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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Be honest, but is this thing drivable (update: probably not, at least not very fast)? I just picked it up for 1k and I have a feeling I'm toast. That's the rear left mount. you can see daylight. Didn't see it when I looked at it.

It looks like some people have swapped in donor towers from other Ford escorts. Can I grab towers from any old escort or does it have to be a wagon like mine (update: you need a wagon strut, the sedan strut appears to tie into the trunk and all that, so it won't fit...)? I’m tempted to keep it alive (I mean what are my other options really besides junk it). It has 90k miles, fresh fluids, fresh plugs wires, valve cover gasket (probably needs timing belt, wheel bearings, brake pads, oil pan gasket; eventually catalytic converter). Runs pretty good but I’m wondering if this is terminal? I’ve seen some repairs of these on here (probably not as many as you guys), but what do you all think? I have no experience welding, but I guess my 1000 dollar car is the time to learn??

Those are my strut towers. They are rotten. I THINK the front side might not be as bad as the rear pictured here (update: is is on both, but the middle part of the right one appears to be more solid). I made the holes with my fingers just checking if it was rotten (I know, the paint was probably structural). Front towers aren't bad. Just the rear ones luckily (if luckily is the correct phrasing).

Looks like fuel filler neck needs replacement as well...
 

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I am guessing the strut towers from a hatchback or another wagon would work - though the strut towers from a sedan might be different.

The rusted out fuel filler tube should not be that much of a problem; I see them still listed at rockauto(dot)com. Since you will need to have the strut on that side out anyway, you can remove the fuel filler neck at the same time. You would also want to replace both of the rubber hoses that connect it to the tank; the large motorcraft KFL-22 and the smaller hose, which is roughly 7/8" diameter. (I used a piece of fuel hose). I unbolted the rear tank support straps and let the back side of the tank droop down, so I could reach the clamp on the smaller hose to get it free.

As to whether or not to replace the rusted out strut towers; I would go by how much rust there is on the underbody. If that is still in decent condition, then I would go for strut tower replacement. I would want to use a MIG welder for working on stitching in the replacement towers. While I have an oxy-acetylene welding rig, the MIG welder is worth buying for working in limited spaces.

While I was under there, I would check the condition of the brake lines running to the back of the car. The worst rust spot on my 2nd gen Escorts was up in the space between the side of the fuel tank and the undercarriage. You cant see this spot without being under the car looking straight up. The lines there were badly pitted by rust. I have replaced the rusted lines on two of my Escorts. I used lengths of the copper-nickel alloy brake line tubing. It was a slow job, since I work outside on grass, didnt have a lift to make the job easier. The parts are inexpensive, and I did the labor myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Yeah I'm starting to shop for MIG welders as I type this... I think the hardest part is going to be finding a donor escort wagon (so if anyone knows the skinny on lining one up in central NY let me know). I think finding wagon struts is going to be near impossible, so I'm hoping the sedan struts will be close enough to work (update: they wont). I'll probably have to look out of state if wagon struts are necessary (or more likely just take it to a body shop...). Maybe someone else on here can chime in.

Brake lines I'm sure are coming... I'm taking this lady one disaster at a time, so right now making sure the struts don't punch through the c pillar is my main concern... I know someone with a lift (and a MIG welder for that matter) so maybe they'd lend a hand. Thanks for the tips on the fuel tube. It looks pretty dicey so a replacement is probably in order.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So, update, the hole is large. I'm thinking of welding some vertical strips around the cylindrical part of the strut to reinforce it, and then messily tacking in some sort of shaped sheet metal to keep it from being drafty. Body shop said it was totaled, but it might be fixable; maybe. I can't make it worse at this point, so what's the harm in giving it a go.

Need to go buy a grinder and a mig welder...

IMG_3423.jpg


IMG_3422.jpg
 

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I would take a sawsall to the JY and cut out pieces so they will fit in a lot better.

Technically the sedan struts are the same, although the weight rating might be a little different. I've put ZX2 rear struts on a wagon and they fit just fine.
 

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One once you own a MIG welder, you will find you have a new circle of friends cultivating you.
Years ago I used to weld/braze new bottoms into gas tanks on pre-war cars. For some reason there didnt seem to be any welder who would tackle this. My bottoms were not pretty, but the folks who owned an otherwise running classic (but werent rich) were always very grateful for me.
 

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A MIG welder is an awesome investment if you are into DIY auto repair. Mine has more than paid for itself. Sadly, you are going to have to cut out more than you think to find solid metal to weld to. Any metal where the paint bubbled up is most likely too thin. You also have a huge hole in the right side inner fender which is going to allow water to run down the dog leg and into the rocker panel, rusting them out fairly quickly if it hasn't already happened. With old cars like this is becomes a question of how far you want to go with repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
A MIG welder is an awesome investment if you are into DIY auto repair. Mine has more than paid for itself. Sadly, you are going to have to cut out more than you think to find solid metal to weld to. Any metal where the paint bubbled up is most likely too thin. You also have a huge hole in the right side inner fender which is going to allow water to run down the dog leg and into the rocker panel, rusting them out fairly quickly if it hasn't already happened. With old cars like this is becomes a question of how far you want to go with repairs.
I know... I'll have to probably patch that too. And yes, there is much more cutting to be done. That was just what I got with a wire brush and a glove :)nailbiting:), so once I hit it with the grinder we'll get a better idea of the damage. I need to throw it on jack stands and take out the strut to clean and grind the inside to really inspect the damage. I don't want to do a full restore at this point; I'd just like to get it safe to drive. If that means big ugly strong welds and panels, that's alright with me. I don't really care what it looks like... If it looks like frankenstein but drives that's alright with me. Plan is to probably keep the seats out and put a camping platform back there anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A MIG welder is an awesome investment if you are into DIY auto repair. Mine has more than paid for itself. Sadly, you are going to have to cut out more than you think to find solid metal to weld to. Any metal where the paint bubbled up is most likely too thin. You also have a huge hole in the right side inner fender which is going to allow water to run down the dog leg and into the rocker panel, rusting them out fairly quickly if it hasn't already happened. With old cars like this is becomes a question of how far you want to go with repairs.
Yeah, I looked at the rocker panel back there. I touched it with my boot and watched some chunks fall out. Hopefully I'll be able to lift it somehow... ugh. At this point, it isn't cost effective to pay someone to do it, and I need a project/ sacrificial vehicle to learn on. It's already totaled. What's a little more sheet metal going to hurt? I have a feeling it's going to need quite a bit :(. Am out of town for two weeks. Will update once I start doing some surgery.
 

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When/if you get it jacked up take a good look at the rear suspension components. Those like to rust out as well.
 

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A great piece of advice I got many years ago was from a fellow who did mobile welding. He looked at my car and advised rather than pay him to do the job, to buy a welder with the money and practice, and learn by working on my car.

I would recommend doing as nice a job as you can with the repair. It will most likely be stronger, and it is a good thing when learning a new skill to learn to do it well, not rat-roddish.
 

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A MIG welder is an awesome investment if you are into DIY auto repair. Mine has more than paid for itself. Sadly, you are going to have to cut out more than you think to find solid metal to weld to. Any metal where the paint bubbled up is most likely too thin. You also have a huge hole in the right side inner fender which is going to allow water to run down the dog leg and into the rocker panel, rusting them out fairly quickly if it hasn't already happened. With old cars like this is becomes a question of how far you want to go with repairs.
Yes. MIG welding isn't as hard as one might think. A lot of it is mostly practice to get the heat and speed settings right. While they aren't my first choice in welding OP may want to think about picking up a small MIG unit from Harbor Freight to practice on. Once he gets proficient enough he can look at going with a higher quality unit like one from Miller.

I also agree that more than likely there is more rust than he can see. If it were me I would sand off paint until I don't see anymore rust and then cut out a patch to fit it.

John
 

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I hope you aren't referring to the one that routinely goes on sale for $99.99, that's a flux core only unit and from what I have heard it outputs A/C voltage which is wrong for both flux core and MIG welding. All he is going to end up is frustrated trying to weld thin stuff with that. His best bet is trying to find a used unit, preferably one that uses 220V if he has access to a plug for it. Even on thin stuff it's a night and day difference having that extra power, I really wish that I wasn't forced into getting a 110V MIG due to garage circumstances at the time. And BTW, Miller is WAY overpriced for what you get.
 

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Interesting, I bought a 220 volt MIG welder almost 30 years ago and often think I should have gotten a 110 volt because I only use it for exhaust and body work, so don't need extra power.

Another idea would be for JLRose to take a MIG welding course at a local community college. Oh wait, all college courses are cancelled for a few years until we give up on the current plague.
 

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Interesting, I bought a 220 volt MIG welder almost 30 years ago and often think I should have gotten a 110 volt because I only use it for exhaust and body work, so don't need extra power.
We have a 220V L-TEC MIG at work and compared to my 110V Lincoln Electric the weld puddle and bead is a lot bigger which distributes the heat over a larger area, even when welding thinner metal. I know it's strange and I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself but I can use more current on the L-TEC welding thinner stuff then I would with the Lincoln and have a better result.
 
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I hope you aren't referring to the one that routinely goes on sale for $99.99, that's a flux core only unit and from what I have heard it outputs A/C voltage which is wrong for both flux core and MIG welding. All he is going to end up is frustrated trying to weld thin stuff with that. His best bet is trying to find a used unit, preferably one that uses 220V if he has access to a plug for it. Even on thin stuff it's a night and day difference having that extra power, I really wish that I wasn't forced into getting a 110V MIG due to garage circumstances at the time. And BTW, Miller is WAY overpriced for what you get.
No. I'm referring to their 220v models. The cheapy ones are just that. Cheap. They're ok for fixing small stuff or very light gauge metal but for something like this I would go with a heavier duty welder. I understand your bias towards Miller welders. Yes they are expensive but every custom shop I walk into uses them, so their must be some redeeming quality they have for those that use them everyday that justifies the price. Since I don't fire up the welder everyday the Harbor Freight models will suffice for most all projects that I may have going on.

John
 

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Interesting, I bought a 220 volt MIG welder almost 30 years ago and often think I should have gotten a 110 volt because I only use it for exhaust and body work, so don't need extra power.

Another idea would be for JLRose to take a MIG welding course at a local community college. Oh wait, all college courses are cancelled for a few years until we give up on the current plague.
While it would be great to do that, in my opinion, with a few starter suggestions in regards to how to setup power and wire speed, welding proficiency has been mostly practice more than instruction for me. Certainly, taking your project to someone that can look over your work is very helpful but is not imperative for most car projects unless your welding together a frame or some other high gauge metal where penetration is much more critical. I could be wrong in my assessment but, for me personally, I've learned a lot just by doing it and figuring out what works and what doesn't.

John
 

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While it would be great to do that, in my opinion, with a few starter suggestions in regards to how to setup power and wire speed, welding proficiency has been mostly practice more than instruction for me. Certainly, taking your project to someone that can look over your work is very helpful but is not imperative for most car projects unless your welding together a frame or some other high gauge metal where penetration is much more critical. I could be wrong in my assessment but, for me personally, I've learned a lot just by doing it and figuring out what works and what doesn't.
If you watch enough YouTube videos on welding, I'm sure that you can master it. I have a cheap wire feed HF welder, and there are lots of videos specifically on how to use those effectively.
 
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