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Old 01-04-2017, 05:57 PM   #1
Petey
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Default Frame rot

Well after 20 years I hope this isn't the end of my Saturn.

I found rot in the rear uni-body frame rail behind where the trailing arm bolt on. I noticed the undercoating peeling away on both sides and when I went to take it take it off my hand went right through. The trailing arm mount holes appear to be solid right now.

I asked the body shop manager if its fixable and he said he would have to look at it, depends on where it needs welding. It is illegal for them to weld frames where suspension parts attach. Its a shame because the rest of the car is perfect. The sub frame is solid with no rust and the rear door sills are still solid too.

suggestions?

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Old 01-04-2017, 10:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Frame rot

Here in the rust belt of Nova Scotia there are many cars who have had frames welded over the years. As you stated the Saturn Frame is not really a frame, its part of the body....unibody. I don't see it as being a problem as long as there is enough good metal to weld to, the person welding is experienced, and the cost is reasonable. It's done here quite often.

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Old 01-05-2017, 09:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Frame rot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petey View Post
"It is illegal for them to weld frames where suspension parts attach."

suggestions?
Perhaps that is your loophole? since it is not really the 'frame' but rather the 'unibody' , then it's not illegal. Maybe as simple as releasing the body shop from any liability with a makeshift release of responsibility document if anything goes wrong.

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Old 01-06-2017, 07:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Frame rot

The thing to remember is rot in those rails while it may not compromise the suspension points WILL compromise safety in a collision. If you get rear ended it is the CONTROLLED crush of those parts that absorb impact and prevent the bumper of what hits you from putting the front bumper on top of your neck. Otherwise the rear of that car will collapse like a house of cards in a rear end and you can kiss your ***** good bye.

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Old 01-06-2017, 11:00 AM   #5
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Default Re: Frame rot

The driver side of my 94 was so bad you could bend and crumble parts by hand. Most cars of this era have extensive rust if you live in snow country and you just need to decide for yourself if it's worth it. Between air bags, crumple zones and suspension area corrosion, and I ride a motorcycle, which in any circumstance would be considered risky in a crash, I have concerns, but not enough to address the problems.
Having said that, I would have not driven the 94 more than the end of this winter. Since the passenger side is fine as it was bathed in oil, I squirt a little used oil in the holes and rub the frame parts on the driver side--don't forget the control arm, and that should pay off in the long run.

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Old 01-06-2017, 01:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: Frame rot

Quote:
Originally Posted by marko16 View Post
Having said that, I would have not driven the 94 more than the end of this winter. Since the passenger side is fine as it was bathed in oil, I squirt a little used oil in the holes and rub the frame parts on the driver side--don't forget the control arm, and that should pay off in the long run.
You're trying to save a part that, as long as the front 2 bolts come out, is fairly simple (not exactly easy, but simple) to just replace. 4 bolts hold it to the car, then the trans mount and engine dog-bone mount and if you're lucky with the new one (ie: it has the sway bar and LCA's still attached) just pop the ball joints on the knuckles and "plop" it falls out.

Petey is talking about a not replaceable, hard to repair section of the car.

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Old 01-06-2017, 03:18 PM   #7
Chub
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Default Re: Frame rot

Check out this thread I made on SixthSphere. Hopefully the pictures will help you in your decision of whether or not it is repairable.

http://sixthsphere.com/showthread.ph...r-Build-Thread

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Old 01-06-2017, 09:24 PM   #8
Petey
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Default Re: Frame rot

Thanks,

While we get the salted roads and the salt ocean air here, the car over all is in great shape rust wise. I never drive it in the winter.

I still have to get it the body shop for him to look at and I just thought of local welding shop who does good fab work/ repair work on town plow and dump trucks.

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Old 01-10-2017, 01:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Frame rot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petey View Post
Thanks,

While we get the salted roads and the salt ocean air here, the car over all is in great shape rust wise. I never drive it in the winter.

I still have to get it the body shop for him to look at and I just thought of local welding shop who does good fab work/ repair work on town plow and dump trucks.
best of luck to you! i certainly should look into it myself since my jack points are bending and the passenger side has enough rust that i can poke areas with my finger i shouldnt be able to even see let alone touch

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Old 01-10-2017, 02:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Frame rot

Reading over this, it is not uncommon for the S-Series to rust at that area of the body. Simple physics of the tire kicking up debris/water, while driving.

Once it is welded and properly repaired, I would suggest using a paint gun and spraying two coats of POR-15 over the area.

My SC2 has rust, right at the rear of the floorpan, on the driver's side. It is right at that spot, where the engineers thought it would be a fabulous idea to use welding paste(that absorbs moisture), instead of an actual weld, before applying the primer and paint. I have applied to coats of POR-15, but given the nature of the corrosion, I fear this merely delayed the inevitable, and I will need to have a new set of floor pans welded into the car, later on

I also noticed that every SC model seems to rust, in this same area, as well. Most of the SCs in the junkyards are rusted in the same area.

Good Luck.

And check with your state laws. A "unibody" may be written as the same meaning as a vehicle "frame", like it is in Ohio. Ohio considers a "unibody" to be the frame, because it has a VIN stamped into it, among everything else bolted to it.

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Old 01-10-2017, 11:33 PM   #11
Magic
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Default Re: Frame rot

Im facing the same dilemma as well.

Frame rot on the passenger side of the rear trailing arm area is rusted.
The passenger front frame rail is rusted and split open. However the engine cradle/subframe is in fantastic shape!

Also, Ive got water leaking into the trunk on the drivers rear. I patched it once before (seam area underneath rear glass). Its leaking again.

Has 395,000 KMs on it (245+K Miles). All manual options (steering, locks, windows, NO A/C), lots of TLC and frequent oil changes. One of the best reliable cars Ive ever owned. Hate to see it go, but I need to draw the line somewhere....

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Old 01-11-2017, 11:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: Frame rot

I followed this guys video and replaced the trailing arm mounts on my moms '96 and '99 s-series. They were rotted just as bad as the video shows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6QdDvxVfCQ Trailing arm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6sXv2uX9wg Front of the underchassis

Its pretty time consuming, however it's really the best option.

I used a cheap harbor freight Fluxcore welder and it gave good penetration into the metal. The only problem with the fluxcore is that paint won't stick well to the welds unless you really clean them. After I was done I sprayed the inside of the mount with Fluid Film to keep it from rusting again.

I will post some photos after work today.

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Old 03-04-2017, 04:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Frame rot

Well I finally stopped at a local welder who does awesome work and I trust. He does do frame repair and looked at it and said 400 for both sides.


Then I went to another place that specializes in frame rot repair. They advertise as a Jeep place and sure enough inside they had 4 jeeps they were working on. After he put up on the lift he came and got me and the first words out of his mouth was "it's rotted in normal spot on these cars". With that I knew I knew what he is doing. BUT his price is more than double the welders. He said 4 hours per side.

I know in his quote he said he will put in a drain holes so what water that does get kicked up in via the trailing arm can come back out, some something that Saturn did not do. He is also rust treating inside and undercoating when he done. I believe he also said he will cut out the rot too. I am not sure that the welder will do. If they are just going over that is there.

Now I don't know what to do.

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Old 03-04-2017, 05:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: Frame rot

[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]

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Old 03-04-2017, 11:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Frame rot

The rest of it looks good underneath. It's one of those things, fix it and then have the engine let go or sell it as is, have some friend buy it, weld it back, and then drive it for a few more years laughing at you. Roll the dice. No easy decision.

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Old 03-05-2017, 07:05 PM   #16
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Default Re: Frame rot

I'm fairly confident that the rest of the is in good to great condition. I rebuilt the engine (new rings and bearing) water pump 40K ago (trying to decrease oil consumption). A/C comp and power steering pump are original. Its got new struts all around and the sunroof has been fixed with the sunroof dr.'s metal slides.

This thing is my baby and for the last 13 years it has not seen salted winter roads.

I'm just wondering if paying double in price is worth it or is the cheaper guy going to run into more hidden stuff to bring his price up.


The rust guy is fairly certain that the trailing arm bolts are stuck in there and they will have to weld nuts when they put it back together.

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Old 03-05-2017, 10:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Frame rot

There is a very good chance that when they try to remove the trailing arm bolts that it will spin the weld nut. When I repaired the mounts on my moms' car I had to cut the heads off of three out of the four bolts. Looking at your photos it looks identical to the rust on her car.

The second/more expensive shop you got a quote from sounds like they may be more knowledgeable with this kind of repair. It may be worth the extra if they are going to undercoat/rust proof once the work is done.

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Old 03-05-2017, 11:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Frame rot

Petey the rust on your car is in much better shape than mine is. I wish that was the case for mine. I would try and bargain a little with the second guy to see if he can drop the price. Id fix it, considering the work you've put into it.

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Old 03-06-2017, 10:04 AM   #19
underthehood
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Default Re: Frame rot

Sadly you can replace the whole car for $800. But, sometimes putting $$$ into the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. Ask the first if they will cut out the damaged section(s), treat what's left with POR15 or Eastwood frame treatment and weld in the new nuts and such. If the answer is yes than you know the $400 job is good. If not than go with the $800 guy
There are internal and external metal treatments from Eastwood.com that will pretty much stop the rust dead. I would treat the entire car with the applicable product(s)

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Old 03-06-2017, 07:47 PM   #20
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Default Re: Frame rot

underthehood,

Thanks for that help! I will ask the welder those q's to help my choice.


I know exactly what you are saying about spending the money. The way I look at it, What condition SL2 would I be getting for $800-$1K. I would rank this one a 3-4 out of 5 with everything working as it should.

In reality I would not be getting another SL2 it would be a Cruze and I would be spending what the cheaper guy is charging on a roof rack to fit it.

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