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Old 08-13-2009, 11:18 AM   #1
TimStevens
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Default Excessive rust on subframe - should I be concerned?

Was bleeding my brakes over the weekend when I saw this:



Here's a closer look. You can see on the right where I poked it with my finger and it crumbled:



How concerned should I be about this? I'm not familiar enough with the structure of the car to know how much this is being stressed.

This is a 2002 WRX with 115,000 miles on it. It's (obviously) been driven frequently in the winter, but I have a 1991 MR2 that was driven frequently in the winter as well and it's a million times better looking than this...
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:35 AM   #2
leecea
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If that's the big U-shaped subframe that bolts on, some people run without it. So, the car won't fall apart etc if that crumbles away. However, I'd feel like safety in a front-end collision was reduced if that was missing or fragile. If it was me, I'd be looking for a replacement and checking to see what else is rusting.

I was just remarking this weekend that my 2003 Suby is far more rusty than my 2000 Honda with double the miles. I've owned both since new and they are driven and treated the same.
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:47 AM   #3
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Thanks, that's somewhat comforting to know.

I'll need to poke around under there some more and see what else is falling to pieces. The suspension and frame bits I can see through the wheelwells seem okay other than some surface rust, but this definitely jumped out at me. I run a skidplate (which I had thought would cut down on corrosion in this area) so I can't see much of the frame up there easily.

If it just bolts in it sounds like it wouldn't be too difficult to replace, in theory (though I don't want to think what those bolts look like). Happen to know what it's called so that I can find it in a parts catalog?

:edit: Is this it?

https://www.trademotion.com/partloca...layCatalogid=0

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Old 08-13-2009, 01:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimStevens View Post
Thanks, that's somewhat comforting to know.

I'll need to poke around under there some more and see what else is falling to pieces. The suspension and frame bits I can see through the wheelwells seem okay other than some surface rust, but this definitely jumped out at me. I run a skidplate (which I had thought would cut down on corrosion in this area) so I can't see much of the frame up there easily.

If it just bolts in it sounds like it wouldn't be too difficult to replace, in theory (though I don't want to think what those bolts look like). Happen to know what it's called so that I can find it in a parts catalog?

:edit: Is this it?

https://www.trademotion.com/partloca...layCatalogid=0

Yes, thats it.

The thought of what the bolts might look like is scary...good luck getting them out!
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:33 PM   #5
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Thanks, will try to find one, and will probably try a few of those bolts before I order anything.

Sometimes I want to move south
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Old 08-13-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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I'd seriously consider getting rid of the car and getting something less rusty. I'd do a survey first though. See how bad it is. Normally the visible rust is just the tip of the iceberg. If it's just the subframe, you can replace it..hopefully. I see the LCA's are looking pretty rusty too as are the axles.

I keep a pretty close eye on my car and "POR-15" anything that starts rusting before it goes too far. Subaru's seem pretty vulnerable to salt, as you said moreso than many other cars.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:16 PM   #7
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That's a good idea. Maybe I should invest in some POR 15 before mine gets too bad.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:20 PM   #8
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Group buy?






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Old 08-13-2009, 04:45 PM   #9
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wow...crazy rust there.

you mentioned you have a skid plate. is it aluminum?

my metalurgy and science is hazy but does steel not oxidize when in constant contact with aluminum? alu speeds up the oxidation of the steel? cathode..anode...( I feel like I'm in one of those bing search commercials)

is that why the subframe is all messed up?
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:49 PM   #10
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It is indeed alu. You think that'd have something to do with it? I would have thought that would only affect the area that's actually making contact with the skidplate... but I have no idea.
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:13 PM   #11
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^^ I think it might. It wouldn't affect the area in contact but the entire outside surface of the steel. That is my understanding.

I'm sure some smart dude will chime in soon.

you know you can prob pick up a cheap used subframe locally, repaint it and slap it on.

If I were you I would repaint the strut housing...it looks like its starting to rust real bad. Also your brake line areas.
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:18 PM   #12
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Hrm, not exactly how I wanted to spend a day... spraypainting the underbody. But you're probably right.

Do you recommend POR 15 too, or something else? Is going to town with rattlecan Rustoleum worth the effort?
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:34 PM   #13
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never tried por-15 but did research on it before when looking at coatings. I only know what their website says. Maybe pm a user who has used it before?

they seem to have a good product, a google and search here it seems ppl to like it.

they make diff coatings, and are not terribly expensive imo.

I don't have much experience with coatings and paints so cant give you real opinions. Check out lowes and homedepot. They have a bunch of "rust" spray paints....some you dont even need to prep or clean. We don't get much rust here in southern cal.

other thing I painted on my car was my strut housings when doing koni inserts. I painted them with regular black rustoleum hammered finish spray paint with very very minimal prep work. Holding up fine, no chipping or flaking, only slight rust where the spring touches the lower perch. been 3-4 yrs....but again in super dry weather.
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastwrx25 View Post
wow...crazy rust there.

you mentioned you have a skid plate. is it aluminum?

my metalurgy and science is hazy but does steel not oxidize when in constant contact with aluminum? alu speeds up the oxidation of the steel? cathode..anode...( I feel like I'm in one of those bing search commercials)

is that why the subframe is all messed up?
I thought that when aluminum and steel were connected, it was the aluminum that became the sacrificial anode
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:12 PM   #15
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I would pull the subframe, crawl under there, and really assess the situation. Especially regarding your control arms. If those break, you die.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:02 PM   #16
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The control arms aren't that bad (relatively). It's just surface rust at this point, but if there is a paint solution folks recommend I wouldn't mind giving 'em a coating of it.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:51 PM   #17
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I have an aluminum skid plate too. Not noticed any additional rust. For some reason the paint fell off that part and the salt and warm weather took care of the rest. Exposed metal will rust. Period. That's right under the master cylinder isn't it? How's the other side look? I wonder if you've been dripping brake fluid or spilled it and didn't clean it and that did in the paint.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:01 PM   #18
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WARNING!!!! Front Wishbone RUST!! 02-WRX ONLY 71k miles!!!

I would worry more about the lower wishbone in your first picture. As the wishbone sweeps forward in the picture you can see where they welded the front part of it onto the back. My front part of the wishbone completely rusted through and it COLLAPSED today backing down the driveway!! I was lucky it didn't happen on the highway I would have been on. Yes I live in Syracuse NY but my MAZDA-323 that had 223k miles on never had this type of rust.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:06 PM   #19
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Whoa! Do you have any pictures of that!?

Glad you're okay and, yeah, that it happened in your driveway.
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:10 PM   #20
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I've seen other reports of the welds letting go in the steel control arms where it goes to the front bushings. Rust is the devil.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:53 PM   #21
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Scary.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:42 AM   #22
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I went for an inspection today and failed due to my sub frame rust as well. It looks just as bad as yours.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:46 AM   #23
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Wow, failed inspection!? Gah, this is distressing.

I see you have an 02 as well. Are all the GD cars this bad, or did Subaru do something about it?

After having a helluva time removing the bumper bar recently thanks to weld nuts snapping off inside the frame I'm really reluctant to attempt to remove this, for fear of it turning into a giant ordeal.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:51 AM   #24
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^I hope I can install a new sub frame when I get one. I was considering removing the sub frame then trying a different place to get a sticker .

Yes mine is also a 2002 with the exact same mileage as yours.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:03 AM   #25
TimStevens
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Hell, I'll bet if you spray-painted it black and went to another shop you'd pass. The paint would probably last about three days

If you do remove it let me know if you have any issues due to the rust. I'd still like to remove mine, but rusty bolts and I don't get along.
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