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Old 02-20-2009, 06:21 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 201855
Join Date: Feb 2009
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland, OR
2002 Outback Sport

Default Rusty East Coast Impreza

(Moderators, please feel free to move this post if in the wrong spot.)

Hey folks.

Newbie here so bear with me...

I bought an '02 outback sport back in April; my first Subaru. Bought it from a friend back in Mass. (I'm in Portland, OR) and the thing has rust from the east coast salt. Was wondering what I should be worried about and what is just surface rust.

Probably a variety of issues and answers so I will try to break it down (Body is in good shape - in fact 90% of it was just repainted due to the shippers dripping something on it and leaving etched spots everywhere):
  1. Front brake calipers have surface rust - just looks crappy. Maybe take off wheels and wire brush the caliper body? Should I paint them with a flat silver paint, some sort of clear coat, or just scrub?
  2. Rear brake drum - same as front. Some rust spots. Scrap/wire brush and paint flat black to match?
  3. Engine - ouch! Just looks a mess but don't think there is much I can do. What really worries me is hose clamps. Many are obviously beyond surface rust - looks like they are decaying. (Sorry, maybe I'll take some pics tomorrow and post to help.) Should I just replace hoses and the clamps or is this overkill? (FYI - I'm at 62,000. Just did oil and filter, want to get around to doing the rest of the 60,000 check-up myself but am a learning newbie). Or leave hoses if they look OK and just buy and replace clamps? I don't want a clamp failing at the wrong time and blowing a hose off. Feel silly asking, but are hose clamps easy to replace? They all look like they are different styles (some look like you need some sort of a spreader tool to install, others screw a spreader apart. Do I want different clamps for different applications?
OK, I'll leave it at that for now. I babbled on enough and fell like I am sounding like an idiot. Just would like to do what I can to purdey up the car and also make sure it is reliable.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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Last edited by CBpdx; 02-20-2009 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 02-20-2009, 07:13 PM   #2
grippy monkey
Scooby Guru
Member#: 131067
Join Date: Nov 2006
Chapter/Region: SCIC
Location: LAX
your "stance"


basically it's going to come down to alot of sanding and grinding for the surface rust... if you have any holes you are going to need to weld. Everything is going to need to be covered back up with paint. In the case of your calipers I would buy a caliper specific paint after your brushed the rust down.
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:14 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 126339
Join Date: Sep 2006
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Tampa, FL
2003 WRX Wagon


I lived in the rust belt of NY for almost 30 years and have seen and owned my fair share of rusty vehicles. Pretty much the best thing you can do is wash the car (especially all the undercarriage) as best as you can to get any salt out of the crevices. Simple green on the engine will also help clean it up some.

If there's any rust on the body, it's good to sand to clean metal and paint so the rust doesn't spread. The hose clamps should be fine if it's only a little surface rust, but if you flex them and they "crunch" and don't spring back then it's time to replace. The big thing to worry about is getting salt off of the brake lines and fuel lines. If salt stays on them too long and isn't washed off, it rusts through and they burst... but usually only after 10+ years of salt and neglect.

As far as cosmetics and painting other parts, that's pretty much personal preference...

Last edited by danmezz; 02-20-2009 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:24 AM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 161890
Join Date: Oct 2007
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Ohio
2003 Impreza WRX Wag
96 Impreza OBS


If there are threw hole rust spots and you clean/weld them make sure it is sealed on the back side. That way it doesn't rust from the back to the front.
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Old 02-21-2009, 11:33 AM   #5
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 203634
Join Date: Feb 2009
2009 Impreza GT
dark gray metallic

Unhappy road salting in the northwest

it looks like they are going to start salting the roads in the northwest as well. this is a huge bummer.

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Old 02-21-2009, 01:34 PM   #6
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 201855
Join Date: Feb 2009
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland, OR
2002 Outback Sport


again, this isn't body rust so I don't think any welding is in order...

So there is caliper specific paint? Will a body shop or a typical car parts place carry this?

I'll try the Simple Green on engine parts and see how that goes.

Have had some drive through washes to get the heavy winter grime off the car after coming back from the mountian. Maybe next time I'll take advantage of their underbody wash just to make sure any lingering east coast salt gets out.

Hopefully salting the roads in the NW never happens. (All that snow, ice and slush keeps the inexperienced winter weather drivers off the road when I am headed to the mountain! )
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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Member#: 759
Join Date: Jan 2000
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Warwick, RI
2004 WRX
2000 SV650


The brake rust shouldn't be a mechanical issue, just looks ugly. Chuck a wire wheel into your drill, tape off any soft parts and give 'er hell. After I use some brake clean and apply some paint. You should be able to find some caliper paint at the car parts store, it'll hold up better. Otherwise, you can try some high-temp paint. I did my rotors with this (center section where the wheel sits, obviously not the wear surface) and they've held up well over the past year.

At 60k I'd imagine your hoses are still in good shape, give them a good look over for cracks or rot. If you don't see anything, and if they're still flexible, you should be good to go. I'd imagine that your clamps are also mechanically sound, just look bad. If you want to replace them you can just grab some standard worm-gear style at the parts store and go to town. They are usually capable of being fully backed off and spread apart, means you won't have to pull any hoses.

As others have said, some simple green (on a cold engine preferably as it'll "stain" aluminum when hot) and some regular hosing should get you in good shape. You'll find rust, it's inevitable, as long as you see only surface rust and no holes you should be set to go for a long time.

Good luck!

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Old 02-21-2009, 11:29 PM   #8
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 201855
Join Date: Feb 2009
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland, OR
2002 Outback Sport


Thanks everybody.

Thanks Nat.

I think that is the way to go with the brakes. And I probably will replce the clamps, they look a little suspect.

Now I just have to decide on a color for the calipers! (Honestly I'll probably just do a flat silver. No fun having nothing special stand out especially with drums in the back...)
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:21 PM   #9
Former Vendor
Member#: 69539
Join Date: Sep 2004
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Long Island NY
2004 wrx wagon


We offer a kit from Por15 that will help with the brake calipers...

The kit includes everything to clean and prep your calipers and with the paint provided should prevent rusty calipers...

As to your issue with clamps... Clamps are inexpensive enought to just replace them with new ones.. SS is a good choice and they are available at most autoparts stores...

Please feel free to email us with any questions.

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Old 02-25-2009, 11:30 AM   #10
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 201855
Join Date: Feb 2009
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland, OR
2002 Outback Sport



Saw some of those caliper paint kits, including the POR 15.
May have to go that route (painting calipers) maybe along with new rotors.

Need to take a closer look at the rotors and see what shape they are in - chunky rust on the edges and there are some good grooves starting. Not sure if I just need new pads or if I should get new rotors while I'm at it. It was a used car and I like starting with nice, clean, and new parts if anything is in question...
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