Removing surface rust from a panel joint

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    This week I started stripping down my 1994 Nissan 300zx to prep the body for paint. Before I bought the car, it had some so-so repairs done to it, including replacing the whole driver’s side rear quarter panel. The panel was spliced in at the factory joints, and after removing all the panels, the repair job was better than I initially thought.

    The main issue is that they didn’t treat or seal the inner bottom seam of the panel, and now the joint has some light surface rust between the panels. You can also see some rust stains poking through the seam sealer on the outside of the joint.

    Here’s the joint I’m referring to from the outside:

    Here’s the best shot I have of the inner seam – you can faintly see it through the taillight opening. I can get a better picture of the inner seam when I get home.


    As far as I can tell, there isn’t any rot, just surface rust. My plans are to strip off the seam sealer on the outside of the joint, use metal etch with a wire brush to remove as much of the rust as I can get to. What I would like some input on is how to deal with the surface rust between the two panels. My thoughts were to remove as much of it as possible with metal etch and a brush, then spray the seal down very well with Rust Converter, apply a coat of rust encapsulator. The outside of the joint would then get a coat of seam sealer. Would it also be beneficial to apply a coat of seam sealer on the inner joint over the encapsulator?

    Or would it be best to skip the metal etch and go straight to the rust converter, so that the rust converter actually has something to convert?

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