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Old 11-27-2017, 03:56 AM   #1
JCMiller23
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Question Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

Hi all, and thank you for your advice and expertise in advance.

Short version: What is the worst case scenario with body/frame rust?

Long version:
I bought a '05 fedex t1n a couple months ago. Got it for cheap, but it has massive rust. You can see parts of the frame and body have already been corroded by the rust. I am planning on using a wire brush attachment on an angle grinder to get off the loose stuff then applying 3-stage POR15 (degreaser, metal prep, then the actual por15) to it. I am wondering what is the worst case scenario with body/frame rust?" Can you just weld/bolt additional supports onto the frame if the rust becomes bad enough? Granted I may have to replace a lot of rusty parts: driveshaft, differential housing, wheel parts etc., but aside from that, is there anything that will make the van kaput, beyond repair?
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:46 AM   #2
kjg912
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Default Re: Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

Well, not a T1N but I bought an old '68 912 Targa that was plenty rusty after going through a bad chemical strip. After replacing the front fenders and spending two weeks with a sandblaster and then loads of fiberglass work, it made it in daily use for sixteen more years before the rear torshion arms/rear suspension gave out! I had expected to get 6-8 years of use so driving it for 16 years was actually great! So unless the suspension or frame or other critical systems are in danger, run it for all you can! I've dealt with minor rust and have dealt with some with POR under the front windshield of my '06, but just be careful with major rust to cables, brake lines, electrical and frame components!
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Old 11-27-2017, 02:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

Be like Vic. Run it until you can see the asphalt going past under your feet.
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Old 11-27-2017, 04:55 PM   #4
sprint2freedom
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Default Re: Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

Eventually it will rust through and fail catastrophically, but most of the structural areas have a fair amount of metal. When you can poke it with a screwdriver and watch big chunks fall off it's serious.

At some point major rust becomes a terminal condition, and you're stuck with "condition management"- just trying to delay the inevitable.

Clean it up as best you can then get some of this stuff, crawl underneath the van and spray it everywhere that you'd like to slow progression of rust:
https://www.amazon.com/CRC-06026-Hea.../dp/B0000AXYA0

It goes on as a liquid but dries into a yellow waxy coating. Wear a respirator and clothes you don't mind ruining.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:02 AM   #5
JCMiller23
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Default Re: Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

But why does it have to be a terminal condition? What do you guys think of welding additional steel supports on like this guy did?

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Old 11-28-2017, 06:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

Unibody vehicles are a bit different than the frame construction of trucks and some vans. The entire body is thinner, and carries some of the loading. This is both good and bad. For heavy spot rusting (kicking it and crap fall off) there is usually not much change to structural integrity on the unibody if these spots are not common. This assumes that the rust problem is not at the suspension hard points. On a frame vehicle, rust like this on the frame members is serious. Even smaller patches with rust through on the frame can cause issues.


Assuming the suspension mounts/hard points as well as the engine and trans mounts are solid, you can have an amazing amount of rust on the unibody van and still have it be okay to use. The real problem can happen if you get bad rust inside a major body seam. The spot welds or adhesive can be compromised, and the vehicle can split the seam.
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Old 11-28-2017, 06:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Massive Rust, Worst Case Scenario?

If you could strip it down and have the underbody sand blasted that would be your best bet. You will be under there for days with a wire wheel. My father runs a rust repair business in the PNW and I have see some ridiculous things come in, both rusted beyond belief or spotty repairs over rusted out parts...

If you want the van to last another decade you need to be sure you strip everything you can to clean metal. The por15 is a great product to use but everything must be clean.
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