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Rust horror stories wanted. After tons of money, fixed or not.

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Rust horror stories wanted. After tons of money, fixed or not.

Old 10-03-2018, 11:42 AM
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Default Rust horror stories wanted. After tons of money, fixed or not.

Any rust horror stories, with costs associated?

on another board, i posted the following...
I need some advice. So my truck has more extensive rust damage than I thought. The professionals said $1800 give or take. I spent $1500 for the truck. Normally I'd say it's time to move on. It is listed for $1800ish on CL, letgo, and facebook marketplace. I don't know if it's going to sell at that price.
...
Am I crazy to think I should fix this one and keep going? Did I just fall in love with a truck and that's clouding my judgement?
After some time, I got these:

Can you REALLY fix the rust for $1800? If so, I say do it. You will likely find rust on every example of that era Cherokee so you will likely have the same issue next time (unless you can find that unicorn "perfect example" in which case you will pay >$5000 up front).
and
What rust repair does it need? $1800 doesn't cover much rust fixing...

Floorpans and rockers? You will be hard pressed to find anything around here that's not rusted in your price range.
and
I remember a relative of mine going through rust issues with a VW Sciroco he had. I think he had rust repaired 3 or 4 times. Every time they'd fix it, there would be more in a different area later. He finally gave up and got rid of it.

From what I understand, it really is like cancer, and you need to blast the entire vehicle and repair and reseal it all at once.
I love my Jeep even more than when I bought it. I'm FULLY on board with whatever I do, I'm doing it to a 1997-2001 Cherokee. So what am I in for if I decide to cast my lot on fixing this?

Does anyone have stories, with total repair cost, for rust that started in the rocker panels and spread, whether it eventually worked out or not?
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:02 PM
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In my honest opinion, it's not worth it to get it fixed by someone else for a couple reasons. You don't know if the person doing the job cut some corners in order to save time / stay within your budget and the jeep is usually worth less than the money it will cost, and usually if you drive a cherokee you don't have that kind of money laying around to throw away.

1,800 is 22,5 hours at 80$/hr labor. I'm no professional, so take this with a grain of salt, but I just replaced my floor pans and probably put 80 hours on the floor pans alone. Rockers are not fixed (waiting on steel) and I still have some cargo work to do. Even if you cut that in half, that's 40 hours of job, and almost double your 1,800$.

The only way it's worth it is if you do it yourself. I would say a good portion of people replacing their floors and doing body work on their cherokee don't work in that field, it's just a hobby and they learn along the way. That is my case and for 7-800$ you can get all the supplies you need to do it yourself. I spent about 600$ for a welder (but you can probably get away with a 3-400$ one, just thought I'd spend more to have a 240v one), 200$ for welding equipment, 200-250$ for floor pans, and another couple hundreds for various tools, seam sealer, etc.

It worked out for me pretty well, was a good learning experience, and now I just need to way next summer to do the cargo area. It saves the jeep from junking/parting it out, saves thousands of dollars in body work and you know your jeep inside and out.

Here are some pictures of my experience : https://imgur.com/a/1a0ojMW

Last edited by Cane; 10-03-2018 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:14 PM
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Thanks for the post, that's really helpful. How do I know if my floors need doing? It looks like the rockers went first, and the rust is really spread from all that. The floors look okay, but with the amount of knowledge I have, that just means simple stuff like, "the underside of the car has the coating that looks greyish under the dirt, not rusted-color, and the metal looks like it still has it's integrity."

I want to still own this truck in 15 years. I've owned my solstice for 7, and it looks like it did the day I brought it home after 30,000 miles in those 7 years, so it's doable for me. I'm really good at taking care of my stuff. So starting off this project with the right kind of rust- and time-proofing is important to me.

Does anyone have any stories or advice on how long rust repair lasts, how much it costs to do right? I've seen the 'should i or shouldn't i' posts, but i don't think my question is really the simple version of that the way I've seen it in other threads...
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:25 PM
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A good way to help avoid the rust spreading is to get it undercoated every year with an oil based product. Depending where you're from different companies exist that do this. Krown for example. https://www.krown.com/en/

The grey stuff is the undercoating that comes factory on the XJ. Try to poke around and see if you can remove some in different places and get a better idea of what it looks like underneath. Usually it traps moisture and starts the rust process without you noticing at first.

For the rockers, I simply cut mine out until I was on solid metal and left it that way until I can weld in some 2x6 rockers. Like the floor pans, I would also make sure to spray some oil in there for the winter time until you're ready to do something about it.

Pictures would help to get an idea of what kind of rust we're talking about.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:30 PM
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It may or may not make financial sense, but it's not always about the money. Consider how much time and money you already have into the jeep, and how long you plan to hang on to it.

I can't advise on the rust repair specifically, others would need to chime in. The extent of my rust knowledge would be to try to push holes with a screwdriver and probe around.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:38 PM
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$1800 is really not a lot of repair. Like Cane mentioned, you're paying a shop at rates from $80-120 per hour of labor depending on where you live. Here in MA with a pretty high cost of living, labor rates are generally $100/hr.

Rust is a horrid beast. It is accurately described as a cancer, but at least since we're dealing with machines, it's not incurable.

While I agree with Cane that the cost effectiveness of fixing rust/rot is best when you can do the work yourself, there are advantages of paying a professional. A professional that does quality work will repair the rust and do what is necessary to prevent it from returning and will typically warranty the repair for some amount of time. (There's a frame specialist with a national reputation for his work near where I live that did frame repairs on my previous Jeep TJ that warrantied the repair for life)
If you go this route and the shop is highly reputable, you won't be dealing with the repaired area for years (if ever) into the future.

I would ask - What exactly is the $1800 for - are we talking ALL rusted areas of the Jeep that need to be repaired, are we talking a specific repair that doesn't factor in possible other areas that may be needed in the near future?

If you don't live in a dry, snow free location (like AZ, Southern CA, etc), rust is a fact of life - especially for a 20 year old vehicle.

The typical locations for an XJ include - floor pans, rockers, rear quarter panels, bottom of the doors and interestingly over the windshield on the passenger side. Less widespread but still not uncommon areas like the front shock mounts (top and bottom), control arm and leaf spring frame brackets and track bar and steering gear mounting brackets are also on the list.

I did a less than proper bondo repair on my rocker panels and passenger side rear quarter panel (right behind the wheel - I needed to do it quickly in order to pass inspection) about a year ago and so far it has held up well but I fully expect to be re-visiting these areas a year from now.

My Dad had a 94 that had over 400k original miles on it and the engine/transmission/transfer case were all functioning correctly and he ended up retiring it due to the rust over the windshield (he bondo-ed it and couldn't replace the windshield if it got cracked) and the rotted floor pans. The Jeep ran beautifully but needed too much body work for him to continue using it as his DD.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:47 PM
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You want to push on the floors with a screwdriver and see how strong the metal is. What you'll find is that there will be much that "looks" ok, but once you start pressing into it will just crumble away. Once you've identified spots, you need to first knock all the rotten metal out with a screwdriver, chisel or sturdy putty knife, then break out the cutting and grinding tools and cut and grind back until you can get shiny, sturdy metal. Then you weld in new metal. If the spot is very very small you might be able to get away with patching it (rivets or sheet metal screws) so long as you have prepared the surrounding metal (primers and the such).

If the floors have never been done before and you live in a rust prone area, you WILL need to do some level of repair.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:50 PM
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I use Fluid Film - per recommendation by others on this forum - twice a year to hold back the rust demons. It's a lanolin based chemical for protecting metal and they sell it for about $10 a can at Lowe's and some of the auto parts retailers.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:40 AM
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I have some photos of another one around here. To be clear, travelling to find another one out of my area is NOT POSSIBLE due to my own circumstances. Does this look any better? I might be able to trade mine plus a little cash for this one, because mine is nicer due to the work I put into it already.

Not in the standpoint of 'no work required'...but will this be repairable for a moderate amount of money, as opposed to mine where they quoted $1800 for the rockers, plus anything else they might find.







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Old 10-05-2018, 11:28 AM
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For the record, this is what MY rocker looks like...


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Old 10-08-2018, 11:49 AM
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Nobody? ody? ody...

Echo! echo...echo...
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:53 PM
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To be honest, there is no rear difference between the two. That's the brutal truth. The black one has a year or so on the red one, but they have rust in the same areas.

Look at it this way, the black one has twice the rust in the rockers as the red one. But they both need to have the rockers cut out, the surrounding area treated (media blasting and phosphoric etch), new rockers welded in, the interior treated/coated, seam sealer, etc.
So while the red one may have more rust, the repair is EXACTLY the same.

Slack
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:14 PM
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Thanks for the input. I was wondering if the rust on mine (the black one) being so much more evident meant that while the prescription was the same for both, there would be more labor on mine. For example, if the rust on mine is farther than the rocker panel kit, but touches the b pillar, then that's a lot more than just the amount of cut-and-weld required to install one of these:


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Old 10-08-2018, 10:57 PM
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Id really like to see underneath your current XJ especially the front leaf spring mount in front of rear tire on both sides .
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:12 AM
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I didn't drive it today. I'll see what I can get when I get home from work. I'm really trying to learn as much as I can.
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