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Subaru body and rust--help me dispell myth


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23 replies to this topic

#1 swordsmanrex

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 05:32 PM

A friend just told me that Subarus are notorious for rust. Ironically, the Subaru I just bought (1997 Impreza Outback) has rust in both the rear wheel well. I have another friend with both rear quarters rusted.

My argument to him was that it's probably because most Subarus are used in severe conditions with lots of mud, snow, rocks and water (you know, like the commercials). And he argued that he knows 4X4 trucks that are also exposed to that but they don't rust as easy. He said that the problem is that the metal used on Subarus are sub-standard to galvanized steel used by others.

Is there any truth to this? How is everybody else's experience? Is everybody's Roo rusting out as well? Obviously I don't mean the one's that just bought theirs but the 2000 and older models.

#2 coloradosubarules

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 05:57 PM

The ammount of rust a vehicle has depends on mostly one thing...the type of material your local DOT uses to de-ice the roads with in the winter...and how often you rinse it off.

It also depends on if you live by the ocean, some funky indutrial area.....

#3 carfreak85

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 06:12 PM

I thnk that most subarus are used in areas where there is salt on the roads and most people think of the old ones as being disposal transportation so they dont take good care of them.

#4 Sweet82

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 06:48 PM

In SALT Lake City cars die of rust not old age.

There are no old Subies here :-\

BUT there are no old Hondas, Toyotas...etc.
They are all rusted away too--not just Subarus.

Way too much salt on the roads! :banghead:
Glenn
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01 Forester--undercoated!

#5 coloradosubarules

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 06:54 PM

I know they used sand in CO for the most parts and that magnesium stuff if the ice gets too bad. I've heard it will eat your brake pads if not rinsed off properly but I've never heard of it rusting out vehicles. I know in upstate NY they use salt on the roads. I used to drive my shelby daytona in the winter and then when spring I would be sure to wash the under carriage very well and I never had any rust on it when I sold it. Alot of people fail to rinse the hidden places in their car so those are the places that rust out the worst. Like the lip of liftgates, trunklids, wheel wheels, Cowls, under the hood, trunk lining (near the weather stripping)

Cars would last longer if people took care of them properly. Thats why people buy cars from the south...no salt! Well if you live by the ocean there is some sea spray but one again if you wash your car you reduce the risk of rust.

All cars that are not undercoated and not properly taken care of will rust. Any exposed metal will rust in the right (wrong) conditions. Oxidation is a beeotch!

#6 CardinaA

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 07:19 PM

The rear fenderwells on the 95-99 legacies (atleast the outback) have a "protective" rubber guard that protects against rock chips but holds moisture (i.e. dirt and SALT) right against the base of the fender; call me crazy, but I think this is why my Subaru started rusting last winter (and b/c i NEVER washed it).
Also, if you've ever wondered why the LEFT side of a car has more rust (or rusts first), think about road spray (If you're driving on the right side of the road, you get sprayed on the driver's side from oncoming traffic). Always wondered if cars in UK etc. get more rust on the right. I'd imagine they do, but didn't notice excess rust on the right side of cars in Ireland a few summers back.
As for Subarus rusting; the newer ones seem to rust less than an average car (certainly than american junk).
Cardy

#7 The Dude

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 08:15 PM

No lie, here in the deep South car bodies seem to last forever. I am amazed by the number of cars I see from the 1960s, and even 1950s. One big exception, deep South ocean front areas. Man, that heat, humidity and sea salt will turn a car into a rusty tin can in no time.

#8 Bucky92

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 05:46 AM

I have a decent example of a North Eastern car that has been taken care of for rust reasons.The underside is 99% perfect and what little rust I have on the body I take care of ASAP. I Also frequently wax my car..3-4 times a year..and not the lazy man wax either..I use the old fashioned,arms get sore,wax on wax off,turtlewax.


The plastic molding on the wheel wells are a problem....I just did some rust work on a friends 2001 Ford Truck and the amount of rust under that molding was unbelieveable.The entire time I was working on it I was mumbling about what a stupid idea this is ..at least seal it better..too many ppls vehicles are doing the same thing and they dont even know about it.

#9 NOMAD327

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 07:01 AM

Rust does terrible things to your bodywork, but so do trees and guardrails. Most people forget that the upside of road salt is not driving on ice for weeks at a time. I remember being a kid in the 50's and the roads freezing into icy ruts that would stay around for weeks. I believe the Subaru rust reputation was cemented in the 70's when all japanese cars rusted so badly, and subaru was up there with the worst of them. Since they were mechanically unstoppable, people drove them in that condition for years, each one a big black eye for the brand's reputation. I seem to recall that with the introduction of the Legacy models a lot of galvanized metal went into Subaru's and the new ones seem to hold up at least as well as any other brand.

#10 kevinsUBARU

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 08:37 AM

CardinaA: Syracuse made my 1995 Impreza start to rust as well. I lived there the past two years and have cancer spots on the rear wheel wells as well. They use so much salt in the "Salt City" its insane! There were times my car would be white with a hint of green.

That rubber "protective strip" is definately the problem...it trapped all sorts of crap under it and just started eatin' away!!! I meanm it's not like my car is going to rust apart, but it's still rust. Now my girlfriends 91 Camry...wow, Syracuse made it get more cancer than the Marlboro man!

#11 JT95

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 09:36 AM

I've got a 95 Legacy. Not a speck of rust. It originated from TN, though, so it probably didn't see the road salt other cars have in different regions. I think this car was garage kept before it made it's way to my driveway, though.


My last Japenese car was a Honda. That thing was rust waiting to happen. I've done a lot of driveway body work on different cars--foreign and domestic--and I've never seen anything like that Honda Civic. No kidding, I would sand it down to bare metal on a dry, sunny day and rust would form on the metal in a matter of hours. Japanese cars have always had a reputation for rusting, but that was really founded back when American cars were made of significantly thicker, better sheetmetal. I doubt there is much difference between the two now.

#12 swi66

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 10:14 AM

We have gone through a 91, 94, and now own a 98 Legacy, all Postal versions with the right hand steering. We also live in western NY where they spread salt like they have stock in the company. For the most part, the bodies have held up quite well, on the other hand though I have noticed disintegration of just about every fastener underneath the vehicle! Even worse, on the 94 we had the transmission oil pan rust through.............This also happened to me with oil pans on a Dodge Dakota, and an AMC Eagle, so it is not like it is an only Subaru thing.


I also wash quite frequently, but when the rioads are white with salt..........

swi66

#13 MorganM

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 10:46 AM

I see plenty of old crapboxes that are completly rusted out and aren't subarus... or even imported. Don't want rust? Get a fiberglass car :drunk:

#14 ron917

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 12:49 PM

For the most part, the bodies have held up quite well, on the other hand though I have noticed disintegration of just about every fastener underneath the vehicle! Even worse, on the 94 we had the transmission oil pan rust through.............This also happened to me with oil pans on a Dodge Dakota, and an AMC Eagle, so it is not like it is an only Subaru thing.


That's why I'm not fixing my crank seal oil leak. The leaking oil is blown back and protects the underside of the car from rust. :rolleyes: That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

#15 Setright

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 02:58 PM

First generation of Legacy was 70% galvanised. From 1993 on, the then new Impreza and the facelifted Legacy were 100%.

#16 MorganM

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 04:34 PM

That's why I'm not fixing my crank seal oil leak. The leaking oil is blown back and protects the underside of the car from rust. :rolleyes: That's my story and I'm sticking to it!


It's a good story!

I remember wiping off some dirty oily junk off some stuff in my engine bay while the engine was out. I noticed everywhere I wipped off the skin of oil and dirt.... bright shiny factory pant SHINED! Everywhere that was "clean" had started to atleast surface rust if not worse. I decided to stop cleaning that stuff off as it's doing some good work there!

#17 bjwirth

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 05:02 PM

He said that the problem is that the metal used on Subarus are sub-standard to galvanized steel used by others.


That's not true at all. Like others have stated, the #1 reason for rust is the amount of salt on the roads. Excluding geography, other reasons include:
-the type of primer/paint (anyone see an early 90's dark colored GM),
-how the car is welded (certain types of welds set up a galvanic cell)
-driving conditions (someone drives the subaru during the snowy/rainy days and drives his porche on the sunny days)
-how clean you keep your car, to a limited extent.
Depending how a car has been repaired, this can also lead to significant rust.

Just about every car today does pretty well in terms of rust. For every ford of a certain age/model that doesn't have rust, I'll show you another one in that same town that does. The same holds true for Subarus. I used to work for an automotive coating company and ALL car manufacturers are very anal about the type of steel, paint, how to deal with welds, etc...

Your friend is just seeing what he wants to see. I bet you I can find a bunch of chevy's that have rust and a bunch of buicks that dont. That doesn't mean buiks are better than chevys, it just means I sampled the top 10% of one population and the bottom 10 of another. Has your friend NEVER seen a 4x4 truck with rust??

#18 shortlid

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 01:22 PM

[quote name='CardinaA']The rear fenderwells on the 95-99 legacies (atleast the outback) have a "protective" rubber guard that protects against rock chips but holds moisture (i.e. dirt and SALT) right against the base of the fender; call me crazy, but I think this is why my Subaru started rusting last winter (and b/c i NEVER washed it). QUOTE]

So do you guys take these protective rubber strips OFF. Or do you do what I do, take the rubber strip off clean the rear fender lip with rubbing alchool. Check for any cancer or nicks. Never saw any, then reistall with good 3M weatehr strip adhesive, using small woodworking clamps to hold it air tight? I also wash the underbody of may car ay time it gets above 32 degrees and teh salt gets activated? had a '93 Toyota Corrola wagon with 200k no rust, and it spent all it's life in the rust belt.

#19 kjmclark

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:33 PM

The problem with the rear wheel wells is the rusted out spot you can't see, not the rust you can see. If you have those bottom/back of the wheel well rust spots, jack up the rear end and take off the rear wheels. With your back against the rear brakes, leaning back, look up and toward the outside of the car. Better yet, put your hand up there and feel for a hole. You'll find it soon enough.

Now push on the metal around it and feel it cave. There's your problem. That will let water/salt/grit into the inner panel. The salt water will drain down past your rust spot, and into your running board. You'll soon find rust down there too.

If you don't fix that upper wheel well problem, there's not a lot of point to fixing the lower quarter panel / wheel well rust spot. The water coming into that spot up above will just keep rusting things out.

Here's a video of another guy working on those rust spots.

#20 johndb

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:40 PM

I read this right after I was out looking at my newly purchased 97 Legacy.  Yes, here in the buckle of the rust belt it has the characteristics holes (and I mean through-body holes!) behind the rear wheels.  It is my opinion that it is a design flaw.  I just scraped silt off the well flange.  All that gunk accumulates in that one spot.  The good news is that the rest of the car is great.  If you see a Taurus with rust in the rear wheel wheels, I can pretty much guarantee the rockers and belly pans are toast.  You can't see it, of course, because of the body molding, as on many other cars. In Michigan, a 97 with rust isolated to only two spots, I'll take that any day

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#21 ivans imports

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:50 AM

i blame the rubber wheel well trim it holds salt and dirt agaist the body meatal and is hard to clean but the cars that are washed regularly dont rust as bad but if its from out east all bets are off thoose cars are realy bad



#22 bendecker

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 10:45 PM

Just to chime in from a no-salt area (Southern California). I have three Subies -- '81, '93, '96 and no real issues to speak of. I attribute it to lack of salt, plain and simple. Ironically, the only car I've ever had rust like crazy was my first truck, a Chevy LUV. We did live by the coast at the time, but cancer at 90k miles was pathetic. That one I blame on cheap metal and a crappy factory paint job.



#23 luko

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 11:00 PM

Up here in upstate New York they use nothing but salt, and it doesn't matter what kind of vehicle or how much you wash it or take care of it, your vehicle will rust out here. 

i think it's a bunch of BS  -_-



#24 efseiler

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:59 AM

Rust seems to be less of a problem on Subaru vehicles but when they do get the very damaging corrosion is seems to be localized to certain areas of the vehicle.  For example, where the rear bumper joins the body on the Outbacks -- I've seen a lot of older vehicles with that specific area rusted out.

 

I think they use a quality steel alloy that is probably stable enough.  Salt on roads is what really catalyzes the rusting, tho.  The best solution is to get frequent car washes in the wintertime.

 

--Damien






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