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Discussion Starter #22
So, the more I dig, it would appear that the rocker panels are probably toast (at least locally where the wheel panels rotted and let water/salt in towards the back). The pinch welds for jacking on both sides near the rear wheel well are pretty rotten. So rotten in fact, that I made a hole while picking around with my hand. I will try and jack them up in the next couple days to remove the struts and clean around them, but I'm pretty tempted to just eat the loss at this point. It's one thing to wrench on a car to change a part, it's another thing to try and keep it from literally falling apart, which is I think where this thing is headed... If I ever crash this thing, it will crumple like an aluminum can with bad rust entombing me in escort. While unlikely it seems not really worth it to find out...

Any suggestions? Does anyone thing it's actually salvageable? I CAN get to clean metal in a few places on the inside, but there are so many new holes I keep finding in the wheel well before I've even taken out the struts and I'm starting to think this thing is never going to be safe to drive... Attached ar images of the rust. It looks prettttyyy toast... I can get 250 from the junk yard.

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It looks hopeless to me.
If you are concerned about safety then junk it.
I tend to drive cars like that until a strut caves in or similar, but then I'm not driving at high speed on the Interstate.
I like to use 'em up. Maybe it's false economy.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I
It looks hopeless to me.
If you are concerned about safety then junk it.
I tend to drive cars like that until a strut caves in or similar, but then I'm not driving at high speed on the Interstate.
I like to use 'em up. Maybe it's false economy.
I would do the same but they have state inspection down here which I'm certain this thing will fail (who would allow this lol). I think I'm just hosed. What a bummer.

I could buy a welder and sew this thing but the whole backside is pretty rotten from the waist down, the catalytic converter is cracked in like 5 places, and there's at least one other oil leak. I thought I could keep it going for a little while, but I don't think it's worth dying for. I tried the factory jack points in a couple places and it just dropping crackly rust chunks and deflected.

Someone on Reddit said if you're going to do this much work, you should probably do it on a car you love. I like the wagon, but I don't think I "cut it to pieces and stitch it together - love it" like a Porsche. Still on the fence but moving towards the junk yard. If anyone needs some glass or interior pieces it's pretty pristine on the inside...
 

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Even many popular American '50s and '60s cars with that much rust would be parts cars at best. Being a Unibody makes it even more difficult to repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Even many popular American '50s and '60s cars with that much rust would be parts cars at best. Being a Unibody makes it even more difficult to repair.
Got to love the monocoque construction. Well I think it's pretty much settled. The gang at Reddit more or less said the same thing...
 

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Yup! That bad boy has seen better days. Start checking the Craigslists in southern states if you're still interested in a wagon.

Your chances of having to deal with rust are much less coming from "dry" states.

I'm sure by now you've, unfortunately, gotten a lesson in where to look for problem spots so going forward. Rockers are always where I start when looking for rust.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #29
I threw in the towel.

I took off the wheel to look at the strut itself, and it's rust welded, as are the brake lines, and pretty much everything else under there. If I lived somewhere without safety inspections I would probably just drive it into the ground, but they're going to say I need a new catalytic converter, rear and front brake pads, struts, strut towers (hah) just to pass. Then I would need to do timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, cam shaft seal, oil pan gasket seal, learn to weld, weld the towers etc... Soon approaching the amount of money I paid for it. Should have just never checked the towers...

Thanks for the hope for a little while. Was fun to dream, but the rust belt had its way with this rig (and every other escort around here). I don't think the NY state inspection would let it slide any time soon without at least another 600 dollars in parts alone, so it's just not worth the effort. If I was back in Alaska, I might drive it around town until it died, but not worth the fines around here...
 

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We got rid of safety inspections in my Province about 30 years ago. I don't see really wrecked cars driving around though, the cops can still pull over a car and order a safety inspection.

Also I am not in the dreaded "rust belt" even though it is the "Wet Coast". All those miserable rainy winter months don't do a tenth of the damage that salt does in drier climates.
 

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Not that the car is worth fixing at this point anyway but I do NYS inspections and you can't fail for struts unless the strut body itself is broken in two, you can fail for a broken spring though. You wouldn't fail for the cracked cat either, it just has to be physically there in the OE position and the CEL off. For brakes, we are only legally required to check one front brake but we can check all of them if we want. That said, I never check rear drum brakes on inspections. There is even a chance that the strut towers could have passed too before all of the cutting was done.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Not that the car is worth fixing at this point anyway but I do NYS inspections and you can't fail for struts unless the strut body itself is broken in two, you can fail for a broken spring though. You wouldn't fail for the cracked cat either, it just has to be physically there in the OE position and the CEL off. For brakes, we are only legally required to check one front brake but we can check all of them if we want. That said, I never check rear drum brakes on inspections. There is even a chance that the strut towers could have passed too before all of the cutting was done.
I figured if I didn't start poking around it might have been fine, but it's too late now. I didn't even have to cut anything, that's all removed with a wire brush 120 grit grinder wheel (or my fingers). Probably only had a couple months left before that left one blew anyway... but that's all good to know for the future, but hopefully the next one isn't this bad...
 

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Might as well rub it in some more...
I used to live in the "Rust Belt", and when I moved to the "Wet Coast" I was amazed that a brake job entailed removing the wheel, then grabbing hold of the brake drum with both hands... and removing it. No hammers, prybars, torches etc.

However they have started salting the roads here in winter, and using brine spray. So it's not as nice for cars' health as the US Southwest.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I was home in Texas last week and was amazed to see all the 20+ year old cars driving around. You don't see any in central NY. As I write this a dump truck is dropping rock salt all over my road with 0.25 inches of snow on it. Unibody cars don't stand a chance.

Yeah, I had to use a rubber mallet to take off the rear wheel. There's no way that brake drum was coming off.
 

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I'm bummed. But I guess it will just have to be an expensive lesson in rust belt economics.
Again, I get it's after the fact, but, IIRC, a Chicago member bought a wagon here in California with, I think, a dropped valve seat. He held onto to it for a little while until he located a low mileage wrecked ZX2 since he wanted to swap the engine into the wagon. I got to see the wagon and it was very clean. Very, very minimal rust and most of it was topical. Nothing that really penetrated into the metal.

He swapped the motor along with installing a few other upgrade goodies while he was out here and drove it back to Chicago once it was all done.

If you're still interested in an Escort you may look at that approach to secure a solid body. I see a lot of wagons go through the Junkyards out here and usually the body is in very good shape rust wise. It may have a dent or two and the bumper covers may be damaged but you may look at buying a body from a yard as another way to acquire a clean body.

John
 
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