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Soda blasting

Richard Cranium

FBBO Gold Member
FBBO Gold Member
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9:02 PM
Feb 20, 2012
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Has anyone here had a car soda blasted? Will it remove surface rust? Are there any cons to it?
Not sure on the soda blasting but dustless blasting works extremely well. Doesn’t warp any panels.
Soda will not remove rust. I had a car done at my shop and it made a big mess too.
Holy ****! Better stick to dipping!
I have a small soda blaster that I bought from Harbor freight for use with light weight stuff like plastic but it is slow and tedious. Not to mention the soda costs 4 times as much as sand so I wouldn't think it would be usable on something like a vehicle. The one I have won't even touch rust. Works good on cleaning up copper wire terminals but I haven't found much else for my use.

Nasty stuff to say the least! Not sure dry media blasting is much better though. I had my 68 Charger media blasted back in 2014. They used pecan shells on the larger body parts and sand on the underside and jambs. I spent the better part of 3 days with compressed air and a rotisserie blowing that media out of all the nooks and crannies. Even after the car has been back together and driven 20 K miles, I still find evidence of media on the floor of my shop from time to time. I guess the good thing is the fact it is coming out and not caked in until rust creates a hole for it to get out.
I'm pretty sure soda won't do the trick. We used good old sand on the underside and the inside of the trunk engine bay interior. Any place where there was support seams and ribbing right. All the section that were made for strength. Just small sections at a time so as to not build up heat. Keep moving the tip. Jump from spot to spot often. Yes one hell of a mess. Sand every where. It took a couple of weeks for Roger to do mine. Blast, clean off, and epoxy. And repeat. I'm glad he did it. I wouldn't have wanted to let some one I didn't know or trust. He's 69 and have been at it all his life. 66 at the time of blasting. It's a lot of work to do it right. All the exterior panels were stripped the old fashion way.

Sand Blasting.JPG
Neither soda or media blasting will remove rust. Sand will though and is what I use. You just can't do any flat panels with it because the heat will cause warpage. I DA those areas.





I've heard of paint adhesion problems after soda blasting.... I just did a search & found a bunch of posts on a Camaro website... Gonna cut & paste a few....

Post 1
There is nothing wrong with Soda Blasting. The problem with paint peeling off is the lack of proper preparation by the paint and body man. I am a little biased though because I own and do alot of mobile and in house soda blasting. I build cars to. I have been using Soda now for a couple of years and have never had paint peel. BECAUSE, I prep well. Wash with 1 quart vinegar to 1 gal of water with a pressure washer. Then soap and water. Blow out everything and dry with heaters and fans. Then blow everything out again.
One of the local paint shops in my area says, Dupont will not gurantee their paint if it peels from a car that has been soda blasted. Well, Thats because Dupont also sells Dupont "Starblast" media abrasive. I guess they would rather sell you their media blast to go with their paint. What a catch. Oh, then you get to clean up Starblast out of your shop for the next month.
Go with a soda blaster and make sure you have a good painter that preps well. You wont be sorry. Just my 2 cents.

Post 2
If you do a search on this you will find multiple posts over this same topic. When I looked into this I found soda blasting to be a great way to remove paint and also using soda as a blast media will keep the heat down. The down side is it leaves the material with a slick finish. This would cause problems with paint adhesion. From my experience I prefer using glass bead with a poly mix. 70/30. this combo will remove paint and rust. Also it will give the material a good bite for primer and the best advantage is the reduction of heat transfer under blast. My.02

Post 3
Soda blasting is fine, but it won't remove rust, and you have to naturalize it before painting, or you will have issues. We have run into painters that won't paint or won't guarantee their work if the vehicle was soda blasted, due to adhesion issues.

We use the DB system. The primary difference between dry blasting and wet blasting is keeping the dust down. We are a mobile company so when we go out to someones location, the last thing they want is dust all over every other thing around.

Some people believe the water helps reduce warping, this is NOT the case. Warping comes from someone using too large of media and/or to high of pressure. Usually the result of inexperience or someone in a hurry. As with dry blasting, if you use the right media, have the right pressure, and take your time, it will come out beautiful.
I don't have a dog in this fight but I will state that dry blasting does not cause heat induced warpage. It is an old wives tale. Try it yourself - blast a panel and then put your hand on it, it'll be cool as a cucumber. Heat from welding, a torch or excessive grinding will absolutely warp a panel, but blasting moves too much air across the surface for it to ever get hot enough to affect the metal.

Soooo...what does cause the quarter panel to get all friendly and wave back at you ?


Think about it this way - when you get a dent in a fender say, the metal is stretched and now a bit thinner in that area. In order to remove the dent, you can't simply pound it back to where it came from, you have to "shrink" the metal back to it's pre-stretched state. If you just pound away with a body hammer, you actually make the problem worse by stretching the metal even further.

This is what happens with dry blasting by an inexperienced person. The media acts as thousands of tiny hammers pummeling the metal as you go, thereby stretching it and inducing the warpage. Always ? No. Someone that knows his trade can absolutely dry blast without warping the beejesus out of a car (dialing in the pressure, media, angle of attack etc.). Experience here is the key. But most blasters are used to doing bulldozers and water tanks made out of 1/4" plate and hence the bad rap.

Walnut shell, corn cob, soda don't pack the punch that sand, garnet and aluminum oxide do, making it less likely to warp a panel. I think (and this is pure speculation on my part) that dustless blasting tends to lubricate the media (and at a lower pressure) aiding in faster substrate removal which in turn means you spend less time in a given area. Less time = less chance of warpage.

Just my two cents.
I’ve media blasted a bunch of parts and panels on my car and have never seen any change in temperature. I even used a digital thermometer during and right after - no perceptible change in temp. I agree with 5wndwcpe, it’s the psi used when blasting that causes warping.
I don't have a dog in this fight but I will state that dry blasting does not cause heat induced warpage. It is an old wives tale.
It may not be the heat so much as the pounding the panel takes. Mt brother-in-law and I were blasting some stuff a few years back and he thought it would be ok to blast the underside structure of a hood. When he was done there was VERY distinct evidence on the top side of where he had blasted. The hood was trash !!

Whether its heat or not, its a good idea not to "sandblast" large exterior panels.
I don’t think Joe Martin is a liar and when he got a hood back from a blaster, it was warped. How did it warp?
I don’t think Joe Martin is a liar and when he got a hood back from a blaster, it was warped. How did it warp?
I'm not saying they don't warp as they most definitely can. I'm saying it's from the hammering of the media and not heat.
a warp is a warp ... doesn't matter what the cause is. HOWEVER, it seems strange that it mainly occurs when using sand !!