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Old 05-03-2015, 07:43 PM   #1
satmark
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1999 SL
Default Subframe rust and safety

My 1999 Sl has corrosion around the driver side control arm (see pic). The subframe metal appears to be starting to separate. I'm in Wisconsin and my Saturn has endured a lot of salty winters. Should I be concerned that the subframe will suddenly crack and I'll loose steering control? I know I could replace the subframe but I'm reluctant to put more money into the car due to other issues. Ideally I'd like to drive it through the summer and upcoming winter but not if it means driving an unsafe vehicle. Thanks!
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:52 PM   #2
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1999 SL
Default Re: Subframe rust and safety

Sorry for the upside down picture, here's a corrected one.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Subframe rust and safety

That is not all that bad. The other side gets oil on it from the filter change. So just take used oil and brush it on where the rust is when you change the oil.
Paint will just flake and hold moisture. Oil will keep the rust at bay.
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Old 05-04-2015, 08:59 PM   #4
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1999 SL
Default Re: Subframe rust and safety

Thanks for the tip about brushing on old oil! I wish I had started sooner but better late than never. I'm still wondering - will I see some cracks when the subframe is getting really bad or does it break all at once? Just wondering how rusty it can get before it needs replacement. Thanks again.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Subframe rust and safety

The bottom I believe is more than one layer so it tends to swell with rust, around where the lower control arm bolt is cradled. The box area under the transmission mount, continue towards the front is where you need to watch. The lower control arm area has multi points welded there, so just coat that real good. If you ever need to replace the lower control arm that bolt is a pain due to rust swelling the bolt inside.
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2000 Dakota RT 5.9L
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Old 05-05-2015, 06:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: Subframe rust and safety

i bought a Wisconsin '97 Sat w. 150kMi in 2008. The subframe/powertrain cradle was shot, and i replaced it with a pretty healthy one from a wrecking yard, which l painted before installation.

Yours looks fine to me now. {agree with previous post}
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:06 PM   #7
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1999 SL
Default Re: Subframe rust and safety

Got it, thanks. I'm quite familiar where the transmission mount is having recently replaced it. I'm going to start the oil therapy right away. Thanks for the various opinions and for helping me extend the life of my faithful Saturn.
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