A Case Of Arrested Development? When Routine Maintenance Mushrooms

If events align themselves correctly, Friday afternoons are terrific times to address various projects around the house with a recent Friday afternoon dedicated to that purpose.  However, my intended mission of rotating the tires mushroomed into a new and unwelcome realm.

Earlier this summer my parents said adios to the State of Illinois after fifty-one years and moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to be nearer family, friends, and medical facilities.  As they are in their early to mid-70s, this was a wise move.  The move was also a downsize for them, requiring a purge of many years of accumulated crap.  My wife and I were headed down to partake of some treasures in said figurative crap (well, a new 3,500 kW generator isn’t crap, I suppose) with the mass of these items requiring use of our 2007 Ford F-150.

The tires on the pickup are Cooper Discoverer A/T3’s in the last half of their life cycle and were due for rotation.  Cooper says the maximum service life is ten years, which I am well below, and the plan is to replace them later this year.  Tread depth isn’t yet an issue as they were at 5/32″ in front and 7/32″ in the rear prior to rotation.  This is admittedly getting thin for my tastes although Cooper has a lower tread depth threshold of 2/32″.

Overall these tires have aged very well.  The pickup has been parked inside for most of the time since purchasing it in 2012 although that changed this past spring.

Back in March rust bubbles appeared above both rear wheels and on the fender behind both front tires, this being the one on the right.  Looking at other F-150s of the same vintage reveals rust is appearing in the same spots on them.

When I pulled off the right front tire, seeing this wet gritty sludge around the edges of the fender liner made me curious.

I’ve been reasonably diligent in keeping this pickup washed during my ownership.  With these cleanings the undercarriage is always hosed down since the evils of corrosion tend to begin in obscure areas.

Removing the fender liner revealed this hot mess:

No wonder rust had started.  This is frustrating.

Here is the removed material.

The garden hose was then used to wash out any remaining debris.  The water was chocolate milk colored for a good ten seconds.

Leaving the fender liner loose, I moved to the other side.  My wife had warned me about critters possibly being in the mess.  Surely not, I thought.

The driver’s side was not much different in volume of material except my wife jinxed me.  There were an abundance of ants (or some unsavory creature) scurrying around, many of whom decided to sprint up my arm as I was removing this mess.

Such things happen.

The garden hose cleanse here did not yield nearly as much murky water.

So what to do?  Everybody has that line in which tolerance goes away when crossed; mine is rust as that word is not in my vocabulary.  With an abundance of pricey things all happening simultaneously, the reality is I’m keeping this pickup for a while.  So I got creative, optimistically hoping my actions would at least slow things down.

One can hope, can’t they?

Looking around my stash of things, I found some anti-rust paint.  If this paint will work on outdoor equipment it’s worth a shot.  I even had my choice of black or white.  Black sounded better.

After the fenders dried out, I blasted the ever living shit out of the insides of both fenders with this paint.  Time will tell how well this works.  I’m not naive enough to think the problem has been arrested but if it slows success has been realized.

The fender liners didn’t want to sit quite as snug against the fender after my paint treatments.  Some clear silicone filled the tiny gap.

When this pickup was purchased I figured the day would come in which rust would be a factor.  Why?  This pickup came from Indianapolis and we know cars from there rust.  Things happen.

So it appears the day of reckoning has arrived.  We shall see how this plays out.