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Old 03-06-2020, 10:26 PM #1
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Question for Northerners about rust

Hello all, I've finally got my 15 posts so I can start a new thread,lol. Just have a question that's been on my mind for quite awhile. We all know the effects of salt on metal and we know the roads get salted every time it snows. What do people up north do to protect their vehicles against this? Or is it just an impossible task? About a year ago I bought a 95 Wrangler from a guy in Ohio for parts to use on the 88 I had at the time, (I now have an 05 T4R), and it was absolutely eaten up with rust. Living in SC we get very little snow; sometimes it might be 2 or 3 years without any significant snow. But when it does and I have to drive on the salted roads I can't wait for it to be gone so I can clean up my vehicle. I go to the drive through car wash that has the high pressure undercarriage spray to try to make sure all the salt is gone. I'm thinking if I lived up north I'd do this every time it snowed. Would that be enough to keep from having a rust bucket or is it just a foregone conclusion that all vehicles in that climate are going to rust? Just wonder how people live knowing that their vehicles are slowing heading to a rusty death.
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:32 PM #2
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Theres not much you can do. The newer frames are coated better, but older vehicles there is nothing you can do

There are months where the roads are salted every day/ multiple times a day or it doesnt rain/ clear from the road. There are also limited car washing options when it is below freezing every day.

You do the best you can to hose off the undercarriage when able

You kinda live with knowing that if you drive the vehicle in the winter, eventually itll rust out.
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:47 PM #3
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Fluid film
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Old 03-06-2020, 10:48 PM #4
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Originally Posted by Syr4RinNC View Post
Theres not much you can do. The newer frames are coated better, but older vehicles there is nothing you can do

There are months where the roads are salted every day/ multiple times a day or it doesnt rain/ clear from the road. There are also limited car washing options when it is below freezing every day.

You do the best you can to hose off the undercarriage when able

You kinda live with knowing that if you drive the vehicle in the winter, eventually itll rust out.
That's rough. As much as vehicles cost now that's gotta be painful. I guess I should be thankful I live where I do and stop complaining about the heat, humidity and mosquitoes. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:16 PM #5
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Originally Posted by Syr4RinNC View Post
Theres not much you can do. The newer frames are coated better, but older vehicles there is nothing you can do

There are months where the roads are salted every day/ multiple times a day or it doesnt rain/ clear from the road. There are also limited car washing options when it is below freezing every day.

You do the best you can to hose off the undercarriage when able

You kinda live with knowing that if you drive the vehicle in the winter, eventually itll rust out.
have to disagree with this... there absolutely is a lot you can do to prevent rust in winter climates. fluid film or many other brands are a spray on waxy/oily film that protects the undercarriage. or you can coat it with a high quality paint to add extra protection to the weak factory coating on 4th gens.

you can also wash it periodically regardless of temps. i live in the upper midwest where it gets VERY cold & can snow 2 or 3 times a week... all car washes in climates like this have either heated water to use year round or the nicer car washes have heated bays or doors to close & function year round... people wash their cars here when its 0*f! granted the water will freeze when you pull out of the bay, but its better than brown salty ice chunks sticking to your wheel wells & frame etc.

so yes, wash it as needed & consider a spray on protector product if you live in an area that salts the roads.
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:02 PM #6
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Sadly these things seem to rust from the inside out. A coworker has had his 05 since new. He tells me he always washed underneath and had the inside of the frame oiled yearly. Guess what, last year he had to have the frame patched because of rust, he was dumbfounded because of all the precautions he had done. Living in the rust belt it is my opinion that the best you can do is slow the rust down but is inevitable at some point. Some frames seem to be more susceptible than others.
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Old 03-08-2020, 12:24 PM #7
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Originally Posted by MikeinNH67 View Post
Sadly these things seem to rust from the inside out. A coworker has had his 05 since new. He tells me he always washed underneath and had the inside of the frame oiled yearly. Guess what, last year he had to have the frame patched because of rust, he was dumbfounded because of all the precautions he had done. Living in the rust belt it is my opinion that the best you can do is slow the rust down but is inevitable at some point. Some frames seem to be more susceptible than others.
that is not the norm by any means. i dont doubt it happened but there was something else at play there. maybe all the washing kept the inside wet & contributed to the rust? some 4runners are off roaded pretty hard & go swimming through deep mud puddles etc, no washing or oiling will protect against that kind of abuse. not saying your friend did that, but its not normal for these to rust that bad that fast... & i live in northern iowa with some of the worst weather & road salting in the country.

there are hundreds of thousands of 4th gen 4runners on the road in winter climates that dont have holes in the frame or need patching or are rusting that bad from the inside out that fast. mine is from this area with ~150k miles & while it did have some failing factory coating & heavy surface rust, the frame is still 99% solid & no signs of heavy scaling or pitting rust inside the frame.

my post was mainly to say there is definitely somethings that can be done to help with or greatly stop rust. but i also agree that some frames were neglected or had other outside things make them rust worse than the large majority of others.
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Old 03-08-2020, 06:00 PM #8
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Originally Posted by firebirdguy View Post
that is not the norm by any means. i dont doubt it happened but there was something else at play there. maybe all the washing kept the inside wet & contributed to the rust? some 4runners are off roaded pretty hard & go swimming through deep mud puddles etc, no washing or oiling will protect against that kind of abuse. not saying your friend did that, but its not normal for these to rust that bad that fast... & i live in northern iowa with some of the worst weather & road salting in the country.

there are hundreds of thousands of 4th gen 4runners on the road in winter climates that dont have holes in the frame or need patching or are rusting that bad from the inside out that fast. mine is from this area with ~150k miles & while it did have some failing factory coating & heavy surface rust, the frame is still 99% solid & no signs of heavy scaling or pitting rust inside the frame.

my post was mainly to say there is definitely somethings that can be done to help with or greatly stop rust. but i also agree that some frames were neglected or had other outside things make them rust worse than the large majority of others.
I don't think his truck has ever been off road except for the occasional dirt road. He's not the type. He did do all he thought he could do to keep rust away. I don't know why some rust and some don't but obviously it happens often enough and going above and beyond doesn't always keep it away. Maybe it's the brine crap they put on the road here. Mine had to be patched in several places, it had the factory black goop on it but it's not as bad as some of the pics I see here.
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Old 03-08-2020, 08:00 PM #9
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I don't think his truck has ever been off road except for the occasional dirt road. He's not the type. He did do all he thought he could do to keep rust away. I don't know why some rust and some don't but obviously it happens often enough and going above and beyond doesn't always keep it away. Maybe it's the brine crap they put on the road here. Mine had to be patched in several places, it had the factory black goop on it but it's not as bad as some of the pics I see here.
yes that brine stuff is horrible for cars. they've been using that for at least 10+ years here along with the sand/salt mix. ive only owned my 4runner for 1 year, but had a jeep cherokee for almost 15 years that started to rust out the rockers in the last 3-4 years but otherwise the frame & floor were solid as could be. my sister has a 02 highlander with almost 200k that's a daily driver & is very neglected, i was under it the other day looking at a bad rear strut & noticed right away how rust free the whole frame & floor & suspension parts were, factory black coating fully intact & only some bolt heads & smaller parts were surface rusted. newer 4 runners & tacomas should not be rustier than older highlanders!

Last edited by firebirdguy; 03-09-2020 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:02 AM #10
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One product you may want to look into is POR-15. It takes quite some prep, but it should work good and it's permanent (i.e. doesn't need to be re-applied).

I bought my 4Runner from Wisconsin and it has some surface rust. My plan over the summer is to drop various shields/covers from underneath and exhaust, then use wire wheel and various tools to remove loose rust/paint, clean it up well, use rust converter that comes with POR-15, and then finally coat it with POR-15. It won't stop 100% of the rust, but it will slow it down significantly.
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:19 AM #11
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One product you may want to look into is POR-15. It takes quite some prep, but it should work good and it's permanent (i.e. doesn't need to be re-applied).

I bought my 4Runner from Wisconsin and it has some surface rust. My plan over the summer is to drop various shields/covers from underneath and exhaust, then use wire wheel and various tools to remove loose rust/paint, clean it up well, use rust converter that comes with POR-15, and then finally coat it with POR-15. It won't stop 100% of the rust, but it will slow it down significantly.
This. Combine a "permanent" coating like POR-15 or Chassis Saver and then periodically use one of the oil treatments. Fluid Film seems to be highly recommended. There's a guy in the 3rd gen section who swears by plain old WD-40, I believe he has a very high mileage one that's been in the rust belt it's whole life and the frame still looks fantastic.

The sooner you can get around to removing and preventing, the better. Start with as clean of a frame as you can.
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Old 03-09-2020, 02:47 PM #12
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I guess WD-40 could work since it displaces water, but would have to probably apply it often.
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Old 03-09-2020, 03:48 PM #13
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ive only owned my 4runner for 1 year, but had a jeep cherokee for almost 15 years that started to rust out the rockers in the last 3-4 years but otherwise the frame & floor were solid as could be. !
That's funny, I'm in a similar boat. Had the Runner for a bit over a year. Moved over from a 99 Cherokee that I owned for many years. The rockers disappeared years ago. I replaced the floor twice in that time, eventually found water was seeping under the rug from the fan vent over the firewall. Great Chrysler setup as there was no drain on the passenger side so it filled up and drained into the car. I added one and no more water came in. The frame on that truck had more new metal welded on than old, always rusting from the inside out. Kicker is that the 88 cherokee and 93 grand I had before never had this sort of rot. That was my 4th and last Jeep.

As for POR-15, it certainly has it's uses but how do you clean and get it into the crevices inside the frame? Mustie1 on YT lives in this area, he swears by bar & chain oil I think (or maybe ATF?). He heats it and sprays it inside all the places that can collect crap. Lastly, Fluid Film....the jury is still out on that one for me. I had the Runner sprayed everywhere underneath in the fall after I removed all the scale. It looks like it all washed off so not impressed so far.
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Old 03-09-2020, 04:48 PM #14
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That's funny, I'm in a similar boat. Had the Runner for a bit over a year. Moved over from a 99 Cherokee that I owned for many years. The rockers disappeared years ago. I replaced the floor twice in that time, eventually found water was seeping under the rug from the fan vent over the firewall. Great Chrysler setup as there was no drain on the passenger side so it filled up and drained into the car. I added one and no more water came in. The frame on that truck had more new metal welded on than old, always rusting from the inside out. Kicker is that the 88 cherokee and 93 grand I had before never had this sort of rot. That was my 4th and last Jeep.

As for POR-15, it certainly has it's uses but how do you clean and get it into the crevices inside the frame? Mustie1 on YT lives in this area, he swears by bar & chain oil I think (or maybe ATF?). He heats it and sprays it inside all the places that can collect crap. Lastly, Fluid Film....the jury is still out on that one for me. I had the Runner sprayed everywhere underneath in the fall after I removed all the scale. It looks like it all washed off so not impressed so far.
thats cool you had a cherokee too. i owned my 98 for 15 years, bought it with 70k miles & sold it at 200k still running & driving great. it was the most reliable vehicle i have ever owned & better than any of my family & friends have owned. in 15 years i replaced the alternator & a $75 radiator when the original started to leak. besides new pads & 1 set of front rotors & other normal wear items like shocks, muffler, plugs & maybe 1 O2 sensor, nothing else ever went bad. & i towed a lot with it too. the rockers started to bubble about 5 or 6 years ago at 150k miles but i tried to keep up on them with rust preventer & paint until there was holes, but the rest of the body, floors & frame were solid, frame & all underside suspension was heavily surface rusted & started to pit in many areas, but still solid metal. never had a floor water issue so im sure that helped. for the price i paid & the price nowadays, they are great little SUV's.

ive used POR 15 quite a bit & while it is good for what its intended for, i would suggest following instructions carefully & only apply it to surfaces that are rusted metal, it is not designed to be applied over existing paint like the factory black coating. POR stands for "paint over rust", meaning clean or wire wheeled rusty metal. ive seen it flake & peel off of smooth bare metal that wasnt prepped right with an etcher & even clean sand blasted metal & previously painted surfaces. i would suggest a high quality paint or epoxy paint if you're going to be covering the factory black paint, you can use por 15 for rusted areas like the weld seams that always rust first or areas that have had the coating removed or rusted away. also remember por15 is not UV resistant, it turns a weird greyish uneven color after a year or so if exposed to any sunlight, & the underside does get reflected sunlight during the summer. por does make a top coat but the price for everything is not cost effective, especially if 90% of the frame has the factory coating, using a good quality paint works best in my experience.
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