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Old 03-06-2013, 12:39 PM   #1
Rivernut
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2003 VUE 3.0L
1996 SL2
Default Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

My '03 V6 AWD Vue has a rotted sub-frame. What years / engines / drive configuation are compatible? Does anyone make one besides GM? Used ones up here in MA are likely just as badly rusted.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

OEM is likely your only bet, since aftermarket support for the Vue is almost nonexistent.

I'm not entirely sure, but any Gen 1 V6 Vue ('02-'07) may work. It would depend on the location of the mounts for the engine and transmission between the 3.0 and 3.5. You could try to eye them up for differences.

Hopefully someone here with knowledge between them can chime in.
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:04 PM   #3
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

Might have to go through a junkyard in a non-rust belt state. They will ship parts. Take a look at www.car-part.com

Can't answer the compatibility question. I would suspect only '02-'03 V6 subframes would work.
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Old 03-06-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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2004 VUE Red Line
2004 VUE Red Line
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

02-03 v6 and 4 cyl
04 4 cyl

the 3.5 Vues took a different subframe with a hump in the rear.
The parts list calls for a different subframe for the 4 cyl in the 05-06 than in the 02-04.

The 3.5s are the same 04-06
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:06 PM   #5
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2003 VUE 3.0L
1996 SL2
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

Here's the deal for anyone in this predicament: The piece is referred to as the engine cradle, or K-Frame, or front sub-frame. GM has them for $660. If you have a connection at a dealership you get it for $100 less. The '02-'03 AWD V6 is unique. The parts guy needs the last six digits of the V.I.N. Also get the 4 cradle bolts which are $2 and change each. The cradle has open caverns that hold water and salt slushies served up here in New England. My Vue has about 230,000 miles on it and is washed frequently and kept in a garage. The rusted cradle was only discovered because it was on a lift having the broken stabilizer bar replaced that had also rusted out. The cradle had two places near the bar mounts that I could push my finger through. It could break at any time and cause a rollover. The cradle is available next day from my local dealer. I decided to go with new because a local used one would likely be in bad shape and it is a lot of labor. It would be difficult to evaluate a used one, especially in California. They rust from the inside-out. I wouldn't trust someone far away to make that determination. I will spray the inside of the new one with galvanized primer as best as I can for piece of mind. I also got greasable poly D-links and bushings because the bushing brackets looked like shale. They are cheap, about $25 including shipping. I measured the bar at 26mm and ordered Prothane 19-1182 Red 26 mm Universal Greasable Sway Bar Bushings. Here is where to buy them:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00387...ls_o00_s00_i00

Last edited by Rivernut; 03-06-2013 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:22 PM   #6
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2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

So did you get the $100 hook up?

I've heard that the worst thing for a salt covered vehicle is to warm up in a garage. The reaction process that is rusting is most active above a certain temp (like above freezing or 40 degrees or something).
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:42 PM   #7
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2003 VUE 3.0L
1996 SL2
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

Yes I got hooked up for the $100 discount. Total with new bolts and Mass tax was a little over $600. I want the poly bushings to be greaseable to inhibit rust. I have not received them yet, I assume they will fit, so don't order them until I report that they will fit. I read online it is 1" diameter, but I measured a tiny bit larger @ 26 mm. I tried to edit that point into my post, but there is a 15 minute edit deadline on this site. The swaybars are hollow and the mount location puddles water. I am going to prime and paint the heck out of the area. The replacement swaybar I got was rusted and pitted where the D-bushings attach. I scrubbed it with a Scotch bright pad, primered, and painted the bar. I wish I had not bought this SUV. I should have got a Tahoe. Besides the broken swaybar, I've gone through many end links, struts and mounts, broken rear coil spring, and had an upper control arm separate from the unibody and its bushing was locked up. I have never seen this with previous cars. The polymer panels are built to last a century, the suspension about 6 months.

Last edited by Rivernut; 03-06-2013 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Rusted Front Subframe / Engine Cradle

And the money you've saved in gas over buying the Tahoe is now about even after these repairs...

Odds are, when things break on a Tahoe, they're even more expensive to repair.

Sorry... I'm just trying to brighten up the situation a little. I know it's probably not working.
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