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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 97 4.0 Sport Wrangler, this is my first wrangler and I got it in September. It runs amazingly and pretty much everything works but different mechanics have told me that my frame is too rusty and might break. I'm not really experienced so I am looking for some opinions from seasoned jeep owners. Is my frame structurally weak or is this just a bunch of surface rust? Also I might be moving more north towards the top of NY and if my frame won't last through the winters up there I either want to frame swap or sell the car and get something else (hopefully a different jeep). I have some pictures sorry they are a bit blurry (my camera sucks) and I'll upload less blurry ones either later or tomorrow.

-thanks for your help
 

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First thing first
Grab a wire brush and put it in your drill and see if you can't get some of that rust of and get it close to bear metal.

Then put a bunch of coats of rustolem or I saw 4wheelparts has a specific frame rust paint.

Save what you got before it gets worse. They don't call it cancer for nothing.
 

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That first pic looks like a rust hole. Def not a good sign. Take a mallet and bang it on that area and over the entire frame. It looks like your frame is shot if that first pics is a hole. A qualified welder can fix it up for you though. Depends on the rust damage. If it's extensive then replace the frame.
 

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i don't think rustoleum is the cure on your frame in this case... that doesn't look too pretty, IMO. i had a 97 and POR15'd it years back. My dad owns it now and its still in the same shape when i did the job, but those pics right there make me nervous... looks like you have big sections that have already peeled off the of frame and a definite hole on your back body mount... look at this link http://www.autorust.com/Jeep_Cat_16pg_10.5.10.pdf

if the rest of your frame looks okay, i'd maybe look into this route... however, if you've got a bunch of other spots, i think it'd be a cheaper solution to buy a new one, maybe go galvanized too? i'm not saying that you shouldn't drive the jeep, but i would be a little cautious if you're going to be putting any sort of stress on that frame if you're on the trails or get yourself into a collision with a solid object...
 

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I also have a 97 with rust in the frame. I have two sections that need to be cut out and replaced. I am going to get eastwoods internal frame coating which acts just like por15, it converts rust into a primer. Comes in a spray can that has a long plastic tube with a tip that sprays out in a 360 degree pattern.
 

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Here is what my 97 Wrangler looks like in PA... My dad patched the frame in front of the driver side rear tire. I was hoping to get some frame coating (maybe por-15 or something) on there before winter, but it's way too cold now. It will have to wait until spring. I had to replace a ton of stuff before I could worry bout coating the frame. Bad part is, everything is a real PITA to get off when I have to replace things. Rear shocks were a nightmare. I know there is a lot of rust chunks inside my frame as well.... I just hope it will last a few years, then I can upgrade to a newer 2000+ model jeep. Here are some pics....




Below is after we patched the frame


Below is the front frame section photo with my new RS9000 shocks... The frame isn't that bad in the front.
 

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Another thing you may want to check out is the brake and fuel lines. I replaced all of my brake lines with a stainless steel pre-bent kit from Classic Tubes for less than $225. I replaced my rear drums/pads/hardware. Fuel vapor line. All new shocks.

I would definately get the holes patched up in yours.... It seems like your frame isn't real bad except in spots. At least from the photos you took. The top photo does look pretty bad though... definately want to take care of that.

I know they sell full frames for our jeeps but the time involved swapping over everything would be huge. Not to mention removing bolts from the rust bucket i own is almost impossible without breaking them or spending an hour on each bolt. I am just gonna try to make it last and get another one when this one is no longer driveable.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Pretty rough looking rust for a '97 -- what state are you in ?
Im in NY but it came from CT and it may have been near the water or possibly pulling a small boat but the engine and trans are in great shape its only got 107200 miles on it so i want to make it last for awhile
 

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Man that is some ugly stuff, must be the salt. Jeeps don't have any kind of undercoating, at least mine doesn't. I have been thinking about doing some kind off undercoating myself. As others have said it is time for some frame work or replacement before you have some kind of failure. Good luck on your repairs.
 

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here's a write up on my club's page, maybe someone who hits this thread could find it useful. there are pics in there that show what my frame looked like before and after the project. hope this helps some!

POR-15 Project


and a great point earlier by the OP about your break lines! three years ago i was heading home for turkey day from college, my first driving with her on snow/slush, all stock, before i knew it, on the highway, slushy roads, came over a bridge, frozen ice, drifted, break line blew, hit the guard rail, fish tailed back onto the highway lanes, facing traffic in the southbound lane, pulled the e-brake turned the wheel, 180 back around to the median. overall, very exciting, but not something i think anyone would really want to experience....i'm thankful... overall after waiting 3 hours to get a lift back to a shop, a blown rusted line was the culprit. i replaced all of them at once.
 

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First, take a screwdriver or metal scraper and scrape off all of the rust and paint from the surrounding area. Be aggressive. That rust looks pretty deep. Next, take one of these and knock off the surface layer of rust and paint.



You don't have to get it all the way to bare metal, but get it as close as you can. And wear safety glasses. I had a friend almost lose an eye using one of these.

Next, buy a can of this.... POR 15.



It's not paint. It's a special-purpose industrial coating that neutralizes rust so that it doesn't come back. I use it on restoration projects and it's AWESOME. You paint it right over top of the rust and it's a permanent repair. They don't sell it in stores... at least not that I've ever seen. You have to special order it from their website.

http://www.por15.com/POR-15/productinfo/1GB/

Just be sure to wire-brush it first to get the majority of the rust off. You want it to be able to soak through all of the rust and down to bare metal so it treats all of the rust. Also, be careful when you use this because once it touches something, you can't clean it off. That includes your skin. If you get it on your hands, you have to wait for it to wear off.

It's very important that you do not use regular paint. If you just wire brush it, then spray it with a can of rustoleum without treating the rust, it will be back within a month. I guarantee it. Rust is like cancer. It grows and spreads and they only way to get rid of it is to get rid of ALL of it.
 

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An actual hole rusted through the frame should have a weld repair.I have a 97 also,live in NJ,my frame looked pretty bad.I had some thick surface rust,but no actual holes or anything.I would use a wire wheel on a 4 1/2" angle grinder instead of a cordless drill.Way more power,way more speed,just be REAL careful with eye protection as Mike said.I ended up letting Ziebart blast my frame and underside with a steam jenny,and put undercoating on.Almost 2 years and it still looks good,and Im under there all the time LOL! +++1 on the POR,great stuff!! it really is amazing.I bought 2 of there small kits to paint my floorboards up front.The stuff dries glass hard,and uses moisture to cure,actually sucking the water out of the steel while curing.
 

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Agreed with all posters above. My suggestion would be:
1) Scrape, bang, knock, wire-brush, or just plain clean the frame of all the surface rust. Knock those holes out so all the loose metal is gone.
2) Rustoleum the frame (temporary fix and easy to remove later).
3) Get the jeep to a welder or shop that can patch the holes in the frame.
4) POR-15 the frame after its fixed. Its a little messy and time consuming if you want to do it right, but it looks good, actually helps, and most people say it lasts a long time (mines only 2 months old)
 

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That first pic looks like a rust hole. Def not a good sign. Take a mallet and bang it on that area and over the entire frame. It looks like your frame is shot if that first pics is a hole. A qualified welder can fix it up for you though. Depends on the rust damage. If it's extensive then replace the frame.
first and third pics look the worst. also looks like someone tried to paint over it at least once...
 

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Take it to a weld shop and get it patched, it is bad but most likely repairable. I live in Northeast and as I was shopping for an early TJ I have seen alot of patched frames. I past on quite a few 97-99 TJ's because of bad or repaired frames.
 

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I wish I found out about my frame rust as soon as you did. I am having it repaired right now and is gonna put one heck of a dent in my wallet
 
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