Some time after making those comments, the Zero Rust people sent me some of their product and asked me to try it, which I did. After several trials in my restoration business, I still felt the same way, but there where a few voices - some in the profession - saying otherwise. It was then that I decided to do some actual "testing"of these products. As luck would have it, I had also just partnered with Eastwood, so I ordered some samples of their product, Rust Encapsulator,as well.
While not a "scientific" test, it is a "real world" and "as intended" trail. The products where used as recommended, the way an enthusiast would use them in their shops or garages. In every instance, both Rust Encapsulator and Zero Rust were applied from the spray cans supplied, using 3-5 medium wet coats. The POR15 was applied with a brush in a single, thin coat. Regardless of the number of coats or the percieved thickness of product application, all products where applied per instructions, at temperatures near 60F/15C and as you would in practice, to cover rust and confer some protection, as advertised.
I have 3 expereinces (or "tests" if you will) to share with you:
In the first instance, I applied Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator and POR15 to either end of a spare tailgate for my 1946 Mercury truck. This item had lived outside for a long time and had developed an even surface rust, making them the exact surfaces applicable for these products. Since the application of these products, this particular Tailgate was kept inside my shop, dry, at temperatures between 7C and 25C. In this trial then, the products where not subjected to harsh conditions (as per a susequent, ongoing test) so we can see how they age on their own.
After about 2 years one can see that the Rust Encapsulator has "thinned", while the POR15 has remained solid and opaque. Again, this part stayed inside my shop all this time, so I'm not sure why the amount of Rust Encapsulator would have decreased on the panel. Looking closely, you can almost see the rust through the coating in some spots, leading me to believe there is a lack of solids in the product and that one may infer it will ot provide a long-lasting coating.
1946 Mercury Tailgate: On the left is the Rust Encapsulator, on the right the POR15.Above: If you look closely at the above photo, you'll see how the Rust Encapsulator has - for lack of a better term - worn out. You can almost see through it to the rusted surface in some spots. If exposed to the elements outside, I would guess the product would provide less than optimal protection.
Below is the POR15 coated portion. It still looks solid and opaque. There doesn't appear to be a weakening or wearing of the product and rust-through is non-existent.
Of course that being a fairly easy test and certainly not the one everone wants to see, I did a second test where the part (another tailgate) was left in the elements for an extended time. This time all three products (POR15, Rust Encapsulator and ZeroRust) where used on a Chevy tailgate that had been exposed to the elements long enough to produce a heavy coating of surface rust on it. After proper application of all 3 products, the tailgate has been left outside, throughout the seasons. This test was started about 6 months ago, so not yet ready to be reported on. I'll do a full posting on the results in another 12-18 months, depending on how fast I see differences in the performance of the products.
This third experience speaks to the compositon of these products, their robustness, as well as their ability to resist chemical degradation and protect what is under them:
We all know that brake fluid is highly toxic to paint - right? In the photo below, the brake backing and tie rod on a 1956 Chevy Truck restoration where brush painted with POR15, but the wheel rim was sprayed with Zero Rust. After bleeding the brakes and getting brake fluid all over both surfaces, the Zero Rust was completely removed while the POR15 was untouched. Up close, one could see the POR15 was completely intact and would likely never be impacted by brake fluid. Again, both surfaces where in prolongued (several days) contact with brake fluid before being noticed and wiped down.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that products in a spray can cannot dry as would an epoxy. If it did, it would ruin the spray tip so that upon second use, it would not spray again! For anyone that has ever used POR15 (which cures in the presence of atmopheric moisture) you know just how hard it dries. It actually WELDS the lid to the can and it dries to a hard shell, regardless of how thickly or thin it is applied. On a suitable surface, POR15 bonds like nothing else you'll ever try.
The exposure test will be the most telling. After 2 years exposure to the elements, in a climate that ranges between 30 below (-28F) to 30 above (120F), we'll be able to say it was tested under the most extreme conditions! So check back to this site often, or better yet, sign up with your email address for update notification!
Don't forget to check out the website at www.E-tekRestorations.com !