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Old 06-29-2020, 07:49 PM   #1
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Front frame rusted away

Well, I knew this day was coming, so its time to deal with it.

The rust is the front mounts where the engine cradle bolts to the frame. This is a common problem. The mount pads are the lowest point on the frame, they collect water, dirt and debris, and rust out, leaving the front of the engine cradle just kind of hanging there.

Two years ago I replaced the engine cradle, it was completely rusted through. At that time I looked at the front frame pads, they didn't look to bad, I could see rust flaking. I was thinking of delaying this one more year but wanted to see exactly what the condition was, I'm glad I did.

I used a sharp pointed pick and started tapping around the suspect areas. Everywhere I tapped, the pick punched through. When I finished the tapping, the only place that had any metal was a small section on the inside of the pad. That was the only thing holding the front drivers side cradle on. Every this else was completely rusted away. NOTE: This is the drivers side. The passenger side is probably a little bit better, but not much.

THE PLAN

I seen where forcbodiesonly had re welded new sheet metal plates to basically make a new mount. I'm going to take a different approach that I think is easier and more durable.

I need to drop the cradle, this will give me room to work. I'll suspend the engine/transmission with chains like I did when I replaced the cradle.

I cut two pieces of 2x3 rectangular steel tube, 7 inches long. I believe I can weld these flat against the bottom of the existing frame structure, then bolt the cradle to this.

I'll post more photos as I progress.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rust_10_800.jpg (65.1 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Rust_11_800.jpg (46.8 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Rustr_12_800.jpg (73.0 KB, 17 views)
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:33 PM   #2
RobertGary1
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1996 SC2
2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

I know the feeling. I bought a Subaru for my son at OSU. It came back with a blown head gasket (all Subaruís do this) and a frame totally rusted.

-Robert
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:37 PM   #3
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

The other alternative that I looked into was to find a donor car in the SW part of the country that has blown engine or tranny and no rust, then transfer my good cradle, engine, and tranny into that vehicle.
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 06-30-2020, 06:20 PM   #4
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

Did a little cleanup and a rough test fit. This is going to work. :-)

I put the rectangular piece against the bottom of the sheet metal frame and then jacked the cradle up against it to see how it looked.

The sheet metal frame starts a gentle upward curve where the cradle bolts to it, so my rectangular tube doesn't fit flush along this part of the frame. I'll weld some flat stock in this area to beef it up and also make it so the rectangular tube will rest on flat stock in this area.

Weld the rectangular tube on both sides to the existing frame and we should be good.

I'll drill a hole through the rectangular piece to run the cradle bolt through and use a lock nut inside the rectangular piece. This will be exposed to the elements, but will be a lot better than what I had.

I may make the rectangular tube longer so it can go farther forward on the frame and this will give me more area to weld to the existing frame.

Easier said than done, but looks very promising. Stay tuned
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rust_15_800.jpg (45.4 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Rust_16_800.jpg (44.2 KB, 12 views)
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

Last edited by waiter21; 06-30-2020 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:33 AM   #5
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

Here's a sketch of what the plan is:

The "mount tube" is a rectangular steel tube, 2x3x12 inches, 3/16 wall thickness.

The sheet metal frame curves up toward the back. I'll custom cut and bend a piece of 1/8 inch flat stock to follow this curve a couple inches. This flat stock will be about 2 1/2 wide and 4 inches long.

I'll position the flat stock so that when the new mount tube is flat against the frame, the rear of the tube will rest against the flat stock.

I'll weld the flat stock to the frame. This does two things: It adds reinforcement where the frame curves up, and it fills in the gap between the tube and the frame where the frame curves upward.

The back of the mount tube is welded to the flat stock. The sides and front of the mount tube is welded to the sheet metal frame.

The cradle bolts to the mount tube with a regular grade 8 bolt and nut. I'll either use a large area washer inside the tube or cut a piece of 1/8 - 1/4 inch flat stock to use as a washer/stiffener inside the tube.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rust_5_drawing_1000.jpg (108.0 KB, 7 views)
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.

Last edited by waiter21; 07-01-2020 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:49 AM   #6
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

As I put this plan together, I realize its kind of a hack job, ugly, poor quality design, poor quality welding, etc, etc, etc.. THEN, to make myself fell better, I figure that the front of the cradle is currently being held in place by two rusted out supports with only a couple small pieces of sheet metal that hasn't rusted yet. MY hack job will be superior to the current condition, AND, I believe it will be better than the original system and will easily last at least 5 - 10 years.

NOTE - The rear cradle supports are OK. Also before spending a lot of time, I looked at the rear wheel framework. It all looks OK.
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:43 PM   #7
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

I cut a new tube to 12 inches. I'm holding it near the bottom of the frame to see how it will line up,

Note the round hole on the right, this lines up with the location of the cradle bolt. In the original build, when the cradle bolt is installed, the end of the bolt would protrude into this hole.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rust_25_800.jpg (63.3 KB, 8 views)
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:01 PM   #8
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2006 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

I'll just say it again, you know you north-easterners just don't know how to take care of a vehicle!

I still have the right rear knock, 2 mechanics hear it, the other 2 don't, I'm fearing the worst but the mechanic that did hear is says it's fine other than the frame rails along the sides & those simply aren't needed other than jacking with the provided jack & everything appears to be together.

Mine is sitting in a driveway I only it for light hauling, it needs a yet another bearing & battery so I'm hesitant to start throwing money into a sinking ship.

Bad enough I have to plate it as my plates have been expired too since March

Would the awesome V6 engine be a suitable donor for a Honda Odyssey

Note the common denominator here is OHIO!!!! Wish I would had known the key points to spray it over the years..
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:15 AM   #9
waiter21
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2003 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Front frame rusted away

I got the drivers side tacked together. I need to get my DC welder and finish welding it into place

The passenger side isn't as bad. I got the old mount cut off and the sheet metal frame cleaned up and ready to tack on the new mount.

Below is photo of parts. I reuse the original bolt and nut plate. The large box tube is 2x3x12 3/16 thick. The back hole (bottom of photo) is where the bolt goes thru. front hole line up with the square hole in the sheet metal from to provide venting and drainage.

The two smaller pieces are 1/4 plate. One has a slight bend in the middle. This gets welded to the sheet metal fame where it stats to curve up. The back of the box tube gets welded to it.

The one with the hole in it serves as a large area washer. It slides into the inside of the box tube and the cradle bolt goes thru it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rust_DriversSide_1_800.jpg (96.9 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg Rust_PaxSide_1_800.jpg (48.8 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Vue_NewFrameParts_1_800.jpg (61.0 KB, 8 views)
...
2003 Vue - 2.2L with Manual Trans. (Swapped)
Originally had 2.2L and Auto trans.
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