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Old 10-24-2021, 05:43 PM   #1
dakota1820
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Default Repairing subframe

On the passenger side right where the control arm bolts to the subframe is rusting out. The rest of the subframe is decent. Can I just cut this out and weld in a new piece and attach it to the meaty parts of the subframe about 8-10 away from the actual rust.
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:49 PM   #2
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota1820 View Post
On the passenger side right where the control arm bolts to the subframe is rusting out. The rest of the subframe is decent. Can I just cut this out and weld in a new piece and attach it to the meaty parts of the subframe about 8-10 away from the actual rust.
You say "control arm". Do you mean "trailing arm"? Above the trailing arm is a curved area which is hollow inside and has a domed ceiling. Mine was rotted out on both sides of the car, so I cut out the rusted areas and patched with some galvanized steel heating ducting I repurposed. I used rivets, seam seal and rust-oleum Truckbed Coating. I like the Coating vs. the Pro Grade. Seemed to make a nice hard finish. Hoping that keeps the slush out. The trailing arm can contact the patch after a big bump, so I stress relieved the patch with two cuts and bent up the middle to make room for the trailing link arm to flex. Stop-drilled the cracks, so they don't progress. Only did one side and left the other to monitor. Might do the same there if needed.
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

You could, but I'd just find a better subframe. It's a bolt-on part. Usually the driver's side rusts out there, and the passenger side is good because it is under the oil filter.
...
Bryan Cotton
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Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtuuri View Post
You say "control arm". Do you mean "trailing arm"?
I assume he means this:
...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018
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Old 10-24-2021, 07:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Yes the front subframe under the drivers control arm. I will post a picture when I get home later this evening.
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Old 10-24-2021, 10:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Itís not bad enough that I think replacing the entire subframe makes sense. I think I can clean it all up and do a quality repair just welding in some new metal. What you guys think?
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Old 10-24-2021, 10:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Hereís a picture
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

There's 3-4 layers of metal there to weld to, not just 1.

I think that looks as good as it does because someone took a can of "Rust-Be-Gone" to it within the last couple years.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

I sprayed it tonight just because I didn’t want it to get worse. But other than surface rust it wasn’t bad except right in the front of the hole under the control arm. The rest of the control arm is solid and is at most only surface rust.
I’d imagine finding a good subframe in Missouri would be challenging. We have a fair amount of rust issues.
I think my plan would be grind out the bad section and weld on each side of the control arm (vertically) then weld two pieces on each side and then one big piece to connect the whole thing together.
[ ]
___ ___
___________

Basically like above if that makes sense.
Id imagine if I did it this way it would be as strong as brand new or more so.
The rest of the subframe is very decent so I don’t want to give up on it. Since most Saturns are rusty piles around here. I’d like to repair it and then look around for a clean one from down south that maybe I could go pick up on a weekend or something and replace at my leisure.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Pretend the above example is centered. The forum keeps un centering it. 🤷*♂️
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:34 AM   #11
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Hey
On my 99 sc2 I took heavy piece of steel , and clamped it in place the welded it up. Has worked for several years now no issue.
Although eventually will need subframe replacement
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

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Hey
On my 99 sc2 I took heavy piece of steel , and clamped it in place the welded it up. Has worked for several years now no issue.
Although eventually will need subframe replacement
same area I assume?
Probably similar to what I plan on doing. Glad it seems to have worked for you.
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Yes,
Has been several years, annual inspection; and wheel alignment. Has not been an issue, but I do a visual at each oil change interval.
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ccrussell View Post
Yes,
Has been several years, annual inspection; and wheel alignment. Has not been an issue, but I do a visual at each oil change interval.
At the expense of being a burden do you happen to have a picture of your repair? Iíd love to see it if itís not to much trouble.
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

Hey,
Sorry havenít been here in awhile.
I am terrible at posting photos here. My patch was below the control arm. I took
a piece of 1/4 in plate perhaps 8 inches long. Clamped it in place and mig welded in place to the subframe. Then painted with brush on rust oleum.
Newyork state inspection has said nothing about it at each yearly inspection.
Car has been aligned, tires are wearing normally, and car tracks and brakes as it should.
If I keep this car it will get a ďnewĒ subframe at some point.
Still love these cars, but due to other obligations I have less time now and am thinning the herd. (May just buy a new hybrid for my daily and focus on vintage cars as a hobby.)
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Old 11-28-2021, 11:50 AM   #16
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Default Re: Repairing subframe

A repair may be worthwhile; particularly if plan to obsolete car in a couple years. A nice opportunity to fix temporarily on vehicle...

My experience with both welding repairs, and protective coating measures,
is that if there is significant localized deterioration, the remainder is in jeopardy, or soon will be. My current ride <2000SW> has a subframe in very similar condition ... but looking more like the photo Waiex posted, with the garish coloration that suggests varied oxidation states, here and there.

I bought a 'southern' subframe which had travelled to my area (L.I., NY).
My car was raised in New Jersey, probably garage first 13 years. My replacement southern subframe had a 3/32" coating of clay dust, suggesting
it came from Southeast, Carolinas/Georgia. I cleaned & painted it 2 years ago. When i replaced a front wheel bearing last week, I assessed that
both the struts and control arms would be replaced with the subframe
next spring/summer.

In 2008 I bought a local, used L.I. subframe which had a couple of
"blisters" of incipient rust on bottom near control arm attachment, otherwise
quite clean, without the exfoliation demonstrated in Waiex photo. After painting inside and out, the subframe remained in fine/rustless condition
until the car was transferred in 2018.

When there's exfoliation, we are seeing the layers in grain structure imparted
by the rolling mill when the sheet was first formed. Corrosion at that extent
can't be repaired, only cut out and replaced.

Any repair that affords time to find (or build) a replacement, is a good job.
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