Restoring a 1962 Jaguar E-Type

October 19, 2008

A Tale of Two Rust Removers

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Penforhire @ 1:47 pm

Ladies and gentlemen. In this corner I present the reigning staple of my garage, Evapo-Rust. And introducing the challenger in the opposite corner, D-Rust-It!

You may have noticed recent comments from Lee Johnson at . In the interest of full disclosure he did indeed send me a free sample of D-Rust-It, shown in the photo above. I’m happy to get any contributions I can for this project and I told Lee I would give his product a fair comparison right here.

The first thing I noticed is D-Rust-It comes as a concentrate. That is intended to save money in shipping costs. That container dilutes 3:1 with water to prepare one gallon of working solution.

The second thing I noticed is the solution is perfectly clear, where Evapo-Rust has a yellow tint reminiscent of a certain body fluid. Both chemicals work on a chelation principle that goes after iron oxide but is friendly to most (all?) other surfaces and is supposed to be non-toxic and sewer-safe. If you want me to drink some to prove that point you’ll have to pay me MUCH more!

Hmm, where do you suppose I can find some equivalently-rust parts to compare? My XKE provides and endless stream of such. Here are two sets of rusty parts from the seats I recently removed.

I didn’t need a gallon of D-Rust-It to compare so I used a graduated cylinder to accurately prepare a 3:1 dilution. The Evapo-Rust is shipped in ready-to-use concentration. Here are the solutions, ready to rumble. I kept everything consistent so the D-Rust-It samples remain on the left side of each photo. The baths sat next to each other to ensure temperatures were identical. In my garage it was high-70’s degrees during the day and dropped into the 60’s overnight.

*referee looks at the D-Rust-It* You ready?
*referee looks at the Evapo-Rust* You ready?
Let’s get it on!

Hmm, slowly some bubbles form but I’ve had more fun watching paint dry. So let’s come back in six hours.

Looks like they’re both just getting warmed up. Let’s give it over night, a full 24 hours.

Now we’re cooking with gas! Time to remove them and wipe both sets. Both solutions form a dark residue where the rust is converted and it seems both chemicals show how used-up they are by how cloudy the solution gets. Here’s the end result after 24 hours and a wiping with a cloth —

Both sets are pretty good, maybe a little rust yet to go on each. You might say the Evapo-Rust parts look ever-so-slightly cleaner but my personal opinion after fondling both sets is the fight is a draw. The degree of rust can vary and rust is a notoriously difficult thing to measure.

To tell you how I feel, next time I need to buy rust remover I’ll check out the total price of each, with shipping and any tax, and base my choice entirely on that.

If anyone thinks of some other way to compare these or how I was unfair I’m perfectly willing to put them back in the ring for a rematch. I would see what capacity each solution has but I find in my use that I spill and evaporate more than use it up chemically. The turbidity of both solutions is now similar so I’m extrapolating similar-enough bath life.


  1. “The turbidity of both solutions is now similar so I’m extrapolating similar-enough bath life.”


    Eric, I realize it was a test, and only a test…but my power wire wheel would have taken care of that in 5 seconds, not overnight. The nuts? I toss ’em. Point is, on most hardware items, I don’t have time for such a long drawn-out process.
    After a wire brush, I clean with thinner, then paint them with auto motive epoxy.

    For example, the inside of the bonnet is full of these oval washers and short screws. Most of the washers were wire brushed and painted individually on a long board. I bought a box of new screws from the hardware store…they are EXACTLY the same as those on the E-Type. I screwed a bunch of these into the board and painted them as well (body color).
    Additionally, you can buy dozens of these oval washers very cheap from the Jag supply places, and, they are all already zinc plated….no messing around with pits, flakes, and marks on the old ones…every one is perfect.

    I DO admire your keeping to original hardware, and believe me, I understand. But sometimes, you’ll spend 3 times as much time and effort on an original rusty piece trying to make it look perfect, rather than a few cents for new.

    I don’t ever recall having to use a de-ruster on any parts, though I’m sure I probably did. I always sought out someone with a bead blaster. Anyway, that’s an interesting test; thanks for posting it. (I was not trying to sound like an a-hole with this post…was not my intention)


    Comment by mcload — October 20, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  2. Wait a minute! You’re the fellow who told me my Cheney clamps were golden…

    Comment by Penforhire — October 20, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  3. WOW, what committment to restoration. You are amazing and an inspiraton. I have been following your progress and decided to buy a 2002 lexas sc430 with 38,000 miles in mint condition instead of the 62 xke I found here. I decided I would rather maintain a mint condition special car and in 40 years have a collectors car. Of course I havent taken into consideration that I am 75 years old but who cares, I am haveing a lot of fun driving it now. And of course maybe my grandchildren will fight over it and it will remain in the family as a keepsake. keep using the rust solution and I am sure your car will end up being the best and your restoration process something very meaningful for you. The rest of us can only admire your committement. With respect and regards, Martin

    Comment by martin — October 20, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

  4. Well yes, Cheney clamps ARE golden (in value) and fully deserve a dip in your acid bath!! 😉

    Comment by mcload — October 22, 2008 @ 12:14 pm

  5. This is a comment to the power grinder guy. These types of fluids work great on any steel parts, but where they excel are on delicate or intricate parts that wont survive a power grind from a testosterone laiden neanderthal. Sometimes a womens touch is needed..

    Comment by Rebecca — October 23, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  6. Testosterone-laden neanderthal? Rebecca, my guess is that you live by yourself or with a girlfriend.

    If you would bother to read carefully, the word “grinder” was never used, rather, “wire wheel”. Would you happen to even know the difference? I doubt it. Fact is, if a “delicate, intricate part” is rusted through, the acid will do just as much “damage” as a wire wheel would, leaving only holes where the rust once was.

    I know of many women who can restore parts as well as any man, however, they are not ignorant like you are. Perhaps you should just stick with only washing the car.

    Comment by mcload — October 30, 2008 @ 5:13 am

  7. Yeah the grinder thing was incorrect in reference to the wire wheel but The “Testosterone-laden neanderthal” thing just sounded funny with no offense intended. The one item I did want to correct is that the D-Rust-It is not an acid. In fact, it is very useful on delicate and intricate parts because it does not attack the metal like an acid would. One example is the antique railroad lantern that we removed the rust on. There is no wire wheel that could be employed to clean the rust off such an item, with difficult to reach surfaces plus much of the metal is rather thin and may be destroyed if an edge cathes on the wire wheel. That’s about it, I just wanted everyone to know that D-Rust-It is non acid. You can see more info at to further clarify any doubts. Thanks, Lee

    Comment by Lee — November 24, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

  8. Eric: First, Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    I finally posted another update to my Venus blog:

    I guess I should admitt to having to eat just a little bit of crow here, as I now find myself needing a gallon or two of the rust-removal solution that you reported on. I’m dealing with some very rusty parts (for Venus grille) and I find myself wanting to kill the rust. Yes, eventually these grille pieces will go to the chrome plater and they will kill this rust in the process, but I simply want to do it now before final welding of these pieces. They might be sitting for awhile before I get around to chrome plating.


    Comment by mcload — December 22, 2008 @ 8:01 am

  9. Patrick, I haven’t tried the farmer’s molasses trick but everyone who has used it says it works. Just another alternative. But these rust removers are great, just expensive.

    Anyone who is into classic and custom cars should check out that Venus blog.

    That project has its plusses and minuses. You don’t have much pattern or parts for the “right” way to do something but you won’t be accused of doing it wrong either!

    Merry X-mas to you and all my readers! I do hope to get back into this work soon but my uninsulated garage is a killer these days.

    Comment by Penforhire — December 22, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  10. Eric: Hope all is well with you.

    I personally have no interest in the molasses mixture…surely we’ve come farther than that in technology!

    Check out this tech tip from the Jalopy Journal:

    Thanks to your publishing your rust removal tests, I purchased a gallon of the D-Rust-It and put my Venus grille pieces in it last night. I didn’t want the solution sitting in my garage, so I put it outside. Unfortunately, it has been in the 30’s and 40’s here, so I expect this stuff to work a bit slower. Taking a look at the tub this morning, the parts (rust) are heavily blackened. I will give them a good brushing with a wire brush and let them sit for another day.

    At least by the time I give them to the platers, most of not all of this rust will have been neutralized.

    Patrick McLoad

    Comment by mcload — January 12, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  11. Patrick,
    I am pleased that you have decided to try the D-Rust-It.

    The most important point is that there is no drawback to leaving the solution in the garage overnight. It is non-hazardous and non-toxic. In fact, I have D-rusted many items in the house and even on top of our electric stove in the kitchen to heat the solution. The rust removal process proceeds much faster with heat.

    I would recommend using an ambient temperature of at least 60 degrees F when using the D-Rust-It, but the rust removal process can be sped up significantly if the temperature is brought up to, but not to exceed 150 degrees F. I think we will have to change our labels and instructions to suggest 60 degrees F or higher as a starting temperature, especially now in the colder weather.

    When checking your parts, and you see black residue, simply rinse them off with water and most of it will be removed. Quite often I will use a soft bristle brush (toothbrush)to get the black residue out of any pits in the metal to verify that all rust has been removed.

    Please let me know how you progress or if you have any questions/concerns.

    Best of luck with your project!

    Regards, Lee

    Comment by Lee Johnson — January 14, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  12. Thanks Lee. I was aware of the potential problems associated w/cold, but for the past week (up until now), the ambient temps outside have been in the low sixties. Not being in a particular hurry, I let the parts soak for a couple of days, and I got the needed results. But as you mentioned, I was not quite sure about fumes…next time I’ll leave the tub inside.

    I’m also helping a friend with a ’66 XKE project, and we discovered (no surprise to me) rust in the bottom inside seam of the door. I am going to take my remainder over to my friends house (or suggest he buy his own gallon) to soak these areas on his door before he takes them to the paint shop. D-Rust-It is a good product!

    Patrick McLoad

    Comment by mcload — January 15, 2009 @ 5:26 am

  13. SPRING is coming…will the garage’s pull bring us new updates in the Jag’s saga? I hope so…

    Comment by Paul Taylor — March 13, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  14. Haven’t tried Evapo-Rust before, but I’m impressed after reading your review of it!

    Comment by Paul — January 4, 2010 @ 4:01 am

  15. Patrick,
    Thank you for your time and effort on the previous test.

    I wanted to give you an update on the rust remover I now carry called Esprit Performance rust remover concentrate, as D-Rust-It is no longer available. It is also non-acid and non-hazardous

    The Esprit Performance fluid is improved by the addition of a metal cleaner which will remove light oil, dirt and other contamination. This allows for a ‘one step’ process and is accomplished without sacrificing the strength of the rust remover itself. There is no difference in application methods, it is still a chelant based chemical and is also mixed with water. Details can be found at

    If you have any other rusty projects, and would be willing to perform another head-to head test write-up, perhaps I could send a sample of the Esprit rust remover concentrate.

    I wanted to mention to Paul that one major benefit of Esprit over Evapo-rust is that the Esprit rust remover is concentrated. 1-quart makes 2.5 gallons, 1/2-gallon makes 5 gallons, 1-gallon makes 10 gallons, 5-gallons makes 50 gallons, etc. If you buy Evapo rust it is strictly a ‘ready-to-use’ fluid. If you buy 1-quart, that is all you get, and so on. As a result the final cost of our fluid is substantially less expensive than that of ANY competitor.

    If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

    Regards, Lee

    Comment by Lee Johnson — June 15, 2010 @ 5:01 am

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