I'm looking for some advice how with least effort and time to strip the underside of my rusty, grass-goo covered mower deck down to bare, clean metal so I can paint it and protect it from further rusting.
I've already bought the official Cub yellow paint, and my garage setup includes an air compressor, a battery-operated angle grinder (not enough oomph for long jobs) and a Rigid variable-speed reversible drill that has lots of horsepower and staying power. What I dont have is a large vat in which to put chemicals and soak this thing (say, with Oxalic acid per Mayor's recent post
) nor a sandblaster setup.
Back in the fall I bought a used 2007 Cub Cadet i1050
. 1 yr old with 60 hours on it. Here's what the mower deck looked like when I picked it up:
Somehow in just 60 hours the previous owner managed to get the underside of the deck pretty fouled up with rust and a layer of hard green perma-grass crust. My guess is he never once cleaned it.
Then, I used it during the fall to vacuum leaves with a Cyclone Rake
in tow behind the tractor. It uses the tractor's mower deck to lift and shred the leaves, then it sucks the leaves from the discharge chute and into it's hopper. The high-velocity leaf shards managed to scour off some of the heavier green gunk but left the deck looking like this:
So, today I put the deck up on sawhorses, gathered together a few tools I thought might help and went to work.
My Dewalt 18v angle grinder put a (small) dent in the layers of gunk but went very slowly and any heavy load type job like this will run through a battery in minutes, so that wasn't going to work.
So I got out a corded drill and tried a few wire brush attachments with little effect. Finally I put in a sanding (or stripping?) wheel of some sort that I had laying around:
I'm not sure what it's made of but that wheel actually got the job moving along pretty well, but still it took the better part of 8 hours just to get about a third of the deck mostly clean:
It looks shinier than it actually is.. there is a lot of pitting and still some faint rust in spots even on the shiny end.. more work yet to be done.
Here is a closeup of the layers I'm dealing with. I think most of the deck must have been missing it's paint long ago (and thus the rust) because the layers don't seem to include the yellow paint. Maybe it's the light tan layer but probably not. Looks like steel, dark rust, lighter rust, green grass goo, dirt:
Any ideas that will save me from another 16-24 hours of the same tedious back-breaking dusty noisy work to get the rest of this thing clean and ready for paint? Keep in mind I have a limited shop, but I do have compressed air and one **** of a corded power drill that has lots of speed and torque. I think my best bet is if someone can recommend a good chuckable drill attachment that chews through this stuff quickly without itself wearing down too quickly.
Also if you have any tips for phase 2, which is painting. But I need to get through stripping first.
Thanks in advance...