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  1. #1

    Default Considering a Tahoe

    Our family is considering purchasing a 2003 Tahoe. It's got 150K on it, but a one owner and serviced properly and maintained beautifully. Not really a problem on the truck itself. The only area that I found to be at all concerning was a bit of rust some surface, some bubbled along bottom inside of the rear door. Here's a pic....

    My question is how serious of an issue would you consider that to be? I know there's no perfect fix when it comes to rust, but didn't know how aggressively that could spread or other things I could do to slow it. It's priced about 1K below blue book and a pretty good deal, all things considered. Just wanting to be smart about it.
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  2. #2

    Default

    anyone?

    just looking for some advice on how serious this rust looks to be...or if anyone else has had a problem like it what they can tell me about it.

  3. #3

    Default

    I have that same rust spot on the front door of my Avalanche. So far, it hasn't really spread since I got the truck. Personally, as long as it stays on the back of the door, I'm OK with it. I'd be more concerned about something like the slightest paint bubble around a fender - my last truck started with 1 of those, and by the time I sold it, the pressure of a car wash would create a 1" bubble in the paint that would then pop and leave bare metal because it was getting surface rust behind the paint on the exposed side.

    I think as long as you make sure to clean that area when you wash it rather than letting dirt and salt build up in there, it should be fine. Based on my door, as long as you keep it clean and take care of it, it shouldn't spread too much.

    You could also give it a good coating of rust converter and then put some touch-up paint over that - that might help by sealing off its exposure to the oxygen that is causing it to rust.

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  4. #4
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Endicott, NY
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    Default

    I had some of the same type of rust on my 03. Started showing up when it was about 5 years old. Had it on all 4 doors with the drivers and passengers front being the worst. Finally did something about it last year. Used a wire brush to clean the caked rust off then sprayed with a product called Chassis Saver which is a similar to POR15 that converts rust. I laid down a heavy coat on all 4 doors and then topped off with some spray touch up paint. Its been about 8 months since I did that and it seems to be holding up.

    With the rust showing on the door I would suggest you get the truck in the air and take a real good look at the brake lines. Four of them run along the drivers side front wheel well toward the rear and then along the outer frame before turning 90 degrees to go over the frame into the ABS module. Mine are significantly rusted and I am concerned about how long they will last. Repair isn't cheap unless you do it yourself and it is time consuming and a PIA. Local dealer says they have one mechanic who is dedicated to bending tubing and installing new lines throughout the truck but they tell me it is at least 16 hours labor. I know of least 4 other people with GMCs or Chevy SUVs with the same issue. One sold his Tahoe (which he loved) because of the high cost of repair.

    Bill

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks....I spoke with the seller and he informed me that he has his car detailed frequently (i think he mentioned by a body shop) and they have never mentioned this area as a concern. I have no doubt the rest of the vehicle looks good, as I inspected it the best I could. This owner was meticulous in his upkeep of the truck....said he'd take it to a body guy and get an estimate and then we'd work from there.

    Thinking that I'd be satisfied if he'd knock off a couple hundred bucks and I could put some POR 15 on it and keep it clean...my other vehicles have similar issues...I notice them getting worse if I don't keep the salt off and keep them clean.

  6. #6
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Endicott, NY
    Posts
    65

    Default

    Detailing does squat for the brake lines. They are exposed to the salt and moisture almost all of the time and detailers don't really lift the car in the air and thoroughly wash the bottom. I didn't either. I used a hose once per year to wash under the chassis but never really looked at the brake lines until I was doing some engine maintenance and happened to see one of them heavily rusted.

    Bill

  7. #7

    Default

    Do you HAVE to have the truck lifted? Or can I just crawl under and look? I'd rather be able to look at it myself instead of making the seller take it someplace. He did say the breaks had been replaced about 20k ago.

  8. #8
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Endicott, NY
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    Default

    Start by opening the hood and looking at the brake lines as they run down from the master cylinder to the frame. They are open to spray from the wheel there and may be rusted. Then pull the left front wheel and see how they look through the wheel well. Mine has 4 lines that go to the rear and one that goes to the front and crosses over to the passenger side front caliper. It runs behind the front frame cross member. Then if you can get under the vehicle inspect the lines that come from the drivers side front wheel well along the outside of the frame under the driver. A couple of feet back they cross back over the frame and attach to the ABS module with lines from it running to the rear. You will need to get it into the air to see anything more than the lines running along the outside of the frame or in the wheel well. A lot of people have had leaks where the lines cross over the frame into the ABS module. You can't buy prebent lines so all the repair work is in bending and fitting new lines in places that are to reach even when the vehicle is on a lift. There is some hope in getting the cost down. Carquest (probably others as well) can get easy to bend lines that you can bend using your hands without kinking the line. Still requires a bunch of cutting/measuring/flaring and getting the brakes bled at some place that has a scan tool that can implement the Automated ABS Bleed program to get the air out of the ABS module.

    Bill

  9. #9

    Default

    So here's the latest update. The seller took the vehicle to a body shop, and I spoke with them as well. Said the rust was coming from the inside of the door and would probably keep getting worse, but thought it might be a couple of years before it got noticeably worse. Also said that eventually if the owner wanted they could replace the door for around $1200, or get it sanded and repainted for $400.

    He's got it listed at $9100 and I know he's motivated to get rid of it. Do I just knock off $1200 and see if he'll take $7900....Do I forget it and move on, or is there another option that I'm missing?

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