Hoondavan
Hoondavan HalfDork
4/15/21 12:51 p.m.

Advice Needed:  Some of the frame rust on this jeep has been repaired.  It has more rust, and I'm not sure what to do with it.  Help me decide what's next. 

Options:

  1. Sell it as-is at a discount to someone who will likely fix & flip it.
  2. Buy the complete trialing arm frame section & fix the frame.

SWMBO bought this Jeep about the same time I bought my E30, ~3 years ago.  It was cheap for a reason.  If I had seen it I would have said "no way"...which wouldn't have really mattered.  I objected to her last vehicle (Bronco) because of the rust...but it was cheap, well maintained and the mechanics and frame were solid.  The frame of this jeep is not solid. 

For a few months she spent time working on it with her friends, who have a huge garage and liked playing with Jeeps. I had my own project & she didn’t want me touching the Jeep.  They welded new frame boxes around the skidplate mounts and (possibly) the rear trailing arm mount.  Most repair kits include both trailing arm mounts, and I'm sure if they actually did replace the lower mount.  Also, the torque boxes & body mounts are mostly shot.  Torque boxes & body mounts are a big project, but from what I’ve researched I can handle that.  Lots of the parts/accessories were powder-coated...but the batch failed and all the black parts are flaking off and have surface rust starting to show.

I’ve known the body mounts & torque boxes were rusting out for a while now.  It wasn’t a major concern because some of the mounts are still good and the Jeep is only used around town & on the beach. I changed the oil the other day and realized the rear frame is looking much worse than I expected.  Am I foolish for thinking I can fix this myself?

I have access to a Lincoln Weldpak 175 welder.  I’ve used it w/Flux core to weld in patch panels on my E30 floor & for exhaust mounts.  Will this welder be able to get deep enough penetration w/Flux core?  It does have MIG capabilities, but I’ve never welded w/Gas and would need to find a gas bottle.

 

Parts costs for the frame sleeves, torque boxes and body mounts are probably in the ballpark of $500 to $750.  I never thought I'd be a Jeep owner, but in Florida it's pretty nice to cruise with no roof and no doors. Even in the summer when it's 90 degrees I like it.  These things are more fun to drive on 31s and stockish suspension, but it was already lifted when we bought it.  

The wheels & tires aren't cheap and w/used vehicle prices these days I'm guessing we could sell it for $5k or so as-is...who knows, maybe even more.   SWMBO sometimes says "let's sell it" and the next day will say "I could never sell that jeep."

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/15/21 12:58 p.m.

its easy enough to find a jeep with clean frame, especially in the south. cut your losses, buy a cleaner one.

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit UltraDork
4/15/21 1:00 p.m.

That much rust repair is a commitment,  if she is on the fence best to let her make her mind up before buying any parts.

 

I have seen rustyer (I live in the North) and Jeep people prive they can fix anything. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/21 2:12 p.m.

Welder size: my buddy has done this exact repair with his Hobart Handler 140 and flux core wire

Hoondavan
Hoondavan HalfDork
4/15/21 2:27 p.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

Welder size: my buddy has done this exact repair with his Hobart Handler 140 and flux core wire

That's encouraging, I feel like it should work...but I really hate to get the rear end hacked apart before I  discovered it was a bad idea. 

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
4/15/21 4:09 p.m.

You are basically welding repairs to repairs.   At that point, you are better off finding another frame.

 

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
4/15/21 5:09 p.m.

Is restoring a jeep how you really want to spend your time?

 

I'd cut and run and save myself.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan HalfDork
4/16/21 8:34 a.m.

In reply to Cooter :

Yes, this is definitely a concern of mine. At some point the metal underneath the repairs turns to dust.  The body isn't in great shape either.  The rocker panels have some small rust holes hiding under the rocker guards.  So, bad frame, meh body...but nice tires!  At least the 4.0 is healthy and doesn't leak.   I think the frame repair actually looks 10x more straightforward than the body mounts. I'm afraid of what I'll find once the torque boxes are pulled down.

In reply to Cooter :

I'm 100% with you on this one.  If it were a CJ, landcruiser, Scout, or old Bronco doing rust repair would be sensible and I'd be all for it.  One of my uncles gave me an FJ40 Landcruiser when I was in college.  It should have been scrapped, but he'd take anything that was "free" and fix it up.  It was very, very rusty, but we did make it presentable in <2 weeks and it was my daily driver until I graduated & had to leave it behind.  There's a long list of cars & trucks I'd rather do rust repair on.   I actually sold my project (E30 BMW) a few weeks ago because the list of projects kept getting longer it wasn't the car I wanted to keep long-term. 

Ultimately, it's her truck and it is (slightly) more drivable than most classics (lighter clutch pedal, power steering, modern brakes).  Selling it and just buying a similar jeep w/out the rust issues would be the smart/reasonable thing to do.  It's probably worth seeing what I can sell it for as-is before doing anything else. 

 

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
4/16/21 9:25 a.m.

This a case of can versus should.  I'll bet you can do the repairs, but welding up is no fun.  Then there's the cost.  Even if you manage to fix it, any money you throw at it later won't be as well spent as for a non-rusty jeep.  Remember, rust never sleeps.

If you can afford it, I'd find a less crusty jeep and enjoy not patching it up.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/16/21 9:44 a.m.

That welder with flux core will be fine for those repairs.  I've done 3/8" steel with my similar unit.

Could you find a rust-free similar year with a blown motor and swap over the good stuff onto a  clean frame?  Maybe no more work than all the rust repairs.

Hoondavan
Hoondavan HalfDork
4/16/21 12:13 p.m.
TVR Scott said:

That welder with flux core will be fine for those repairs.  I've done 3/8" steel with my similar unit.

Could you find a rust-free similar year with a blown motor and swap over the good stuff onto a  clean frame?  Maybe no more work than all the rust repairs.

This isn't a bad idea at all.  There's actually a guy who parts out Jeeps about an hour away.  He's got a nice looking body for sale for $800.  if I could get a rolling chassis & body tub for a reasonable price that might actually work.  I don't need the interior, doors, etc.  It'd be a pain...but it would also be a much better long-term plan. 

mblommel
mblommel Dork
4/16/21 6:49 p.m.

Don't all the TJ's rust in the same exact spot hence the pre-made repair sections? How easy will it be to find a "rust free" frame? 

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/21/21 6:44 p.m.
mblommel said:

Don't all the TJ's rust in the same exact spot hence the pre-made repair sections? How easy will it be to find a "rust free" frame? 

you can buy a brand new frame, they are like 4k before shipping

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/21/21 9:22 p.m.

Crap, I was on the verge of selling my tow rig because of an 8" rusted-through area of a secondary crossmember.

I would sell that jeep as fast as I could get an offer for it. Jeeps aren't rare, you can find another one that isn't crunchy - maybe it'll cost more, but it will be well worth the cost and hassle of fixing all that rust. Unless you like fixing rust (in which case, you're a weirdo ;) )

Hoondavan
Hoondavan HalfDork
4/22/21 11:00 a.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

Crap, I was on the verge of selling my tow rig because of an 8" rusted-through area of a secondary crossmember.

I would sell that jeep as fast as I could get an offer for it. Jeeps aren't rare, you can find another one that isn't crunchy - maybe it'll cost more, but it will be well worth the cost and hassle of fixing all that rust. Unless you like fixing rust (in which case, you're a weirdo ;) )

I am a weirdo.  Fixing rust for a few hours is satisfying and fun. This is days of rust repair, not hours (therefore not fun).  Unfortunately, rust never sleeps and it's never just one rust repair.   I'd be fine spending a few weekends fixing it if it meant selling it for a few thousand more $$s...but by the time I'm done I'd never want to look at it again.   With the body rust it's more complicated than just swapping the frame, that's a non-starter in my opinion.  I know the answer is to ditch it now  the more time I spend underneath this thing, the more I want to jettison the headache. 

With that said, it's beach season in FL and it's nice to be able to drive something that's already rusty on the beach. If we did sell this one it may be a long time before a reasonably priced replacement.  

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