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finding frame rail rust under previous owners solid patches

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I noticed rust on the lower part of the frame rail that runs parallel to the ground. I cut out the bad stuff to prepare for new metal and started hunting for more rust. Unlike the lower, the 'upper' portions (along the wheel well) seemed really really solid.

Well, I figured out that the previous owner had welded steel plate on all three visible sides of the upper frame. Curious of what the inside looked like, I cut a hole big enough to stick my phone up there, took a picture, and was horrified:


Now what? Time for a new frame rail? Fill it full of rust inhibitor and hope for the best? The "patch" is solid, and looks like a stock frame rail other than the welding seams where it meets the lower portion.

I am afraid I already know the answer here, but was hoping for some input.

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if the PO did a decent job of fitting and welding the patches to the rusty frame rail and it doesn't look terrible, i'd leave it alone.

work extra hard to create replacement patches where needed and weld them in.

i've replaced a DS frame rail. i can't see doing it with the engine and suspension in place.

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That picture looks scary...

...but I bet there are more 2002's that look worse than THAT than look better!

I totally agree with Jerry- if it's a good weld job to solid metal, get some 'body cavity wax'

and squirt it in there. And call it done.

Because trying to remove a good fix AND the original rail will probably

also kill the floor.

Now, if it's a bad job, yeah, I'd take it off.

The problem is that the 'rail' is actually tied really intimately to the front inner

fender, and the inner fender and its connection to the front of the shell is

a LOT more important for strength, as is the rocker and it's connection

to the whole thing. It's pretty neat in there- there are heavy gauge panels

and light gauge panels, and they were really thinking about transferring

the loading into the firewall, a- pillar and sills....

So take a really good look at the structure that is made up of the inner fender,

door post, sill and the attachments there. If that's all strong, you have

a solid car, and then go from there.



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What about using por 15 or isotrol on that piece. Maybe get a spray gun nozzle inside there and go crazy. Just an idea.

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Thanks for the help, guys! I'll do a thorough check over the whole thing to make sure that the repair is sound. The engine will be out of the car hopefully in the next year or so. By that time I'll be out of school and hopefully can afford to have a shop put in fresh rails (and see what else is lurking).

I had already planned on cleaning as much as I can with bottle brushes and soaking the inside in POR-15. Once that dries, I'll drain Linseed Oil or motor oil throughout to try and prevent it from getting worse.

Top priority is getting it running this summer, and it sounds like I can get away with solid patches on the outside for now. Thanks again-

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