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Old 04-07-2021, 11:49 PM   #1
Ricketts
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Default Crossbeam Rust

Well folks...as our cars get older we naturally start to see issues that may be the death knell of our beloved Saturns.

I am hoping today is not the day. I have done 2 very long trips this last winter, the first was 4000kms at Christmas and the last one was 2000kms this last Easter weekend. Car is running perfectly. I never hesitate to check the oil, hop in and go.

Today I was removing my winter tires and noticed my exhaust hanger bracket had rusted through again (3rd time its been replaced). In the midst of removing it I noticed the heat shield was falling off again as well. So I decided to remove it for repair - and noticed this.

A large rust hole in the cross beam between the right and left side of the car, above the axle, in front of the trunk but behind the seats. Pics attached.

I notice no weird handling issues, can someone verify if this is a crucial issue? Everything around the 2 large bolts in the picture is still solid. I have cleaned out the hole and sprayed the whole inside of the opening as far inside as I could reach with rust inhibiting spray oil (that is why it is darker in colour)

I only noticed this because I removed the heat shield. It might be a good spot for people to check to see if they are also having issues in this area.

I guess I want to know if this is the beginning of the end for my car, or whether this is not a major structural concern at this point in time. Like I said, no handling issues noticed, no funny creaking sounds going over bumps or anything. It looks like it is just an underneath support for the body under/behind the seat. I always do oil spray touch ups on rust spots every fall before winter but would never have noticed this, behind the heatshield

Thoughts?

Thanks - sorry the pics are sideways...down is to the left side of the pics
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20210407_222417.jpg (110.6 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg 20210407_222424.jpg (101.8 KB, 43 views)
...
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Last edited by Ricketts; 04-07-2021 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 04-08-2021, 12:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Another one nobody else wants to bite on? I'm in a "non-rust" area, so have limited experience in this kind of problem. There have been several threads here about rust repair, and most anything is repairable if you want to go to enough effort.

Are you asking if it can reasonably be just ignored, since the car drives OK? My opinion is that will only work short-term. If there is rust in one area, there is probably more going on elsewhere. In general, automobile structures have little (no?) superfluous metal. Emissions and fuel economy goals eliminated "over engineering" long ago.
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Old 04-08-2021, 02:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

If it was me, I'd keep driving it. The parts to really worry about are the rear drag link mounts and the front subframe. It would be good to oil up that part and keep rust from propagating further. Someday it will compromise the structure that holds the rear suspension on.

The beginning of the end of your car started when it was driven away from the dealer,
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Old 04-08-2021, 04:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

You're not leaking enough oil to keep that thing coated?
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
You're not leaking enough oil to keep that thing coated?
That's the back of the car! The oil is all burned by the time it gets there.
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated. I always keep an eye out for rust areas, including the front subframe, and touch them up with oil regularly. It's just that this specific spot was hidden above the heatshield, with a rivet holding it up into place, so there was no way to even know it was going on, so it might be a good spot for others to keep an eye on. I'm not a fan of keeping the heatshield off, but it is in pretty bad shape as well.

I sadly am not expecting to get another 5 or 10 years out of the ol' girl - she's been amazing to me but I am trying to be a realist with the situation. The new "access hole" allows me to really soak the interior of that channel with oil now, so it might even last longer, haha. The rest of the channel is good, so I am not sure if the rivet hole for the heatshield may have contributed to moisture getting up in there, or what. The matching section on the drivers side feels solid.

I'll finish the oil spray, put the summer tires on and let you know if anything looks or feels awry after the first drive
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Gas tank straps on my Saturn are rusting bad.

I sprayed them with some rust reformer...

https://www.rustoleum.com/product-ca.../rust-reformer
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

I replaced my straps 4 years ago, but are rusting good again too.

I'll check out the rust reformer - thanks for the link
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Old 04-09-2021, 09:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Quote:
If it was me, I'd keep driving it. The parts to really worry about are the rear drag link mounts and the front subframe. It would be good to oil up that part and keep rust from propagating further. Someday it will compromise the structure that holds the rear suspension on.
I agree. This doesn't appear to be a critical structure point. Plus you have two bolts holding that support in place. I would saturate that area with oil and other problem areas every time you do an oil change. Leaking oil seems to be rusts worst enemy.
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Old 04-12-2021, 07:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Strange area to rust. I would have thought the heat from the exhaust and the heat shield would have kept the water and rust from forming... and doing that...anyone else have this issue?
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:26 AM   #11
Ricketts
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Default Re: Crossbeam Rust

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommie View Post
Strange area to rust. I would have thought the heat from the exhaust and the heat shield would have kept the water and rust from forming... and doing that...anyone else have this issue?
Me too...I was wondering why the rivet appeared "loose" and found out when I pulled the heatshield. There is no rust on the drivers side end of this channel, only where the heatshield rivet was. I too am curious if anyone else has rust in this area, and it might be worth folks poking around in there next time they have their back tires off
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