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Old 08-19-2021, 04:46 PM #1
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Question 3rd Gen - Frame Rust Questions

Hello! I have been looking at threads on this community for a few weeks now as I am thinking about picking up a '99 3rd gen from a family member in the next couple weeks. It's a great price with relatively low miles (250,000 kms), though I live in Alberta so this thing's seen many winters and lots of road salt.

Just wanted to get anyone's take on the frame rust here. To me it looks like just a nice chunky layer of surface rust. I banged on it with a screwdriver and it seems solid. Any input would help, thanks so much!
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Old 08-19-2021, 05:31 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdGen4R View Post
Hello! I have been looking at threads on this community for a few weeks now as I am thinking about picking up a '99 3rd gen from a family member in the next couple weeks. It's a great price with relatively low miles (250,000 kms), though I live in Alberta so this thing's seen many winters and lots of road salt.

Just wanted to get anyone's take on the frame rust here. To me it looks like just a nice chunky layer of surface rust. I banged on it with a screwdriver and it seems solid. Any input would help, thanks so much!
Make sure you really check the INBOARD weld seam of those rear lower trailing arm mounts. Also I'd consider banging on things with a hammer.

As long as the price is right and there's no penetrating rust, could be OK.
But it really depends on some combination of:

1. Price
2. Use (daily driver, only vehicle, off road toy, farm truck)
3. Length of ownership (get you through the next 3 years? keep forever?)
4. How much work you are able/willing to put into it?
5. How much time/money/effort before you wish you bought a different vehicle?

EDIT: you can check out my build thread (link in my signature) to find a photo of the common problem spot.
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Old 08-19-2021, 05:48 PM #3
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Thanks cl4Rk, I'll see if I can check that out sometime. The price really is unbeatable ($3-3.5k CDN) so that's really why I'm considering it. It would be my daily driver, though I don't actually drive daily (work from home and all that) - probably 5-10k kilometers per year max. Also I'd probably just keep it until it dies, whenever that may be. Also fine with putting some money into it upfront (there's some other issues that need fixing) given the affordable purchase cost.

Really love your red 4R btw !
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Old 08-19-2021, 06:07 PM #4
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Thanks cl4Rk, I'll see if I can check that out sometime. The price really is unbeatable ($3-3.5k CDN) so that's really why I'm considering it. It would be my daily driver, though I don't actually drive daily (work from home and all that) - probably 5-10k kilometers per year max. Also I'd probably just keep it until it dies, whenever that may be. Also fine with putting some money into it upfront (there's some other issues that need fixing) given the affordable purchase cost.

Really love your red 4R btw !
Thanks!

Hopefully some more people will weigh in. I suspect anyone from Canada or the US Midwest or Northeast will think this looks OK, and anyone from the US South or West will say walk away.

While it's hard to tell just from those two photos, if you're able/willing to do the work of rust mitigation/prevention, and understand that most fasteners will break upon removal attempts, and anytime you work on the truck you'll often end up replacing more parts than you expected, you'll probably be just fine.

If you don't know how to weld, maybe it's time to start a new hobby? Then you'd be well equipped to tackle the eventual frame repairs.

Either way, best of luck!
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Old 08-19-2021, 06:22 PM #5
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Assuming that she still structurally solid, I would first try to deactivate the rust that is present, maybe sand some of it off, and then repaint the frame. I use summit racing enamel chassis paint and it's worked well so far!

Note that there are a couple of companies out there that make internal spray paint cans for chassis and frames, basically a rattle can with a long tube with a sprayer at the end. I used that combined with a broom handle with some rags soaked in alcohol to fix a bit of rust in that "tube" above the rear axle.

Alcohol soaked rags to clean out the area, pushed gunk out. Then I stopped one side full of a bit of towel and ran the tube back and forth spraying very generously. I can't remember the brand, but there's one that has black and then like this neon kind of pastel green.

Anyway, maybe see if there's some kind of rust neutralizer that you could spray inside of the frame just to make sure it's good. Although I would make sure it was totally dry before applying paint inside
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Old 08-19-2021, 10:52 PM #6
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As an Ohioan this is average for me to see but it's looking pretty rough. As others said, try to poke it with a screwdriver again on other spots (especially under the frame near the bracket) and see what happens. I think "maybe" it can be grinded down to bare metal and can get some POR-15 treatment.
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Old 08-19-2021, 10:56 PM #7
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That thing looks pretty rough rust wise, but I'm also in an area where we don't know what rust even is. The low price makes me think it's worse than you think.
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Old 08-20-2021, 04:18 AM #8
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That control arm mount on my rig cracked off and barely had any surface rust.


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Old 08-20-2021, 08:10 AM #9
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3rd Gen - Frame Rust Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by 19963.4lsr5 View Post
That control arm mount on my rig cracked off and barely had any surface rust.


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@3rdGen4R ^^ this is a very good and important point.

Before you make a final decision, look at my build thread to see a photo of the inboard side of my rear lower trailing arm mount. (Link in signature.)

My frame looked about like your photos, maybe even a little better, and Iím in the middle of a frame swap.

Also spend some time searching this forum. Many people here have discussed rust and several have done frame repairs and swaps.

Bottom line, just know what youíre getting into.

Certainly youíll have a boatload of work to mitigate the rust. Some frame repair work is very likely in the near future, if not first thing.
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Old 08-22-2021, 04:16 PM #10
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Typical frame condition for the rust belt. It will most likely have thin spots. I show on my build thread ways to fix frames in sections as they rust out from the inside out.

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