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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to know if anyone has repaired the rear strut towers in a 1st gen?
I understand that this was a problem on 1st gen escorts. I have noticed a few areas on both sides where rust has penetrated the inner fenders.
I would like to know what to remove and replace.
I will be removing the wheel well undercoating, which should show all trouble spots.

Help (and pics) are appreciated.
 

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Did you remove the interior trim panels yet? Post some pictures of what you are dealing with. That would be a huge factor in how to repair. If there is only a smaller hole, then welding in some patches would be fine. However, if it looks like this......



...you might want to consider finding good towers from a donor car and weld them in. There are some, actually one (you know who you are :lol: ), that would suggest using strut towers from a Tempo. If I recall, it's because Tempo have a more stout rear suspension.
 

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If it's minor, just patch it. If it's severe, though, look into finding a Tempo in good shape, cut its towers out and place them in your car. You'll have to swap in the rear struts from the Tempo as well, and keep the Escort control arms (no springs in them obviously...it would ride like a brick and be all jacked up in the rear). This also assumes you have welding skills. I suggest Tempos because they're much easier to find, and don't seem to suffer the rear tower decay...the floor pans go long before the towers do.
 

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What I think causes the severe decay is the two "tubes" that run up along the sides of the strut. They are just hollow tubes probably used to add some rigidity to the wheel house. I believe that the e-coat that the cars are dipped in during the manufacturing process doesn't fulling coat way up in there. Leaving the metal unprotected, exposed to moisture and road salt. I am not sure if the Tempos have the same tubes, perhaps saving them from the rot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think it was somewhat of a bad design :)
I will remove the undercoat from the wheelwell side, and see how far the surface rust is.
The outer wheelwell seems rust free.
It looks like the strut tower seams are where the trouble starts.
 

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It's not a bad design so much as it has to be taken care of and not just ignored. In a way Ford corrected the problem with the Tempo, but the extended wheelbase on those cars causes moisture to stick around the rear floorboards. My old car was that way, and I had to replace both sides just behind the front seats. For a time the only thing keeping the car together were the braces and center tunnel. Eventually that goes, too. I haven't noticed these issues on the Escort as often. Another area of issue is a trunk leak in a Tempo, which has the tendency to rot the trunk out, and sometimes takes the towers with it.
I will say the Escort's rear suspension was designed for utility and not handling, but it still handles pretty well, and I like the fact that the heavy negative camber lets the tail slide out more willingly. Drive a Tempo, and it's solid understeer, even if you lift (unless you have bald tires and it's raining). Do the same in an Escort, the tail will break free.
 

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canada1 said:
I will remove the undercoat from the wheelwell side, and see how far the surface rust is.
The outer wheelwell seems rust free.
Keep in mind that there are two layers of metal in the area. You have the wheel house, which is what you would see from the outside. There is also the inner quarter, which you can't see from the outside. Have you removed the interior trim to see the condition of the inner quarter?
 
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