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P3PPY GRM+ Memberand Reader
7/14/19 10:41 p.m.

We had rust in KC, as in 80s GM cars just disappeared driving down the road. But this is something else here in Mid Michigan! Cars I’ve never before seen with rust on them — Challengers, Yarises, even alloy wheels crumble away. I bring this up because a lady from church said a mechanicy friend of hers told her her 98ish Regal had a bad tear control arm. I took a gander on both sides

Nope  control arm looks fine!

at this point are cars like this simply scrap?? Or does one rescue them with some plate metal and bolts? She’s not well off, let’s just start there, so I feel very bad for her if this is the end. 

dropstep UltraDork
7/14/19 10:53 p.m.

I've seen cars like that in Ohio. That car should be in the junkyard but some people keep driving them. Usually because a mechanic friend tells them it's fine 

ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/14/19 11:00 p.m.

That can be repaired, but its not simple to do it right and 9/10 times its better just to replace the car.

slowbird Reader
7/14/19 11:28 p.m.

Cars like that, from what I can tell, either get scrapped or they go to a GRMer who rebuilds them with a bunch of stuff they found lying around and a thousand hours of welding labor.

ShawnG PowerDork
7/14/19 11:38 p.m.

98 Regal?

Time for scrap, it's worth less than the fuel in the tank.

You can replace that car with something far less rusty for what a repair of any kind that will pass an inspection would cost.

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
7/14/19 11:59 p.m.

Crusher.  Get t-boned in that car and die, and she might well get t-boned when the suspension folds up and sends her into the wrong lane.

chandler PowerDork
7/15/19 5:36 a.m.
ShawnG said:

98 Regal?

Time for scrap, it's worth less than the fuel in the tank.

You can replace that car with something far less rusty for what a repair of any kind that will pass an inspection would cost.

Inspection? Salt states should have them, but don’t.

akylekoz Dork
7/15/19 6:39 a.m.

This reminds me of the show me your rust thread that I never started. 

Yeah we fix that stuff here, sometimes repeatedly if it's a Toyota truck frame.   The only repair of that kind I would bother with any more is on a Jeep.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/15/19 7:05 a.m.

Late ‘90’s, early ‘00’s GM trucks will do that...WITHOUT BODY RUST.  I’ve seen it twice already.  Both cases had cherry looking bodies.  Both got inspected because the brake lines suddenly started leaking.  They were both total junk / unsafe for public roads by the time it was noticed.  Spring hangers in the rear I could poke my finger through.  An A-arm I could have probably pulled apart bare handed.

More cheap LS engines I guess.  One of these only had 50k miles.

ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/15/19 7:06 a.m.
A 401 CJ said:

Late ‘90’s, early ‘00’s GM trucks will do that...WITHOUT BODY RUST.  

All Saturns will do that without body rust.  The whole underside of the car can rot away and the exterior looks perfect.

pointofdeparture GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/15/19 8:05 a.m.

As a Wisconsinite all my life I can say that this isn't uncommon, but it is also preventable and some cars are a lot more susceptible to it than orders.

  • You see this a lot on cars that were not washed regularly or cars that were bucket washed exclusively without care for the undercarriage. In the rust belt ALWAYS pay extra for the underbody flush at the drive-through wash or get under there with a sprayer and wash well, makes a huge difference.
  • 90's-earlier American/Asian cars and 80's-earlier European cars tended to look like this in short order. The Europeans started galvanizing in the 90's which made a HUGE difference and in the mid-late 00's many US/Asian makes followed suit, newer stuff holds up much better. I had a '90 Audi 200 with almost 300k that was plowed through the salt every single year until it was scrapped in 2012, and it looked brand new underneath except for the hardware beginning to rust. Good finish quality and regular washes.
  • The Waxoyl/Ziebart/etc underbody treatments do help but need to be applied by a tech worth a damn who actually gets into all the nooks and crannies but doesn't cover up the drain holes.

Case in point: SWMBO has a 2013 Kia Soul, coworker has a nearly identical 2011. SWMBO washes it once a week in the summer, twice a week in the winter, and always pays for the good wash with the underbody flush. Coworker washes theirs once a month, and gets the cheap $4 wash which sprays the outside with soap and nothing else. Guess which one is looking like crap already?

Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/15/19 8:07 a.m.

Spotted this truck in Michigan a few years back:

Yes, rust is what kills cars here. I have stories for days.....


xflowgolf SuperDork
7/15/19 8:09 a.m.

that's Pure Michigan.  

Welding on rust doesn't end well, unless you're rebuilding everything, and that car isn't worth any of that effort.  

If it was less structural, it'd be worth patching up to get a few more miles.  I've held a radiator core bottom support up on a similarly rusty Grand Prix with metal straps and bolts to get more life out of it for a lady in a similar predicament, but I'd be wary of helping or encouraging anything as sketchy as the suspension as posted.  

Thinkkker UltraDork
7/15/19 8:50 a.m.

One thing I noted. you can buy a complete fiberglass Mustang Fastback body for around $5k.  This is almost cheaper than getting a decent car.  Just buy a rusted out heap, and build to suit.   Big plus that the body weighs in a 150# apparently...

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/15/19 9:06 a.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Aren't the bodies made out of plastic?  Or was that the joke...

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/15/19 9:39 a.m.

Pure Michigan indeed

Appleseed MegaDork
7/15/19 9:56 a.m.

Lighter cars are faster. 100 lbs = 1/10th at the strip.

alfadriver MegaDork
7/15/19 10:00 a.m.
Appleseed said:

Lighter cars are faster. 100 lbs = 1/10th at the strip.

It's only lighter if there are holes- as the same volume of rust weighs more than iron or steel.  

egnorant SuperDork
7/15/19 10:03 a.m.

I was amazed when I discovered the northern rust problem (1985). I live in Texas and had a fellow come down and buy 2 69 Mustang fastback bodies from me and part of the deal was that I delivered it to Indiana. I thought he paid a fortune for these basic roller bodies without interiors, engines or transmissions, trashed paint due to the sun and wiring problems. He had about 6 buddies over when I arrived and their attention to these 2 rust free cars was a combination of lust and hunger.

The original guy was hoping to use the 2 bodies to swap parts from his 428 Mach I car onto my stripped 428 Mach I chassis. He was overwhelmed that both bodies could be turned back into running cars. The other was once a well optioned 351 car. I actually bought one of his friends car for next to nothing as it had rusted so badly that you could see it flex and the doors were tough to open. The front spring mounts on the rear axle actually failed on the trailer ride home. I used it as a donor to get a 71 convertible back on the road, and last I heard, his Mach was a rustproofed fair weather show car.

I have done a few of these runs and even the badly dented cars rust free cars fetch a good price because these guys have good metal to fix.




ProDarwin UltimaDork
7/15/19 10:04 a.m.
wvumtnbkr said:

In reply to ProDarwin :

Aren't the bodies made out of plastic?  Or was that the joke...

It wasn't really a joke.  Just pointing out that the average buyer may not know that, so they drive a car that looks 'good', but has major structural rot on the bottom they'll never see without putting it on a lift.  Or an inspection, which Michigan does not have.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/15/19 10:06 a.m.

I used to HATE annual safety inspections.  After seeing the condition of the chassis on my father’s otherwise mint ‘00 S10, I’m not in favor of eliminating them.  I ride motorcycles.  I don’t want to share the road with people who’s cars are about to experience major structural failure.  And frankly, at the risk of getting too political, I think the manufacturer shares some liability here.  They know when it’s going to rust.  They know how to prevent it.  But gosh darn it...somebody might keep driving a correctly designed and built one forever!  Can’t have that.

1988RedT2 UltimaDork
7/15/19 10:26 a.m.

It's funny, but having moved from Jersey to Virginia in 1979, I was convinced that automakers had eliminated the rusting problem that was so obviously prevalent in the 1970's.  Cars built in the 80's and 90's simply did not rust.  Eventually, I came to realize that our lack of rust was NOT due to an improved product, but rather from a low-salt diet.

You northerners really need to cut back on your salt.

TopNoodles New Reader
7/15/19 12:21 p.m.

When I talk to people about rust it seems like they usually understand it backwards. They think water is the culprit and the effect of salt is negligible in comparison. They're surprised when I tell them water alone takes a long time to kill a car but salt will eat a hole in a year if you give it a chance.

I want to start a campaign to get salt off the roads. Doubt it would be successful but I really get tired of watching my car dissolve and knowing I'm paying for the salt.

Aspen HalfDork
7/15/19 12:24 p.m.

The new liquid salt solution that has been in use for the past decade is making rust start faster and deeper than before.  That salt spray makes its way into every nook and cranny. 

Tom_Spangler GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/15/19 12:28 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:

You northerners really need to cut back on your salt.

You think it's a coincidence that the states which depend heavily on the automotive industry are also the ones who use lots of road salt? wink

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