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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Rusty Frame Fix?

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20 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_stephenw22_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 03:44 PM

Is there a fix for a rusting-out frame?(1988 subaru DL 4x4 wagon) Has anyone made frame rail caps or something like that? If so, do you have instructions on doing it myself, pictures of what you did, or anything like that?

#2 Guest_carfreak85_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 04:48 PM

if it is not sturdy enough to drive with, then what i would do is replace the car. probably not what you wanted to hear, but it involves the least work.

#3 Guest_uhohru_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 05:25 PM

ohhh the rust |I

#4 Guest_bushbasher_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 05:46 PM

1.) Replace Car, keep old rusty car for parts.
2.) Find a body shell and swap everything into it (yikes)
2.) Cut out thick sheetmetal, (or buy replacement parts, but I doubt you can find any), and weld them in, after grinding/cutting off/neutralizing any rust that the metal will be welded on top of. (yikes again)
Subaru's are generally too common and too cheap to warrant serious work like this, whether your getting it done or doing it yourself.

#5 Guest_ShawnW_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 07:56 PM

Mill Supply has panels.

#6 Guest_JwX_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 07:58 PM

Subarus aren't to common in these parts the south that is

#7 Guest_bushbasher_*

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Posted 12 August 2003 - 11:35 PM

stephen is in Saskatchewan, Canada, can't get much farther north than that :P Subaru's are easy to find in Canada, the problem is finding non-rusty ones in the prairies.

#8 Guest_todds_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 12:11 AM

a friend from alaska, told me of a last dicth effort for his rusted out 84 wagon. he knew he had troble when after a ride to town the doors would not open!! they jacked it up level and then some ,bolted u shaped [chanel steel?] a long the "frame rail" with massive fender washers,ect. they drove home in the snow., with "minor" ajustments they nursed it for 2 more years. nothing fancy but it worked. good luck todd

#9 Guest_GeneralDisorder_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 12:42 AM

Doors wouldn't open !!! :eek: :eek: Now that's what I call RUST.


#10 Guest_brokechump_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 05:22 AM

My 81 GL wagon has the same problem on the passenger side frame near the front wheel :x . My plan was to grind away and just cut out a stiffener cap and two web patches, weld them on and see how long it will last. (hopefully 2 years <img src=http://www.ezboard.com/intl/aenglish/images/emoticons/grin.gif ALT=" >D"> ) the sheet metal cutting will be easy since there are not bends or corners to make. Good luck with your repair/exorcism...


81 GL Wagon with the cyclops!

#11 Guest_stephenw22_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 07:25 AM

Are those frame caps a structural component, or more of a cosmetic fix? Has anyone tried them?

The frame will likely last me a couple of years, as long as I don't abuse it too much. I was hoping for a fix, because as someone mentioned before, finding a rust-free Subaru on the prairies just doesn't happen.

#12 Guest_thealleyboy_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 09:16 AM

Shawn is correct. Mills has the caps, along with some other hard-to-find panels.

Those caps are prone to early rust, and if the car is solid overall, replacing them will add years of life to your Sube.

Problem is, the rust is probably more serious than just those frame rail caps. I would take a good long hard look before going to the effort and expense of welding good metal onto bad.

Try to get it up on a lift if possible to get a look at the whole pan. Also pay special attention to the shock towers, rear wheel wells and inner QPs. You can also remove the interior panels in the trunk/cargo area to see some of the hidden areas.

There is a point of no return, where the car starts to deteriorate very rapidly, and it is no longer safe. Be honest and realistic when inspecting your Sube . If you are already there, take those plates off, and NEVER drive it again!! It's not worth the risk.

good luck, John

#13 Guest_Sweet82_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 09:34 AM


Living in "SALT" LAKE CITY you can't find a car with out rust! I think they use salt water in the car washes and back it up with sandpaper brushes!

In the winter it's hard to tell if there is snow on the road or just a fresh coat of SALT!

The reason I'm making a Rhino out of my Hatch is because I had GIANT holes in the floor. I could pull a "Flintstone" if I needed to stop fast. Carpet is the only thing keeping me dry when i go through puddles!

I'll shut up now!
82 Hatch, now with partial Rhino frame :)
01 Forester, now with Subaru frame :}

#14 Guest_JwX_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 11:46 AM

hey sweet82 you should take pics of your rhino conv:D and does anybody have a link for the mill supply

#15 Guest_drOutback_*

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Posted 13 August 2003 - 05:55 PM

A competent body shop should be able to fix frame rust by cutting out the infected frame and welding in a new rail. As long as it hasn't infected the front part of the frame, it usually makes the frame stronger then original. It will cost some money though. I'm putting $1000 into my '84 to replace the LF floor support and section fix the rocker. I had the rear frame on the left side welded over with angle iron by a welding shop. The body shop guy said he did a good job. So maybe in a couple of years I'll plunk down another grand to have that fixed.

#16 Guest_thealleyboy_*

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Posted 14 August 2003 - 06:35 AM


Yes, replacement is the ideal way, and it can be done sucessfully.

For cars that are borderline cases, there are some "creative" ways to strengthen the unibody. There are welders that are capable of doing quick, inexpensive fixes, but unfortunately, these guys are hard to find. Most of the good ones won't do anything less than the "correct" way.

I've actually seem some of those repairs done with common materials like angle iron, and metal plates. Repairs that have lasted a long time too.

I would never reccomend it though unless you get a REALLY experienced welder, and you the car is worth the effort.


#17 bean


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Posted 15 August 2003 - 11:12 PM

I'm in SK too! Regina to be exact.

And I have the same problem as you. I took my car in for a wheel alignment and they refused to do it because of "serious structural rust" - front frame rails are rusted.

I priced out repair, and it was CRAZY! $2000+ just for the rails. I'd fix it myself, but there is just to much rust to fix it all, so I'll wait for a better project car and dump all the mechanicals of mine into it.

I've run my car in local dirt rally-X's, and ice dice events in our local club (www.qcma.org) with my car, it has a nicely rebuilt engine ($2G), and now the car is too rusty to fix.

I figure I'll drive it until I find a decent 3-door coupe, or a decent wagon. They are around, but the good ones never get sold...

86 GL-10 Wagon (silver with blacked out rear windows)

#18 Skip


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Posted 16 August 2003 - 10:07 AM


Our unibody cars also use the rocker box (outside rocker panel and inside cover) as part of the "frame".
These must be inspected also

But I have seen Roo's used as "boneyard runabouts" that are rusted beyond belief. They haul all sorts of stuff with them over some serious terain, and have never seen one broken in half.

Doesn't mean they are road safe but.....



    Eat, Live, Breath Subaru

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Posted 16 August 2003 - 12:29 PM

In almost all cases, it's less expensive to replace the vehicle than repair the rust. The thing to do, is look to the southern states for a replacement vehicle. Even after transport costs (assumming you can't go pick up the car yourself), the overall cost will be less. Case in point... I recently purchased a rust-free Brat in Texas for $400 and paid nearly $800 to have it shipped back to New York. Could I have found a rust-free Brat in the northeast for $1200? No! Could I have bought a local rusty Brat and had it repaired for less than $1200? No!!!

I have no further questions, your honor.... ;)

#20 snowstormer


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Posted 16 August 2003 - 01:30 PM

go west and southwest. amazingly clean cars are to be found. i have driven rusted out beaters out west, found a clean car, and given the beater to the person i bought the clean car from. then drive your new gem home. also i have purchased two of my cars from people on this message board. they can be very helpful in finding a clean car. i know not everyone has time or money to do this but there are cars out there. i also have some rusted out "winter beaters". its amazing how rusty something can be and still go down the road! not advocating driving an unsafe car though. guess ill stop rambling now :-)

#21 snowstormer


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Posted 16 August 2003 - 01:50 PM

just one more thing. to us, 80's subes are special. but to most folks they are just another old car.especially in the southwest. you can find clean,no rust,good running cars out there for the same price as a rusty good running car in the north. IF YOU LOOK. i'll shut up now.

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