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Southern car transplanted to the Northeast. Rust question

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   Hey guys.... I have recently relocated my 2 1995 Imprezas from Texas to our 2nd Pennsylvania home. (One will never be driven in the winter).  These cars are like new and don't have a spot of rust anywhere. It seems that the Subarus I have seen in PA of my vintage, have the interior/outboard shock tower rust through, allowing in water and salt and then rusting the body near the wheel arch. Is there anyway, besides washing frequently in the rear shock towers to prevent this rust issue? Now the car will not be driven in every snow storm, but might be driven in one or 2  a year.

 

  Thanks for your suggestions.

 

TODD 

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Don’t do it. Just kidding.

 

Under car rinse after every drive in the snow/wet roads with salt on them. Get it off quick, dilute it, and prevent it from propagating into hard to reach places.

 

Put it on a digital calendar to rinse more frequently in the late winter when salt has recently been on the road but daytime temps and sun exposure are above 30 (?) and on the rise. Chemical reactions escalate based on temps. There’s more particle mobility so things are colliding and happening more often. For example some reactions can double their rate with an ambient temp increase from 32-50 degrees.

 

This is how I keep my southern/western Subarus lasting for 4 years instead of 2, Hahahaha! Just kidding.

 

I asked about undercar oil spraying and was told it’s terribly messy and can stink. So maybe someone could find someone else that does it and mitigate exposure to exhaust.

Edited by idosubaru

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It’s all about the seams in the wheel aprons.

 

Protect those horizontal seams with your favorite type of tar etc.

 

That’s how the rust starts - from the inside of the car , not the outside.

 

Enjoy the weekend!

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CRC 656.

 

It's what we use here in coastal Florida on marine engines and other metal components to keep them from corroding in the saltwater.

 

It's thin, so it gets into any area that water could, and then some. But should be re-applied every 2-3 months.

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I don't know if the rear wheel well sheetmetal design in the Imprezas resembles that in the Legacy or Outback models, but there is a well-known issue with an improperly sealed joint in the 95... Legacy/Outback rear strut tower which results in rust breaking through in the lower rear corner of the doors.  Salt spray goes up into the strut tower, leaks through the unsealed joint into the inner fender area (which it rots) and drips down towards the rocker panels.

 

See:

http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/119859-the-fantastical-rear-wheel-well-rot-thread/

 especially the second page.  Also:

http://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/135273-00-04-outback-rust-in-rear-door-openings/


Hard to inspect - one of those Harbor Freight "Digital Inspection Cameras" with its flexible shaft can help.

 

The problem appears to be an overlapped sheetmetal joint which was never sealed...

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 Yes, the Impreza's are the same design. I am surprised that this was not a recall! I am also surprised that even in the south, that they still did not rust. Even without the salt.

 

   I will have to take a look up in the towers....clean it well and seal it before they get exposure. I may just get a winter beater to save my Subis. Also....how long does salt stay on roads after application. Can you drive safely on dry roads in the winter? How long into the spring is all the salt residue all gone? 

 

  Will look at the HF cameras.

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Pretty much when the roads no longer have traces of white 99% of it is gone.  The worst thing is that now everyone is going away from salt spreaders and spraying a brine solution before the snow starts.  It's bad enough to drive over the white road, but get behind the brine truck with wet brine on the road and it coats the undercarriage far worse than the old style salt ever did.  They are even using the brine here in east TN.

 

My little brother drives his truck out in the sand at the beach when he goes fishing and his old truck had holes in the frame.  He traded it in and got a new one.  Now he has 2 lawn sprinklers that he drives over to wash it out each time.  We'll see in a few years how well that works.

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Your best bet is to have the one you plan to drive during the winter oil sprayed. Stuff is messy and drips, but it'll seal up pretty much anything. Some places will spray into the doors, etc. but dunno if it's worth it. Will have to avoid parking in your diveway for a bit. Usually older cars that have survived actual winter driving had it done at some point.

Rubberized under coat doesn't work, so don't bother. It'll actually HIDE the rust as it's form won't give, meaning you can have a hole in the metal but the rubber is holding the shape of what used to be there. If you were doing a frame-off/rotisserie and wanted a winter vehicle out of it, then a spray on bedliner might be a good choice(in/out).

Rinsing works, but you have to REALLY be on top of it, and you have to be VERY thorough. This means under the car, wheel wells, the rear cradle for the rear diff (extremely important as these rust badly) anywhere the brake/fuel lines are clumped together and snow/salt can pack, edges of each door; hood up, hit the under side metal (can avoid the deadener) edges, hit strut towers, hit the fender lips where it bolts down to the top, etc. etc..

If it were me, I'd consider buying a cheap Subaru beater with a bunch of miles that's already seen winters. Can get that one sprayed with oil, and never worry about anything while keeping the cherry cars, cherry ;)

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The road salt used during winter is pretty much off the road (and into the surrounding land) after the last snowstorm has melted away. 

HOWEVER, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride are widely used on unpaved roads to reduce dust in Summer and both are corrosive to metal.  Application is usually done in Spring once dust becomes a problem, and sometimes repeated later in Summer if the problem returns.  Most often applied as a 30% to 40% brine, but sometimes as a powder (flakes).

Both are hygroscopic (meaning they absorb moisture from the air) and deliquescent (meaning they can "melt" into liquid form once they have absorbed enough moisture).  This helps keep the road surface damp and thus helps bind the dust ("fines") into the surface.  Mostly used in areas with good (high) warm-weather humidity; ineffective in arid ares.

The concern is that some of that treated dust can get thrown up into your wheel wells where it can form a sticky and corrosive coating.  Driving over a just treated road is probably a bad idea... I could not find any good info about the severity of the problem after the brine has soaked into the road surface.

Periodic thorough hosing downs of your undercarriage during Summer may be wise if you drive in an area with treated dirt roads.

Our addiction to roads that are snow-free in Winter and dust-free in Summer is expensive.  Consider that in the Northeast a new car that could last 20+ years is pretty much rotted away within 10 years due to corrosion from salt - we are paying a "salt tax" of several thousand $ per year...

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^ Yeah, I wish they'd quit salting altogether unless the roads are actually starting ice over.

 

Sometimes wonder if salted roads actually cause more accidents as dumber people tend to drive too fast on them and then are lulled into a sense of safety and lack of common sense. As soon as they hit a light dusting, they are the ones rolled over or in the median, etc.. If people were forced to drive in the actual snow, they'd be more careful, or at least they slow down usually.

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I spritz diesel fuel/used oil mix with a cheap dollar tree bottle sprayer, in spring, when I drive car up on ramps. One end the the other end. Yes messy & smelly, & wear goggles, but I hate rust & hoping for prolonging the cancer. Good luck! (I've read in spring is best applied because road dust collects in the film over summer & helps hold it for the winter)

I just got a rust free 96 Impreza OB, 51k miles, I plan on treating the area where the rear bumper meets the metal at fender well. Seems they all rust out there. I think it is from the the two parts rubbing together with grit & when salt gets added, it starts rotting. I'm going to pull down bumper at that spot about 1" and apply epoxy to the underside flat spot on metal where the bumper meets. My hope is that once the layer of epoxy is cured & I reseat bumper, it will have a plastic to epoxy surface to rub together, without exposing the metal. Also I will remove the rubber/plastic wheel well edge protectors since I believe they hold corrosive moisture also.

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Some great suggestions! I like the one of just getting, (yes, another car for a beater. The last thing I need is another car)!  Maybe I should just stay in TX!  Why is it that other states like Colorado have winter, yet don't use salt?????? What years did Subaru start using rear inner wheel well liners? (I know my 2005 Outback has them).

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^ If you've never driven in the snow (my aunt's ex was born/bred Texan and seeing the hills/terrain around here put him in a state of awe and snow was something he hadn't seen in person before) or driven very rarely in it, that might be another good reason for a beater as you won't have to worry about scrapes, dings, dents, sliding into something, etc..

 

Although AWD is fairly capable with OK tires, might want to go an extra step and get some soft tread winter tires mounted for added extra safety while you get accustomed to driving on it. Areas that snow heavily, constantly, might not stay on top of it due to costs, manpower, etc.. I now locally, when it does snow heavy, they can literally salt the roads, and within an hour, it's already covered again. Further NE of me they get heavy lake effect (as does Erie) like a couple feet and it's more rural.

 

And be aware, a light dusting IS enough to wipe out on. If you see idiots doing 80+ on the highway and the roads are getting covered or even dusting, something as simple as a lane change too quickly can cause the rear to kick out, which most will slam on their brakes and make it worse.

"Black ice" is when the roads look wet like they were just salted. If it's around 33 degrees or colder, it's always possible. Bridges, etc. are more susceptible due to the wind. Best way to tell IF the roads are actually starting to freeze up, is watch the tires of other cars. IF water it getting thrown from the tires, it's probably OK for the moment. IF you see absolutely NO water getting tossed off the tire, very solid chance the surface has frozen or is freezing.

 

If ever in doubt, stay in the right lane and go slower. If people are ending up in the median (you'll see a LOT of it in PA) that's a clear warning to not ignore. Another thing to do is find a large, empty parking lot (preferably w/o raised curbs, lips, etc. as the snow will hide them) and practice doughnuts, kicking the rear out then getting it straight again w/o stopping, panic stops, etc. etc. until you feel comfortable (brush up as needed; cops seeing you might consider it wreckless op, so always be aware; if people stop to watch while on the phone, they might be calling).

 

GL and sorry for the rant. If you've never been in it, it can be fun, but also dangerous.

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