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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To establish things right off the bat? I am NOT mechanically inclined. I'm hardly an idiot, but I have no experience whatsoever beyond basic things like replacing my bumpers. Added to that, I have no place to do any kind of work if I even had the confidence or skill.


OK, so I took my 98 TJ last week to a reputable 4WD shop finally get the lift installed a year after I bought it... only to get a call back late in the day suggesting I don't do it and that there is a lot of frame rot. Got there, saw how bad it is, asked them what they reasonably may think for a time frame before it gets unsafe to drive and or breaks. The service manager told me it could last the rest of the year, could last the rest of the month. Then quoted me 5 grand plus incidentals to repair both sides using autorust parts, or 10 grand to replace the frame.

He was pretty ambiguous in those estimates, when anything prior had always been down to the penny. Taking into account he told me on the phone "if we can even fix it" when giving me the bad news? I honestly feel they just didn't want to tackle the work and the quote was what it would be for them to want to get into it. I can't say I blame them really.

I'm unsure of terminology... but looking at autorust's site, and from what I remember seeing when it was on the lift and what the service manager told me? I'd say everything from front to back on both sides needs to be replaced/repaired.

My TJ is the only vehicle I ever wanted since I was 16, to me its as good as family. My wife keeps bringing up the idea of buying another TJ to swap swap my stuff onto... like the brand new 33s I bought from the same shop two weeks ago. But I dont want someone else's old TJ, I just want mine. So that leans me towards repairing the damage.

I guess my questions are this:

  • Is the 5 and 10 grand quoted for either job high/low/average from anyone's experience here? I live in PA, the shop is in NJ, and everything except gas is more expensive in NJ from my experience... so I assume labor is as well.
  • The repair is the type of job I would think a body shop would be another place to look for to do the job, does anyone else have suggestions beyond that?
  • Given that both sides need to be replaced, can anyone give a rough idea how long it would take a professional to do this? 10 hours? 20 hours?
  • Does anyone have suggestions where to go specifically in the general Eastern PA area? Someone recommended a place about 90 miles from me in NY, and I wouldn't really consider that unreasonable.
  • Am I really just being sentimental and my love for my Jeep is blocking my ability to think reasonably?


ALL input is appreciated, regardless of the contribution big or small.

Thanks,

Russ
 

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FWIW, the 4x4 specialty shop down the street from me told me it wasn't worth fixing my frame, and he didn't want to touch it. I looked into welding shops in your area, and would advise you to do the same in Penna. Especially those that advertise frame welding. I found one in my area that did my Jeep frame from the front lower control arms back to the rear lower control arms on both sides, for just over $1200.

Good luck, man. Frame rot sucks. :-(
 

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Honestly dude just too sentimental. I feel your pain. I would guess that 10k is more than is worth monetarily and 5k is prob more than half. Take your money get a used TJ swap all your custom parts over to the new TJ. I've had cars from PA and once rust takes hold not a lot you can do. In the future I would suggest cleaning under frame every chance you get to get that nasty road salt off.
 

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Any flat-rate garage will probably charge you between 20-30 hours of labor to replace a frame, that's already getting up to $3000 or so, depending on local labor rates. A brand new frame will run a few grand as well. After adding in the cost of all the new hardware and fluids you'll need, the quote the 4x4 shop gave you is probably accurate, though they may be aiming a little high if you're getting into the 10k range.
There are two real questions here:
1. How bad is the rust/rot?
-Are there only particular sections of the frame that are rotted, that can be cut out and have new metal welded in? If that is the case, can it be repaired without removing the body from the frame? This would be the most inexpensive and desirable route.
-Is the frame rotted from front to back, or just a big portion of a particular side? Many junk yards that work with a lot of Jeeps will sell you the back halves of frames where it is more common to rust out. Replacing the back half would still be very labor intensive, more so actually, but cheaper than buying a new frame.
- Is the body rusted out as well? If the thick metal of the frame is rotted out, it's very likely the thin metal of the body isn't in great shape either. Do you also need new floor pans or body panels? This would be a good time to replace them, but will add to the cost of the repairs.
2. How much is your Jeep really worth to you?
- I understand sentimental value in vehicles. When I was 16 all I wanted was a Camaro, and I worked very hard to get it. I swore I would never sell it, and put a ton of time and money into it. After having it for four years, I wrecked it really bad, beyond repair. Less than a year later I bought another one and used the parts I was able to salvage from my wrecked one to build it up (along with new parts as well of course!). My point is, the Camaro I have now is almost the exact same thing as the one I wrecked. I love the car and have no plans on ever getting rid of this one either. It may not be my first car, but it's close enough.
If your Jeep means that much to you and your wife won't kill you for spending the money then go ahead and fix it up. However, if the frame is really bad, I would say you have two reasonable choices. Get a place you can keep your Jeep for a long time while you take it apart and learn how to fix it yourself if you're into doing your own work (you'll probably make plenty of gear head friends with the project too), and you'll probably be able to drive it again in a year or more, or, if you don't have or want to put that kind of time into it, take your wife's advise and buy another one in better shape that you can put your good parts on. You can even save a couple sentimental parts of your old one to bolt on or just display in your garage.
I know this was a long response, but I understand the rust problem. My girlfriend's YJ is incredibly rusty. I've been welding in patches to the body and frame a lot to keep it on the road. So far I've been able to access all the rotted sections on the frame without having to separate the body, but there are some tight spaces. Good luck with whatever you choose! Rust sucks!

Trever
 

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Try posting some pics of the frame on here. There are guys here that have dealt with frame rust and can guide you in the right direction. If the tub is rust free, you can find used frames at places such as daveysjeeps.com
and pay someone labor to swap it.
 

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To establish things right off the bat? I am NOT mechanically inclined. I'm hardly an idiot, but I have no experience whatsoever beyond basic things like replacing my bumpers. Added to that, I have no place to do any kind of work if I even had the confidence or skill.

OK, so I took my 98 TJ last week to a reputable 4WD shop finally get the lift installed a year after I bought it... only to get a call back late in the day suggesting I don't do it and that there is a lot of frame rot. Got there, saw how bad it is, asked them what they reasonably may think for a time frame before it gets unsafe to drive and or breaks. The service manager told me it could last the rest of the year, could last the rest of the month. Then quoted me 5 grand plus incidentals to repair both sides using autorust parts, or 10 grand to replace the frame.

He was pretty ambiguous in those estimates, when anything prior had always been down to the penny. Taking into account he told me on the phone "if we can even fix it" when giving me the bad news? I honestly feel they just didn't want to tackle the work and the quote was what it would be for them to want to get into it. I can't say I blame them really.

I'm unsure of terminology... but looking at autorust's site, and from what I remember seeing when it was on the lift and what the service manager told me? I'd say everything from front to back on both sides needs to be replaced/repaired.

My TJ is the only vehicle I ever wanted since I was 16, to me its as good as family. My wife keeps bringing up the idea of buying another TJ to swap swap my stuff onto... like the brand new 33s I bought from the same shop two weeks ago. But I dont want someone else's old TJ, I just want mine. So that leans me towards repairing the damage.

I guess my questions are this:


[*]Is the 5 and 10 grand quoted for either job high/low/average from anyone's experience here? I live in PA, the shop is in NJ, and everything except gas is more expensive in NJ from my experience... so I assume labor is as well.

[*]The repair is the type of job I would think a body shop would be another place to look for to do the job, does anyone else have suggestions beyond that?

[*]Given that both sides need to be replaced, can anyone give a rough idea how long it would take a professional to do this? 10 hours? 20 hours?

[*]Does anyone have suggestions where to go specifically in the general Eastern PA area? Someone recommended a place about 90 miles from me in NY, and I wouldn't really consider that unreasonable.

[*]Am I really just being sentimental and my love for my Jeep is blocking my ability to think reasonably?


ALL input is appreciated, regardless of the contribution big or small.

Thanks,

Russ
Think your in eastern PA somewhere. Call Jack at NoExcuses, Inc in New Egypt, NJ. His # is: 800-923-JEEP. All they do is jeep rust and other stuff...for 17 years. Huge pole barn shop rite behind his house. He doesn't believe in the auto rust approach. Replaces all steel with 3/16" original gauge pieces. I've had the rear cntrl arm area done, n will go back this summer for both sides above skid. One side you can run your fingers down it! Hes very affordable...blows away your other quotes! Those guys did NOT want to do it! Or, you could call Globex Performance in Lakewood, NJ. Was quoted $4K for a COMPLETE FRAME SWAP! You'll see. Very nice work indeed. Tell em Tim from Freehold with the black 00 TJ n snow plow sent you! Good luck.
 

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Don't feel bad, your love isn't clouding your judgement.

I would look into getting a new frame. If it's already that rotted, might be better just to get a new one and start fresh. For jobs this big, call around and get quotes. Don't go with the first thing you see.
 

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Call mike at Orange County jeep works. The dude is a wizard with this stuff. Tell him I referred you. Middletown ny. You can find his stuff on Facebook
 

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I'd like to see some pics of your frame, I rebuilt two sections of my frame and reinforced a few areas ( just to be safe ). My frame was in okay shape, however I cracked my rear upper control arms off. I rebuilt the full back frame of my jeep from the front my rear tire and back. Very happy with it now, and should get another long while out of the Jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I just got my first good news in DAYS! Found a year-old topic on jeepforum.com about frame rot repair in PA.

One of the places listed, Jeff Daniels Jeep Customizing, just quoted me $2,400 bucks... and $3,700 in all for the repair and a bunch of other work I wanted to get done.

Have a lot of calls to make still, but things are looking up. I have read everyone's replies, I thank you so much all thus far for taking the time to offer your opinions and will reply accordingly when I have more time.
 

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Well, I just got my first good news in DAYS! Found a year-old topic on jeepforum.com about frame rot repair in PA.

One of the places listed, Jeff Daniels Jeep Customizing, just quoted me $2,400 bucks... and $3,700 in all for the repair and a bunch of other work I wanted to get done.

Have a lot of calls to make still, but things are looking up. I have read everyone's replies, I thank you so much all thus far for taking the time to offer your opinions and will reply accordingly when I have more time.
Is that $2400 for saftcaps or frame replacement? N what other things for $3700?
At least call NoExcuses for comparison?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh, I'm calling everyone today. I think Im having it towed where ever it goes anyway to be safe, so anywhere within reason is on the agenda.

SafeTcaps, lift, alignment, gas tank skid plate, sending unit, and waterproofing is what the $3700 covers.
 

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Oh, I'm calling everyone today. I think Im having it towed where ever it goes anyway to be safe, so anywhere within reason is on the agenda.

SafeTcaps, lift, alignment, gas tank skid plate, sending unit, and waterproofing is what the $3700 covers.
Thats actually not too terrible and peace of mind. I mean, there's quite a bit of work that goes in to all of that. I wonder what it would cost to get a frame from somewhere else and just work off of that.
 

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Thats actually not too terrible and peace of mind. I mean, there's quite a bit of work that goes in to all of that. I wonder what it would cost to get a frame from somewhere else and just work off of that.
Used, and in good shape frames can be had for $500 - $800.
 

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10k to replace the frame??? Damn. I bought a frame for under 1000.00 & did a swap on mine.After all said and done I had under 2k in it.
 

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Oh, I'm calling everyone today. I think Im having it towed where ever it goes anyway to be safe, so anywhere within reason is on the agenda.

SafeTcaps, lift, alignment, gas tank skid plate, sending unit, and waterproofing is what the $3700 covers.
From your original post not sure SafeTcaps will be enough but Jeff Daniels has a good reputation. I think when he sees it there may be more work required but at least he will probably let you know up front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Is that $2400 for saftcaps or frame replacement? N what other things for $3700?
At least call NoExcuses for comparison?
Two days of answering machines with No Excuses, left a message this time. I work nights, sleep during the day, hate phone calls that prevent that.

Globex quoted me $3700 for the labor to do a frame swap, plus suggested stainless steel brake lines that bring the total to $3900. Then I'd need to find a frame, which is tough in my neck of the woods to find so far.
 

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Two days of answering machines with No Excuses, left a message this time. I work nights, sleep during the day, hate phone calls that prevent that.

Globex quoted me $3700 for the labor to do a frame swap, plus suggested stainless steel brake lines that bring the total to $3900. Then I'd need to find a frame, which is tough in my neck of the woods to find so far.
Keep callin Jack. He's your dude. Globex is def pricey. Its all not rocket science remember. They just have a skewed outlook on mech labor rates. NoExcuses is where to go. Leave him a msg that you work nites n if he could call you then. Globex quoted me $4k for swap incl frame.
 
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