Frame repair rust damage

coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
596
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I searched the forum for thread titles that included "frame repair" and nothing was returned.

So how about it? Let talk frame repair!

Today, I went to an State vehicle inspection place (Jiffy Lube) and they failed my TB because of frame rot.

Images will follow shortly.
 

Mooseman

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Dec 4, 2011
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coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
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Mooseman,

I followed that link and checked out every thread on the page. Nothing looks like my situation.

All those threads look to be about:
-Trailing arm rust.
-Body rust.
-Spare tire hanging mechanism rust.
-Truck bed rust.
-Tailgate frame rust.
-Bumper rust.
-And, a plug for a welding business.

Here's what I'm dealing with. On the passenger side, between the cat and the frame. That triangular piece also wraps up the side, and makes a sort of apron.
frame10.JPG
 
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coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
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The triangular gusset/apron is pushed up a little, and so is the bottom of the frame. (I might have put a jack here.) There must be damage that can't be seen on the bottom of the frame section. I'll get a pry bar in there and push that gusset down.
frame11.JPG

Closer look.
frame13.JPG
 
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Tankcruiser

Registered Member
Oct 29, 2018
104
Toledo
yeouch havent seen rust like that hope it can be recified.... i can see why it failed inspection thats right where passenger door is located at.....
 

coolride

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It's a common place to find rust. That hot catalytic converter must accelerate the oxidation. I'm surprised there's not a patch kit for this area.
 

Mooseman

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Dec 4, 2011
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You wanted talk about rust repair and found some. The most common place is at the rear diff arm frame brackets.

It probably can be fixed by welding some plating over it. Just the bottom curved part that could be a challenge. I'd weld oversized plating on the side with extra extending past the curve, then heat it up with torches at the bend and hit it with a hammer until properly shaped. That's if that triangular shaped plate can be removed if necessary.
 

coolride

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The plan right now, is the get it up on jack stands and have another look around. Then clean up everything I can reach with the needle scaler.

Will also plan to remove the cat.
 
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northcreek

Guru
Jan 15, 2012
2,933
WNY
The plan right now, is the get it up on jack stands and have another look around. Then clean up everything I can reach with the needle scaler.

Will also plan to remove the cat.
Careful where you put those jack stands, also living in NY and also had some pretty rusty vehicles but, none so bad as to fail an inspection...:quiverlips:
 
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mrrsm

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Oct 22, 2015
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Unless the Inspector provided a written condemnation of the vehicle as being irreparable or completely unsafe, you might dial in on the major offending structural frame members of the Chassis and take some measurements consistent with sizing up angle iron for over-wrapping sections that can be welded over those rotted out frame areas.

Try calling around to some of your local Welder's Supply Houses or even some Muffler Shops nearby and consult with them about performing this kind of work. If it has happened to you... then many others have suffered in your area with this identical situation on aging SUVs.

I purchase most of my Practice and Utility Phosphor-Coated Steel Plating for various Welding Projects from eBay in very reasonable lots for both Mild and Stainless Steel that may be a source for the Rescue Materials you will need to put your SUV back on the road. Here is a link that shows some of the example offerings that won't hurt you '..in the Wallet'... too badly.

 
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coolride

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So there's a specific type of steel I should be looking for?

My fist thought was "I can get this steel at Home Depot."
 

Mooseman

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A mild steel is plenty. The frame is probably made from it anyway. This will allow you to bend it and cut it easily.
 
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mrrsm

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Oct 22, 2015
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Short Answer?

Same Stuff... and Just as Good.
 
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northcreek

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Jan 15, 2012
2,933
WNY
A mild steel is plenty. The frame is probably made from it anyway. This will allow you to bend it and cut it easily.

Short Answer?

Same Stuff... and Just as Good.
I agree, I've always used mild steel for frame repairs however, GM is always touting their "high strength steel".


>>The 2015 Silverado’s strength can be measured through five core elements:<<

1. Fully Boxed Frame

Silverado’s fully boxed frame – including main rails and major cross members formed from high-strength steel – provides a rigid base for maximum hauling capability, excellent crashworthiness and the longevity truck customers demand.

The frame comprises three sections: front bay, mid bay and rear bay. The front frame bay uses hydroformed side rails for optimal strength and lower weight. Pioneered by General Motors for full-size trucks 15 years ago, the process uses highly pressurized fluid to shape the frame rails, making them stronger and lighter than comparable welded multi-piece components.

The side rails of the frame’s middle bay are constructed of two pieces of high-strength steel welded to form the sturdy box design. The front bay’s hydroformed rails slip inside the boxed sections of the middle bay 9.4 inches (240 mm), creating a bend-resistant rigid structure, while the rear-bay boxed rail sections are joined to the middle bay with an overlapping, shingle-type construction. A frame-integrated hitch enables maximum trailering capability right from the factory.

Engineers validated the frame’s strength in the lab and in the field. In the lab, Silverado prototypes were mounted by their wheel hubs on a simulator that shook and twisted them with extreme intensity. Outdoors, they were driven over a variety of rough surfaces and swells – including torturous “truck blocks” – inducing natural frequencies and real-world driving conditions that don’t occur in the lab.
 
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Mooseman

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What does constitute "high strength steel"? They don't say if it's carbon or high carbon steel or that they just use a certain thickness of steel. Maybe they're just comparing to low strength aluminum?
 

mrrsm

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Oct 22, 2015
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@coolride ... You might just save yourself an awful lot of Time, Money, Energy, Flux-Wire and Hassle by using an existing Trailblazer Box Framing Section cut from THIS Article and minimize the work and the welding necessary to perform this repair AND make it look more "Official". Take a peek at a few of these being offered on eBay for around $61.00:

 

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mrrsm

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Of course.... No insult intended. The suggestion though was that this "Ready Made Steel Box Frame" could perform as a stand-In after you carve out the length and breadth in the shape(s) required to fit on and over the damaged, rotted out existing areas. You could do wonders with it using a Tape Measure and 4" Cut-Off Wheel.
 
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Mooseman

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Dec 4, 2011
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That crossmember, similar to the one for the rack and pinion, is actually made of thinner sheet metal, boxed and pressed together and would not be suitable. However, that brings the idea of using a piece of an actual frame if you can get one. If you go to a PnP yard with a sawzall (mine doesn't allow torches or grinders), you might be able to cut out a section or ask a regular recycler to cut a piece out for you. Then, just cut a patch panel out of it to weld on.

Much of the frame is very solid apart from surface rust.
Maybe that particular rusted out spot has a higher concentration of recycled Fords. :laugh:
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Donor
Jul 22, 2015
2,544
What does constitute "high strength steel"? They don't say if it's carbon or high carbon steel or that they just use a certain thickness of steel. Maybe they're just comparing to low strength aluminum?

You ask... I answer! Well, I found some information, anyway, for those who might be curious. :compu-punch::laugh:

(PS: I looked up the author's credentials -- she has a MSc in Materials Science, so she's not just some freelance journo / blogger w/ no technical / engineering experience. IOW, the info *should* be good. She provides footnotes, too) Written in 2019.

Article on various automotive steel grades

(I knew a little bit of this from reading some info from Honda a few years back; this goes into much more detail, though) About a 10min read, I'd guess.
 

coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
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Adirondacks
Of course.... No insult intended. The suggestion though was that this "Ready Made Steel Box Frame" could perform as a stand-In after you carve out the length and breadth in the shape(s) required to fit on and over the damaged, rotted out existing areas. You could do wonders with it using a Tape Measure and 4" Cut-Off Wheel.

I thought I might have given the impression that my cross-member was rotted out. And I also thought you might be just endorsing the general strategy of using salvaged frame sections. Wasn't sure.

But I was was never insulted so no worries there.
 
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coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
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Adirondacks
@coolride
Read my post from May 7 about frame rust. There's some pictures in there where they had to weld a couple of plates in. Expensive.

I just re-read that post but I didn't see the pictures. OK,,,I see the pictures now. What area on the frame was that?
 
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coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
596
Adirondacks
No time to work tonight, but I did just have another look.

What about jack stand positioning? I can get 2 under the rear axle, but how about up front?

What's the best location for placing jack stands under the front end?
 

ts684

Registered Member
May 29, 2013
73
Had frame rust in the same area on my 04 Envoy. Did not pass inspection in Pa. Most welding or body shops wouldn't even look at it. The one shop that would said to leave it for a couple of months or so. Ended up dropping off at salvage yard and replacing with a 09 Envoy.
 

mrrsm

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Oct 22, 2015
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Here's a Thought... Amplifying @Mooseman 's re-direct to actual Salvage Yard TBs & Envoys... Trying Messaging Rick Chalmers @rchalmers3 ...He's been carving up quite a few Trailblazers for the construction of his Custom GMT-360 Engine Break-In Stand Thread.

If you can grab some good images either from the OEM Manuals and Hi-Lite the Frame Sections you require, perhaps he can Chop Saw out exactly what you need and ship it over to you. This assumes of course that you've not already haunted the Yards with your SawZall and found-obtained what @Mooseman suggested.

 

coolride

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Adirondacks
I have a mig welder and a gas bottle, but I'm wondering if stick is the way to go.

Any thoughts on stick over wire?
 

northcreek

Guru
Jan 15, 2012
2,933
WNY
If it were me I would use mig where you can get the metal shiny clean and stick where you can't. You will also probably have tight areas where access will be limited to stick.... :twocents:
 
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mrrsm

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Oct 22, 2015
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You know all of this already... but for anyone interested and following along in need of doing this type of repair as well:

You will be working upside down... so wear a Full Length 100% Cotton Button Down Long Sleeve Shirt... No synthetic materials or blends that can melt into your skin because it will by impossible to avoid dropping dross and *Sparklez* down onto your clothing. Wet down the top of the Gas Tank with a light water Spray before starting. I concur that working with full length Stick Welding Rods on a slightly elevated Vehicle would be very be hard to do


It is much TOO EZ to Burn through Thin Wall Steel ...especially those areas Weakened by Rust and Corrosion and also covered in Oil, so find a few pieces of Scrap Steel to weld on comparable in the frame thickness and Practice getting your "Sea Legs" again... B4 starting to do the REAL work. Do NOT Practice your Welding Chops on Galvanized Pipe, Zinc Coated Steel or Stainless Steel as the fumes created can be quite TOXIC. When welding lengthy Plates against Wire Wheel Cleaned substrate...Tack Weld from the Center of the Plate ends ...OUTWARDS ... to close the Gap between the Plate and Frame and maintain uniformity as the Metal expands in length and then contracts after cooling afterwards, avoidng curling or lift off. This is also a good way to make certain you have no Burn-Thrus.

You can get a decent Auto-Darkening Welders Mask, Welder's Leather Gloves and Leather Arm "Spats" as well as Fiber-Glas Mats if needed to Cover or Block Off the Gas Tank area on Amazon for not too much money. A Good, Inexpensive, Gasless Flux-Cored Welding Wire for use on Mild and Structural Steel under Rusty and Oily and Poorly Fitted Conditions is Hobart Part# H222106-R19 (E71T-11) .030". Amazon carries the 2 Lb sizes and larger, depending upon your MIG-FLUX Welder's Max Roll Capacity and the area needed coverage.

The Wire Feeds and Speeds and the Amperage Settings on your MIG Machine are CRITICAL and are generally found listed on a Chart on ths inside Cover Panel of your New Welder. Search out YouTube and other on-line sources for MIG-FLUX Welding Instructional and Safety Data that you can study and absorb in advance. Welding things together is NOT Hard... but lack of Proper Preparation can make things impossible if you don't use the right equipment in the right way. Do your Homework, Get the Right Stuff, Watch the YouTube Videos.. and PRACTICE First.

You won't get any 2nd chances to Avoid Going BLIND if you strike the work piece and forget to have your Eye Protection on. Check that your Mask-Shield Batteries are Fresh and ensure that your Minimum Auto-Darkening Level is set No Lower than 9. Drill out a few holes on your Practice Coupons and Test Pieces that approximate the rough size of the smaller areas that have Rusted Through and use a light "Touch and Spark" Technique, working in small actions from the outside in. It does not have to look Pretty... and you'll be lightly grinding things flat again too in order to check for complete hole closure success.

Keep most of the action focused on what you have already laid down... NOT on the edges right near the holes as they will melt and burn through easily. Lay down small Blobs so that Gravity does not pull the new Melt Wire Blobs loose. Allow each touch to cool momentarily before adding in Wire. Be Patient...Work Slowly and be mindful of your surroundings. Stop frequently and check your surroundings for signs of any 'Spatter Fires' getting started nearby. Keep an ABC Fire Extinguisher close at hand.
 
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coolride

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Original poster
Aug 23, 2019
596
Adirondacks
Picked up this angle grinder for cutting in tight places. I've got a 4 1/2" angle grinder, a Saws-All and this new thing. Not sure how well it cuts, I suspect it might have low torque.
frame19.jpg

Good enough (for now) air supply.
frame18.jpg


The frame has a triangular shaped sheet metal apron. Starting just behind the front passenger drive shaft and extending aft and under the actual frame. I don't want to remove it but I'm considering just that. What does this thing do?
frame15.jpg


frame20.jpg

frame21 (2).jpg
 
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coolride

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Aug 23, 2019
596
Adirondacks
MRRSM, Thank you, I found a source for Hobart wire at my local Tractor Supply. Will have to roll back over there to check if Hobart Part# H222106-R19 (E71T-11) .030" is in stock.

Went to Lowes and Tractor Supply to check on steel prices, and the assortment. This strap was $20. I was like :wowfaint:

1/8" by 3" by 36"
frame22.jpg

Is this appropriate?
frame23.jpg
 
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coolride

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The plan right now is to tackle the easiest repair first. The area was found to have rust through after cleaning with the needle scaler. I didn't notice this damage previously. This row of pin holes also continues under the body mount and forward.


I could grind off the weld for that cowl piece and peel it away, or just but weld the patch directly to it.
frame16.jpg
 

mrrsm

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Oct 22, 2015
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coolride

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Original poster
Aug 23, 2019
596
Adirondacks
Does the state set forth any requirements or specificafions or guidelines for acceptable repairs ??
No one can believe that they failed me in the first place. No one ever heard of such a thing.

They didn't exactly have an engineer inspect the frame. It was a kid at Jiffy Lube that probably failed me because he's an idiot.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Active Member
Dec 5, 2011
458
Central Pennsylvania
Here in PA, at least locally to me, you're not REQUIRED to return to an inspector that has failed you... you just don't get your sticker.
A few years ago an overzealous inspector failed me for my exhaust (pinholes near the cat). Since I needed some work done anyway, I let the place I usually get repairs done at perform an inspection instead of returning to the original place. Passed without issue and without repairing the exhaust. I did eventually have the exhaust fixed, I just couldn't and didn't do it before my inspection/reinspection.
 

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