Aside from driving it, which I don't want to do right now, is there a safe way to remove this rust? I'm wondering if a little steel wool would work and not hurt anything. Any suggestions? I know it sounds crazy, but it just bugs me that there's rust on the rotors. Thanks for any help.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:38 PM   #2
hotwheels57
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Steel wool or a 3M Scotch Pad (green grocery store variety) will remove the rust. Neither will remove any metal. Brand new cars at the dealerships will have rust on the rotors and they don't sit under wet car covers.
The fire path area will come clean with driving and braking. The rust won't hurt anything until you can drive it. It'll come back sooner or later if the rotors have no protective coating.
Maybe consider applying some high temperature paint on the hats and vanes to protect and beautify...at the cost of your labor on a nice weekend.

Last edited by hotwheels57; 01-01-2009 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:46 PM   #3
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Why, what's the point???? Soon as you get it off, it will be back in a week or so.
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Old 01-01-2009, 02:49 PM   #4
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That is why many of us buy zinc dipped rotors...
Only the fire path gets exposed to rust and that is wiped clean every time you brake.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rws.1 View Post
That is why many of us buy zinc dipped rotors...
Only the fire path gets exposed to rust and that is wiped clean every time you brake.
Exactly!
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:21 PM   #6
Mag Red C5
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Default You're right.

Thanks for the info. I'm just overprotective. If it's not going to hurt anything, I may just leave it until spring. And I may use one of those green scotch pads suggested.

Thanks again for the info.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rws.1 View Post
That is why many of us buy zinc dipped rotors...
Only the fire path gets exposed to rust and that is wiped clean every time you brake.
I've been trying to look for good deals on new rotors for my C5 and I see a lot of them mention that zinc chromate plating helps resist corrosion, but I've also heard that cadmium plating is even better, is this true?

I personally don't mind seeing rust on the surface of the rotor as I know it'll be gone when I drive it (and mine is a daily driver, so it doesn't sit for long) but it bugs me how my rotor hats and the fins of the rotors are so badly rusted!
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:26 PM   #8
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If this car is going to be sitting OUTSIDE with a Car cover don't worry about it. The Rust will come right back in a week or so.. If it's going to Sit inside, just drive around the block and put it in the garage.
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Old 01-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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Then there's the "extreme" method posted here in 2004 by none other than Evil-Twin himself:

"There are some tricks;
Here is what I do. Knowing that brake dust is a bit harsh and zinc is soft, and sooner or later the protection will fade.
once a year since two years ago, I have done this :
I only do two Rotors at a time, it is labor intensive. I remove the two front rotors, throughly clean them with brake cleaner, making sure I clean out the cooling vains, then blow them off.
I take a dremel tool and polish each hole with some 120 emery ( just a small square of emery 3/8ths sq. on a dremel arbor ) I polish each one to a mirror finish. IT takes about a minute to do one section of holes.
I made a tool from a paint stick which mimics the slot width and radius.
I use OO steel wool under the paint stick and rub it up and down the slot ( like trying to start a fire by rubbing a wooden stick ) the steel wool will remove any brake dust that is crusted into the slot and polish them. This all takes about a half hour. I then take a Q-tip and some 1500 F clear paint. I dab each hole with clear, allowing the clear to drip down inside the hole. I also do the slots. I let this dry and start the other rotor, after an hour or so working on rotor #2, I dab another coat of clear on the holes and the slots of rotor #1, after doing this to rotor #1 , I then do the second coat of rotor #2. It's now lunch time.. After an hour, I mask off the fire path ( where the pads contact the rotors. )
I then use steel wool on the outside edge of the rotors, and If you do not have two piece rotors with aluminum hats, you can steel wool your steel hats. then the last step is spraying the hats with clear 1500 F clear as well as the outside area vain area. let it dry for 30 minutes and apply a second coat. This should last the whole summer season. My rotors look like jewelry. "


And they always do. A shot of ET's clean machine. He is even more **** than I am.
Click the image to open in full size.

I keep mine clean but have yet to try his method. I pull my wheels at least once yearly and do a thorough wheel/tire/wheel well/brake cleaning.

Last edited by Patches; 01-01-2009 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 01-01-2009, 04:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag Red C5 View Post
Thanks for the info. I'm just overprotective. If it's not going to hurt anything, I may just leave it until spring. And I may use one of those green scotch pads suggested.

Thanks again for the info.
Now tell the truth, you have already gone out and cleaned the rust off, haven't you???
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:04 PM   #11
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Wow, I never saw that post from ET, what a job!

I remember ET's wheel well "cleaning" procedure. I even got "ONE TOUCH" to use (but never got around to it).

But you have to admit, ET has one fine looking car !

Last edited by Oldvetter; 01-01-2009 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:39 PM   #12
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a lot of work but great results patch
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:02 PM   #13
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I kept having the same problem so I painted my drilled slotted rotors with a quick coat of high temp black. The hats look great and no more rust!
before
Click the image to open in full size.
after
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:08 AM   #14
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The steel wool will work just fine. About the only way you're going to keep the rust off is to get zinc washed rotors or paint the hats on your existing ones (although the rust will still form on the pad surface until you drive it).
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:10 PM   #15
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I'm just curious... is built up rust detrimental to the brake pads in any way?
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:16 PM   #16
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While you all are sitting around cleaning brake rotors I am out driving and enjoying my vette!
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post
I'm just curious... is built up rust detrimental to the brake pads in any way?
No, the brake pads only touch the firepath. The rust can get on your wheels.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:00 PM   #18
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And they always do. A shot of ET's clean machine. He is even more **** than I am.
Click the image to open in full size.

[/QUOTE]

How deep are those?
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:38 PM   #19
mrgil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANS C5 View Post
I kept having the same problem so I painted my drilled slotted rotors with a quick coat of high temp black. The hats look great and no more rust!
before
Click the image to open in full size.
after
Click the image to open in full size.
I posted this before... go to a welding supply store and buy a rattle can of bright zinc paint, it works and stays on and looks good. I'll be doing my baer rotors again as soon as it warms up a little.
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:41 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougbfresh View Post
Why, what's the point???? Soon as you get it off, it will be back in a week or so.
Painted mine red over the summer...no rust here., and this weather is crazy, freezing, then warms up then cold...go figure..
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Old 01-04-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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