I am cleaning up my cowl.

I have taken the wipers out for better access and have the areas I can reach down to bare metal.

I still have some work to do to get to some of the areas further towards the sides of the car.  I used a wire brush on a dremel for most of it, but those areas are still difficult to get to.  Any suggjestions?  I'm not sandblasting, so that is out (though it does not seem like that would help much either given the angles)

Same question on repainting.  It's difficult to see how a spray gun would be able to spray at an angle that would reach everything.  Do people just spray wildly and let runs drip out of the drain tubes?  Use a spray nozzle on a tube?

My car is an early '71 with the afterthought looking pull lever on the center dash.  Is there an opening in the center of the cowl that goes to the airbox to let in fresh air?  Do I need to do anything special to keep from sending paint into my airbox or painting my flap shut?

Also, I noticed that the first layer of coating in this area was some sort of thick cream colored primer or sealer.  It sticks very well - especially for its age.  Does anybody have any idea what it is/was?  SInce it works aticks so well for so long, I imagine it is horrible for humans or the environment and was banned 25 years ago.  The way it failed here was not due to loss of adhesion.  It just shrunk and cracks formed between sections of it.

Original Post

The front cowl is essentially a water gutter. Clean it up and spray Flex Seal in it. When the grills are on you won't see any details in there. Don't get it on any of the wiper mechanisms. Best to take them out and reinstall them when you are done working in there.

I don't know if there will be an issue with using it over unprimed steel sheet metal. That's an unknown. However I personally have had success with using Rust-o-leum primer on bare metal in the past.

The benefit to the Flex Seal is that if you have holed through in spots from rust this stuff will seal that up.

I had surface rust, but nothing more.  It is thankfully solid in there.  The reason I am in there at all is that there were rust colored cracks under the grills in the new (to me) car that I bought and I poked/inspected all potential rust areas as soon as I got it to get a handle on what needed to be done.  It turned out that the rust color was just surface rust in the cracks between the original primer which had contracted/shrunk over the years.

I have already taken all of the wiper system out.  It's all cleaned and being painted.  You can see pictures of that in the wiper thread.

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