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Old 10-31-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
dlapham
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Default Rust

I do not see a tech section for body components, so I am guessing at suspension. Please point me in the right direction if there is a better place for this post..

So I have a dilemma. I purchased my dream car late last year for 10k. It was an 04 STi in seemingly great shape that used oil. Knowing it could be ring land failure I bought it anyway. It failed a leakdown on cyl 4, so we built it for longevity with stock heads and cam, but cosworth pistons and bearings, and balanced the rotating internals. We also did a downpipe, JDM tgv blanks, grimspeed 3 port boost control solenoid, equal length headers, and a mild and safe tune, stock cat back (if it had a cat), wideband o2 and gauge. The car runs great, and is a very awesome daily driver...

Now the bad part. When it was on the lift, I noticed undercarriage rust in the rear. I then made plans to wire brush and treat it with rust inhibitor next time I was at my dads shop in Oklahoma.. Well when the time came it got worse. The we knocked holes in the rear floor pan, as it is rusted through in spots, and the rocker panels are also full of cancer. Since this is structural, safety is the biggest concern. The rest of the car is rust free, just between the rear axel and the front of the back doors. I took it by Kelly Subaru here in Chattanooga today, and they quoted me $5200.00 with no warranty, and the possibility of more $$ once they get in.. The last thing I need is a money pit, and I can't sell it to a private buyer with a clear conscience, so I am not sure what I should do. My immediate plan is to get more quotes on replacing the floor pan and rockers. Otherwise the car is awesome. I had thought about getting getting a good wrb RS or WRX body, but I don't have the space to do the parts swap myself, and I am pretty sure it would cost a lot to pay someone. My dad could do it, but I still have to find a clean body for little $$, which seems impossible.

One more thing, the previous owner swapped the cluster, so I told them the story when I titled it, so my title says "incorrect mileage" or some such thing, which may prevent me from dumping it on a dealer as a trade.

I am now looking at either risking it and paying to fix it, or find someone doing an STi swap that would want a car they could test drive, then part out. I hate to see it end that way, but just don't know. Yes this is stupid tax for not checking it out more before I bought it.. Any ideas?


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Last edited by dlapham; 10-31-2013 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Adding Pictures
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:06 PM   #2
Bikelok
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I think this should be in Service & Maintenance.

Anyway, perhaps have a very reputable body shop (or two, or three of them) give you a quote. I'm sure they would not charge as much as a dealer.

It also sounds like you already have put a good amount of work into the car and it now has a good motor.

If I were in your situation, I'd try to repair the rust. If that's to cost prohibitive, then I'd find a good body to swap the drivetrain into. You can find solid cars with blown motors fairly reasonably priced.

Good luck.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:45 PM   #3
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wow that first pic looks like someone went at it with bad jack placement a few too many times and never fixed it.

Hmm I would get some more quotes and see which is the most reasonable with the best warranty on their work and at the same time shop for an RS or maybe a wrx with a blown motor. Compare the cost of the 2 and the decide what to do. The thing that would be at the back of mind is that the rust would eventually come back if the welds arent the best in spots. We do live in the south so not too bad on the underside of the car.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:59 PM   #4
dlapham
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Thank you both for the advice. Yeah, that was actually where the notches are for proper lift or jack placement. We caused some of that because there is no metal left, so it just crushed under the lift pad.
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:06 PM   #5
Dmochowski
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Quote:
Thank you both for the advice. Yeah, that was actually where the notches are for proper lift or jack placement. We caused some of that because there is no metal left, so it just crushed under the lift pad.
wow thats bad when the body cant support the car!
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Old 10-31-2013, 10:39 PM   #6
antnygee
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Forester swap!
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
bobko
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Default Flood?

I wonder if this car was in a flood and water got trapped inside panels. There's no way to know at this point, but I would not expect that sort of rust (especially the rocker panel) from a 2004 car in the southern US. I'm in Virginia and they salt the roads here, and my 1995 Legacy's undercarriage is in MUCH better shape than what those photos show.

I'm also suspicious about the instrument pod being swapped. I suspect that this car was in a flood (possibly with sea water) and was totaled by an insurance company. Someone bought it with a salvage title, cleaned it up and shipped it to a state where it could be street titled. Even repairing the under carriage, the rest of the chassis may be a case of corrosion waiting to show its ugly face.

I know that you REALLY don't want to hear this, but my suggestion is to buy a solid car with a blown engine and swap the engine. Use the parts from your car (seats, stereo, interior bits, etc.) to fix it up the way you want. That's the only way to end up with a car that has a future.

Good luck!

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Old 11-04-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
dlapham
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Thank you Bob. I thought the same at first, and that makes a lot of sense, but here is the thing. The front and back of the car is rust free. Even the exhaust and hangers and anchors are rust free in the back and front. Upon close inspection, it appears that Subaru failed to rust coat this one section of the car. The car fax is full of history and there is nothing of a total, or any damage on the tiles record at all.

I unfortunately underexposed these pictures, but you can get the idea of no rust front and back. This includes the body, not just suspension and drivetrain.


Last edited by dlapham; 11-04-2013 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Add Pictures
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:18 PM   #9
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It looks like something caustic got on there to me. We don't have flood damaged cars here, per se, so not sure if its seawater. FWIW, my 2000 Olds looked like this but only after 12 years and 185k miles of Canadian roads with no rustproofing. If I were you, I'd fix it up cheap and get rid of it and start again. Expensive I know, but any rust on a car tells me the owner was negligent and it won't last as long as it could've.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:18 PM   #10
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If the car is truly untouched, meaning not a salvage, flood, wreck, and so-forth, I'm really wondering if someone sprayed undercoating or similar into the rocker panels, thus clogging the drain-holes, and this is the end result?

I've seen this many, many years ago when undercoating and other rust-proofing materials were very popular. They would spray inside rocker-panels and doors and effectively clog the drain-holes, and this was the end result: rust-through.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:42 AM   #11
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To give an update: We just finished building "subframe connectors" from 4130 thick walled chromolly tubing. It adds a little weight, but makes the car safe and the chassis noticeably stiffer. The car is now safe. Now to neutralize the rust.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:49 AM   #12
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Impressed! Please post some pics
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:52 PM   #13
dlapham
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It took me forever to get some pictures from under the car. Yes I know the welds don't look pretty, but they hold well. Welding to a rusty car is tough. Still it is much safer than prior.
Front right:


Center Right:


Rear Left:
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:05 AM   #14
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does the car show any other signs of having been wrecked??
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:49 AM   #15
dlapham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
does the car show any other signs of having been wrecked??
None at all.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlapham View Post
None at all.
that first pic looks like it got wrecked right there
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:54 AM   #17
dlapham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
that first pic looks like it got wrecked right there
That is where the lift crushed it when we attempted to lift the car. We didn't know how bad the rust was at the time.

The problem is that undercoating was thin or non existent over a 3 to 4 foot front to back section of the car. It isn't damaged, just not there. I have contacted Subaru about this long ago and they aren't interested.

Last edited by dlapham; 07-27-2014 at 09:00 AM.
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