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Rust Doctor Ambulance

Several years ago, the Rust Doctor team decided they needed to restore a vehicle using Rust Doctor products.  The first thought was to find a muscle car to demonstrate how to use Rust Doctor products. After much discussion, an antique ambulance seemed to be the right vehicle to represent the Rust Doctor.

A search began for an unrestored ambulance that had some rust problems but was otherwise a sound vehicle.  The right vehicle was found in Apache Junction, Arizona. A 1969 Pontiac Superior Ambulance. Here are some pictures before we started the restoration. Once the restoration was complete, we took  the Rust Doctor Ambulance to car shows so others could see what can be done with Rust Doctor products.

Because the ambulance was used in Windover, Utah at the Bonneville Salt Flats Time Trials for several years, salt accumulated on the understructure and floor boards causing substantial rust. In fact once we started working on the vehicle, we realized how badly the metal had rusted.

The interior was  relatively good condition so we restored it back to its original condition. Because we planned to drive the car to car shows, we wanted to make the cabin more comfortable than original. long distance driving would definitely require bucket seats, a modern steering wheel and air conditioning.

Where do we start?

The first step on our restoration is to deal with the undercarriage rust.  After locating a lift that could handle the weight of the ambulance (6000 pounds), we pressure washed the undercarriage with water and Grease Doctor degreasing solution.  The next step was to apply Salt Doctor desalting solution to remove the salt that has accumulated over the many years of emergency vehicle use at Bonneville. Salt Doctor was applied with a garden sprayer to soak the rusted metal.  The surface was then again rinsed with clean water. Cloudy water showed us how the salt was being successfully removed from the rusty surface. 

When salt accumulates on a metal surface, it is not easily removed with a pressure washer.  In fact, race enthusiasts returning from Bonneville, quit often put a water sprinkler under their vehicle and let it run for days to try and remove the rust.

Under carriage is clean and ready for Rust Doctor

Salt accumulation was found everywhere even after pressure washing. On our vehicle the salt was obvious but on vehicles exposed to road salt, it may accumulate on the surface but not in large enough amounts to be visible.  Even so, unless the salt is removed, primer and paint will not adhere properly even on bare metal. While traveling the country visiting car shows and automotive swap meets, we have talked to hundreds of car restoration enthusiasts and many have told us about their frustration with cleaning up frames then priming and painting them only to have the paint peel off because of road salt. Salt Doctor will eliminate that problem. 

Accumulated salt from the Bonneville Salt Flats.

We sprayed the undercarriage with Rust Doctor.  You can use a conventional or airless spray gun with a tip for latex paint.  Rust Doctor goes on as a cream color and then dries, leaving a clear primer over the surface. Because Rust Doctor does not contain any strong acids or solvents, you can get Rust Doctor on wiring, rubber grommets, glass, plastic and etc. without fear of damage.  Rust Doctor dries to touch in 10 to 20 minutes but you need to let it cure for 24 hours.

All the rust was converted to the non rusting black magnetite and primed.  we could have left it just like it this or top coated with factory chassis  paint.

Next, we moved our efforts to the interior to eliminate the rust on the window framework and other interior areas.  Because we had a mixture of rust and paint, we brushed the surface to remove loose rust and paint, then cleaned the surface with Grease Doctor cleaner/degreaser and rinsed with water.  You can apply Rust Doctor over paint and rust. The Rust Doctor will convert the rust to a non-rusting black iron oxide and leave a clear primer on the entire surface.

Once the Rust Doctor dries, you can see the black iron oxide where there use to be rust and the orange paint through the clear primer - all in one step!  Because the surface will be covered with vinyl, we didn't bother paining the surface. If we did want to paint, all we needed to do would be to paint over the treated surface as it is already primed.

The engine compartment was cleaned with a pressure washer , Grease Doctor and rinsed with fresh water.

All the rust was converted to a non-rusting black iron oxide that will never rust.  The surface is primed and ready for top coat. We later treated the exhaust pipes and exhaust manifold with Rust Doctor.

Front end parts treated with Rust Doctor

A new 455 cubic engine with custom fuel injection was installed.  Later we added air conditioning 

Restored Rust Doctor Ambulance

Restored ambulance attends car shows and cruises.

In 2014 we took the Rust Doctor Ambulance to the Bonneville Salt Flats during the time trials. Many of the "old timers" remembered seeing the ambulance there in the 1980's when it was used as an emergency vehicle.

We look forward to many new adventures with our classic 1969 Bonneville Ambulance restored with Rust Doctor.