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Rust Bucket


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Juast bought a beautiful 1974 in Wisconsin which is 100% original. Auto trans, A/C and never even had a radio. Interior show room fresh. Garaged so dash etc like new. All electronics work perfectly. Roof and upper panels original. I think the previous owner knew to take care of what they could see. That is where the good news ends. Underneath is a rust bucket. Floor pan not gone but alot of it needs replacing. Spare tire well has been glassed(*%^&$@#) and i have ordered new fuel tank. Drivers side frame rail took a good hit at some time and is rusted through. Needs alot of woork to look as good as rest of car. Any Suggestions???

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Need more information like is it a rare color? Sunroof car? Frame rails rusted? What's the condition of the engine and tranny? How does it run? What do you want from it: show car? Daily driver? What are you willing to invest to get it to where you want it to be? All of these things would need to be factored in to get useful feedback.

My $0.02...

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I'd spend a lot of time assessing the structures where

many layers of metal meet-

around the rear subframe mount points, where the front rockers

join the inner fenders, etc.

And of course, the infamous rear upper perches.

The front 'frame rails' themselves are pretty easy to repair, as is

the tire well.

As above, you have to assess the overall quality of the car

(interior? engine?) and its relative rarity. Around here,

that kind of rust isn't worth fixing because good shells

are pretty common. In the midwest, 2002's are really rare,

so it might well be worth the effort.

The Brits are the undisputed nuts of reviving a rusty shell.


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mechanicals and/or interior and transfer all the goodies from your car.

But first do the math: cost of shell, getting said shell to AL, who's gonna do all the transferring (you--do you have the time? someone else--do you have the $$?).

It might be cheaper to get new floor pans, repair the frame rails (several ow-to articles on the FAQ) etc on your existing car. You should be able to find unrusted pieces there in the South--if not AL at least from the Atlanta area. Read through the archives to determine the fatal rust points for an '02--those that are more trouble than they're worth to repair--and then make sure yours doesn't have 'em.

My '69 had 30 Ohio winters and took a LOT of work to repair the rust, but it sure looks good now, and is at least as structurally strong as when new.



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The best test is to jack up the car on the front jack points. If there's any give there or th doors wont open or shut you are in deep poo. Also feel the backside of the framerails for rust thru. As has been stated you can repair rust and replace panels.Another place to look is inside the front wheel wells in the area of the jacking points. Given what you have said dont be surprised to find rust thru to the rails. Good luck...

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