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Old 10-19-2019, 07:17 AM   #1
Rina
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Default Lower left sub frame rust

I need some solid advice from my fellow Saturn lovers!

I have a 2001 S-Series, and have had it for 16 years. I failed inspection for a rusted sub frame. It's only about two inches and the rusted 'through' is about the size of a pinky. I took it to a rust repair shop and they said I can have the piece taken out and a new piece welded for $600. I was a little nervous about this and did some research. After calling around I took it to a regular mechanic who said I would have to change the frame- with a used engine cradle $550- and he says total it will be $1100.00, with an extra $200 IF the bolts are seized.

I was laid off a month ago. I have a job lined up, but I haven't started yet- needless to say this is not a good time for this.

I got the whole 'Your car is too old and may not be worth it' speech, which I have been hearing for the past ten years. If I had listened to that I would be driving a crappy Hyundai. This car is in perfect shape, minus the patch of aforementioned rust.

My question is- Do I take the chance and do the repair, or do I go all in and replace the frame?
If I do the repair and it's shoddy work, I will have to replace the frame down the road.
As a side note, I am female and a lot of mechanics will try to take advantage of my assumed lack of knowledge.
Thank you!

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Old 10-19-2019, 08:32 AM   #2
Waiex191
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

I would go the replacement subframe route. Here is one from the Carolinas for $207 shipped.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/174053407162

Ask them for pictures, but it should be good if it is truly a Carolinas car.

Unfortunately, if you are paying someone for labor, it will always be expensive to keep a car going. Good luck!

If you are able to do anything yourself, find out what bolts need to be removed and start soaking them with PB blaster.

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Old 10-21-2019, 06:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Thank you for your reply. I will keep that link handy. I was able to find another guy through extensive research who is taking a look at it this morning, and he mentioned on the phone that he could find the part for about 200.00. I can't do the work myself, I wish I could, and I don't mind paying for the labor- I want to- but 1100.00 is A LOT. The other guy said 550 for the part, that's 350 I can put toward the labor.

From all I've heard he's a master welder, and if he can replace that section for now, in a few years I can do the whole replacement. It seems like a waste I know, but like I said, this is a BAD time for this kind of expense. Hopefully he can get it done for a lower price. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again!

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Old 10-21-2019, 09:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Move to Michigan.


No inspections.



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Old 10-21-2019, 09:54 AM   #5
Hiisi
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Mine also has a similar issue. It passed inspection recently but I've been advised to spray the spot at least to protect it somehow. The spot is where the left control arm attaches to the cradle. The rest of the k-member is like a new. I was thinking of replacing it but my concern is that doing this on the street might be complicated if the bolts are seized.
Is it legal at all to weld it?

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Old 10-21-2019, 12:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rina View Post
From all I've heard he's a master welder, and if he can replace that section for now, in a few years I can do the whole replacement. It seems like a waste I know, but like I said, this is a BAD time for this kind of expense. Hopefully he can get it done for a lower price. Fingers crossed.
Probably the same way I would have gone under the same circumstances - "good enough for now, fix it properly later"

You may want to check around here for some suggestions on rustproofing the subrame (or the new weld) to reduce /delay the return of the rust.

For future reference, we do have an extensive library of videos and picture how tos. I think ShawnV shows where the bolts are that Waiex191 mentioned soaking with a rust penetrant, to prep for the future replacement

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=155369

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Old 10-21-2019, 09:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiisi View Post
Mine also has a similar issue. It passed inspection recently but I've been advised to spray the spot at least to protect it somehow. The spot is where the left control arm attaches to the cradle. The rest of the k-member is like a new. I was thinking of replacing it but my concern is that doing this on the street might be complicated if the bolts are seized.
Mine is rusty in the same area The other side is fine.

Quote:
Is it legal at all to weld it?
I hope our laws aren't that draconian yet. It was welded together by GM and I don't think it would be a crumple zone.

...
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Old 10-23-2019, 07:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

$ 207 Shipped to your door is a good deal. I wish that I had seen this a week ago. I have one on order from FL. Most all sub frames that lived all their lives in New England are now becoming marginal at best. A near mint 2000 ish SL2 that was in my town, sat for a couple of days with the LF wheel/tire tucked up into the fender top got towed to the scrapyard with it's broken subframe.

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Old 10-23-2019, 10:22 PM   #9
Hiisi
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by 454cid View Post
Mine is rusty in the same area The other side is fine.
Interesting, that it might be the case for most people. I wonder why it's always the left side? More salt from the other side of the road?

Quote:
I hope our laws aren't that draconian yet. It was welded together by GM and I don't think it would be a crumple zone.
Then I would guess welding is a better option for me because you don't have to remove the cradle from the car.

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Old 10-23-2019, 10:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Passenger side gets soaked with oil every 3k miles. Driver side never does.

I was also under the impression that the sub-frame was not good to weld to, they're basically 3-4 sheet metal piece's folded into useful shapes.

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Old 10-24-2019, 12:26 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Passenger side gets soaked with oil every 3k miles. Driver side never does.

I was also under the impression that the sub-frame was not good to weld to, they're basically 3-4 sheet metal piece's folded into useful shapes.
I've started oiling the driver's side when I change the oil. Also I think the subframe is fine to weld, but adds more seams to collect more rust.

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Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
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Old 10-25-2019, 05:40 AM   #12
Rina
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiisi View Post
Mine also has a similar issue. It passed inspection recently but I've been advised to spray the spot at least to protect it somehow. The spot is where the left control arm attaches to the cradle. The rest of the k-member is like a new. I was thinking of replacing it but my concern is that doing this on the street might be complicated if the bolts are seized.
Is it legal at all to weld it?

That is exactly where mine was! Last year- no rust. This year- a hole in the frame. Now that I've been through it, I will advise you to switch out the frame. I know it seems like a lot, but in one year the engine weight had distorted the engine cradle. There are some frames on E-bay with free shipping... make SURE it's free shipping. They were about 200.00. The bolts on mine weren't seized and its a 2001. Saturn's are like little tanks.

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Old 10-25-2019, 06:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

I bit the bullet and had the sub-frame switched out. I got it all done for 800.00, which was only about 300 more than the welding would have cost. The guy who wanted 1100.00 was trying to rip me off, I guess. This guy got a part from South Carolina that looked brand new, and got it done in three hours. Ya, it sucks that I had to put that money in and after I pay my rent, I'll have two dollars BUT it's worth it to know I don't have to worry about it.

It is interesting that it's always in the same place. It's not the oil changes because I haven't had my oil changed this year. (I worked a quarter of a mile from home and didn't need to). All the fluids in tanks are on the other side. hmmmm. That's a head scratcher.

Thanks for the help! I have learned some valuable lessons - 1) Never weld, always replace 2) Do your research on mechanics. 3) Ask for advice on Saturnalia.

onlinebiker- How does Michigan not have inspections? And no I will not move there, you have worse winters than we do in New Hampshire.

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Old 10-25-2019, 07:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Good choice! Illinois also has no inspections. I'd rather live in NH though, I miss the northeast.

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Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 10-25-2019, 12:36 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rina View Post
That is exactly where mine was! Last year- no rust. This year- a hole in the frame. Now that I've been through it, I will advise you to switch out the frame. I know it seems like a lot, but in one year the engine weight had distorted the engine cradle. There are some frames on E-bay with free shipping... make SURE it's free shipping. They were about 200.00. The bolts on mine weren't seized and its a 2001. Saturn's are like little tanks.
The next inspection is in May 2020. I don't even have a driveway and the street is a cobblestone on a step hill And winter is coming! I hope to survive until May. Thanks for the advice anyway. And congratulations on your repair! Keep an eye on the problematic spot.

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Old 10-25-2019, 06:50 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
Good choice! Illinois also has no inspections. I'd rather live in NH though, I miss the northeast.
aren't there emissions inspections in IL?
We have safety + emissions inspections here, and I've been failed for very minor things. For example, if your wipers WORK fine but the rubber looks worn, you fail. Also, if your check engine light is on for ANY reason, you fail.

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Old 10-25-2019, 07:31 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

Maybe in Chicagoland, but not where they grow corn and beans. None of my 5 registered cars or one registered motorcycle has ever been inspected by anyone. DMV is a breeze here. They just want your money.

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'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 10-27-2019, 08:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lower left sub frame rust

mmm, Illinois corn.

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