Preserving Patina - How To Tips and Tricks

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Feb 10, 2002
Canton, Mississippi
I keep retyping my “formula” for old Patina preservation so I decided to make a thread so I can just link my response to how I preserve my old Land Cruisers the way I do.

For the last 3 years I have been learning how to preserve Land Cruisers in their original state. Protecting their original finish where able to let the worn paint and dents tell the story of the vehicle.

It all started when I found this 1968 FJ40. I immediately fell in love with it and wanted to keep it as close to the same as I could yet build a “sleeper” interior and drivetrain that made it a true driver as well.


Here is the full story of the build, but for this thread I want to put in one link my steps I have learned to protect and preserve without tearing down the entire truck.

Project Patina-November 1968 FJ-40
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These are the tools of the trade I’ve come to use and love.

They are all used separately and then reapplied as needed.

Since it’s impossible to really kill all the rust without cutting or grinding it out, my goal is to stop it as best as I can and not have to paint the truck or take the body off the frame.

I’ve seen way too many Cruisers die due to being torn apart and then abandoned.

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To begin, Ill start with the exterior painted surfaces (this includes inside the tub as well)

After a proper wash, I don some rubber gloves and start scrubbing the paint with CLR (calcium lime rust) that is available at the grocery store, via a green scotchbrite pad.

I work a section at a time. CLR then rinse it with water. The CLR will allow you to remove the oxidation and find that OEM paint that might be hiding

Here is a before and after of my 40 and 45 to see how much color I was able to pull out



IMPORTANT-If you have good, solid paint that will scratch, go very light with the scotchbrite. This will scratch paint. CLR can be applied with any towel or pad. This is for those that have years of oxidation, rust and overspray to get down to what’s there. Use your brain and pressure accordingly. In the case of good solid paint under overspray or oxidation use 0000 steel wool instead of Scotchbrite
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Once I get the paint and exposed rust as clean as possible, then I treat the exposed rust with Rust Converter.

This stuff comes in many flavors but this is the brand I use with great success.

Ps. Make sure you have a respirator because this stuff will Choke you.

The converted metal turns a black color.




A couple of tips on this.

If you have as spotty paint as The Goat 45 and Project Patina, if you overspray this too heavy on the paint it will soak in and convert through the paint making permanent darkening. I’ve learned to keep the Converter on the bare metal areas as much as possible.

Also, if you DONT want to have the rusted areas turn black you can skip the Converter all together and just use oils.

I really like the Converter steps on frames axles springs bumpers and floors. Also hidden places as above under the gaskets
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So now you have clean and converted metal.

You may need to spot clean some of the areas oversprayed with rust Converter with CLR again at this point but maybe not.

At this point I use boiled linseed oil and rub a heavy coat into the exposed/treated rust and a thin coat on the rest of the truck.

After it soaks in a bit I rub as much of the BLO (it’s got to be boiled Linseed oil, not straight linseed oil) off the paint as I can. I use paper shop towels

Here is where you can see the difference really well.

Middle-Post CLR scrub
Bottom-Rust Convert/Boiled Linseed Oil

There are some other oils I have seen suggested here in my other threads but BLO is cheap and it works fine.

Some safety ranger will always pop in and say wadded up used BLO rags will spontaneously combust so don’t wad your rags up.

That being said I’ve done my damndest to make this happen and have not been successful.

I recommend this over a clear coat because a clear will trap the rust just like paint would.

Once I do the initial treatment I find that I have to rub a bit more on every few months.


Edit: I have moved to using Fluid Film in place of Boiled Linseed Oil these days. I like the consistency better and it is not tacky like the BLO.

Experiment with both. BLO is cheap and Fluid Film is too if you buy it by the gallon.
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I admire the "patina" look ,but , for my taste I cannot stand rust holes, deep ,rusted dents, etc... I saw a VW driving around the other day with a "manufactured patina" on it . It looked nice because of uniformity.
Also, FJ40's look good both showroom and sweaty.
The underside is a little different process.

The obvious first step is to clean the underbody frame and axles as good as possible and then hose it all down with rust Converter.

I fill in holes created by rust after I convert the rust to keep them from filling with dirt and mud later. I use automotive expanding foam and metal body tape among other things.

Once the Converter kicks in I turn to my favorite stuff, Fluid Film. This stuff is a spray film that coats and soaks into your metal to form a protective petroleum based film.


It does not dry out like the rust Converter. It collects dirt over time but a quick blast with the pressure washer and the dirt goes and the fluid film mostly stays.

It takes about 3 cans to do the underside of a 40 or 45. I get mine at Lowe’s or Amazon. It’s about $12 a can. It also comes in gallons to use in sprayers.

Edit for correct price



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I admire the "patina" look ,but , for my taste I cannot stand rust holes, deep ,rusted dents, etc... I saw a VW driving around the other day with a "manufactured patina" on it . It looked nice because of uniformity.
Also, FJ40's look good both showroom and sweaty.

Sure. To each his own. I love a nicely painted Cruiser as much as the next guy but the world has plenty of pretty painted vehicles. I love to see a good story saved if able.

That said I can’t stand chaos. My 55 was chaos.


On it I polished out the factory paint as best as I could and then used BLO to preserve the exposed rust.


Then I rattle canned the chaos colors to match what was left of the factory red and white


Very nice. I agree too many "projects" sitting idle that should be driving!
I wish I could find fluid film for $4 a can, usually $10 or more for spray cans and $50 a gallon! It's wonderful inside doors, pinch seams, crossmembers, etc because it never stops moving and will creep to cover and soak everything. One drop placed on a piece of rusty metal spreads out and saturates a surprisingly large area.

I have however taken to spraying a hot mixture of mineral spirits, tacky bar and chain oil, and paraffin wax on underbody parts though as it holds up better under a DD. The mineral spirits evaporates leaving a waxy/oily coating that seals everything up and beads off water, even after several years. It's cheap to make too. It just doesn't flow/creep as well as fluid film. I wonder if you warmed up some boiled linseed oil and sprayed it underneath if it would work just as well?
I do not use Linseed Oil. I use Penetrol. This stuff works great on bare steel. I built a welding table in bare steel a year ago. Rubbed light coat of Penetrol on it with a rag one time. It looks like new.

I would clean car, use CLR, wash and dry, buff vehicle, and rub Penetrol on rust areas. It will looks great. If you park outside or wash regularly you may need to lightly apply every few months. It takes 5 minutes to do this.

You can purchase Penetrol at Lowes or most local hardware stores. This is how I cleaned and treated my 1967 with original paint. See before and after photos below.





It's not the linseed oil rags that will spontaneously combust, it's that historically they thinned with kerosene, and that was the problem.

I just ran linseed down the gutters for the approaching hurricanes (we got 2 in 2 weeks in AZ). It really helped, but ran down behind rusted painted areas, and caused some bubbles. Don't dab on heavily where it is can get down behind bondo'd paint....

Thanks for real world field tests !
Awesome @wngrog. This should be a sticky.
@Kleatus I fixed the price. Thank you.

I don’t have salt here but I like the “creep” quality of the Fluid Film.

All the lower doors in my Cruisers have a heavy coat in them since they actively drain window water.

Here is the build thread on The Goat. BLO and tips I was getting starts on page 22

Goat. A 1967 survivor FJ-45 LWB

One place on the external body I found Fluid Film works better than BLO was the bed of my FJ45. It was so pitted than the BLO soaked up too fast. The Fluid Film soaked in and left a nice non sticky protectant



Im going to try a can of this next time I treat one of the trucks.

The “makes paint stick” is interesting as I would think that mean an oil based paint? I’m not painting anything but I would think that Boiled Linseed Oil would not be a good paint base.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll report back here my thoughts between the two

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