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Undercoating and rustproofing Tesla Model 3

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,125
5,132
FL
Maybe you meant something like this?

Do you think this person might have a commercial interest in an opposing point of view? Since he's selling an alternative product? Hardly an unbiased or objective source. And since the rubberized undercoating sold currently is really a heavy duty primer with binders and just a little bit of rubber in it how is the water going to get underneath it? Ziebart is a totally different product and also by the way no longer used anymore. How exactly do you get water trapped underneath and through primer that is waterproof by the way?
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,125
5,132
FL
Rubber undercoating can trap water inside next to the sheet metal. It always develops small holes.
I spent years as a body man learning this. Scraping it off to get at the rust beneath. GM and Toyota have TSB's denying warranty for rusted frames if they had undercoat applied.
By spraying the liners you are ensuring that they may never dry completely, or at least take a very long time to dry. I don't know if the carriers in that undercoating are good for the adhesive that binds the material they are made of together.
The oil based sprays are the best. But should be touched up annually.

Your post would suggest the regrettably common triumph of doctrine over actual experience. In terms of the liners staying wet, it's the other way around actually from what you suggest - and that's from actually working with them and doing some simple tests - which I suspect you have not. If you are skeptical, you can repeat those tests.

Prior to spraying these to waterproof them, I tested their water resistance. A cup of water placed in the upside down tray was quickly wicked into the material over a period of several hours, and the other side of the liner was (by touch) discernibly damp. It actually took days to completely dry in the FL humidity. After spraying them, water would no longer penetrate the fibrous material anymore. Water simply sat there, and did not absorb at all. When water was let sit, for an extended period, the other side no longer felt damp.

If you are skeptical, remove these shields and test them yourself (that is if you actually own the car!), particularly after they have sustained some wear from rock and microabrasive impacts, which is demonstrated in the last photo. It appears to me that the liners become less and less water repellent and more permeable to moisture as the material is somewhat structurally degraded by repeated impacts. We do a lot of highway miles, so material is getting thrown into these presumably at a pretty good clip.

BTW, you're also conflating this material with the gooey and disgusting tar-based products that leave a very heavy layer of material on the car. This does not, and is effectively a rubberized paint, drying completely and leaving a very thin coating. Probably ~ 1mm or less.
 
Last edited:

ricohman

Member
Dec 31, 2018
470
319
Saskatchewan
Your post would suggest the regrettably common triumph of doctrine over actual experience. In terms of the liners staying wet, it's the other way around actually from what you suggest - and that's from actually working with them and doing some simple tests - which I suspect you have not. If you are skeptical, you can repeat those tests.

Prior to spraying these to waterproof them, I tested their water resistance. A cup of water placed in the upside down tray was quickly wicked into the material over a period of several hours, and the other side of the liner was (by touch) discernibly damp. It actually took days to completely dry in the FL humidity. After spraying them, water would no longer penetrate the fibrous material anymore. Water simply sat there, and did not absorb at all. When water was let sit, for an extended period, the other side no longer felt damp.

If you are skeptical, remove these shields and test them yourself (that is if you actually own the car!), particularly after they have sustained some wear from rock and microabrasive impacts, which is demonstrated in the last photo. It appears to me that the liners become less and less water repellent and more permeable to moisture as the material is somewhat structurally degraded by repeated impacts. We do a lot of highway miles, so material is getting thrown into these presumably at a pretty good clip.

BTW, you're also conflating this material with the gooey and disgusting tar-based products that leave a very heavy layer of material on the car. This does not, and is effectively a rubberized paint, drying completely and leaving a very thin coating. Probably ~ 1mm or less.

Doctrine over actual experience? I spent years scraping that crap off. Never again. The only place I use a similar product is on the inner box wells of my trucks to keep the rock noise down on grid roads.
I worked as a GM tech. The TSB was issued for a reason. Same with Toyota.
Coating felt liners was also done years ago. Makes the wheel well easier to clean of mud.
Downside? Mold.
The liners are designed to keep noise down, reduce weight and dry quickly.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,125
5,132
FL
Doctrine over actual experience? I spent years scraping that crap off. Never again. The only place I use a similar product is on the inner box wells of my trucks to keep the rock noise down on grid roads.
I worked as a GM tech. The TSB was issued for a reason. Same with Toyota.
Coating felt liners was also done years ago. Makes the wheel well easier to clean of mud.
Downside? Mold.
The liners are designed to keep noise down, reduce weight and dry quickly.

Yep the Triumph of Doctrine over experience:rolleyes::rolleyes: You are conflating this stuff (which you appear to have no actual experience with) with Ziebart and other tar-based gooey materials that are heavy thick and never dry. You may have had a lot of experience with removing that stuff. I don't think you could scrape this stuff off any more than you could scrape off primer. The stuff really can't be scraped off because there really isn't much material on the paint. Again it's more like a primer than it is anything like Ziebart-type products They are not the same.

As for the liners drying quickly again that maybe what you've heard that is not my experience at least in this instance. They take days to dry.

I reiterate my question to you - do you actually own the car and are you speaking from experience with this particular wheel liner and under chassis?
 

mzairboy

Member
Apr 6, 2016
172
310
Hershey, PA
I have sprayed Fluid Film on my Jeep Wrangler every Fall. I buy the spray cans on Amazon and spray the frame before winter hits.
By Spring the chassis is coated in salt and grime, and I simply pressure wash it off.
All summer the frame beads water from the leftover Lanolin residue. I repeat with a fresh coat in the Fall again.
I do not have any rust on the frame, even after using it in the PA winters. I only wash the salt crud off in the spring.

I decided to do a test with some similar products out there. I do not use rubber undercoating since this traps the moisture and rust.
I sprayed raw steel with Fluid Film, Protection First Class, Pro Fleet Care ROC40 and bolted it to my front bumper last October.
I drove around all winter with these plates exposed to the salt and elements.
I pressure washed them off twice during the winter.

This is a raw steel plate that was not coated in any rust protection. I only added this in December as a sample data point.

IMG_20190311_094558.jpg


This is a raw steel plate coated in Fluid Film. Coated in October.

IMG_20190311_094601.jpg


This is a raw steel plate coated in Protection First Class. Coated in October.

IMG_20190311_094603.jpg


This is a raw steel plate coated in Pro Fleet Care ROC40. This is the same product used by Pro Fleet Care when they come out and spray your vehicle for you. I only added this in December when I added the other non coated plate for data. It was on 2 months less than the Fluid Film and Protection First Class, and is almost as rusty as the non coated plate.

IMG_20190311_094607.jpg


So you can see by the results above, Fluid Film and Protection First Class performed very similar. I think Fluid Film is a slightly better product from the results I am seeing, but Protection First Class does come in a larger bottle for slightly less cost. The Pro Fleet Care ROC40 performed very poorly and the coating disappeared rapidly. It was very similar to a thin oil. It dripped off right away, vs the Fluid Film and Protection First Class that was thick and stayed where it was sprayed.

Pro Fleet Care will come spray your vehicle for $160 and apply ROC40. I can spray my vehicle with Fluid Film for $30-60 in material.
My co-worker sprayed his truck with ROC40 and it dripped oil everywhere for a week. The Fluid Film on my Jeep did not drip at all.
The Fluid Film is messy to apply by yourself, but has a big cost savings and better performance.

Both have pros and cons. I have not applied rust prevention to my Model 3 yet, but when I do, I will choose Fluid Film.

*I am not endorsed by any of these manufacturers. I did this test on my own and paid for the products myself.
 
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ricohman

Member
Dec 31, 2018
470
319
Saskatchewan
Yep the Triumph of Doctrine over experience:rolleyes::rolleyes: You are conflating this stuff (which you appear to have no actual experience with) with Ziebart and other tar-based gooey materials that are heavy thick and never dry. You may have had a lot of experience with removing that stuff. I don't think you could scrape this stuff off any more than you could scrape off primer. The stuff really can't be scraped off because there really isn't much material on the paint. Again it's more like a primer than it is anything like Ziebart-type products They are not the same.

As for the liners drying quickly again that maybe what you've heard that is not my experience at least in this instance. They take days to dry.

I reiterate my question to you - do you actually own the car and are you speaking from experience with this particular wheel liner and under chassis?

I get my 3 at the end of the Month.
As a mechanic, and a bodyman I would guess I have a tiny bit more experience than you at this.:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
I have used what you are using. It is a poor choice for rust prevention as it does not seep into everything like the oil based product. We re-spray the trucks every year as it chips off.
It's your car, use whatever you want.
I would advise anyone else not do do this and use a self healing fluid film of their choice.
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,125
5,132
FL
I get my 3 at the end of the Month.
As a mechanic, and a bodyman I would guess I have a tiny bit more experience than you at this.:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

And yet despite your vast experience (I'm sure I started working on cars before you were born!) you continue to insist on your original – and mistaken – conflation of the product I mentioned in my original post and Ziebart or even worse – the early tar-based imitators of Ziebart. Tar-based products are just plain dangerous because they contain typically significant amounts of sulfur which is readily converted into sulfurous acids. In some cases those products were also made from waste motor oils, which are also highly acidic and again dangerous to apply to any ferric sheet metal. These things are absolutely not the same – not even remotely the same – as what I'm talking about. Yet you can't seem to admit that.

You essentially hijacked the thread with the misleading YouTube video about a truck that appears to have been undercoated in one of these extremely undesirable products. Not surprisingly, acidic tar-based products (whether derived from asphalt or from waste motor oil with some asphalts actually including waste motor oil) slowly over time eat the paint and then start promoting rust because they actually accelerate rather than block oxidation chemistries.


I have used what you are using. It is a poor choice for rust prevention as it does not seep into everything like the oil based product. We re-spray the trucks every year as it chips off.
It's your car, use whatever you want.
I would advise anyone else not do do this and use a self healing fluid film of their choice.

While I agree that oil-based products are viable option, you will have to renew them every year. That's a lot of extra work and expense. Of course, just about any product will realistically have to be renewed at some point!

As for this being my car, and that I can do what I want, on that we finally agree! YEA!
 
Last edited:

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,125
5,132
FL
I have sprayed Fluid Film on my Jeep Wrangler every Fall. I buy the spray cans on Amazon and spray the frame before winter hits.
By Spring the chassis is coated in salt and grime, and I simply pressure wash it off.
All summer the frame beads water from the leftover Lanolin residue. I repeat with a fresh coat in the Fall again.
I do not have any rust on the frame, even after using it in the PA winters. I only wash the salt crud off in the spring.

I decided to do a test with some similar products out there. I do not use rubber undercoating since this traps the moisture and rust.
I sprayed raw steel with Fluid Film, Protection First Class, Pro Fleet Care ROC40 and bolted it to my front bumper last October.
I drove around all winter with these plates exposed to the salt and elements.
I pressure washed them off twice during the winter.

This is a raw steel plate that was not coated in any rust protection. I only added this in December as a sample data point.

View attachment 385198

This is a raw steel plate coated in Fluid Film. Coated in October.

View attachment 385199

This is a raw steel plate coated in Protection First Class. Coated in October.

View attachment 385200

This is a raw steel plate coated in Pro Fleet Care ROC40. This is the same product used by Pro Fleet Care when they come out and spray your vehicle for you. I only added this in December when I added the other non coated plate for data. It was on 2 months less than the Fluid Film and Protection First Class, and is almost as rusty as the non coated plate.

View attachment 385201

So you can see by the results above, Fluid Film and Protection First Class performed very similar. I think Fluid Film is a slightly better product from the results I am seeing, but Protection First Class does come in a larger bottle for slightly less cost. The Pro Fleet Care ROC40 performed very poorly and the coating disappeared rapidly. It was very similar to a thin oil. It dripped off right away, vs the Fluid Film and Protection First Class that was thick and stayed where it was sprayed.

Pro Fleet Care will come spray your vehicle for $160 and apply ROC40. I can spray my vehicle with Fluid Film for $30-60 in material.
My co-worker sprayed his truck with ROC40 and it dripped oil everywhere for a week. The Fluid Film on my Jeep did not drip at all.
The Fluid Film is messy to apply by yourself, but has a big cost savings and better performance.

Both have pros and cons. I have not applied rust prevention to my Model 3 yet, but when I do, I will choose Fluid Film.

*I am not endorsed by any of these manufacturers. I did this test on my own and paid for the products myself.

I guess I'm puzzled by the lack of concern about rust being present at least in some Fashion on all of the treated squares. How do you understand that? It's pretty obvious that once rust starts it does not stop unless you apply something that completely blocks further oxidation. I'd be curious to see a comparison test between these products and CRC. I bet CRC would not show any rust on the squares. But obviously somebody has to prove that so maybe I'll go get some steel Sheet metal and run my own tests!
 

mzairboy

Member
Apr 6, 2016
172
310
Hershey, PA
I guess I'm puzzled by the lack of concern about rust being present at least in some Fashion on all of the treated squares. How do you understand that? It's pretty obvious that once rust starts it does not stop unless you apply something that completely blocks further oxidation. I'd be curious to see a comparison test between these products and CRC. I bet CRC would not show any rust on the squares. But obviously somebody has to prove that so maybe I'll go get some steel Sheet metal and run my own tests!

These plates are raw steel, exposed directly to salt and water. I am shocked they didn't begin to rust prior to this. The point of my experiment was to see which lanolin based product, and oil product worked best.

I use this on my painted frame to act as a sacrificial barrier. My theory is the oily coating will help prevent the painted frame from rusting. Oil displaces water, so this acts as a moisture barrier and the oil helps inhibit rust.

I will not spray my frame with rubber based undercoating. If you get a rock chip or it flakes, moisture gets between the rubber barrier and the frame, promoting rust. For my application of rock crawling, the rubber coating would be shredded the first time I left pavement.

I also have a Jeep pickup truck. The frame was previously coated in a rubberized undercoating. Some of it flaked off last summer. Guess what was underneath? Rust.

If you do your own experiment, please post here. I would be interested in hearing the results. I have a can of rubberized undercoating at home from another project. Maybe I can also spray a plate and see what happens.

I'd challenge you to coat a painted plate in oil, and another painted plate in the rubber undercoating. Throw the plates across the pavement a few times to simulate rock chips and debris hitting the undercarriage. Then let them outside for a few months and mist often with a salt water spray. Peel away the rubber undercoating and I'm positive you will find rust.
 
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Jimi_hendrick

Member
Apr 5, 2019
16
48
Quebec
I would also take care of the rocker panels and rear door panels. Here’s what happens to a Model 3 after one winter / 15000 miles in Quebec on paved roads:

AFCE1AF3-3CFB-434C-B88B-5FB431B902CE.jpeg
11F1B628-4778-4C61-9B6F-6A7E755E4F75.jpeg
1A63BB02-C714-467F-A35D-11F8A1644534.jpeg
 

dfwatt

Active Member
Sep 24, 2018
3,125
5,132
FL
I would also take care of the rocker panels and rear door panels. Here’s what happens to a Model 3 after one winter / 15000 miles in Quebec on paved roads:

View attachment 394255 View attachment 394256 View attachment 394257

You might check out some carbon fiber mud guards here - they aren't very big, and I'm not sure they are a great value at $150, but they do offer some protection against rocks and other road junk sandblasting your rocker panels. Alternatively, you could get the panels wrapped in PPF.

Just about any car with wider tires is going to show this with sand and rocks getting thrown into the rocker panels.
 

Belisarius

Member
Sep 26, 2018
20
7
Ottawa
You might check out some carbon fiber mud guards here - they aren't very big, and I'm not sure they are a great value at $150, but they do offer some protection against rocks and other road junk sandblasting your rocker panels. Alternatively, you could get the panels wrapped in PPF.

Just about any car with wider tires is going to show this with sand and rocks getting thrown into the rocker panels.

Your replies are amongst the best constructed arguments out there. They are strong. Now, regarding wider tyres, on my German I run 245 front 275 rear and no sandblasting whatsoever. I also run ppfe on the hood, fenders and A pillar.

That aside, have seen some Model 3s in Quebec, and they look atrocious after a winter. The entire car needs to be ppfe. It is less the cars own sanding doing the trick as opposed to salt projectiles thrown against the car by other cars. The rust I saw on one winter Model 3s reminds me of 2000s Hyundais and Mazdas- that bad. it is a combination of factors, including cheapo metal, cheapo paint, cheapo everything.

Some of the bodywork I do is cosmetic repair to stone chipped cars. Germans such as Audi BMW, with their ULSAB-AC steels, seen them shiny still 2-3 winter after the owner admitted seeing it first. And in Quebec and Ontario they use 24% salinity, twice the sea level rate. the cars swim in this for months, December to March. But the metallurgy is superior, period. The same as Honda metal sheets and not AMG, BMW or Porsche, nor is Model S like Model 3 (Al alloy being the primary difference).

In my estimate, these Model 3s (and mine is not frequently driven in winter) will be serious garbage past year 5-6, when the battery impedance, as well as paint and rust will kill their residual value. So whereas a premium 50-80,000$ maintained car normally holds a good 10-20000$ value (or higher), the paint and rust issue on the Model 3 is a real serious liability.

What will happen, is what I forecasted a few years ago when all 2006+ Blue Black or Silver civics started peeling off. In the US it was Class Actioned and repainted. In Canada, not. However, Quebec now has a Class Action as of a few weeks ago, ALL Civics, 100,000 or so vehicle, some 240,000 million USD. Of course, Honda tried to buy off owners with 2000-3000$ cash incentive towards a new car, but owners massively refused.

Consequently, he exact same thing will happen to tesla in Canada. The issue is, however, residual sale. Once the car gets so much cosmetic repairs, its VIN gets tagged so -30% overnight depreciation.

Now contrast this with 2006 BMWs, Mercedes (and they were outsold 100-1 by Japanese then), that still look today nearly as mint as when new, no rust. Then the germans used ULSAB steels, now ULAB AC, so basically 12 years for a Premium German does mean 12 years. With Tesla is a flat lie: it is 12 year and 100% rejectable if you rust-proofed it, if you "did not clean the salts" or if you "neglected cleaning." In Germany 12 means 12 yrs unlimited, the entire panel gets replaced, the car repainted and heat baked to spec. When repainting my Civic nth time, the one approved repaint centre in Ottawa told me having seen on German under warranty in 10 years. ONE. Lexus? Year 2... Infiniti? Year 5 6. Germans (minus VW?) statistically close to nil. In practical terms, given the way they survive winter, cuddos to German protection laws. FYI, in addition to our model 3, our two German cars have a combined 300,000 kms, 12 winters, 48 months of salt driven, generally weekly washes, and even wheel well painted areas, that thick German paint is still on. Or polishable.

The only real solution for Model 3 is a good ppfe. Not rustproofing as it voids the warranty.
 
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Scrannel

Member
Sep 27, 2019
170
66
Malibu, CA United States
Always wanted to try sacrificial zinc anodes as used on ships. Ordinarily they will not work on a car as the car would have to be continually sitting in salt water to create a current. However, with EVs, creating a constant current in the car body might be possible.
 

Icenks

Member
Dec 15, 2019
161
25
Canada
Does model 3 work with electronics anti rust modules? I’m not sure if they work but I’ve seen some 10 year old car with perfect underbodies, even the nuts and bolts on the suspension arms and it doesn’t seem like they have any sprays on.
Anyone has insights into that?

btw the area I’m from, it snows and the road is salted regularly for 4 months per year
 

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