Technical: Rust lusts for your car

The following article appeared in the USA Borgward Owners Club Newsletter, Vol 1, Number 1, August 1974. Thanks to the B.O.C for permission to reproduce it. Comments welcome.

RUST LUSTS for your

With any older auto, rust can be a problem, if not carefully watched. Hidden, unseen areas can make for trouble more than paint chips.

“Shelves” and corners underneath and inside fenders can hold mud and water

  1.  Boxbeams are made of sheet metal welded, they are sealed except for weeping (drain) holes for condensation to leak out. These holes must be open, it is advisable to squirt oil in once a year, or before and after winter.
  2. The chassis and springs ought to be sprayed with penetrating oil, too. Obviously, leaking weather strips must be changed.

With Borgward, watch these spots:


1. Boxbeams under doors between front/back wheel wells (#5 above): Water thrown up by back tire will dry plug (#8 above), get into beam, soon destroying it. Oil or penetrating oil (WD-40) ought to be sprayed either through end hole or up through holes drilled into beam along its length. The rubber plug (#8) must be sealed with pitch or tar. (Caulk dries out, do not )

2. Boxbeams branching from floor pan: Front (not shown), back (#12). Clean drain holes or drill bigger. Squirt oil or penetrating oil into weeping holes yearly.

3. Floor under #1, 2: Dirt from inside car gets inside beams through the holes along with water. Clean and treat with penetrating oil.

4. Wheal-arch beam, Combi back wheel (#9) Drill holes to spray inside with oil. Seal holes afterwards with sheet metal screws.

5. Wheel well in trunk: If trunk leaks, change weather strip. Drill holes into part of well sloping down from middle. Oil. Water seeps through spot welds and lies on the bottom sheet of well. You can also drill into bottom sheet to let water drain out .

6. Headlight socket: Mud thrown up by front tyres will lie on socket and wedge against under side of fender. Tops of fenders above headlights will rust out. Keep cleaned off. You can cut a sheet metal battle (tracing available) to screw to back headlight sockets. With an outline of foam-vinyl tape along the edge, the baffle will fit against the inside of fender, keeping mud from the sockets.

7. Bottom of door :Water dripping down window seals washes dirt which will plug drain holes along bottom of door. There are 3 sets of 3 plus a channel below hinges. These must be kept clear. There is no way to keep all water out – new seals help. Spray oil through holes.  If taking off door panel, be careful of plastic frame; it is brittle.

8. Quarter panel Coupe (#34): Can be sprayed with oil by lifting inner trim panel.

9. Other areas: a. Webbing in front and back of hood, bottom of trunk lid – use oil.

b. Back apron (above bumper), bottoms of fenders where they flair out and rocker panels – clean out mud. c. Back door-pillar – hinge side (Combi): water leaks through hinge seals. Another box beam. Drill drain hole in bottom & oil. Do other side, too.

10. Headlight assembly. : Open and grease all screws and hardware. Black rim ought to be cleaned and painted if rusted. Fight rusted screws before a bulb burns out.

NOTES: Undercoating – not advisable unless you clean down to metal. Borgward used sound-deadening coat until 1960 or so. This is porous tar or undercoat will trap water. Be careful of loose paint and dirt, which will hold water when tarred over. Do not seal the bottoms fenders to the box beam where they screw. Water seeping behind must be free to drain .

Even though all this may seem rather complicated, a small spray can or two of penetrating oil, such as WD—40, and an hour or two a year may save major structural repairs. The amount of time and work is surely worth it .

Article ends.

Thanks again to the Borgward Owners Club of USA, to join and receive their excellent newsletter, follow this link for details

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