Rusted crossmembers. Help!

Discussion in 'General Chevy & GM Tech Questions' started by Rice, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. Rice

    Rice New Member

    I just bought a 2000 Silverado. The truck looks great, drives great, sounds great, etc...
    However, it did have a few issues that i wanted to take care of, like replacing all fluids and a bad sending unit (surprise, surprise).
    So, I went to the mechanic and spent most of the day there, while they were checking everything out and doing what needs to be done.
    The problem appeared when they dropped the tank to replace the sending unit.
    The two cross members, one that's just aft of the cab and one that is next to it over the middle of the tank are in bad shape. The front one is somewhat better b/c it is not completely gone. However, the one that's over the tank is rusted 75% through on the driver side. The pass. side of it carries one of the shocks, which is definitely not good, but somewhat better than if the shock-carrying side was rusted.
    Now, when I say rusted, I mean that there is a huge hole in it on one side and multiple smaller holes on the other. The only way it can be fixed is by cutting it out completely - frame rail to frame rail and welding in a new one.

    Now comes the question. Has anyone had this happen?
    How was it resolved?
    Can it be resolved?

    I looked at the parts diagram at a collision shop next door and they do not list a separate cross member.
    Is my "new" truck a total loss?

    I did some search on the i-net and haven't found a solution. The only thing that comes to mind is to find a totaled frame at the junk yard and cut the good cross members out.

    Please help!

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Dr_Zero

    Dr_Zero Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Salt can lead to alot of corrosion or the vehicle may have been under water, get a carfax and make sure its not a katrina car or the likes.

    If it was me I would go to a body shop and get their take on the frame repair they can fix and straighten some pretty messed up stuff to like new.

    Get a couple of quotes also before settling on one shop.
  3. 04sierracrewcab

    04sierracrewcab Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    I think that driving it as little as possible will be to your benifit also... dont wanna make things worse.
  4. Rice

    Rice New Member

    No solutions, huh?
    Should I throw the truck away or drive it 'til it breaks?
    With all the restoration/rebuild shows on TV I thought that it would be a relatively easy fix.
    Am I the only one with this problem or not many people looked at their crossmembers lately?
    Just curious.

    Here's what I've desided to do:
    I will try to find a decent donor frame at a junk yard and cut the two crossmembers out.
    Then I will remove the bed on my truck and replace the rotten pieces.
    I will also clean the rest of the frame with a wire wheel and grinder and paint it with some undercoating to prevent future issues.

    Off I go to look for junked Silverado frame...

    Wish me luck.
  5. Jimmiee

    Jimmiee Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Good luck Rice. I've said this before. I passed up a beautiful 2500HD because the underside was total rust.
  6. Dr_Zero

    Dr_Zero Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    I just was under the truck the other day and was cleaning the cross members and and the frame to get rid of the dirt and road grime that accumulates.

    When you cut out the parts will the frame torque without the cross supports?

    I don't know that is why I suggested you contact a body/frame shop who do this for a living.

    You may consider getting your frame or the donor frame soda blasted to get rid of the rust and then coated with something like POR (Link)
  7. Rice

    Rice New Member

    Thanks for the advice.

    About the frame tweaking... I've thought about that and decided that it shouldn't be an issue. There are still 2 crossmembers in the front and back and also a Class III hitch, which acts as additional support. I will probably prop up the frame itself on jack stands to ensure that it is stationery during the procedure.

    Soda blasting is a great idea. I didn't really consider this route b/c of the cost. I don't want this repair to cost me more than the truck did (I got it cheap, which is the only consolation). However, if I can rent the equipment somewhere for relatively cheap, I'll definitely do that. It will be easier on me and on the neighbors:lol:

    Does anyone know someone with access to junk Silverado (or similar) frames and willing to cut the things out and ship to me? For a compensation of course.

    I figure that the cutting should take less than 20 minutes with bed off.
    One of the crossmembers is held in place with rivets, so that's 5 minutes with a grinder. The other is a 'bout 4" pipe to be cut with sawzal in 2 places. Not that big'a deal actually.

    I just really hate the idea of throwing this truck away b/c of this minor issue. The rest of the truck is in PERFECT condition or close to that.

    Any help saving this beast is greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  8. TrailLeadr

    TrailLeadr Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    That's pretty much the only solution, short of cutting out the rusted parts and welding flat stock in their place. I wouldn't recommend that as the ideal solution, but it would certainly work.

    Don't limit your searches to just the local area, there are a lot of bone yards on the web now, and even though they may be a couple states away or more, most of them are pretty good about shipping.

    Good luck.
  9. Dr_Zero

    Dr_Zero Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    For those who dont know about soda blasting here is a link


    In the past, the only way you could remove paint or some other unsightly material from a contaminated surface, was to either chip it off, sand it, use harsh chemicals or sand blast it. Now there is SODA BLASTING. Soda Blasting is a process that can strip almost any surface in an efficient and safe manner. Although it is similar to traditional sandblasting, it has the significant advantage of cleaning the surface without causing harm to the substrate or the environment. Soda Blasting easily removes paint, coatings, carbon, grease, oils, gasket material and surface corrosion from a variety of metals, alloys, plastics and composites without substrate damage or distortion. Soda Blasting leaves hard anodized coatings intact.

    Soda blasting is the latest, greenest technology to safely strip paint and/or clean nearly any surface. The Soda Blasting machine uses compressed air to deliver bicarbonate of soda-based media ( baking soda) onto the surface to be cleaned. Similar in concept to sand blasting, Soda Blasting is much kinder and gentler to the underlying surface and the environment.

    The process is gentle enough to remove the coating without harming the substrate. Virtually any coating can be removed from most any surface. Soda blast media is FDA approved, non-toxic, and contains no free silica: it is non-sparking, non-flammable, non-hazardous, and environmentally safe.

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