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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed the other day that the silver cross-member on my Matrix brush guard is starting to rust pretty bad. There is rust starting to build up all along the lines of the part including around all the 4xGuard letters! I'd hate to see this thing starting to rust up so soon, it hasn't even been a year yet.

Any suggestions on what to do to prevent this thing from rusting some more? Will I have to take it to get it repainted? I wouldn't mind getting it painted in black. Does 4xGuard provide any sort of guarantee against rust? Maybe I'll send them an email and ask for suggestions or maybe someone can reply on their behalf on my post.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I think I just answered my own question once again. Too bad it happened so soon though.

FYI. The following is from their site:

Again, rust is inevitable with what we do. We would be lying if we said anything else. And the factors that can speed or slow it are largely out of our control: atmospheric humidity, salt on the roads (here in Colorado it's mag-chloride), acidic rainfall due to nearby factories, improper care and maintenance ... to say nothing of trail damage. And of course our products — unlike, for instance, roof racks or the like — are frequently mounted down in the grit and grime, the salt and the slime. Simple road travel alone is constantly kicking up tiny particulates that scatter across the guards and negatively impact the finish.

When it comes down to it, then, we know it's ultimately futile to try to stop a fundamental force of nature. But that's not going to stop us from trying to do it. And with this multi-stage finishing process in place, we are confident that we are doing the best that we can to open up the largest "rust-free" window possible.

Stopping the Spread (Maintenance) As we said above, no matter how a person finishes a product, rust WILL happen to any steel parts whether we like it or not. Nature always wins. You will face rust on your accessories at some point, whether they are multi-staged 4xGuard parts or not.

So what should you do when it shows up?

First off, don't let it get worse. Try to stop the spread early. It means a bit of elbow grease, but you knew you were going to get dirty when you bought a Jeep. So roll up your sleeves and get to work sooner rather than later.

The basic idea, as you'll see, is to get the rust off, seal the area with rust-inhibitive primer, and then paint it to match the surrounding surface (always test paint color on an inconspicuous or hidden area first). When it comes to paint, many Jeepers have reported great success with ACE Rust Stop and Rustoleum High Performance Enamel. We've had some success with Krylon. There are also "paint over rust" products availabe — like Hammerite — though reports are mixed about their long-term viability. (We'd love to hear your preference.)

If you don't have your own rust-control method — combating rust is such a time-honored tradition among Jeepers that a lot of us tend to have our own quasi-Voodoo potions and rituals to take to the fight — then you can try the method our family has used for generations:

Kick the tire. Doesn't help the rust, but it lets loose some anger. Plus, the pain in your toes will take your mind off the knuckles that you'll scrape in just a few minutes.
Dismount the part. Regardless who made it and how it was finished, if you see rust you need to get it off the vehicle for a thorough investigation. A little rust on one side might mean a lot of it on the other side you can't see. So get it off and be thorough.

Get ice for your banged knuckles.

With the part dismounted, you now can see what you're in for and act accordingly:
If it's just a small spot or two of rust, congratulations. You caught it early and the fix isn't bad. Use steel wool to rub out the rust spots and to roughen up a small encircling area on all sides of the rust. Then grab some good outdoor, rust-inhibiting primer and hit the effected area right away, using something as a mask (we like a hole cut in cardboard) to prevent overspray on the rest of the part. After the primer is dry, hit it with matching paint.

If there are bigger patches of rust, you might want to buy a chemical rust-remover to help you out. Alternative household concoctions can include vinegar solutions, baking soda paste, Coke-and-Aluminum foil, and even homemade electrolysis baths. Reports inevitably vary, and you should be aware that many acidic processes in particular can damage paint. As with small spots, get rust-inhibiting primer on the part as soon as it's clean and dry. Exposed steel begins to rust immediately.

If you find that large stretches of powdercoat are flaking off, you probably need to kick the tire again. You shouldn't have let the rust go so long. Can't change that now, of course, but kicking the tire might help the lesson sink in. Next, unless you have the patience and stamina to get it all off yourself, you'll likely want to limp over to a local sandblaster if you don't have sandblasting tools yourself. They'll blast the rust off the product, along with the remaining powdercoat and essentially "reset" the part. What you do now to finish it is up to you: powdercoating, rhinolining, simple priming and painting, electroplating … whatever you want.

Finally, if it was a 4xGuard part, please let us know what you did and how it worked for you.
 

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More paint. lol
 

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Are they painted or powdercoated? Eitherway, their finishing process seems to leave a lot to be desired - somehow, pinholes in the process left an avenue for that good old Chicago salt to do it's dastardly deed. :sick:
 

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It all begins with a tiny chip.
Could be from a stone thrown by another vehicle or, as we Chicagoland folks have seen, chips caused by the rock salt thrown from the salt spreaders.
Once the finish is compromised in any way, the corrosion starts to run under the paint and when it becomes visible it is hard to stop it.
As you read in the brochure, Oscar, they know it's going to happen......mom nature always gets her stuff back.

If it is in a corner, use a small rat tail file to clean it back to clean steel and then a bit of rust-oleum or similar rust preventative, sprayed on a artists brush can be used for small touch up duty.
Once it is dry, clean the assembly and wax it.
The wax will fill and seal any other chips that haven't started to rust yet......that is the only preventative service I can suggest.

Chicago uses a salt sprayed with chloride.....really evil stuff....thats why the bridges corrode so badly in the city.

Good luck,
Rob
 

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I'm genuinely sorry to hear about this, LuvMC. Please send 4xGuard any pics you can. It can help us as we try to find ways to make our products rust-free for longer periods of time.

If that part is a year old, in fact, I can tell you that we've actually changed our processing in the meantime: a few months ago we started coating parts with an initial Zinc-infused primer before powdercoating, in order to add another rust-inhibiting layer.

As Rob (and others) here are noting, though, there is simply no way to prevent rust forever on a steel part. If you're in a bad area, or using the part under rough conditions (which many of us happily are), the window of rust-free contentedness can be brutally short. And one tiny nick in a finish will explode things badly with shocking speed. I lived not too far away from you in Kalamazoo, Michigan for several years -- a short, sad period in which I sadly drove an Isuzu instead of a Jeep -- and I was constantly tending to rust on accessories, body, components. It was like paddling a canoe up a waterfall.

Like Rob said, "mom nature always gets her stuff back."
 

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I wasn't going to say anything, but since this is a topic, I must complain as well...

My 4XG stuff is corroding way too fast as well. I could tell their finish was inadequate for winter use when the parts arrived. If carbon steel is not epoxy primed first, it will rust.

My Matrix was cleaned by me and topcoated with several coats of "Gravel Guard". Guess what? It is rusting anyway. The Front Guard was simply protected with Zaino, but that was rusting after just TWO WEEKS of salt exposure back in December. I wish I had gravel guarded it too :( .

Following my discovery, I washed and I sprayed the parts with LPS-3 Rust Inhibitor. I figure come spring I'll have to choose a course of action.

I can tell you this --- if properly finished, carbon steel will not rust for a long time. Unfortunately, the process used for 4XG is not worthy of any salt spray rating. I am so sad :(
 

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sand blast it and have it rhino lined or line-x. i have been looking at buying a 4x guard and doing this before installation or even see if i could buy it raw steel to save me a process. not sure yet kinda wished it wrapped the front end more instead of just the middle..
 

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sand blast it and have it rhino lined or line-x. i have been looking at buying a 4x guard and doing this before installation or even see if i could buy it raw steel to save me a process. not sure yet kinda wished it wrapped the front end more instead of just the middle..
I was concerned the 4XG products would rust if left in place during the winter. They're great pieces structurally and functionally, but the finish is not adequate. I have no idea how the new process will hold up, but I imagine it will not be much better without using epoxy before the top coat.

Right now, I am using LPS-3 to keep the 4XG parts shielded from salt spray. When spring comes, I will strip it off with engine degreaser and see what the finish looks like. If they are as nasty as I fear, I will try to find a shop that will blast the parts, prime them with epoxy and topcoat with something UV resistant and pretty. I figure that will set me back about $500, so I guess that will be the rock rail money I was going to send to 4XG :( .

If 4XG used a similar process, the parts would be WAY more expensive. I am sure that would be a problem for them given the economy stinks and sales volume is a huge issue.

I am a minority. My parts do not see intentional off road duty but are exposed to corrosive material all winter. I wish they had a "rust belt protection" option that would provide what is necessary for us guys up here in the snow belt (salt belt).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the feedback. If the rust was starting to build up around "dings" I wouldn't be complaining about it because it is understandable but this is along all the lines/edges including around all the "4xGuard" letting, that is why it seemed strange because it's all starting to appear at the same time in an even coat. Chicago snow brings lots of salt so I'm sure that had to be one of the culprits. I actually drive through two different types: the typical rock-like salt and the liquid form so that can't be helping. I'm going to try one of suggestions to keep it from spreading then maybe during the summer I'll get it sand blasted and powder coated in black. Like I said, it's only the cross member that's an issue, it doesn't seem to be powder coated like the rest of it and it's the one that's starting to rust first. I'll take pictures when I get a chance and post. Thanks!
 

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If the rust was starting to build up around "dings" I wouldn't be complaining about it because it is understandable but this is along all the lines/edges including around all the "4xGuard" letting, that is why it seemed strange because it's all starting to appear at the same time in an even coat. Chicago snow brings lots of salt so I'm sure that had to be one of the culprits. I actually drive through two different types: the typical rock-like salt and the liquid form so that can't be helping. I'm going to try one of suggestions to keep it from spreading then maybe during the summer I'll get it sand blasted and powder coated in black. Like I said, it's only the cross member that's an issue, it doesn't seem to be powder coated like the rest of it and it's the one that's starting to rust first. I'll take pictures when I get a chance and post. Thanks!
I have the same problem. The issue is a short coming of powder coating. When electrostaic powder is applied to tight spaces (like the openings between the letters "4XGUARD" or the inner radius of a tight bend, a Faraday Cage Effect actually repels the powder paint from adhering to that paticular area. Reducing the electrostatic charge helps, but does not fully eliminate this.

Since these parts are not bathed in a tank for e-coat, the voids quickly rust when exposed to the nasty, corrosive stuff you and I subject our vehicles to.

Since the XK is "dunked" in epoxy and then electrostaticly sprayed with base/clear, the vehicle panels are far more resistant to corrosion.

The folks at 4XGuard know you and I will have an issue, but we are a minority. The majority of customers do not have this concern. My pieces looked great until until the salt trucks came out. :( .

Chuck
 

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I have the front, side, belly guards for a while now and no problems to date. I am not in a salt area so that might be the issue. I have off roaded quite a bit and am sure I have dings and pits from dirt, etc.
 

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So far after 7 months or more no rust on any of my 4xGuard products,,but also no salt on the roads in SE Texas, only some from the beach....
 

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LuvMyCommander and I are exposing our gear to very nasty stuff. We must work very hard to keep our vehicles looking nice. I have owned many vehicles. I have learned many tricks to keep things from corroding, but never have I had so little success as I have had with these accessories. The 4XG finish is simply inadequate for the environment he and I drive in daily.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
LuvMyCommander and I are exposing our gear to very nasty stuff. We must work very hard to keep our vehicles looking nice. I have owned many vehicles. The 4XG finish is simply inadequate for the environment he and I drive in daily.
You got that right. I'll post pics then keep you guys posted on how I dealt with it but I think the ultimate goal is having it repainted with powder coating. I just wish it didn't happen so soon. OR it would be nice if 4xGuard would say "hey, don't worry about it, we'll replace you guys with the newer cross members that'll last a little longer" :stickpoke: lol; wishful thinking.
 

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You got that right. I'll post pics then keep you guys posted on how I dealt with it but I think the ultimate goal is having it repainted with powder coating. I just wish it didn't happen so soon. OR it would be nice if 4xGuard would say "hey, don't worry about it, we'll replace you guys with the newer cross members that'll last a little longer" :stickpoke: lol; wishful thinking.
I should have mentioned that it is really the silver painted pieces that have the significant issue. Just the color alown will show the rust quicker.

I can't taker photos of mine because they are completely coated with LPS-3 right now. It is a great protectant, but the dirt sticks to the surface of it so it loks pretty nasty. However, unlike rust, this dirt washes off in the spring :) .

Like you, I need to find a shop to blast the pieces and finish them again. I have a body shop in mind, but I just need to quiz them on what they can do and how much.
 

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I should have mentioned that it is really the silver painted pieces that have the significant issue.

Mine is all black, if that does make a difference...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Mine is all black, if that does make a diffence...
That's what I'm going for when I repaint mine, it's currently silver. I'm fortunate that I have a shop near my home that does sand blasting and powder coating, I'm sure it won't be cheap but hopefully it'll be a good investment.
 
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